The Tampa Bay Lightning, winners of the past two Stanley Cups, were the early pick to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2021-22 Stanley Cup Final. A somewhat shaky start to the season (6-3-2) saw the Lightning club lose some of their appeal. However, a strong December, where the team went 9-3 has put them back in the top spot.
The Florida Panthers, who were briefly the Eastern Conference favorites, dropped back to the second spot. The team went 5-4 in December.
Despite a strong December (7-1), the Carolina Hurricanes lost ground to the two Florida teams heading into 2022.
2022 NHL Eastern Conference Futures Odds
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+425||+375||+400||+400||+400|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+525||+450||+500||+400||+400|
|New York Rangers||+750||+800||+950||+1000||+850|
|New York Islanders||+2800||+2800||+3300||+3500||+3300|
|Detroit Red Wings||+6000||+5000||+5000||+6000||+4900|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+8000||+8000||+8000||+8000||+5200|
|New Jersey Devils||+10000||+8000||+10000||+10000||+7000|
Tampa Bay back on top
The Lightning are back in the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but the one thing that is clear for the Tampa Bay club is that without starting goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy, they could be in big trouble. Each of the team’s three losses in December came without Vasilevskiy between the pipes. The team was outscored 17-3 in those games, including a 9-3 shellacking at the hands of the Panthers and a 4-0 shutout to the Ottawa Senators. Vasilevskiy leads the league in wins with 18 right now, but he has only played more than 53 games in a season once in his career, so his workload is something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
2021 was a big year for the Big Cat. 🦁 pic.twitter.com/xkJL0uw8eQ
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 3, 2022
Florida looks for consistency
The Panthers opened the 2021-22 NHL season on a 10-1 run. Things went a little south after that and the team was unable to string together no more than four wins in a row. That wouldn’t have been terrible had the team also not had a stretch of four straight losses and three consecutive defeats.
Hi, Lomby 😄 pic.twitter.com/oIVAQdHMON
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) January 5, 2022
The Panthers are currently riding a four-game winning streak. They have outscored their opponents 24-10 during that stretch. If Florida can avoid prolonged losing skids, they will be a team to watch throughout the 2021-22 NHL campaign.
If it seems as if the oddsmakers don’t know what to do with the Toronto Maple Leafs, that’s because the team had six games postponed in December due to COVID-19. The club returned from that break on January 1 with a 6-0 win over the Ottawa Senators. The Leafs have the best goaltender in the NHL right now in Jack Campbell. Campbell has the lowest goals against average in the NHL at 1.86 and best save percentage at .939. As long as Campbell stays hot, the Leafs will be a team to watch in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 2, 2022
See below the best sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you: