If you’re not into ice hockey, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Stanley Cup is the must-have water bottle that your teen has been begging you to buy for her.

It is, in fact, the trophy for the North American professional ice hockey league and is one of the most prestigious in the world of sports.

Awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoff champion, winning the Stanley Cup 2024 is the ultimate goal.

Unlike other major sports trophies, the Cup is unique in that it is not recreated each year. Instead, the same trophy is passed from champion to champion, making it a direct link to the legends of the game.

The names of each year’s winning team members are engraved directly onto its surface which is plenty of motivation for players who are desperate to win it.

After all, who wouldn’t want a chance to be remembered long after their playing days are over?

This article is in eager anticipation of the 2023/24 season, so let’s take a look at which teams are in the running and who we think has the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup 2024.

Favourites To Win The Stanley Cup 2024

The Stanley Cup playoffs typically begin in mid-April and conclude in early to mid-June.

The 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs are scheduled to begin on Monday, April 15, 2024, and the finals are set to start on Monday, June 3, 2024​​.

So, for now, there is no clear favourite, but that doesn’t mean the betting markets haven’t been busy calculating the odds as they try to predict who will win it.

That is largely down to the pre-season trades that have been including the Carolina Hurricanes acquiring Jake Guentzel from the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Vegas Golden Knights bringing in Tomas Hertl from the San Jose Sharks.

With that in mind, the Florida Panthers, Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, and Dallas Stars are looking red hot.

Who do the bookies fancy? The odds are below (from Betfred 15/03/24)…

Team Odds
Edmonton Oilers 6/1
Florida Panthers 7/1
Colorado Avalanche 8/1
Vancouver Canucks 10/1
Carolina Hurricanes 10/1
Dallas Stars 10/1
New York Rangers 10/1
Winnipeg Jets 12/1
Vegas Golden Knights 12/1
Boston Bruins 12/1
Toronto Maple Leafs 12/1
Los Angeles Kings 20/1
Tampa Bay Lightning 25/1

Stanley Cup Predictions for 2024

Despite being third in the betting market, Colorado Avalanche just edges it when it comes to winning the 2024 Stanley Cup.

They have a very strong team, including key players like Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar, and based on their performances in previous seasons, look set to do very well again.

The Edmonton Oilers boosted their chances with their impressive winning streak and the exceptional play of goalie Stuart Skinner.

Should they go all the way, it would be their first Stanley Cup win since 1990.

Of course, all of that is before the season has even begun, and we all know that anything can happen on the ice.

That said, the road to the cup is a tough one, and luck might win you a game, but it won’t win you the trophy.

For that, you need absolute consistency and a blindingly good team.

Stanley Cup Format

Like all professional sports, the road to the Stanley Cup follows a specific format.

The playoffs feature 16 teams with the top three teams from each of the four divisions (Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central, and Pacific) plus two wild-card teams from each conference (Eastern and Western) based on their point totals.

The playoffs are then organised into four rounds. The First Round, the Second Round (also known as the Divisional Semifinals and Finals), the Conference Finals, and the Stanley Cup Final.

All rounds are best-of-seven series, meaning the first team to win four games advances to the next round.

Matchup Determination

First Round (Divisional Semifinals):
The division winner with the most points in each conference plays against the wild-card team with fewer points.

The other division winner faces the wild-card team with more points.

And finally, the second and third-place teams in each division face off against each other.

Second Round (Divisional Finals):
The winners from the First Round within each division play against each other.

Conference Finals:
The winners of the Second Round from each division within the same conference compete against each other.

Stanley Cup Final:
The Eastern Conference champion faces the Western Conference champion.

Home-Ice Advantage

Home-ice advantage in each series is awarded to the team with the better regular-season record.

Unlike other sports that tend to choose neutral venues for a major cup final, in the Stanley Cup Final, the team with the more points during the regular season has home-ice advantage.

Another quirk is that playoff games cannot end in a tie. If a game is tied after regulation, it proceeds to sudden-death overtime, where the first team to score wins.

Overtime periods are 20 minutes long, with full intermissions between periods, and teams continue playing 5-on-5 until a goal is scored.

All in all, this format ensures that the path to the Stanley Cup is highly competitive, requiring a team to win 16 playoff games against the best teams in the league to be crowned champions.

History Of The Stanley Cup

History buffs may be interested to know that the Stanley Cup dates back to 1892, when Lord Stanley of Preston, the then Governor General of Canada, purchased the decorative bowl in London for 10 guineas.

The Cup’s journey from an amateur trophy to the pinnacle of professional ice hockey excellence really began in the early 20th century.

By 1926, the National Hockey League took over as the sole organisation with the rights to challenge for the Cup, cementing its status as the ultimate goal for professional hockey teams.

The actual cup stands nearly three feet tall and is engraved with the names of the winning teams’ players, coaches, management, and staff, a tradition that began in 1907.

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