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Dominant postseason makes Avalanche favorites to build NHL's next dynasty

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Dethroning the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning in their rare third-consecutive Stanley Cup Final was one thing. The Colorado Avalanche have designs now on launching their own type of dynasty.

It's a mission bookmakers think highly of based upon the odds set for the 2022-2023 NHL campaign.

Paced by Conn Smythe-winning defenseman Cale Makar and distinguished center Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado stands as the +425 favorite to win the Cup next season, according to Tipico Sportsbook.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the +725 second choice, followed by the Florida Panthers (+900) and outgoing champion Lightning at 10/1.

“The Avalanche have consistently been one of the most dominant teams in the NHL over the last few years,” Tipico hockey analyst Vincent Pepe said. "Tie that to a 16-4 record in the playoffs and the second best record in the NHL last season and there’s no doubt they should have the best odds going into the season."

The Colorado Avalanche pose for a team picture with the Stanley Cup after they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.
The Colorado Avalanche pose for a team picture with the Stanley Cup after they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.

Toronto’s status as the Eastern Conference favorite certainly fills the hearts of the Maple Leafs’ devoted fan base still awaiting the organization’s first Cup since 1967.

Following its 54-21-7 showing this season, Toronto’s roster is equipped for a deep run.

“Auston Matthews is an absolute powerhouse on the ice, who tied for sixth in points last season. Mitch Marner also had a stellar season, (and he’s) someone the team expects to stay on top of his game,” Pepe said. “Most of the team is coming back for the ’22-23 season, so expect to see them (playing for the Cup).”

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews celebrates scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews celebrates scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Florida’s league-best 58-18-6 regular-season showing was undone by its second-round sweep by Tampa Bay, but its 9/1 odds indicate that the sports books view the unforeseen collapse as a learning experience.

“The Panthers are deservedly holding down that spot. Coming off a season where they had the highest scoring offense and held the best record, (the) sweep was not something anyone expected,” Pepe said. "They have a solid 1-2 goaltender combo, with Sergei Bobrovsky and very promising backup Spencer Knight, as well as an electric offense which set a record this year by coming back down four goals in back-to-back games. That feat has a 0.01% chance to happen.”

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The returning Pacific Division champion Calgary Flames and Metropolitan Division champion Carolina Hurricanes both stand at 15/1, along with the Vegas Golden Knights.

The New York Rangers, who reached the Eastern Conference final, and Western Conference finalist Edmonton Oilers are both at 20/1 along with the Minnesota Wild, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues.

The New York Islanders and Boston Bruins are 30/1, followed by the Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals at 40/1.

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Pepe foresees the Blues as a solid choice.

“As a team with one of the youngest rosters in the NHL, fans didn’t expect much out of them, yet they shocked the league, over-performing in almost every metric,” Pepe said.

“The Blues were the only team, beside the Lightning, to put up a fight against the Cup-winning Avalanche, handing them two of their four playoff losses. An underperforming (goalie) Jordan Binnington didn’t help their cause, but if he can find his footing and the rest of the team can elevate their game a bit more, there could be a strong Cup run.”

The Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators and Buffalo Sabres are slotted as 50/1 choices at Tipico.

Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for audience referrals to betting services. Tipico has no influence over nor are any such revenues in any way dependent on or linked to the newsrooms or news coverage. See Tipico.com for Terms and Conditions. 21+ only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO).

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Colorado Avalanche favorites to win Stanley Cup again