Believe it or not, NHL training camps have opened and the regular season starts on Oct. 7. The Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup back in late June and they are the +400 favorites on the NHL futures odds to repeat.
NHL Stanley Cup Odds 2022
The Avs said goodbye in free agency this summer to top goaltender Darcy Kuemper as he signed a five-year deal with $26.25 million with the Washington Capitals. The 32-year-old was 37-12-4 with a 2.54 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and five shutouts in 57 regular-season games last season, his first with the Avalanche after he was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on July 28, 2021. Kuemper was 10-4 with a 2.57 GAA, .902 save percentage and one shutout in 16 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Colorado probably will have a timeshare in net this year between new addition Alexandar Georgiev and last year’s No. 2 Pavel Francouz. The Avalanche acquired Georgiev from the New York Rangers in exchange for Colorado’s third-round and fifth-round selections in the 2022 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Georgiev, 26, posted a 15-10-2 record last season, including an 8-1-0 run with two shutouts in his last nine starts of the campaign. He earned his 50th career win on Jan. 8 at Anaheim and finished the season with an .898 save percentage and 2.92 goals-against average.
Francouz shot down any speculation that he might have been unhappy over Georgiev coming here and being the presumed No. 1 guy. He said he couldn’t be happier with his situation with the Avalanche and “I know how the Avs took care about me when I was injured. They managed me the best treatment. (…) I prefer satisfaction and comfort more than money.”
Colorado also lost forward Nazem Kadri as he signed a seven-year, $49 million deal with Calgary. The 31-year-old scored 28 goals and set NHL career highs in assists (59), points (87), and power-play points (29) in 71 regular-season games for Colorado last year. He also tied his NHL career high with six game-winning goals. Kadri then had 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 16 playoff games to help the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2001. He scored the overtime winner in Game 4 of the Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Florida Panthers finished with the best regular-season record last year but were swept out of the Eastern Conference playoffs by the Lightning. Florida is a +1000 second favorite to win its first Cup. The Panthers have a new head coach in Paul Maurice even though Andrew Brunette last year was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award. He took over during the season for the fired Joel Quenneville.
The Panthers are the fourth franchise that Maurice coaches. He started in Hartford in 1995, two seasons before that franchise relocated to Carolina. He coached Toronto for two seasons before returning to Carolina, then spent nearly nine years as coach in Winnipeg before stepping down there in December. Panthers general manager Bill Zito said Maurice’s hiring came after “an in-depth examination of all aspects of our team.”
“After taking the appropriate amount of time for analysis, we determined that we needed the perfect fit to continue with the growth of our players and stay on the path for our franchise goals,” Zito said. “Paul’s experience and intellect were just what we were looking for and we are thrilled for him to step into the role of head coach.”
Florida’s biggest on-ice move was trading for Calgary forward Matthew Tkachuk, although it was very costly in forward Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar. Tkachuk had a career-high 104 points (42 goals, 62 assists) in 82 games last season. The 24-year-old led the Flames with 12 power-play goals and 29 power-play points. His 62 assists, 104 points, 75 even-strength points and 26 multipoint games each ranked second on Calgary, and his 17 multiassist games were tied for the fifth-most by a Flames player in one season in their history.
Huberdeau had a career-high 115 points (30 goals, 85 assists) in 80 games last season, when he led the NHL in assists and tied then-Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau for second in scoring. Weegar had 44 points (eight goals, 36 assists).
Carolina, Edmonton, Tampa Bay and Toronto are all +1200 – the Leafs have the longest Cup drought in the league. Toronto said goodbye to No. 1 goaltender Jack Campbell and the new starter is Ilya Samsonov. In 89 career regular season games, the Russian owns a record of 52-22-8 with a 2.81 goals-against average, a .902 save percentage and six shutouts. He owns a 2.98 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage in eight career playoff appearances.
Matt Murray will get plenty of starts in net as well after he was acquired from Ottawa. Murray, 28, has appeared in 246 regular season games with Ottawa (2020-21 to 2021-22) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (2015-16 to 2019-2020) over the course of his seven-year NHL career, posting a record of 132-78-22 with a 2.77 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage and 14 shutouts.
The long shots to win the 2023 Stanley Cup are the Arizona Coyotes … who will play at least the next few seasons in a small arena at Arizona State University.Expert Stanley Cup PredictionPanthers over Oilers