2021 Stanley Cup Odds, Format and Realignment: Colorado Avalanche the Favorites, Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights Right Behind

2021 Stanley Cup Odds, Format and Realignment: Colorado Avalanche the Favorites, Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights Right Behind article feature image
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Credit: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nathan MacKinnon

New NHL season, new format, same team atop the rest.

One year after conquering the bubble and hosting the Stanley Cup, the Tampa Bay Lightning enter the stretch run of the 2021 regular season as the favorites to do it again.

As of March 25, the Lightning lead the NHL with 50 points and have won 24 of their 32 games this season. Their 117 goals scored also paces the league, while only four teams have allowed fewer than their 74 goals against.

Not far behind Tampa Bay is the Colorado Avalanche, who at time of this update are actually two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights. Both teams are among the most talented in the NHL and will be tough outs come playoff time.

Here’s a look at where the odds stand as of late March:


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2021 Stanley Cup Odds

Team Odds
Tampa Bay Lightning +475
Colorado Avalanche +500
Vegas Golden Knights +750
Toronto Maple Leafs +1000
Carolina Hurricanes +1150
Washington Capitals +1500
Minnesota Wild +1600
New York Islanders +1600
Boston Bruins +1700
Edmonton Oilers +2000
Florida Panthers +2100
Montreal Canadiens +2200
Pittsburgh Penguins +2200
Winnipeg Jets +2400
St. Louis Blues +3000
Philadelphia Flyers +3500
Calgary Flames +4500
New York Rangers +4500
Dallas Stars +5500
Chicago Blackhawks +6500
Columbus Blue Jackets +7000
Los Angeles Kings +7500
Arizona Coyotes +8000
Vancouver Canucks +8000
Nashville Predators +10000
San Jose Sharks +20000
New Jersey Devils +40000
Anaheim Ducks +75000
Detroit Red Wings +150000
Ottawa Senators +175000
Buffalo Sabres +500000

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While Nate MacKinnon’s MVP odds have faded, the Avalanche sure haven’t. Colorado has been a defensive juggernaut this season with plenty of offensive talent to spare.

It’s no shock that the Lightning are near the top of the board, although they appear to have more competition than expected in their division. Both the Hurricanes and Panthers have emerged as contenders, with Carolina trailing Tampa Bay by five points with a game in hand and Florida just six back.

Otherwise, Tampa Bay has taken advantage of a weakened division and looked like a well-oiled machine all season.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are +750 to repeat as Stanley Cup champs. Credit: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Realignment

The NHL realigned into the following divisions for one year only because of the restrictions placed on travel by the Canadian government due to COVID-19.

  • East: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals
  • Central: Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • West: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights
  • Canada: Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets

2021 Stanley Cup Playoff Format

  • The 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs will feature 16 teams.
  • The top four teams in each division will make the playoffs.
  • The winners of the first-round series (No. 1 vs. No. 4, No. 2 vs. No. 3) will play to advance to the conference semifinals.
  • The format for the conference semifinals has yet to be determined.

2021 NHL Key Dates

The NHL has said that the schedule is still subject to change, but here’s what we know so far:

  • Training Camps Open: Dec. 30 for teams who didn’t qualify for the Bubble, Jan. 3 for 2020 Bubble teams
  • Opening Night: Wednesday, Jan. 13
  • Trade Deadline:  April 12
  • Last Day of Regular Season: May 8
  • Last Possible Day of Stanley Cup Playoffs: July 15
  • Expansion Draft: July 21
  • 2021 NHL Draft:  July 23-24
  • Free Agency Opens: July 28

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