The Stanley Cup playoffs: all 16 contenders reviewed and ranked
The puck drops to the NHL’s second season on Wednesday, and as opposed to last season, gets hotter would look like this line of business was open, there’s now a small number of teams that has to be treated Stanley Cup favorites. And within that group, there’s still numerous forms of teams to enjoy: it can’t surprise that you see veteran units similar to the Boston Bruins or maybe the Pittsburgh Penguins hoist the Stanley Cup in June, nor would it be a surprise to your young cores with the Winnipeg Jets and the Toronto Maple Leafs to stop Canada’s cup drought in addition.
This season, the Guardian has ranked teams from least to the majority likely to win the Stanley Cup. It’s actually a difference from last season in case there’s the one thing that carries over: the present NHL playoff format still stinks, super hard.
16) Colorado Avalanche
Current form Winners of just a couple their last seven, the Avalanche still got a decisive win within the second-last day’s 4 seasons in the St Louis Blues, who finished an individual point in it inside playoff race.
How they’re able to win Nathan MacKinnon forgets that Hart Trophy voting only relates to regular season and continues his torrid 1.31 points per game pace, the best of any player inside playoffs.
How they will lose The Avalanche really are a bottom-five team concerning puck possession. They may get skated around routinely.
Player to watch After being a member of a historically bad team last season, MacKinnon is the player a lot of expected him to be after he was drafted first overall in 2019. He’s taken this team on his back, doing his much better to make amends for a lack of scoring depth. Few people will offer the Avs the chance contrary to the Presidents’ Trophy winners, so it can be fun to watch MacKinnon just fool around with house money.
Fun fact After an abysmal 48-point campaign last season, the Avalanche were required to deal sulking star Matt Duchene to your Ottawa Senators early this current year, after Duchene explained which he “wanted to experience playoff hockey”. The Senators have been finishing nutty with the playoff race.
Why should you care? Tough one. Concerning first-round opponents, the Predators are still a lot more likable. You’d should be an incredibly, really big MacKinnon fan to travel all in about this team.
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15) Columbus Blue Jackets
Current form No team has scored more since the beginning of March compared to Blue Jackets. Still, they sat several of their stars with their final game of all seasons and lost, meaning they’d cut defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the process.
How they might win Likely Vezina Trophy nominee Sergei Bobrovsky stands on his head over to get to the crowded Eastern Conference.
How they can lose They’d ought to wait in the Washington Capitals and likely the Pittsburgh Penguins inside the first 2 rounds. Oh, wait.
Player to watch I’m a big, big Artemi Panarin fan. I’m still shocked the Blackhawks traded the insanely skilled winger before season. His puck-moving skills are among the best during the league and scored for a point-per-game clip with no other Grade A linemates.
Fun fact The Blue Jackets haven’t ever won a playoff round in franchise history. Sorry, my concise explanation of fun has evolved as I’ve gotten older.
Why in case you care? More Blue Jackets wins means more camera here we are at enigmatic coach John Tortorella.
14) Minnesota Wild
Current form Overall, the Wild organize great results while in the other half of year but have still cooled as of late, looking a lot more a center of the pack team above all else with just three wins within their last eight regular-season games.
How they’re able to win The Wild always keep pucks away from high danger areas since they have all season and make the most of their league-best expected goals against.
How they can lose Losing among the many NHL’s perennial leaders in ice time, defenseman Ryan Suter, towards a fractured ankle within the last week of the season really hurts the Wild’s chances. Suter had tied his career-best point total prior to being eliminated for the remainder of the summer season.
Player to watch Oh man, Eric Staal. At 33, this coming year hasn’t been upset to the center, but something closer to the truth. His 76 points are his highest total since 2010-11 and he’s scored being a Rocket Richard candidate in the partner of the year. If you want a happy story, Staal will probably be your boy.
Fun fact The Wild finished in the middle-third on the NHL in goals for and goals against per game, and power-play and penalty-kill percentage.
Why if you ever care? Upsetting the heavily favored Winnipeg Jets inside first round would do a lot to have this inevitable geographically inclined rivalry going.
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13) San Jose Sharks
Current form Inconsistent. They’ve won only one of their last six games, nevertheless comes just after they fired off an eight-game winning streak. Will the true Sharks please show themselves?
How they will win The Martin Jones of 2019 ought to re-emerge. The goaltender was fantastic in 24 post-season games with the Sharks two seasons ago, registering three shutouts and posting a .923 save percentage.
How they’ll lose Adequate back center and face of your franchise Joe Thornton would hurt. Thornton missed the last 35 games of your regular season using a knee injury while he is not expected to play in game certainly one of their first round series contrary to the Anaheim Ducks, they have been skating regularly when using the team.
Player to watch Logan Couture. The 29-year old found the slack about the score sheet in Thornton’s absence, scoring 34 goals there is much surprise, work high. Inside the 2019 playoffs, if the Sharks lost towards Penguins inside Stanley Cup final, Couture led the league in playoff scoring using an impressive 30 points in 24 games. Can he replicate that success?
