As sports have shown us every season, a new champion can emerge at any time. That is no different when it comes to the Stanley Cup. The Vegas Golden Knights showed that even an expansion team in their first season can make a run. The Washington Capitals proved a team could break through after so many years of disappointment.
At Last Word On Hockey, our writers took it upon themselves to predict how this year’s Stanley Cup Final will play out. And the results were truly varied.
Predictions For The 2019 Stanley Cup Final
It is no surprise the Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to be a contender with the addition of John Tavares. Adding him into a team that already features Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner makes that Leafs team a dangerous one to face.
The San Jose Sharks addition of Erik Karlsson also makes them a tough competitor this upcoming season. However, the Sharks have had trouble breaking through. Karlsson could be just the player they needed to solidify things. With a player like Brent Burns on the blueline as well, the Sharks defence became much tougher to play against.
After making it to the Western Conference finals last season, don’t expect the Winnipeg Jets to take things lightly this season. Fresh off a five-year extension, Blake Wheeler and his team are set to make a run after their best season in franchise history. Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, Bryan Little, and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck are also locked up for the near future. The Jets have the look of a Stanley Cup contending team.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are known to have a deep roster. Coming off a career season, Andrei Vasilevskiy will look to continue that success. Looked at as the runaway favourite to win the cup this season, the Lightning has the core to do so. With Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman leading the way, it would be no shock to see the Lightning make it to the end.
The Nashville Predators have the talent up as well. Pekka Rinne captured the Vezina Trophy during the offseason awards. P.K. Subban and Roman Josi are some of the best defensemen in the game. Filip Forsberg is one of the league’s most dynamic forwards. With Eeli Tolvanen waiting in the wings, this Predators team will look to make noise in a competitive division.
Teams Looking To Break Through
After finishing on the outside looking in, the Florida Panthers will try to prove that their late-season magic was not a fluke. After naming Aleksander Barkov their latest captain, the Panthers are looking towards some of their young players to step into leadership roles. Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck will try to do just that. Aaron Ekblad is another defenseman that is making a name for himself around the league.
It has been a while since the Boston Bruins last tasted victory. They have missed the playoffs twice in the last four season. Finishing second in the Atlantic this past season, they would lose out to the Lightning in the second round. The Bruins have the experience and the depth to once again contend in the Atlantic. With Bruce Cassidy at the helm, he’ll look to lead the team to a third straight year of postseason hockey. And with young players like Jake Debrusk, Ryan Donato and Charlie McAvoy, the Bruins have a bright future ahead.
The Vegas Golden Knights came close to victory in their first season in the league. The team locked up Marc-Andre Fleury and William Karlsson will have to prove that his breakout was not a fluke. Adding in Max Pacioretty gave the team more depth up top. But can they replicate the magic they had in their first season? A lot of things will have to go right for Vegas this season. However, they have proven they’re able to play at a high-level.
Breakdown Of Writer Voting
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