There's nothing like the promise of a new season. It's the most optimistic time of the year, with every NHL team believing they've got a shot at winning it all.
But some teams, of course, have a better shot than others. Let's take a look at the team-by-team Stanley Cup odds entering the 2020-21 NHL campaign, courtesy of BetOnline.ag.
THE FIVE FAVORITES
Colorado Avalanche 13/2
Look who made it to the top of the mountain. Colorado has been climbing for a couple of years and suffered the requisite tough playoff eliminations in recent appearances. Beware of Avalanche.
Tampa Bay Lightning 9/1
They're the best until someone proves otherwise, and it would not be surprising at all to see the Bolts go back-to-back as Stanley Cup champions.
Vegas Golden Knights 9/1
Three seasons in and they still haven't won the Cup? What gives? If all goes according to plan, Vegas will face off with West Division foe Colorado in Round 2 of the post-season. Look for the winner to advance to the final.
Boston Bruins 12/1
The Bruins are the Bruins are the Bruins. They've been the most consistently elite team over the past decade, winning the Cup in 2011 and making the final in 2013 and 2019. But the good times can't last forever. Will the departure of Zdeno Chara mark the beginning of the end of this highly successful chapter for the franchise?
Toronto Maple Leafs 12/1
Can literal greybeard Joe Thornton actually lead the Leafs – the Leafs – to the Stanley Cup? It. Would. Be. Epic.
THE SECOND TIER
Carolina Hurricanes 16/1
They've got some special young talents up front and one of the best bluelines in the league. The goaltending isn't great – but it's not bad, either. Don't sleep on the Canes.
Philadelphia Flyers 16/1
Timing is everything. The Flyers are trending up while East Division rivals Boston, Pittsburgh and Washington are trying to hold on. Can Philadelphia, with a blend of veterans and an infusion of youthful talent, finesse their way through?
Pittsburgh Penguins 16/1
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin know the Pens' championship window is closing fast – which means they'll be highly motivated to make one more run.
St. Louis Blues 18/1
Some key pieces are missing from the 2019 Cup-winning group – Alex Pietrangelo left for Vegas, Alex Steen retired and Vladimir Tarasenko is out for the foreseeable future. There's still a lot to like about the Blues, but it goes without saying they need Jordan Binnington at his best, which wasn't the case in the 2020 playoff bubble.
New York Islanders 20/1
The Isles are sneaky-good in an underrated kind of way – and with Lou Lamoriello as GM and Barry Trotz as coach, anything is possible.
Washington Capitals 20/1
Alex Ovechkin up front, Chara on defense...what a shame Henrik Lundqvist had to bow out. The Caps would've had more kings than L.A.
Dallas Stars 22/1
Pretty good odds for a team that went to the final a few months ago. With Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop sidelined for a couple months, the Stars' first challenge is returning to the playoffs.
Montreal Canadiens 22/1
We know a Canadian team will make the final four, and the Canadiens have the second-best odds behind Toronto. Montreal muscled up at forward, added Alexander Romanov on defense and supplemented Carey Price with backup Jake Allen.
THE MUSHY MIDDLE
Edmonton Oilers 28/1
Just based on their pure talent level, the Oilers are going to break through one of these years. Why not this season?
Buffalo Sabres 33/1
The Sabres are going to break through one of these years, too, but they haven't made the post-season since 2011. We're going to need to see some playoff receipts first.
Calgary Flames 33/1
The Flames have looked better on paper than on the ice the past couple seasons. Is the arrival of UFA goalie Jacob Markstrom the spark they need?
New York Rangers 33/1
It's been a rapid rebuild for the Rangers, and the future looks bright. But they could use another year or two to grow up before they truly contend for the Cup.
Vancouver Canucks 33/1
Like the Rangers, the Canucks have transformed from also-rans to hopefuls in a short amount of time. But, like the Rangers, they need a little more time, especially as Thatcher Demko takes over the starting role.
Columbus Blue Jackets 40/1
John Tortorella's team isn't blessed with high-scoring game-breakers, but they are built for the playoffs. This underdog has bite.
Nashville Predators 40/1
The defense corps remains solid and there's talent up front, although the scoring-by-committee approach has yet to pay dividends. The biggest change is in net, with Juuse Saros poised to supplant longtime No. 1 Pekka Rinne.
Winnipeg Jets 40/1
How the Jets solve the Patrik Laine situation will go a long way to determining their Cup hopes. Winnipeg has scoring power (beyond Laine) and great goaltending. The blueline needs help.
Florida Panthers 50/1
If they get the good Sergei Bobrovsky, the playoffs are within reach. If not, it's another season gone south.
Minnesota Wild 50/1
It seems like they've been middle-of-the-pack since they arrived in the league. Move up, move down, or get out of the way.
THE LONG SHOTS
Arizona Coyotes 66/1
There's youthful promise and Darcy Kuemper has been a revelation in the crease the past couple of seasons. Feels like they need a Shane Doan-type force to bring it all together, though.
Chicago Blackhawks 66/1
Jonathan Toews is out and Chicago's projected No. 1 goalie has all of 18 NHL games to his credit. Blackhawks down.
San Jose Sharks 66/1
If the Sharks were a movie, they'd be Jaws 3. Not good, but at least there's popcorn.
Anaheim Ducks 80/1
The Ducks have plenty of promising prospects. Their challenge is to start delivering on that potential.
Los Angeles Kings 80/1
The Kings are down to five aging vets from the Cup glory days, and a bunch of young guns trying to prove their NHL worth.
New Jersey Devils 80/1
On the way up but there's a long way to go.
Ottawa Senators 150/1
A ton of talented young players, but they need to get over the NHL hump first.
Detroit Red Wings 200/1
At least with Steve Yzerman in the GM seat, the Wings shouldn't be down for too much longer. Don't expect much this year, though.