by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
Following a disappointing 2021 season that ended with a fifth-place finish in the North Division, the Calgary Flames have opened well off the pace on the early 2022 Stanley Cup odds, set as a distant +5000 wager at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Poised for a postseason breakthrough after compiling winning records in each of the previous four years, the Flames fell flat during the pandemic-shortened 2021 campaign. Presented with a golden opportunity to seize a playoff spot from a Montreal squad struggling to overcome a COVID-19 outbreak, the Flames failed to produce. The team ultimately closed out its schedule with just 55 points in 56 games, four points back of the Canadiens in the race for fourth place in the North Division.
That result has sparked considerable speculation over the future of the team’s present core of young players. Most notable among those are Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau, who will both see their present contracts expire at the end of next season. Tkachuk has reportedly been the topic of plenty of trade talk, but even if the team moves on from the 23-year-old it is unclear whether such a move would boost Calgary back into contention.
The team also faces the challenge of an expected return to the Pacific Division and an 82-game schedule next season, and could struggle to keep pace with divisional rivals. The Edmonton Oilers have already taken steps to fill holes by dealing for veteran defenceman Duncan Keith, and while the Vancouver Canucks are also coming off a weak season their talented youthful core leaves them positioned to bounce back next season. Further complicating matters is the Flames’ dismal playoff track record, which features just two series wins in eight playoff appearances since their march to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004.
Elsewhere on the early 2022 Stanley Cup odds at online sports betting sites, the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to lead all Canadian clubs as a +1400 wager. In the wake of their surprising run to this year’s Stanley Cup Final, the Canadiens have opened sporting solid +2000 odds, just ahead of the Oilers at +2500. The Winnipeg Jets lag at +4000, ahead of the Canucks, who join the Flames at +5000, while the improving Ottawa Senators sit at +6600.
The Colorado Avalanche made yet another shocking early exit from the postseason this year, but have remained resilient on the Stanley Cup futures, where they have opened as +500 chalk. The Vegas Golden Knights closely follow at +600, while the Tampa Bay Lightning trail as a +700 wager to successfully defend their Stanley Cup title next spring.