Who Will Win the NHL Stanley Cup?

The 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs are just around the corner as the best hockey teams in the NHL prepare to battle for the biggest trophy -- figuratively and literally -- in the sport.

A few teams have already secured their playoff spots, while many more continue to compete in an effort to qualify for the postseason. With just weeks to go, here is a look at which teams are competing in the Stanley Cup 2022.

Colorado Avalanche

Colorado leads the bookmakers' odds for the 2022 Stanley Cup and looking at the team's season so far, that is of little surprise. The Avalanche have dominated the regular season and sit top of the Western Conference's Central Division, being among the first teams to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

With the third-best offense in the league based on goals scored -- and fourth-best defense based on goals conceded -- Colorado has proved itself to be one of the most well-rounded teams in the NHL.

The Avalanche are led by Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen -- two of the NHL's leading forward players -- and in Cale Makar have arguably the best defenseman in the league, while the arrivals of Artturi Lehkonen and Josh Manson have added depth to an already fearsome roster.

Most crucially, the Avalanche know how to win games and put together win streaks. Given the Stanley Cup's best-of format, it will take something special for any team to take down Colorado over a series of games.

Florida Panthers

Behind only Colorado Avalanche in the bookies' odds for the 2022 Stanley Cup, the Florida Panthers have been almost as impressive over in the Eastern Conference.

Florida has been the most prolific team in the NHL regular season and sit top of the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division.

The Panthers' Stanley Cup chances were significantly boosted by a successful trade window, with the team adding Ben Chiarot and Robert Hagg to their defensive ranks, while Claude Giroux's arrival has provided even more firepower to the offense.

Given Florida's goalscoring prowess, the team is rightly among the leading Stanley Cup contenders.

Calgary Flames

Leaders of the Western Conference's Pacific Division, the Calgary Flames have built their success so far this season on one of the meanest defenses in the NHL -- goaltender Jacob Markstrom leads the league in shutouts and sits third for average goals against.

At the time of writing, Calgary is on a four-game winning streak and on the verge of sealing its spot for the playoffs.

Led by a career-best season for Johnny Gaudreau, who looks set to be firmly in the running for the Hart Memorial Trophy, the Flames should have what it takes to mount a serious Stanley Cup challenge. The biggest concern surrounds the team's mounting injury issues.

Carolina Hurricanes

In fourth on the bookies' list of Stanley Cup favorites, the Carolina Hurricanes have booked their playoffs spot and lead the Eastern Conference's Metropolitan Division.

Unlike many of their rivals, the Hurricanes were not particularly active at the trade deadline -- adding some depth to their forward line with Max Domi -- but then again, they didn't really need to be. Carolina is one of the most complete teams in the NHL and with Frederik Andersen in goal, remain a rock-solid defensive outfit.

Perhaps the one major thing holding back the team's chances could be a lack of firepower but having made it to the conference finals in 2019, the Hurricanes know what it takes to go far in the Stanley Cup.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Sitting second in the Atlantic Division and fifth with the bookmakers to become Stanley Cup champions, the Toronto Maple Leafs are among the outsiders within the group of leading contenders.

The arrival of defenseman Mark Giordano at the trade deadline has no doubt bolstered the Leafs and he, alongside former Calgary Flames teammate T.J. Brodie, will be key if Toronto are to go deep in the postseason.

Toronto's biggest concern lately has been in goal, with the team struggling to get saves -- and with that particular issue not addressed, it will be interesting to see how much of a problem that could end up being in the playoffs.

Tampa Bay Lightning

With similar odds to the Toronto Maple Leafs to win the Stanley Cup, the Tampa Bay Lightning sit directly behind their rivals in the Atlantic Division.

Tampa Bay has stuttered of late, losing four games in a row before roaring back to form with an emphatic win over the Buffalo Sabres. Having added Brandon Hagel and Nick Paul to their forward options and Victor Hedman rediscovering his best form on defense, the Lightning look in good shape to be an outside pick for the Stanley Cup.

There aren't too many clear weaknesses in this team, but they will need to hope another downturn in results doesn't strike during the postseason.

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