The NHL is about to enter the playoffs for the Stanley Cup. Who will win it all this year?
It’s time for the NHL playoffs- who is going to take the Stanley cup?
This season has been a fun one for NHL fans, from the Bruins new wins record to some exciting young teams making a push, it has been one heck of a season. But all good things must come to an end, in this case we must crown a champion. Let’s predict who will do it this year!
The Western conference has some interesting stories, such as the Kraken making it in just their second year of existence! They have an incredibly young and talented core that should give other teams some trouble, although they will have some tough competition.
The Knights are back after missing out last season, and they should be an incredibly strong team with more than enough power to make a run, and maybe even a cup bid, although they are not a team without weaknesses. We could see them go down anytime, but they are certainly a strong team to come out of the west.
The Oilers return with all of their talent, but will they overcome recent playoff failure? They certainly have enough firepower in McDavid and Draisaitl, the offense and defense have come into their own, but goal tending may be the Achilles heel. However, the Avalanche or Golden Knights might be strong enough to knock them out of the NHL playoffs.
The Stars made the playoffs, but are highly questionable. They have a decent core, but injury continues to plague their chances of making a legitimate run in the playoffs. The Stars have the pieces, but are they going to be able to make noise? Or are they going to settle for another disappointing spring?
How about the Wild? They have an incredibly talented core with the likes of Kirill Krapizov, Mats Zucarello and Jared Spurgeon all could help them go deep in the NHL playoffs, and they have a playoff veteran in Marc-Andre Fluery to defend the net. However there is legitimate concern that the Wild might not be able to compete with some of the favorites,
Nobody is forgetting about the defending champs, as the Avalanche have shown that they are a very strong team able to compete with anyone in the West, even though they’ve lost captain Gabriel Landeskog for the playoffs, and part of last years cup winning squad left the team this past off-season. They certainly have weaknesses on that front, but you can expect them to be a favorite to come out of the west.
The Winnipeg Jets somehow found a way to make it into the playoffs despite all signs pointing otherwise. The Jets may also be able to make some noise in the NHL playoffs. They have a very talented core that could very well propel them on a surprise run, although the match-ups may be unfavorable for them as the playoffs continue. They are very capable of taking a team to 7 games, but its a matter of winning that final game.
The Kings surprised the hockey world by making the playoffs this year, despite trading away longtime net-minder Jonathan Quick at the deadline. Their core is looking to showcase that they can and will compete for the Stanley Cup this year. Adrien Kempe, Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar have proven their worth this season, carrying the Kings back into relevance. However you cannot ignore their depth, which could be the key to making a run.
The Eastern Conference has one contender that rises above the rest in the Boston Bruins. They have a Vezina candidate in Linus Ullmark, and consistent depth scoring that will decimate teams without a strong 3rd and 4th line to match. The Bruins are not likely to need many games to take down their opponents, but they shouldn’t get content either as no team is perfect, and not every record breaking team wins the Cup.
The Florida Panthers are a year removed from winning the President’s trophy, but this year they looked a lot weaker, and for most of the season they were on the bubble of making the playoffs. However with the Penguins losing out on their spot, the Panthers have made it in. They have the talent, but it is easy to doubt if they will actually make a run or take a talented team to 7 games.
The Maple Leafs once again take their talented roster to the playoffs, but they are given a hard match-up against the Lightning. The Leafs have every piece in place to make a run, but it’s easy to blow them off. The Leafs constantly lose in the first round, and their odds aren’t looking great this year. However, do not discount Auston Matthews until it’s truly over
Speaking of the Lightning, how are they doing? They have been a consistently strong team throughout the year with a very strong roster. They should be able to once again make a deep run, but are no longer heavy favorites to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Will being doubted motivate the team? Or is their reign of terror over?
Meanwhile the Hurricanes have yet to take their star-studded roster to the finals, despite showing every sign of a win-now team. This season may have had its ups and downs, but they are still a very strong opponent that should not be easy to take down. They are dealing with a major injury that could hurt their playoff run chances however, as Andre Svechnikov is dealing with an ACL injury.
The Islanders were a buyer at the deadline, showing that they are willing to put the pieces in place for a cup run. As of late, the Isles have showed all the signs of a team desperately trying to make a run, although missing out last year, they are still very much a win now team with their core. The question is if the Isles are strong enough to combat the other powerhouses in the East.
The Devils have proven that they have entered a new era of competitiveness, reaching the light at the end of the dark rebuild tunnel. jack Hughes has come into his own as a star in the league, with a chance to elevate to superstar status this playoff run. They could make some noise with some possible upsets, or even just steal a game or two. Keep an eye on them this post-season, as they could be interesting.
The Rangers went all in this season trying to replicate last years successes, only adding to an already strong roster with Patrick Kane. Kane was an integral part of the Blackhawks dynasty run in the 2010’s and should provide great veteran leadership to a team ready to win now. They have the firepower, but are they gonna put it together?
That about wraps up each teams playoff previews, now we get to sit back and enjoy what should be one of the most exciting playoffs there is.