Check out our picks for who will emerge from the NHL's Eastern and Western Conferences!
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Now that the NHL offseason has schlepped through the most busy days of the summer, it's time to start talking about the league's bigger picture. This definitely entails a conversation about the Stanley Cup, but before that, we need to tackle our 2022 NHL conference future odds and predictions.
Let's take a look at the latest NHL betting odds for who will win the Eastern Conference, which come from BetOnline:
|2022 Stanley Cup Winner|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+375|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+750|
|New York Islanders||+1000|
|New York Rangers||+1200|
|New Jersey Devils||+3300|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+5000|
|Detroit Red Wings||+12500|
And here are the odds for who will win the Western Conference, also from BetOnline:
|2022 Stanley Cup Winner|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+375|
|St Louis Blues||+1600|
|Los Angeles Kings||+3300|
|San Jose Sharks||+3300|
Please remember that nearly two months separate us from the start of the 2022 NHL season. This means that you need to recheck these NHL odds before committing to a wager, since the lines will move at BetOnline and other top online sportsbooks.
2022 NHL Conference Futures
Since it's the time of year when there are a bunch of intriguing NHL picks on the table, let's not just limit ourselves to a straight prediction for each conference. Instead, we want to hit on some of the biggest talking points that go into our decision—and the make our pick.
We will start in the East. After that, we'll move on to the West.
Eastern Conference Prediction
As a brief refresher, here are the five teams laying the best Eastern Conference odds:
- Tampa Bay Lightning (+375)
- Boston Bruins (+700)
- Carolina Hurricanes (+700)
- Toronto Maple Leafs (+750)
- New York Islanders (+1000)
Should Tampa Bay Still Be The East Favorite?
Writing off the reigning champs is almost never a good decision, and the Lightning (+375) are no exception. They still have one of the most talented rosters in the NHL.
At the same time, a salary-cap crunch hit them hard over the offseason. They saw key players such as Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Tyler Johnson land with other teams.
Given that the NHL hasn't seen a three-peat since the early 1980s, it makes sense to proceed with caution.
Better Investment: Hurricanes or Islanders?
Showing faith in the Hurricanes (+700) has become the trendy thing to do. They are supposed to be the NHL's next up-and-coming powerhouse.
Our response to this notion: Not so fast.
Carolina has shown questionable decision-making during the offseason, most notably trading away a 25-year-old potential franchise goalie, in Dougie Hamilton, for nothing more than a third-round pick.
Meanwhile, the Islanders (+1000) actually feel like an up-and-comer. They are young, kept most of their key players this summer, have one of the league's scariest defenses and proved they could reach another offensive level during the postseason. They're the better investment.
Eastern Conference Pick
There will be a ton of people who avoid the Maple Leafs (+750) like the plague after their first-round flameout. Not us.
Toronto kept its entire forward core together at a time when many thought they'd be too expensive to retain. They didn't make any other major moves, but they also didn't need to. This is one of the NHL's better two-way teams—and a real threat not just to win the East, but the Stanley Cup.
OSB Prediction: Toronto Maple Leafs (+750)
Western Conference Prediction
As a brief refresher, here are the five teams laying the best Western Conference odds:
- Colorado Avalanche (+275)
- Vegas Golden Knights (+375)
- Dallas Stars (+1000)
- Edmonton Oilers (+1200)
- Minnesota Wild (+1200)
Are The Colorado Avalanche Still A Contender?
Many had the Avalanche (+275) as their primary 2021 Stanley Cup pick only to then see them get burned during the playoffs. Clearly, though, there's not a lot of concern about how they'll bounce back.
Colorado did a nice job keeping their core intact, and they're not quite as old as people think. They may not have the rosiest long-term window, but they should be just fine in 2022—perhaps even the best squad in the West yet again.
Something to watch, however, is how they replace Philipp Grubauer between the posts. He looms as their biggest lost of the summer.
Do The Kraken Have A Chance?
Lots of people tend to write off expansion teams when they're in their first season. Oddsmakers aren't doing that to the Seattle Kraken (+1400). They enter with middle-of-the-field chances.
And yet, we can't help shake the feeling that they are overvalued. They made some risky plays in the expansion draft and then spent entirely way too much money on certain players in free agency. We'll be shocked if they make the playoffs.
NHL Western Conference Pick
Believe it or not, we remain most intrigued by the Vegas Golden Knights (+375).
Trading away Marc-Andre Fleuery was certainly a bold decision. However, Vegas came to lean on him less often during their latest playoff run and still has quality help between the posts. They also scooped up a couple of impact players during free agency, in Evgenii Dadonov and Nolan Patrick, without suffering other major losses.
OSB West Prediction: Vegas Golden Knights (+375)
Check out this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your hockey betting:
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