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Who’s going to win the Stanley Cup? Here are PHT’s picks…

Oct 1, 2013, 11:40 AM EDT

Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks hoists the Stanley Cup Trophy after defeating the Boston Bruins in Game Six of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 24, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2.
(June 23, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

We didn’t so well with these last season, with not one of us predicting the Chicago Blackhawks would win the Stanley Cup. We’re going to blame the lockout for that and try again for 2013-14. No excuses this time around. Unless there are injuries. Then there are excuses. We may also think up other excuses.

Jason Brough: Los Angeles Kings over Detroit Red Wings

I look for three major things when I pick a Cup winner. First is goaltending. Second is a Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman that can log big minutes. Third is at least one, preferably two, top centers. The Kings have all these things. I’m a little concerned about their ability to create offense, but if Willie Mitchell can stay healthy, that may allow Drew Doughty to get a bit more involved in that area. Picking a team out of the East was tough because there’s only one that unequivocally meets my criteria, the Bruins, and it’s really hard to put together back-to-back runs to the Stanley Cup Final. Meanwhile, I don’t like the Pens’ goaltending, and the Rangers, Caps, and Flyers don’t have that one great d-man. I ended up taking the Wings, but that back end will have to keep improving, and Stephen Weiss can’t be a free-agent bust.

Mike Halford: Los Angeles Kings over Boston Bruins

After winning it all two years ago and going back to the Western Conference finals last season, the Kings spent the summer tweaking what was already a pretty solid roster. They turned a backup goalie into another backup and arguably their fastest player (Matt Frattin); they added by subtracting Dustin Penner (who was mediocre at best last year) and, perhaps most importantly, got a clean bill of health for Willie Mitchell, the veteran defenseman that was a key cog on the Cup-winning side of ’12. The Kings are talented, deep, experienced and still bitter about getting dumped by Chicago in five games.

Ryan Dadoun: St. Louis Blues over New York Rangers

These are two teams I’ve liked for a couple of years now and it obviously didn’t pan out for me last season. Still, the Blues have what I believe to be the best group of defensemen in the NHL from top to bottom. They also have strong goaltending, especially if Jaroslav Halak can stay healthy during the playoffs. Their offense isn’t comparatively as impressive, but it’s well-rounded. While it includes some rising youngsters like Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, its core has largely matured at this point.

James O’Brien: St. Louis Blues over New York Rangers

With parity reigning supreme in the NHL, depth is increasingly important, and the Blues might be the deepest of them all. Not many teams boast such a variety of scoring options (adding Derek Roy was shrewd), 2-4 top pairing-quality defensemen and 2-3 viable goalies. Each of the Blues and Rangers have the motivation (key contract years, bright coaches) and talent to get it done, but the Blues edge the Rangers. And, no, I’m not just picking them because EA Sports’ supercomputers did, either.

Joe Yerdon: Los Angeles Kings over New York Rangers

The Kings are one of a handful of teams that can hang with Chicago in the West. Their skill, toughness, and goaltending are as good as it gets. The Rangers shake out as a team that seems to have it more put together. If not having Torts in their ears makes the difference, and I think it will, they’ll be right there.

Cam Tucker: Washington Capitals over Chicago Blackhawks

Alex Ovechkin should be extra motivated considering what’s at stake for him personally. I do worry about a potential emotional letdown for No. 8 after the Sochi Olympics, but the Blackhawks didn’t have that problem in 2010 when Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook played for Canada in Vancouver. The Capitals should also enter the season fully adjusted to Adam Oates and his system. At some point, this team has to break through in the playoffs. Washington isn’t perfect, but what team is? Particularly in the East.

So there you have it. PHT has the Kings (thrice), the Blues (twice), and the Caps (once). Sorry about that, those three teams. There’s always next season.

  1. 950003cups - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Any moron who even suggested the rangers will go to the finals should be banned from anything hockey related.

    • billyhauntswizards - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      why is that SO out of reach? Best goalie in the world, top 3 defense, and a (hopefully) above average offense. Why is there no chance?

      • mgp1219 - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        Start with their new whine-bag coach and work your way down from there.

      • pastabelly - Oct 1, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        All of that and they got blown out of the playoffs. Go figure.

        The key word in your post is in parenthesis. :)

    • garyreasons55 - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      You have to love the Rangers fan mentality. They clam they have an elite goalie and a top D which has been true. They claim with Vigneault’s system their Offense should improve and they just assume that their D and Goalie will remain as good. Let’s see how good guys like Girardi are and how good Lundqvist is when 60% of the shots aren’t being blocked.

      • moler2001 - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:01 AM

        Love this post. So true. By the way, Lundqvist will still be one of the best goalies in the league, but that defense is about to get seriously exposed.

    • tdrusher225 - Oct 1, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      How much you wanna bet you’re wrong?

  2. 950003cups - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Even ranger fans are laughing at you fools.

    • stakex - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:13 PM

      You’re just mad because no one is predicting the Devils will even make the playoffs.

