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Stanley Cup picks, predictions heading into NHL preseason

We go over some initial picks and predictions for the 2023 Stanley Cup Final heading into the season.

Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers warms up prior to Game Four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Colorado Avalanche on June 6, 2022 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

It feels like just yesterday the Colorado Avalanche were dethroning the Tampa Bay Lightning as back-to-back champions in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. We’re now almost three months since then and the 2022-23 NHL season is set to (somewhat) begin on Saturday with preseason games. The regular season will begin on Friday, Oct. 7.

Stanley Cup odds for the 2022-23 season look a lot like they did at the beginning of last season. There isn’t as much parity in the NHL as we used to see but it’s always worth noting the favorites and longshot odds to win the Cup. Will we see a dark horse emerge? Let’s take a look at the odds on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some picks.

Stanley Cup odds 2022-23

Favorites

Avalanche (+380) — There’s a bit of turnover for the Avs but the core is back. Nathan MacKinnon signed a massive extension. Cale Makar is the best defenseman on the planet. Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen are still around to form the best line in hockey. Alexandar Georgiev will be in net in place of Darcy Kuemper. Nazem Kadri is also gone. Both were clearly replaceable. So the Avs have a good shot to run it back.

Maple Leafs (+700) — Behind the Avs it’s the Leafs. Is it their year finally? It’s hard to think of this team jumping from first-round exit all the way to the Cup Final, let alone winning. Toronto brings back the same roster minus goaltender Jack Campbell. Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov will take over in net. Desperation could sink in and the Leafs’ window to win on Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner’s current contracts is shrinking.

Oilers (+1600) — At some point Connor McDavid is going to break through and this is as good a year as any. The Oilers have arguably the two best hockey players on the planet in McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Edmonton finally (appears) to have an answer in net with Campbell, over from the Leafs via free agency. If Campbell can provide a stabilizing force in net, it could help the Oilers get over the hump and into the Cup Final.

Dark horses

Penguins (+2000) — Pittsburgh was almost able to get past the New York Rangers but AHL-level goaltending held the team back in the first round in 2022. The Penguins still have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. Similar to other contenders, Pittsburgh will run it back with a similar roster to last season. The Pens are super tough to play against and nobody will want to see them in the postseason. If the goaltending can stay healthy, the Penguins will have one last shot at a Cup with Crosby and Malkin.

Golden Knights (+2500) — It’s been a slow descent from the top of the West after the Golden Knights came into inception back in 2017-18. This could be the year the Knights put it all together. Jack Eichel is healthy and locked in. New coach Bruce Cassidy should be able to do a better job than previous coaches Gerard Gallant and Pete DeBoer. Vegas has some good young goaltending in Logan Thompson and Adin Hill. Eichel only played 34 games last season and Mark Stone 37. The Golden Knights have one of the deepest and toughest forward groups in the NHL.

Stars (+4500) — Dallas isn’t far removed from advancing to the Cup Final back in 2020. The Stars feel a lot like the Penguins of the Western Conference if you look at performance in the first round last season. Dallas was close to knocking off the Calgary Flames and after that, anything seemed possible. Jake Oettinger could be the best goaltender in the NHL this season. The Stars have a good mix of young forward (Jake Robertson, Roope Hintz) and veteran leaders (Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Joe Pavelski).

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