We are less than two weeks from the start of the NHL season. Training camps and preseason action are underway. Every team has some semblance of hope entering the new season, unless you're a Buffalo Sabres fan.
Over the course of the offseason, which teams have received the most love in the NHL futures betting market? What teams do bettors like to hoist the Stanley Cup at the end of the season?
The Colorado Avalanche won the President's Trophy as the league's best team during the regular season in 2021. They won their first six playoff games and looked poised to absolutely roll through the rest of the league. However, they ended up losing four straight games to the Vegas Golden Knights and were eliminated in the second round.
Colorado is currently the favorite to win the Stanley Cup at +600. They were dominant during the regular season and their underlying metrics support that their dominance was no fluke.
The Avalanche depth took some hits during the offseason, as they lost Brandon Saad, Joonas Donskoi and Ryan Graves. Ryan Murray was signed to help replace Graves, but the forward depth took a bit of a hit.
Currently 24.4% of betting tickets and 29.5% of the betting handle is on Colorado to win the Stanley Cup. They are the biggest liability for BetMGM as we enter the regular season.
New York Islanders
The New York Islanders have appeared in the conference finals in back-to-back seasons. One could argue that they were the biggest competition for the Tampa Bay Lightning in both of their Stanley Cup runs. It seems like bettors have taken notice.
The Islanders are currently +2000 (20-to-1) to win the Stanley Cup. Currently, nearly 11% of bets have been placed on New York to win it all, which is the second most of any team behind Colorado. They've also received nearly 14% of the money bet, the third-highest mark in the league. They are the second-biggest liability for sportsbooks behind Colorado.
The Isles have established themselves as the shining example of a team that is built for the playoffs. They are deep, they can defend, they get great goaltending, they are disciplined and they can play a physical brand of hockey. They also now have a core group that has plenty of playoff experience and knows what it takes. Zach Parise and Zdeno Chara only add to those strengths.
Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas might have moved Marc-Andre Fleury in the offseason, but it is still a popular bet to win the Stanley Cup.
The Golden Knights are currently +850 to win the Stanley Cup, the third-best odds of any team. Nearly 7% of bets have the Golden Knights winning the Cup, the third highest mark of any team in the league.
Vegas finished last season tied for the best record in the league during the regular season with Colorado. The Knights eliminated Minnesota and the Avalanche in the playoffs before falling to Montreal in the semifinal.
Most of the roster from last year's team remains intact. Robin Lehner will now take over as the clear No. 1 goaltender. Vegas should roll during the regular season due to its weak division, but the true test will come in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Can the Tampa Bay Lightning make it three straight championships? Bettors don't hate that idea. The Lightning are the fourth-most popular team in terms of number of bets placed. They have the second-highest amount of money wagered on them, behind only the Avalanche.
Tampa Bay currently sits with +700 odds to win the Stanley Cup, the second-best odds of any team in the league.
We all know how good this team is, evidenced by the fact that they've won two straight championships. However, no team has won three straight Stanley Cups since the Islanders won four straight from 1980-1983. Additionally, the Lightning depth was ravaged this off-season. They lost Yanni Gourde, Tyler Johnson, Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow and David Savard from last year's team.
Three straight might be asking for a lot.