  3. swenny19 - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    I am sooooo sick of every hockey analyst in the country sucking LA’s dick. Get over it

  4. Stiller43 - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    The caps?! Lol they may not even make the playoffs thanks to getting out of that cupcake division

    • jhuck92 - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      In have to agree. The Caps had a tremendously easy division, and only then did they get to round 2. Now that they’re running with the big dogs, they’re pressed to even make the playoffs, let alone winnig the cup altogether. I’m gonna pick Chicago over Detroit – the sequel to last year’s blockbuster series. Ratings will go through the roof.

  5. vanindeed - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Ranger? Blues? This is just sad.

    • ibieiniid - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      I’m with you on the Rangers, but you really don’t think the Blues have a shot? They’re pretty stacked, IMO.

      • ibieiniid - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:44 PM

        wow, all these thumbs downers apparently KNOW who’s gonna win the Stanley Cup, and are therefore not even giving the Blues a chance at winning. I see why PHT issued a response article to you full-of-yourself a-holes.

        maybe you guys could tell us who’s a lock to win instead of just bashing reporters when they give a prediction.

      • billyhauntswizards - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:31 PM

        if the Rangers don’t have a shot, the Blues don’t either. Identical teams, except the Blues have been less-than-stellar in the playoffs the last two years.

  6. pitpenguinsrulez - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    The Crapitals winning the cup? That’s laughable

  7. hawksin5 - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    ok PHT writers, answer me this, what makes you think that the blackhawks will not be able to make it back again? especially over a team like the KINGS?!?! the blues are going to be the only team capable of taking the title from the hawks in the west.

    • moler2001 - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      I agree that the Hawks are the best team in the West and the NHL (basically synonymous given how much better the Western Conf is), but of all the teams to pick to say that they aren’t that good you took the Kings? I mean, if one team had a legit argument to be made for them to beat the Hawks this year, wouldn’t it be the team that last won the SC before them, then went to the WCF finals the next year? The one that beat the Blues you love so much two years running?

      The Kings have the goaltending, the defense, and enough offense. I think two of those are missing from the Blues (#1 and #3, to be clear). The Hawks… as always, if Crawford plays above average, they’ll be a huge threat. He hasn’t always done that, though…

    • kaptaanamerica - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      The kings would have taken out the hawks last season if they didn’t get screwed over in the sharks series.game three was a joke for penalties and maybe refs handed the game over.kings win that one and they close it in five and don’t suffer the injuries they did going seven games.kings are a better team hands down than the hawks.but that doesn’t mean they’ll win the cup.

      it comes down to health.the healthier team going into a series has a huge advantage.Any one of 5 teams in the West can win the cup and I’d say 4 maybe 5 teams in the east. West – L.A., st Louis, Chicago, Vancouver, San Jose. East – Boston, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Detroit and maybe Montreal.

      If I had to pick, I’d go with L.A. versus Ottawa.L.A. wins.

      Yeah, Ottawa.with a healthy Erik karlsson, they have the best player in the world.

      • comeonnowguys - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        The kings would have taken out the hawks last season if they didn’t get screwed over in the sharks series.

        I would have read the rest, but it was all smudged by tears.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:44 PM

        “Better team hands down” – based on what? I did a detailed assessment of all 16 playoff teams last year based on 13 factors covering offense, defensem mistakes and depth. Ranked the teams for each measure then totaled the rankings. My rankings successfully projected 13 of the 15 series, with my top 4 teams all making the conference finals.

        Sure the Kings are good and will be, and there was a BIG gap between the Hawks any everyone else. Hawks were #2 offensively, #1 defensively, #1 in points and +/1 depth.

        Kings, like the Blues, don’t have enough offense to hand with the Hawks.

      • kaptaanamerica - Oct 1, 2013 at 7:12 PM

        Hawks can’t handle teams that physically maul them and have skill. I recall a late season game where the Canucks did exactly that. A healthy kings team would rape the hawks anally.

      • smartz128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 7:22 PM

        kaptaanamerica said: Hawks can’t handle teams that physically maul them and have skill. I recall a late season game where the Canucks did exactly that. A healthy kings team would rape the hawks anally.

        You sir have no clue what you are talking about. That’s the same thing that was said prior to the Kings and the Bruins series last year. Both lost, see ya. And if you want to qualify it as them being a “healthy” Kings team, pretty sure the banner raising ceremony that the Kings lost to them in counts as that. Seem to remember the score was 5-2 with a “healthy” Kings team.

  8. malkinrulez - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Blues and kings have a great shot. Rangers? Caps ? I guess anything is possible

  9. bc993 - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    So glad no one picked Cindy and Pissburgh. But I also don’t see the Rangers coming out of the East either.

  10. capsfan19 - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Alright i get caps havent made it past second round but pens fans, who knocked the b’s out two years ago with basically the same lineup? Who got SWEPT by the bruins last year? Get off your high & mighty stool.
    I think the cup is a stretch but adam oates is the best thing to happen to this team in awhile. He took a guy, totally switched his position and guided him to be the leagues top scorer. That says alot and shows that the team is behind him.

