Colorado defenseman Cale Makar was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy after finishing with the third-most points (29) of any player in the playoffs - behind only Edmonton’s superstar duo of Connor McDavid (33) and Leon Draisaitl (32).
Makar, the Norris Trophy winner, tailed eight goals and notched 21 assists while leading the league’s most-dominant power play unit across 20 games.
Fresh off this title, oddsmakers again have strong belief in the Avalanche’s talent. Colorado, who never moved from the top perch in Stanley Cup futures this past season, is already the favorite (+400) to repeat as champions again next season.
The Avalanche are expected to return a roster of incredible, under-30 talent consisting of Makar, Nathan McKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin. One crucial decision will involve center Nazem Kadri, who enjoyed a career season and made a major impact in the club’s postseason success.
The runner-up Lightning, who failed in their quest for a three-peat, are the third betting choice at +900 odds. Tampa Bay faces an important decision with impending free agent Ondrej Palat. The star forward, who tied with captain Steven Stamkos for the club lead with 11 goals in 23 playoff games, has spent all of his 10 seasons in the NHL with the team that drafted him in seventh round of the 2011 draft.
Sandwiched between the two teams who reached the Stanley Cup Final are the Maple Leafs with +800 odds. Any club with Auston Matthews, who led the NHL with 60 goals in the regular season, will always offer bettors solid value. However, single-digit odds seems a bit light on a team who seems to always struggle in the playoffs.
The Rangers (+2000), who possess the NHL’s best goalie in Igor Shesterkin, have important roster decisions involving Ryan Strome, Andrew Copp and Frankie Vatrano. If New York can make solid additions while retaining key contributors, bettors are looking at solid value on a team coming off an Eastern Conference Final appearance.
Bettors need to pay attention to free agency this offseason, as Nashville’s Filip Forsberg, Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau, Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin could flip the balance of power.
ODDS TO WIN 2023 STANLEY CUP
Maple Leafs +800
Golden Knights +1400
Red Wings +5000
Blue Jackets +10000
Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting's Senior Analyst and provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.
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