Nitrogen’s Top 5 Stanley Cup Contending Teams
The NHL 2018-2019 season is about to begin and it’s going to be another exciting year of hockey. Our futures list is up, so we want to look at 5 teams with a good shot at lifting Lord Stanley’s mug come June.
5. Nashville Predators (12.50)
2017-2018 was a good year for the Predators. They ended last season with the best road record in the league (25-9-7) and were able to snag their first Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history.
With how the team is built for 2018-2019, it’s likely that we’ll see Nashville at the top of their division again. They proved last season that they are one of the top teams in the NHL, and core guys like Norris trophy winning P.K. Subban and Vezina winner Pekka Rinne, it’s hard to keep them off of anyone’s top 5.
4. Tampa Bay Lightning (9.65)
The Tampa Bay Lightning had a great run last season, ending the 2017-2018 season with a 54-23-05 record, which secured their first divisional title since 2003-2004. They were favorites to win the Stanley Cup during the playoffs but fell short when they faced eventual champs the Washington Capitals.
In the upcoming season, we see the Tampa Bay Lightning as just as strong a contender as last year. Yanni Gourde and Brayden Point made an impact last season and if they can produce the same output this season (or even better), we could see this elite team represent the east in the final.
3. Boston Bruins (9.65)
The Boston Bruins made the playoffs again last season, and everything looks to be on track for them to make another good run. But it doesn’t help that they’re in a brutally tough division with 2 other teams on this list.
At 41 years of age, not-so-gentle-giant Zdeno Chara signed a one-year deal with the Bruins, possibly marking this season as his last chance to lift the cup with the B’s. He has a big shot and if he can adjust to the issues that plagued him during the last season’s playoffs, who knows …
2. Toronto Maple Leafs (8.25)
The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking stronger after a pretty momentous offseason shuffle that saw them snag coveted free agent John Tavares. A super young-core with an insane powerplay, Toronto’s real challenge might be learning how to win. A division with both Tampa Bay and Boston drives the point home even further, but with star coach Mike Babcock at the helm, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to see the blue and white in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1967.
1. San Jose Sharks (7.00)
It feels like the San Jose Sharks are in an interesting spot. In recent years, they were the team most consistently making the playoffs out of the west. It’s been said before, but pressure is on since major changes will be needed in the next few years as elite veterans like centre Joe Thornton transition out or if injuries start to affect an aging lineup.
But they’re still top of the list because defence wins cups, and with the summer arrival of Erik Karlsson from Ottawa, the Sharks undoubtedly lay claim to the best defence in the league. With Karlsson, Burns and Vlasic able to rack-up huge minutes, teams will have a really tough time especially deep in the playoffs as wear and tear really kicks in and a deep blue line counts.
Who’s your pick for this NHL season? Check out our NFL futures list right now and place your bets today!