This season is unique in more ways than one; new divisions, a new playoff format, and new teams looking to prove themselves in the best hockey league in the world.
But, as we look ahead to the season, the big question remains ‘who will make it to the Stanley Cup Finals?’
The Colorado Avalanche come out the blocks as the clear favourites, with star scorer Nathan MacKinnon backing his team to go all the way. However, the reigning Stanley Cup holders Tampa will certainly have something to say on the issue.
As many of the top-tier sportsbook providers post odds for this seasons’ best teams, we can already see the Flyers, Knights, Bruins, and Maple Leafs are certainly in with a chance of making the NHL Playoffs. We’ll break down the teams most likely to make it to the Stanley Cup in 2021.
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Colorado Avalanche (8.00)
The Avalanche started the season, and continue to sit, as the favourites to lift the Stanley Cup in 2021. Most NHL betting sites post the futures odds at 8.00, with a few other teams close behind, namely their West Division rivals the Knights.
Colorado’s roster is stacked. With starman Nathan MacKinnon leading the line they will always have the necessary firepower, not to mention the likes of Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, Brandon Saad, and Mikko Rantanen.
Behind those players, they have a solid defensive lineup led by Devon Toews, Bowen Bryam and the young Cale Makar, who is quickly proving his worth in the league. The presence of Makar is in-part why the Avalanche stands in the position they do.
Take the Colorado Avalanche to win.
Tampa Bay Lightning (8.50)
The Lightning has made a fairly dismal start to the season, but the fact remains they are one of the strongest sides in the league and they are the current Stanley Cup holders.
Tampa has the top Vezina Trophy candidate in Andrei Vasilevskiy in their ranks, who will be pivotal in their bid for the league. In front of him is a solid defence, headed by Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, Erik Cernak, and Mikhail Sergachev.
In offence, Tampa is spoilt for choice with the ever-present Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and the big Russian Nikita Kucherov, who was critical to the Lightning’s winning Stanley Cup run back in 2020.
Pick the Tampa Bay Lightning to win.
Vegas Golden Knights (8.00)
The Knights are one of the most well-rounded teams in the league, which is reflected in their performances year after year. They’ve started the 2021 NHL campaign excellently and look to be going from strength-to-strength once again.
It’s Max Pacioretty who leads the scoring so far, with Shea Theodore and Alex Tuch closely behind the Connecticut man. They have enough players on the roster that can produce goals to not be reliant on an individual star player, unlike other titles contenders.
Between the poles, the Knights will rely on the trustworthy vet Marc-Andre Fleury and the big Swede Robin Lehner. Both goaltenders have made a great start to the season and are a big reason why the Knights enter the race at 8.00.
With Shea Theodore sitting in defence, the Knights will be confident of beating anyone. He’s proven he’s able to add goals where necessary and is one of the most well-rounded defensive players in the league.
Expect the Vegas Golden Knights to win.
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