The Colorado Avalanche won the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals Sunday night, eliminating the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 2-1 victory. After beating the back-to-back reigning NHL champions, Colorado has a good chance to successfully repeat next season.

The Avalanche are the very early betting favorites to win the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals. Colorado has +500 odds at FanDuel Sportsbook for next year’s championship, putting the team well ahead of other possible contenders.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are a distant second with +900 Stanley Cup odds. The Lightning are tied with the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights at +1000.

Colorado started both the regular season and the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the favorites to become NHL champions. The Avalanche never faced a series deficit in the postseason.

The Avalanche steamrolled through the playoffs with four players averaging more than a point per game. Cale Makar was the unanimous Conn Smythe Trophy winner, leading Colorado and finishing third among all NHL players with 29 postseason points. Makar is just the third defenseman in history to win the Norris Trophy and the Conn Smythe in the same season.

At 23 years old, Makar is leading a core of Avalanche stars who are only at the beginning of their prime. Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon combined for 49 points in the playoffs and are only 25 and 26 years old, respectively.

Repeating in the NHL has been common in recent years. The Pittsburgh Penguins won back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017. The Avalanche stopped the Lightning’s bid for a three-peat after Tampa Bay won the 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup Finals.

The Lightning returned to the Stanley Cup Finals by winning a pair of elimination games in the first round and overcoming a 2-0 series deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals. Leading goal-scorer Steven Stamkos will be back with the team for the 2022-2023 season. The same goes for Nikita Kucherov and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who are top playoff performers.

Tampa Bay’s biggest threats in the Eastern Conference next season were eliminated by the Lightning in the 2022 playoffs.

Toronto was defeated at home in Game 7 of the first round by Tampa Bay. Auston Matthews had nine points in the series and was named the Hart Trophy winner last week.

Florida finished atop the 2022 NHL regular-season standings and led the league in goals scored. The Panthers were swept by the Lightning in the second round.

The Maple Leafs won their last Stanley Cup in 1967. The Panthers have never won a game in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog hoists the NHL Stanley Cup championship trophy over his head after the Avalanche won the title
Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog hoists the NHL Stanley Cup championship trophy over his head after the Avalanche won the title GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA via AFP / BRUCE BENNETT
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