by Nikki Adams

The NHL only just put to bed the 2020-21 season, so it might be a bit early to be thinking about the next Stanley Cup champions. After all, the Tampa Bay Lightning are probably still picking up the confetti after winning their second straight Stanley Cup and the impact of the league’s offseason program, which involves the NHL draft and free agency, is just starting to settle. 

But oddsmakers wasted no time in releasing 2021-22 Stanley Cup odds. Those hit the press immediately at the conclusion of the previous season. And in the early serving, the Boston Bruins failed to make the cut for the Top 5 contenders. That has changed since however, as the Bruins are now firmly installed inside the Top 5 contenders.

By the NHL odds, the Boston Bruins are currently priced amongst the Top 5 with the majority of bookmakers. As things currently stand, the Bruins are priced at +1200 and tied with the Carolina Hurricanes as the fourth-best bet in the betting. Colorado Avalanche are the bookies faves at +625, but the two-time defending champions emerge as the close second-best bet at +650. And the Vegas Golden Knights are the third-best bet at +900 while the Toronto Maple Leafs round out the Top 5 with odds of +1400.

I’s been over a decade since the Boston Bruins last lifted the coveted Stanley Cup. The last championship season came in 2011 when the Bruins edged the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in the finals behind a convincing 4-0 victory in game 7 to the delight of Bruins fans. Since then, the Bruins have been competitive and regular playoff contenders, save for two seasons in which they missed the playoffs between 2014 and 2016.

The Bruins reached the Stanley Cup finals twice since winning in 2011. They were finalists in the 2012-13 NHL season but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 in the finals. They were finalists again in the 2018-19 season but were upset by the St. Louis Blues 4-3 in the finals.

In the last two seasons, the Bruins were knocked out of the second round. In 2020, the Bruins were eliminated by the eventual champions, Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1 in the second round. Most recently, they were eliminated by the New York Islanders 4-2 in the second round. 

The Boston Bruins were one of the trade deadline winners last season as they pulled off a deal that involved acquiring left winger Taylor Hall from the Buffalo Sabres. There was scepticism initially about the trade as Hall, a former Hart Trophy winner, was stagnating in Buffalo last season. Moreover, at 29 years of age, the Canadian seemingly had failed to live up to the hype and buzz that preceded him when he was drafted as the first overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Hall has been passed around quite a bit since then with moves to the New Jersey Devils, Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres.

Whatever the concerns may have been, Hall quickly dispelled those notions as he proved to be a great fit for the Bruins.  He made an immediate impact upon joining the black and gold and rejuvenated Bruins offense. Hall took that momentum into the playoffs and helped his side upset the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. Although the Bruins succumbed to the Islanders in the second round, Hall’s contribution left an indelible impression. The future looks bright in Boston. In 16 regular season games with the Bruins, Hall recorded eight goals and six assists for 14 points. And in 11 postseason games, Hall had 3 goals and two assists for 5 points. 

The Bruins and Hall have agreed to a four-year deal worth $24 million. The Bruins were excited that Hall wanted to stay with the Bruins for the foreseeable. General Manager Don Sweeney describes Hall as “an impact player that brings speed, scoring, skill and two-way commitment to our line-up. 

Sweeney also added that Hall fits “seamlessly into our locker room and will be an integral part of our organization’s goal to compete for the Stanley Cup.”

Resigning Hall makes up in some part for the departure of veteran centreman David Krejci. The 35-year-old Czech played 15 seasons with the Bruins, but as his contract expired this season, he decided to return home to his native Czech Republic. Krejci released a statement in July saying he will not return to the Bruins this season, but stopped short of retiring officially from the NHL.

The NHL season is still a couple of months away from kicking off, giving the Bruins some time to sort out their roster for the upcoming season. However, early market indications are optimistic about the Bruins and their ambitions for the upcoming season.