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Handicapper Allie O'Neill is here breaking down her 2022 Stanley Cup Futures and who you should be backing at the halfway point of the season.

2022 NHL Stanley Cup Futures Picks: Is It Finally the Florida Panthers' Year?

The All-Star break is a nice point in the season since we’ve seen teams play enough to paint a more clear picture of where they each stand in contention for the Stanley Cup. As of now, there's no question that the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche are the two best teams in the league. These teams share some striking similarities with each other: they're tied for first in wins (32), both are currently scoring an average of exactly 4.09 GF/GP, and have very close average goals against. It seems rare when the two ‘best’ teams survive the madness of playoffs to face each other in the finals, but both of these teams at least deserve considerations given their history in the 1996 Stanley Cup finals, where Colorado swept the series.

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Colorado Avalanche

At the beginning of the season, it seemed like the Avalanche were going to greatly suffer the loss of Grubauer to Seattle. After a few injuries and trades, the Avs seem to have finally found their footing with starter Darcy Kuemper and his backup, Pavel Francouz. Kuemper has been on the up and up since the December break— in the last month, he has improved his GAA from a 2.77 to 2.55. He has a strong backup in Pavel Francouz, who is 7-1-2 with a 2.29 GAA so far this season. Upon the return of Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado will have all their stars back in the lineup. The Avs have a number of difficult opponents within their own conference that they must overcome, but they have the skill to make it deep into the playoffs. Their last Stanley Cup was in 2002, so they could be due for another.

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Florida Panthers

This could be the Panthers’ turn to finally bring their first Stanley Cup back to Florida. The Panthers lead the league with 69 points. Starting goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, has had played amazingly with his team this season, as evidenced by his 23-4-1 record. Additionally, goalie Jonas Johansson was recently taken off the COVID list and is in the place of Spencer Knight. The history of the Panthers’ playoff appearances shows them getting knocked out in the first round. Although, the last time that they made it past the first round was in ’96, when they played the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Finals. Tampa Bay is a familiar playoff opponent, but the Panthers have proven to be the superior team this season. The sheer odds of the Lightning winning three cups in a row adds value to the Panthers. 

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Article Author


Allie enjoys the challenge of betting on the NHL and MLB. Allie appears regularly on the SportsLine podcast Early Edge. She is also a diehard Alabama Crimson Tide fan.


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