    • moler2001 - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Just to clarify, capsfan19 – when you say Adam Oates took “a guy” and made him into the league’s top scorer, you do mean Alex Ovechkin, right? The guy who, since the 2006-07 season, has ranked 13th, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 7th, 37th, and 3rd in scoring? Because that “guy” was pretty much fully acknowledged to be the league’s top scorer (despite not actually being the top scorer last year, as you claim). Being in the top 10 scorers on an annual basis is insanely difficult. Being in the top 5, 4 of 6 and 3 in a row? It means you are one of the very very best players in the league, and I’m sorry, but you cannot give a coach credit for happening to be there the year that Ovechkin came over his one year slump.

  11. larry1957 - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    I’m not believing PHT, or Barry Melrose, or any of the so-called “experts” I believe the Blackhawks will repeat over Detroit. F the Rangers.

  12. 07bonneville - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    I dont understand the love affair with NYR, is AV gonna be the difference? I cant see it !

    • stakex - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:22 PM

      As a Rangers fan myself, I don’t have a clue what to expect from them this year. They could win the Cup, or they could miss the playoffs. Its really impossible to tell right now.

      With that said, its not completely out of the question to think they could go deep. Just two years ago they came within two games of the finals, and last year crawled to the second round despite not playing well. Their top four on defense are among the best in the league, and they have an all world goalie in Lundqvist. If AV can get a bit more offense out of them, it shouldn’t shock anyone to see them make a deep run.

      Again though, its a pretty ballsy pick.

  13. micklethepickle - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Cam Tucker, you are my new favorite writer. GO CAPS!

  14. billyhauntswizards - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    so basically the consensus of this article is “The Blackhawks and Bruins are the only teams that will win the Stanley cup and any other prediction is stupid because this team sucks”. Did ANYONE predict that Blackhawks to win anything last year? No they didn’t. So get off your f–king high horses with WOW THIS BS UR A STUPID WRITER WAHHHHH garbage.

    • billyhauntswizards - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      “of the commenters on this article” is what I meant.

  15. rpiotr01 - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    I’m a Rangers fan and even I think this will be a down year for them. Just not a deep or physical team. They’re going to get off to a brutal start, I see a decent run mid/late season but not a deep playoff push.

  16. snipedanglecelly13 - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    I’d love to see the wings win it!

    • dirt2013 - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      All they have to do is beat Columbus seeing how tough the West is and those 2 are the only West teams in the East.

  17. dallasstars9 - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Go Stars!

  18. ronniethec - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Who can say what will happen because of injuries. The Hawks certainly have a chance because they are solid but it is just sooo hard to repeat. Because of that, I think that the Kings and Blues will meet sometime in the playoffs and whomever wins that series wins the cup. I give the nod to the Kings because of Quick.

  19. lowdownthrowdown - Oct 1, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Sorry Hawks fans. You won’t win again. Why not? Because it just doesn’t happen these days. You have a great team. I’m an LA Kings fan and I wasn’t even that broken up about losing because I knew, it was one and done. Maybe we have a chance this year, but not last year. Teams DO NOT REPEAT. Period. I was glad that we didn’t get all the way to the finals just to lose. And if we had to lose to anyone, why not Kane and the boys. I’m a huge Patty Kane fan. You guys have the offense, the defense, the goaltending. But it takes more. It takes desire, hunger, health. A lot goes into it. You guys couldn’t repeat after 2010 and didn’t even make it out of the first round. Sure, you decimated your team in the offseason after the cup win, but still, the core was in tact. It just DOES NOT HAPPEN. Your team is no different than the past 13 cup winners. Don’t be a homer and think just because it’s the team that YOU love, they will be different and do it. Sorry. But good luck in 2014-2015.

    Go Kings!

  20. joeyg97 - Oct 1, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Wings>hawks in 7

  21. tdrusher225 - Oct 1, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    You guys trashing all these teams like the Rangers, Blues, Caps, etc. are going to be eating your words by the end of the year. Last year is over boys, it’s a new season. How many of you have been able to correctly predict the Finals in any of the last few seasons?

  22. yaboyblue - Oct 1, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    funny how if they dont mention your team, everyone gets up in arms

  23. oaklawnmark - Oct 1, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    Look, just because something hasn’t been done in a while, is no reason to say it just isn’t done. The Hawks have the same offense, defense, and goaltending as last year. As for desire, how about being the first team to repeat since way back when. They’re already the first team to win twice in the salary cap era. Why not this too?

  24. earpaniac - Oct 1, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Put down the booze Cam Tucker.

  25. stakex - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    It really is amazing how worked up people get over these. Everyone is so convinced their team is going to be amazing, and takes it personally if people don’t agree.

  26. shoobiedoobin - Oct 2, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Who will win? Same as the last 3 years or so. In today’s NHL you need 1/3 great play, 1/3 luck and 1/3 help from the officials. Period. Flavor of the month/popular teams have instant advantages. Look at Chicago-getting rolled by Detroit, league steps in and bails them out. Or Vancouver, too in half their games. Pittsburgh is another one.

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