The Stanley Cup, the biggest prize in hockey and the trophy that all NHL players dream about lifting. For the past two seasons, we have seen the Tampa Bay Lightning raise Lord Stanley’s trophy, but what does the picture currently look like for the 2022 edition?
There are four main contenders, including the Lightning as they look to claim the three-peat, though they are not favourites to win. That goes to the Colorado Avalanche, with the latest online betting with Paddy Power pricing them up at 4/1 to win the Stanley Cup. Behind them, the Tampa Bay Lightning are second-favourites, while the Vegas Golden Knights and Florida Panthers round things off.
Can Avalanche Show Why They’re Favourites?
Since the start of the season, the Colorado Avalanche have been favourites to win the cup. This happened last season too, though a second-round defeat to the Vegas Golden Knights ended their bid.
Led by Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen in attack, combined with the best blue line in the league and solid goaltending, the Avs have it all, and are rightfully favourites this season. With MacKinnon due a big pay rise in two years, this season and next appear to be the best chance this franchise has, but can they take advantage?
A Tampa Three-Peat?
When the Tampa Bay Lightning lifted the Stanley Cup in 2021, winning their second in a row, that feat was one that deserved a huge amount of credit. In the salary cap era, can they do it again and win three on the bounce?
The view from the stands as the Lightning win the Stanley Cup! #GoBolts
— Stadium (@Stadium) July 8, 2021
It is fair to say this Tampa team is not as strong as last season’s, they’ve had no choice but to let players leave to balance the cap, but it is certainly good enough for them to be involved again. A strong push at the right time from Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos may well make the miracle happen.
Vegas to Strike Gold?
The Vegas Golden Knights lost in the Stanley Cup final during their first-ever season, a feat that is being highlighted again due to the struggles that new club Seattle are having this season.
With a strong roster in place, and the arrival of Jack Eichel, Vegas have tooled up and are looking to go one better this time around. Their battle with Colorado will likely decide the west, can Vegas win that, and then go all the way to take the cup?
The Panthers to Pounce?
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season has been the steps forward that the Florida Panthers have made, and they could well win the Eastern regular season, ahead of Tampa Bay. The Panthers have a great all-around roster that can turn up and beat anyone on their night.
With a lack of pressure on them compared to the three above, could the Panthers come and spoil the party? We are seeing sold-out crowds in Florida for the first time in a while, the team has their buzz back, and if they can maintain recent form until the end of the regular season and into the playoffs, who knows what the Panthers could achieve.