Early Betting Odds for the 2021 Stanley Cup – Who Are the Top Contenders This Season?
After two straight years leading the Eastern Conference in points, Tampa Bay finally got over the hump and hoisted Lord Stanley. It may not have been the same playing in Edmonton without any fans, but that doesn’t make the feeling any less sweet for Jon Cooper and his skaters.
As we turn the page and look ahead to the 2021 campaign, the Lightning remain squarely in the hunt as one of the top Stanley Cup contenders. As far as who is Tampa Bay’s biggest challengers, a peek at the 2021 Stanley Cup odds clues us in.
Stanley Cup Odds for 2021
According to the best sites for betting on hockey, three teams have separated themselves from the pack. Boston is next in line after occupying the top slot in last year’s regular-season standings, and Dallas is hanging out at +1800 coming off winning the Western Conference Finals.
Both the Stars and the Bruins are legitimate threats, and the Penguins should be right there knocking on the door. However, it’s cut and dry when it comes to identifying the top Stanley Cup contenders.
- Coach: Jared Bednar
- Top Player: Nathan MacKinnon
- X-Factor: Andre Burakovsky
If Nathan MacKinnon isn’t the best player in the NHL, he’s certainly in the discussion. The 25-year-old center posted his third straight season with more than 90 points and is the consensus top pick in 2021 NHL fantasy drafts.
Mikko Rantanen should be locked and loaded after missing a sizable chunk of games (27) with an upper-body injury. Firmly established as of the elite right-wingers in hockey, Mikko has chipped in with 212 points in 198 games dating back to the start of the 2017-18 season.
The “1-2” punch formed by MacKinnon and Rantanen can take the Avalanche a long way, specifically if Andre Burakovsky can pick up where he left off. Andre’s first season in Colorado was by far the most productive of his six-year career, and that was before he contributed 17 points in 15 playoff games.
Tampa Bay Lightning
- Coach: Jon Cooper
- Top Player: Nikita Kucherov
- X-Factor: Anthony Cirelli
Tampa Bay erased their nightmare finish to the 2018-19 season by winning the Stanley Cup in 2020. A roster littered with difference-makers took some hits during the offseason, but the good news is they were able to retain the core that led them to the title.
Not only are the Lightning set to return 2019 Hart Memorial Trophy Winner Nikita Kucherov, but 2020 Conn Smythe Trophy honoree Victor Hedman is back to defend the backline. Steven Stamkos and Ryan McDonagh are ready to rock, while Brayden Point is a dynamic skater who’s evolving into a genuine “force to be reckoned with.”
The key for GM Julien BriseBois is to ensure that Anthony Cirelli doesn’t get lured away. The 23-year-old two-way forward is set to assume an even bigger role now that Kevin Shattenkirk (Ducks) and Carter Verhaeghe (Panthers) have moved on to new teams.
Vegas Golden Knights
- Coach: Peter DeBoer
- Top Player: Mark Stone
- X-Factor: Cody Glass
Will this be the year that VGK finally breaks the seal?
According to the Stanley Cups odds in 2021, the bookies think it’s a sincere possibility. Since joining the NHL in 2017, Bill Foley and Kelly McCrimmon have continued to improve what is now a clear-cut championship-caliber roster.
For fans in Sin City, the heartache associated with losing Paul Stastny and Nate Schmidt is quickly curbed once they account for the arrival of Alex Pietrangelo. One of the league’s top defenseman and captain of the Blues for the past four seasons inked a massive seven-year deal worth north of $61 million.
Rumors have swirled that Max Pacioretty could be on the trading block, but the Golden Knights have all sorts of ammunition in the event a deal goes down. Guys like Mark Stone and Reilly Smith are extremely versatile skaters, while William Karlson and Jonathan Marchessault have been integral pieces to the franchise since VGK’s inception.
A big question is how Peter DeBoer will handle his goaltending duo and what the timeshare will look like. If last year’s bubble was any indication, Marc-Andre Fleury is on his way to taking a back seat to Robin Lehner.