The 2022 NHL Draft is in the rearview mirror, and NHL free agency is underway for next year. Teams are looking to make signings to either improve the roster or just do some salary dumps and get better for the future. There will be a lot of teams that have a chance to win it all next season. The Colorado Avalanche won the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup title in six games over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Colorado Avalanche is the favorite to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions in 2022-2023. Colorado will have a different goaltending situation with Alexander Georgiev as the starter instead of Darcy Kuemper. Georgiev was acquired via trade from the New York Rangers and signed a contract extension with Colorado after leaving New York.
Kuemper just signed a five-year deal to become the Washington Capitals goalie for next season and beyond. Pavel Francouz will be the backup goalie for the Colorado Avalanche, though. The good news is that the core players of Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog will still be around.
Nazem Kadri will most likely walk and sign elsewhere. Valeri Nichuskin is back on an eight-year deal. Joe Sakic is one of the best front office guys around.
As long as Jared Bednar is the head coach of this hockey team, they are going to be an NHL Stanley Cup Title contender for a very long time, though.
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The Tampa Bay Lightning have the second-best odds to win the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Title. Tampa Bay continues to sign their own players to long-term contract extensions like Mikhail Sergachev, Austin Cernak, and Anthony Cirelli. It is very possible that they are not re-signing Ondrej Palat, and that would be a massive loss for this hockey team.
General manager Julian BriseBois continues to find ways to magically sign players within the cap space rules, though. The Lightning has been in three consecutive NHL Stanley Cup Finals and has won two of them. Tampa Bay will be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference until further notice.
Head coach Jon Cooper does a great job of pressing the right buttons. Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and the best goalie in the world, Andrei Vasilevskiy, are all still around, which helps them out. However, they will miss the presence of defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who waived his no-trade clause to be shipped off to the Nashville Predators earlier this offseason.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have the third-best odds to win the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Title. It is amazing how Toronto thinks they can just run it back with the same squad and expect different results.
The latest prime example is keeping Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares around. Toronto’s defense is a little bit better, but the goaltending situation is still very dicey for them, though.
Moving out is the tandem of Jack Campbell/Petr Mrazek, and in comes the tandem of Matt Murray/Ilya Samsonov. General manager Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe keep running it back, but it has been a failed experiment as they have not won a playoff series since 2004 against the Ottawa Senators.
Toronto is going to be in a loaded Atlantic Division once again this season. Will see how it goes for them.
The Maple Leafs will have to deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Florida Panthers, the Boston Bruins, and even teams like the Ottawa Senators and the Detroit Red Wings won’t be easy to deal with either. Bet the Toronto Maple Leafs at your own risk.
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