We’ve looked at the East and West, laid out our predictions for the 2019 NHL Awards, and even put on record our opinions for first coach fired, underrated and overrated teams and more. Now it’s time to talk about who we think will end the season as Stanley Cup champions.
Will the Washington Capitals drunkenly celebrate for a second straight summer? The Pro Hockey Talk staff doesn’t think so. Repeating is so difficult already, and both conference sport some very strong contenders looking to knock the Caps off their throne. We have an idea of who will win it all, but so much can happen over the next eight months.
[Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule]
Let us know in the comments who you think will win the Cup this season.
LEAHY: Predators. There needs to be a Stanley Cup celebration down Broadway, right in the middle of Smashville. Nashville has been building toward this and they’re going to have a difficult time fighting their way through the Western Conference. But for a team that’s strongly balanced up and down the roster, they’re going to be able to contend against the best offenses in both conference. Most of this team was on the Bridgestone Arena ice when the Penguins celebrated in 2017 and last year during their second-round series against the Jets. That chemistry and experience will finally lead them to a title.
O’BRIEN: Maple Leafs. I have some worries about regression for Connor Hellebuyck, and I can’t help but wonder if Paul Maurice is an average coach at best. Toronto isn’t perfect, but they are loaded with talent and just seem whip-smart. It never hurts to have two first-line centers, either.
GRETZ: Sharks. The Sharks went all in on this season and with this team and get to send Joe Thornton out as a champion by finally winning that elusive Stanley Cup after all of these years.
ALFIERI: Predators. This is the year the Predators finally get over the hump. They’re blessed with one of the best group of defensemen in the league and they also have enough skill up front to get the job done. Pekka Rinne (or Juuse Saros) will have to be better than he was last postseason though.
BILLECK: Lightning. They have all the pieces. Depth for days. Arguably the league’s best goaltender. Solid youth. And scoring that comes at will. It’s time they finally put it all together.