- The Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights open as co-favorites to win the 2021 Stanley Cup
- Twenty-three of the top 24 teams that qualified for the 2020 expanded postseason, Blackhawks lone team absent from top 24 2021 odds
The party is still on in Tampa Bay after they took down the Dallas Stars to win the 2020 Stanley Cup. Regardless of how you feel about the significance of this year’s Stanley Cup, you have to tip your cap as it could be argued the bubble life without family for upwards of two months and daily screenings was a bigger challenge than a normal championship would have entailed.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 30, 2020
Teams around the league have little time to breathe, however, as both the NHL Draft and opening of free agency take place within the next week in what will be an extremely interesting time, especially the free agent aspect given the economic and financial crunch teams are feeling around the league.
With all that said, let’s look into the future at some NHL futures as a trio of clubs open as co-favorites to win the 2021 Stanley Cup.
Lightning, Avalanche, Knights Open as 2021 Stanley Cup Favorites
A trio of clubs open as co-favorites to win the Stanley Cup as the Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights all sit with +750 odds to win hockey’s ultimate prize next season.
While the Lightning continue to celebrate their 2020 championship, it was a disappointing conclusion for both the Avalanche and Golden Knights – both at the hand of the Western Conference champion Dallas Stars.
The Avs were the first team to feel Dallas’ wrath as they dropped the Western Conference Semifinal to the Stars in seven games before the Stars disposed of the Knights in just five games to book their ticket to the Cup final where they were dumped in six games by the Lightning.
Here’s a list of the team with top-11 odds – with three-way ties at both ends – to win the 2021 Stanley Cup, as per BetOnline
- Tampa Bay Lightning (+750)
- Colorado Avalanche (+750)
- Vegas Golden Knights (+750)
- Boston Bruins (+1200)
- Philadelphia Flyers (+1800)
- Washington Capitals (+1800)
- Dallas Stars (+2000)
- Toronto Maple Leafs (+2000)
- Edmonton Oilers (+2200)
- Pittsburgh Penguins (+2200)
- St. Louis Blues (+2200)
There aren’t a ton of surprises here at the top as all 11 of those clubs were comfortably in the 24-team playoff format while all would have qualified had the league went directly into its traditional 16-team format right out of the pause.
Of 24 2020 Playoff Teams, 23 Remain in Top 24 For 2021
As you go down the list of odds over at BetOnline, you might notice that 23 of the 24 teams that qualified for the 2020 expanded postseason remain in the top 24 for this the 2021 Stanley Cup.
The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t make the top 24 for the 2021 Cup as their +8000 odds are tied with the Anaheim Ducks for third-worst odds to win the Cup.
If you’ll recall, the Blackhawks actually upset the Oilers in the qualifying round in four games before the Vegas Golden Knights took care of them in five games in the Western Conference Quarterfinal round.
Like the Blackhawks in the west, the Montreal Canadiens didn’t have any business being a playoff team, but they too took advantage of the expanded postseason and upset the Penguins in four qualifying-round games as well. The Canadiens sit with +5000 odds to win the Cup alongside the Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks.
It’s an unsurprising bottom of of the list, perhaps save for the Blackhawks. Seven of the bottom eight teams were the ones who didn’t quality for the 2020 postseason all the way from the Sharks at +5000 (although in that four-way tie as noted above) to the Detroit Red Wings as the longest shot all the way at +15000.
As is the case every season, there’s going to be surprises on both ends of the spectrum.
After going to the Western Conference Final in 2019, the perennially-competitive San Jose Sharks were among the favorites to win the 2020 Stanley Cup at the outset of the season, but quickly spiraled and found themselves with the third-worst record in the league at the end of the shortened regular season.
Conversely, the Philadelphia Flyers sported pre-season odds in the bottom half of the league but turned into a serious Stanley Cup threat down the stretch of the regular season but dropped a seven-game series to the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference Semifinal.
Few teams can be ruled out and someone at or near the top is going to disappoint, but the fun part is we have absolutely no idea who. Good luck!