NHL Playoffs 2022: Odds, Hot Takes, Top Storylines Entering Postseason

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 30, 2022

NHL Playoffs 2022: Odds, Hot Takes, Top Storylines Entering Postseason

0 of 4

    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    The Florida Panthers enter the NHL postseason with the best record in the sport, but recent history and the oddsmakers suggest they are not the favorite to lift the Stanley Cup. 

    Florida is aiming to become the third team since 2005 to win the Presidents' Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same season. 

    The Panthers have the best odds to hoist the Stanley Cup out of the Eastern Conference, but the Colorado Avalanche are the overall favorite to win it all.

    Colorado won the Central Division and is viewed as the strongest team entering the playoffs. 

    The NHL's playoff history has taught us to not automatically back the No. 1 seed in each division and conference. 

    Two of the four division winners were eliminated in the first round last season, and all four wild-card teams advanced to the second round in 2019. 

    The Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars will try to replicate that chaos as strong wild-card teams in the 2022 bracket.   

Stanley Cup Odds

1 of 4

    Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

    Colorado (+350; bet $100 to win $350) 

    Florida (+550) 

    Calgary (+800)

    Toronto (+900)

    Tampa Bay (+1100) 

    Carolina (+1200) 

    New York Rangers (+1600) 

    Minnesota (+1600) 

    Boston (+1600) 

    Edmonton (+1800) 

    Pittsburgh (+1800) 

    St. Louis (+2000) 

    Washington (+3000) 

    Nashville (+4500) 

    Dallas (+4500)

    Los Angeles (+6000) 

Can Florida Achieve Trophy Double?

2 of 4

    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Florida topped the regular-season standings with 122 points from 82 games.

    The Panthers should be viewed as one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, but they do not have history on their side as the Presidents' Trophy winner. 

    The 2008 Detroit Red Wings and 2013 Chicago Blackhawks are the only teams to win both trophies since the lockout season of 2004-05. 

    That is an unsettling stat for the Panthers, who have an arduous run through the Eastern Conference playoffs on paper. 

    Florida opens the playoff against the Washington Capitals, but it may catch a bit of a break since Alexander Ovechkin missed a few games at the end of the regular season.

    Getting Washington with Ovechkin at less than 100 percent could be an advantage that helps the Panthers advance in either four of five games. 

    That would be a major help since the Toronto Maple Leafs or Tampa Bay Lighting await in the second round. The two franchises finished second and third behind the Panthers in the Atlantic Division. 

    The Metropolitan Division side of the Eastern Conference bracket boasts a few experienced teams in Boston and Pittsburgh, a division winner in Carolina and a dangerous rising team in the New York Rangers. 

    No one's path to the Stanley Cup Final is ever easy, but Florida appears to have a tougher task than most top seeds in front of it, and that could hurt its chances of doing the double. 

At Least One Wild-Card Team Wins First-Round Series

3 of 4

    LM Otero/Associated Press

    The experience across the four wild-card teams makes it easier to pick one of them to pull off a first-round series victory. 

    Nashville, Dallas, Washington and Boston all reached the Stanley Cup Final within the last five years. Dallas was the most-recent participant in 2020. 

    The rosters of those teams changed a bit since their last trips to the championship round, but it is worth noting some of the experience still within those squads. 

    Boston and Washington could be the most dangerous teams of the group since they were battling for third place in their respective divisions until the final days of the regular season.

    The margins in the Eastern Conference are so tight, and that could benefit the Capitals against Florida and the Bruins in their matchup with the Hurricanes. 

    Nashville and Dallas had a little more separation between themselves and the top of the West, but they both have the quality to go beat a team under pressure. 

    The Predators may be better suited to win their series because they are 20-16-5 on the road. One win in Colorado could shift every ounce of pressure on the Avalanche and allow the Preds to play looser hockey. 

    A year ago, five teams seeded either third or fourth in their divisions won a first-round playoff series, so there is plenty of potential for a team to get hot and spring an upset. 

Will the Canadian Stanley Cup Drought End?

4 of 4

    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    A Canadian team has not won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens in 1993. 

    Three Canadian franchises have an opportunity to end that drought this season.

    Toronto resides in the tough Atlantic Division bracket, where it faces Tampa Bay in the first round and would play either Florida or Washington in the second round. 

    Getting out of the first round has been a difficult task for the Maple Leafs. They experienced six straight exits in the first round, or qualifying round, of the postseason. 

    Toronto has a load of talent on its roster, but it is hard to think past the first round with the Leafs because of their history. 

    Edmonton possesses two of the best skaters in hockey in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers open up with what could be the most favorable first-round matchup against the Los Angeles Kings. 

    Los Angeles carries the highest Stanley Cup odds of the 16 playoff participants and lost all of its regular-season meetings with the Oilers. 

    Edmonton could use an easy first round to rest up for the rigors of a postseason run. Calgary could benefit from the same strategy if it beats Dallas. 

    Calgary and Edmonton would face each other in the second round if both teams open the postseason with a series victory. 

    That is the best-case scenario for the Canadian sides, that way at least one franchise is guaranteed to advance to the conference final. 

    The winner of that potential series would still have to get past Colorado in the conference final round, but it is better than not having a Canadian shot at the Cup at all. 


    Gambling problem? Call (877-8-HOPENY) or text HOPENY (467369).

    If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visiting ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), visiting OPGR.org (OR), or calling/texting TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN) or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).

    Odds and lines subject to change. 21+ (18+ NH/WY). AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.