Can Canadian Team Defy NHL Odds?
It has somehow been almost 30 years since a Canadian NHL team has won the Stanley Cup and the NHL future odds don’t necessarily think the streak will end this season. The last time a Canadian team took home the Cup was in 1993, when the Montreal Canadiens beat the Los Angeles Kings in five games. Since then, Canadian teams have made the Stanley Cup Finals multiple times with no success once they got there.
It might not be likely, but can Canada finally triumph in 2022 with the postseason a month away? Let’s break it down:
So, it’s clear the NHL odds to win the Stanley Cup aren’t on Canada’s side. Canada has two sure-fire contenders in the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. The Edmonton Oilers currently hold a playoff spot as the third-best team in the Pacific Division, and both the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks are a few points out of a wild card slot.
Among that group, only Toronto and Calgary are legitimate threats — at least right now — to end Canada’s drought. Edmonton certainly has the talent to compete with any team in the league but the Oilers’ goaltending issues make it difficult for them to go on a real playoff run. Winnipeg and Vancouver would be lucky to even make the playoffs at this point.
However, the Maple Leafs and Flames should be recognized as elite teams who could certainly win their respective conferences if the NHL futures odds are any indication.
Despite goaltending problems of its own, Toronto is only seven points behind the Florida Panthers for first place in the Atlantic Division. Sheldon Keefe’s team is loaded with talent and swung a big trade at the deadline for defenseman Mark Giordano, who should really help out in the postseason. It’s just not going to be easy for them to get out of the East with so many really good teams in the mix.
Calgary is situated better in the West as one of the better NHL betting picks to win it all. The Flames have a five-point lead in the Pacific and should be able to make the Western Conference finals regardless of how their matchups line up. They still likely will need to figure out a way around the stacked Colorado Avalanche, who have been the NHL’s best team all season. The Flames have the scoring, defense and elite goaltending needed for the playoffs. On paper, they have a shot.
The vast majority of the top contenders are American teams. Between the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights and Minnesota Wild, nine of the top 11 contenders in terms of Stanley Cup NHL futures odds are American teams.
The sheer numbers make it tough to bet against the USA with any sort of certainty. There’s good value on the Canadian teams for this particular bet. However, betting on Canada is putting a lot of faith in a Toronto team that always seems to hit playoff problems and a Calgary team that hasn’t experienced a postseason run in its current form.
But, Auston Matthews is either the best (or the second-best) player in the world at this point and, while he has struggled in previous postseasons, he’s the type of talent that could lead the Maple Leafs to a successful playoff run. For the Flames, Jacob Markstrom has been one of the NHL’s best goalies and Johnny Gaudreau is on pace to blow past 100 points. Both teams have the star power and talent to end Canada’s misery, but they might just become a victim of the numbers game.