Oct 1, 2013, 11:40 AM EDT
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.
Apr 16, 2014, 3:05 PM EDT
22-26-7 with a .901 save percentage.
Apr 16, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT
Sacco, Forton, Numminen and Corsi are out.
Apr 16, 2014, 2:05 PM EDT
Top seeds don’t have it easy in the first round.
Apr 16, 2014, 1:44 PM EDT
Spent one season with the Oilers, now off to SKA St. Petersburg.
Apr 16, 2014, 12:53 PM EDT
He’ll dress for the series opener against Tampa Bay tonight.
Apr 16, 2014, 12:17 PM EDT
Steve Mason is “out.”
Apr 16, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Short answer: Plenty.
Apr 16, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT
Pittsburgh won all five meetings between the teams during the regular season.
Apr 16, 2014, 11:25 AM EDT
Prove us wrong, all 16 teams. Prove…us…wrong.
Apr 16, 2014, 10:59 AM EDT
So, what happens now with Evander Kane?
Apr 16, 2014, 10:39 AM EDT
Click inside to see…
Apr 16, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT
Tampa Bay’s top-six would have been in trouble without them.
Apr 16, 2014, 8:58 AM EDT
His solid regular season will be overshadowed by whatever he does in the playoffs.
Apr 16, 2014, 8:04 AM EDT
Previewing the first round.
Apr 16, 2014, 7:30 AM EDT
Going up against a pretty good team in L.A.
Apr 16, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT
Add yours in the comments section.
Apr 16, 2014, 1:14 AM EDT
Well, that’s good for St. Louis.
Apr 16, 2014, 12:15 AM EDT
Apr 15, 2014, 11:17 PM EDT
They’ve struggled after the Olympics.
Apr 15, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT
It was a tough season in Buffalo.
- Emery to start Game 1 versus Rangers 47
- Bulletin-board material: Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup 24
- PHT staff picks: Who’s going to win the Stanley Cup? 39
- 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs: PHT’s Round 1 picks 30
- Pressing Question: Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover? 9
- Florida wins ’14 NHL draft lottery, will pick first overall 40
- Philly mum on Mason’s availability for Game 1 vs. Rangers 26
- Pressing question: Can the Blues get back on track? 16
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension 91
- Sabres, Panthers have best odds for 2014 NHL draft lottery 16
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension (91)
- Lightning’s Malone arrested for DUI, cocaine possession (73)
- Update: Daniel Sedin in stable condition, hospitalized after scary hit (58)
- Emery to start Game 1 versus Rangers (53)
- Halak’s agent ‘bewildered’ by Oates’ remarks prior to Blues game (51)