Fun fact The Sharks plus the Ducks are working the Pacific Division together since 1993, nevertheless will likely be merely the second meeting within the post-season between the above teams. The Ducks won that first meeting, four games or two while in the 2009 Western Conference quarterfinals.
Why in the event you care? A deep playoff showing from the Sharks could only intensify chances the fact that NHL’s most touted likely free agent, centre John Tavares, shakes the balance of power inside the Western Conference and signs with the Sharks. The Sharks appear to be a superb fit in some recoverable format for Tavares. Will he see enough out of your team while in the playoffs to make the go on to California?
12) Philadelphia Flyers
Current form Winners of six of the last eight, the Flyers leapfrogged the Blue Jackets and into third placed in the Metropolitan Division. Their reward? A date with regards to their hated cross-state rivals and two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
How they are able to win They have to be in down and have fun with some consistency, to begin. The Flyers never-ending concerns their goaltending crept up just as before when trade deadline acquisition Petr Mrazek did little to weather the storm. Brian Elliott will probably be in net to the Flyers, but whether it be the Brian Elliott who has a .921 save percentage through 18 playoff games with the St Louis Blues two seasons ago or perhaps the Elliott who stood a horrendous four games while using Calgary Flames during the playoffs last season remains seen.
How they will lose Taking penalties up against the league’s top-rated power play won’t be an excellent start. Taking penalties against any team, for that matter, might not be towards the Flyers advantage: Their PK% is third from your bottom within the NHL.
Player to watch It has been to not keep an eye on centre and possible Hart Trophy candidate Claude Giroux this holiday season, who finished second in NHL scoring with 102 points, employment high.
Fun fact When discussing the Flyers and these playoffs, Now i’m bound by the government a single article that the before they met the Penguins inside the playoffs, their 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals was only nuts: 56 goals in whole were scored over six games, with a 10-3 Penguins win and a 8-5 barnburner on the win to your Flyers.
Now that that’s aside, additionally it is worth mentioning that there’s been turnover on teams since.
Why if you ever care? Among teams who have actually won the Stanley Cup, the Flyers rank second regarding longest Cup droughts. For anybody who is into chaos and they are interested in watching a pesky team upset the Stanley Cup champs, this is actually the team for yourself.
11) New Jersey Devils
Current form Winners of seven within their last nine, including wins over the Penguins, Lightning and Leafs in that stretch.
How they are able to win Look, it will likely be tough here. But seeing that this team finished dead last in the Eastern Conference last season, they’re really tinkering with house money at this time. Few expected the Devils for being where they may be in 2010 so there is no real pressure with this team. We might a little surprised when the Devils, messing around with nothing to lose, get rolling.
How they are able to lose They play a group with scoring depth during the first round. So, about this –
Player to watch With 41 more points than any player while in the Devils lineup, forward Taylor Hall is undoubtedly an MVP contender. In one of the more logic-defying trades in recent memory, Hall was flipped on the Edmonton Oilers 2 years ago and then gets his first ever shot inside playoffs.
Fun fact Goalie Keith Kinkaid, who took over the reins as starter from Cory Schneider when he faltered from the lover of this year, has more games took part in the AHL versus the NHL.
Why if you happen to care? There is not been a very contentious Hart Trophy debate in recent memory than this season. A lot of the argument focuses on whether the team an MVP played for should result in the playoffs for a player that need considering. And Hall took the Devils on his back for several a personal game this year and got them in the final wildcard spot from the Eastern Conference. To be able to see an MVP free while in the playoffs, and are generally highly critical of Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, this can be the series for yourself.
10) Anaheim Ducks
Current form Arriving hot. Winners within their last five games, and 13 of 18 since the beginning of March.
How they’re able to win This core clearly learns how to go deep within the playoffs, as evidenced by their two trips to your Western Conference final during three seasons. Whether their aging core, buoyed by a few upstart performances from Ondrej Kase and Rickard Rakell, has enough so you can get them into your Stanley Cup finals remains seen.
How they are able to lose The Ducks have mislaid many players to injuries there is much surprise, including goaltender John Gibson to the upper-body injury on 1 April. Gibson skated in the week this is possible he’ll return to the playoffs, but these are several beat up bodies we’re talking about here.
Player to watch I claimed it not too long ago and I’ll voice it out again: Ryan Getzlaf. When he scores, other team generally follows suit. The 32-year old forward has logged an outstanding 121 playoff games throughout his career but still has the ability to change a game title.
Fun fact Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano saw his ironman streak of consecutive games played in a row snapped at 830 in January, while he was suspended for a couple of games. It had become a long active streak during the time additionally, the fourth-longest run in league history.
Why if you ever care? I thought last season the Ducks will not be able to sustain their continued regular season success and continually enter the playoffs, nonetheless was proven wrong. Are interested into an oldtime hockey clich