The 5 Most Interesting NHL Futures Bets For The 2021-22 Season

Written By Nolan Bianchi on August 13, 2021

Things have started to turn around for the Detroit Red Wings, but the day where you can feel comfortable sprinkling some hard-earned cash on Stanley Cup futures is probably still a few years out.

But hey, we’re not the boss of you. And besides, at +20000 at most Michigan sportsbooks, even a few dollars on the Wings today would be enough to make a mid-season winning streak seem way more fun than it actually is.

People who took the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series at +100000 after April know what I mean.

If you’re interested in something a little safer, though, there are plenty of solid options on the NHL futures board that can still earn you a nice payday. Let’s take a look at the five most intriguing Stanley Cup futures, now that the dust has settled on one of the crazier NHL offseasons in years.

Editor’s note: Listed odds are accurate as of time of publication. Futures odds are subject to regular changes.

New York Islanders +2500 (DraftKings)

Per PlayMichigan’s aggregated rankings on the Stanley Cup odds page, the New York Islanders have the seventh-best odds to win the NHL title. That seems appropriate.

DraftKings Sportsbook has the Islanders at +2500 odds to win the Stanley Cup. That does not seem appropriate.

New York took the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning to Games 7 and 6, respectively, in the past two conference finals.  Frankly, its only fault was running head-first into a meat grinder — and being without captain Anders Lee in 2021.

They did lose some key pieces: Andrew Ladd, Nick Leddy and Jordan Eberle will all be playing somewhere else next season, and the magic of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is no more. But this team still boasts depth everywhere and has a reliable goaltending duo in Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov.

If the reports that Kyle Palmieri and Casey Cizikas are returning come to fruition, there’s no reason to believe that this team is taking a step backward, much less a substantial one. That’s before the possibility of adding Zach Parise in a smaller role than he’s used to and a front office he’s close with.

The Islanders won’t go away while Barry Trotz is behind the bench, and they’re built like a playoff hockey team if I’ve ever seen one. They’re a great bet.

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Edmonton Oilers +2900 (FanDuel)

No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since 1993, which makes almost all future wagers on Canadian teams — especially the Oilers — inherently invaluable. We get that.

Ken Holland’s moves this offseason also have Red Wings fans thanking their lucky stars he’s Not in Detroit. But that’s mostly because he’s running the Edmonton Oilers like the world won’t exist in 2025 (maybe not the worst idea, at this rate?) And what do you care about Edmonton’s long-term outlook, anyway?

Goaltending is still a concern, with 39-year-old Mike Smith and .899-save-percentage-having Mikko Koskinen getting back together for at least one more “Scary Movie” sequel.

But it’s not all bad.

The Oilers added Zach Hyman, Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan up front. Although the Hyman deal could be an albatross down the road (See: Abdelkader, Justin), he’s still a forward in his prime. And he’ll be playing with either Connor freaking McDavid or Leon freaking Draisaitl. It’ll be fine, for now.

The jury is obviously still out on Holland’s acquisition of 38-year-old Duncan Keith, and adding Cody Ceci on a four-year deal is … aggressive. But bringing back Tyson Barrie is a positive. The defense and goaltending don’t have to be great. They’re basically trying to play Big 12 football, and have the pieces on offense to actually commit to it.

One of hockey Twitter’s favorite running jokes is saying “Here come the Oilers!” as Edmonton self-sabotages in a new, unimaginable way — and they’ve earned that reputation. But as long as they have McDavid, they’ve got a chance, especially at this Stanley Cup futures price.

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Washington Capitals +3000 (DraftKings)

Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are the only other NHL players who’ve earned McDavid-level respect. Sure, there are some differences, but if you have either, you’ve got a chance.

But the Washington Capitals at DraftKings have better odds than do the Pittsburgh Penguins (+2200), so we’ll ride with them.

The thing that separates the Caps from the Oilers is that they’ve actually done it before. Heading into 2021-22, it seems as though the Metro Division goes through either Long Island or the Carolina Hurricanes. But there’s something to be said for teams with this type of generational, if aging, talent at the top.

Because, sure: Ovechkin’s career could wind down like Pavel Datyuk’s and Henrik Zetterberg’s. The Red Wings spit and sputtered their way through the 2010’s in hopes of putting together one last Cup (cough PLAYOFF cough) team. But they also could come to a close like Steve Yzerman’s: a champion once more, after everyone thought you were dead.

Shoot, couple this ticket with the Islanders shot and just root against the Hurricanes all year.

Chicago Blackhawks +7500 (DraftKings)

On its face, the Chicago Blackhawks at +7500 might be the best Stanley Cup futures value bet in the league. Chicago surprised a lot of people with its hot start in 2021, despite losing Kirby Dach and Jonathan Toews for the year before Game 1.

They didn’t have enough long-haul gusto, but they added reigning Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury and essentially replaced Duncan Keith with 26-year-old Seth Jones. New defenseman Jake McCabe was an analytics darling in Buffalo.

Yet the pricey additions cost the Blackhawks a chance to bring back breakout rookie Pius Suter, who filled in admirably as the team’s top center between Patrick Kane and Alex Debrincat. There’s still not a ton of depth. Henrik Borgström, likely to hop in at third-line center (depending on where Tyler Johnson plays), hasn’t registered a point in the NHL since 2019.

And then there might be some people who have a hard time, morally, betting on a team entrenched in a lawsuit for covering up sex abuse. That situation doesn’t look good for anybody in the organization right now. Frankly, it’s strange that they’ve decided to go all-in with the league’s biggest scandal in a long time hanging over its head. If you don’t want to separate the team from its front office, that’s your prerogative.

Nor will we know how such a nasty thing swirling in the media will affect the team’s on-ice performance.

This is one of those “If I have to be miserable …” kinds of bets.

Los Angeles Kings +8500 (FanDuel)

It is extremely unlikely that the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup. There is no denying that.

There’s also a chance they could pop, and there’s a reason why other places, like DraftKings, has them at +5500. Phillip Danault joining Anze Kopitar at center, with rookies Quinton Byfield and Alex Turcotte, plus Gabe Vilardi, behind them, is really, really nice. Adding Viktor Arvidsson gives their wings some depth.

Oh, and they’re firmly in the running for Jack Eichel. Simply owning the +8500 ticket when the odds jump to +3000 feels worth it, questionable defense and goaltending be darned.

The Kings’ timeline fits better with the Red Wings than a Cup contender’s, no doubt. But the Pacific Division is looking like hot garbage, with 75% missing the playoffs last year (albeit, one them is the expansion Seattle Kraken). The two other California teams are likely executing synchronized dive to the bottom of the standings.

Expect the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames to have bounce-back seasons, but the Kings could easily make it into the playoffs as an No. 8-seed in 2022. Only one team has won the Stanley Cup from there: The Kings, in 2012.

Just make the Stanley Cup futures bet. You know you love nice, round, 10-year anniversaries.

Photo by Charles Krupa/AP
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