After coming one win short of their first Stanley Cup championship since 2011, the Boston Bruins have opened strong on the 2020 futures, trailing only the Tampa Bay Lightning as a +900 wager on the Stanley Cup odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Hobbled by injuries, the Bruins ran out of gas in their Stanley Cup Final matchup with the St. Louis Blues, falling to defeat in seven games after opening the series as -160 favorites on the NHL series prices.

The Bruins look well positioned to return to Stanley Cup contention next season. The team enters the summer with an estimated $13.3 million in available salary cap space and 19 players signed, but faces the challenge of contract negotiations with restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.

Boston otherwise is set to return next season with its core intact. The line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand all remain under long-term contracts, while several key contributors enter important contract years next season, including rearguards Torey Krug and Kevan Miller, and forward Charlie Coyle.

However, with three of the top four teams on the futures coming from the Atlantic Division, the Bruins once again will face a difficult road in their bid to make a fourth Stanley Cup Final appearance in 10 seasons.

Set as +800 favorites on the 2020 Stanley Cup odds at online sports betting sites, the Tampa Bay Lightning will have a lot to prove after making a stunning early exit from this year’s NHL playoffs. The Lightning ran away with the Presidents’ Trophy this past season, piling up 62 wins and 128 points, and were listed as heavy Stanley Cup favorites before being swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round.

The Toronto Maple Leafs closely follow the Bruins as a +1000 bet despite entering a summer of uncertainty. The Maple Leafs took the Bruins to Game 7 before bowing out of the playoffs in the first round. However, with limited cap space and tough contract negotiations ahead with several players, most notably the team’s leading scorer Mitch Marner, the Maple Leafs could face a massive challenge in their bid to record a third straight 100-point campaign.

The Vegas Golden Knights lead all Western Conference clubs on the odds to win the Stanley Cup next season, sitting alongside the Bruins at +900. The newly anointed Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues lag behind Toronto, joining the Colorado Avalanche at +1200, while a trio of clubs lead the middle of the pack, with the Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets, and San Jose Sharks all knotted at +1600.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images