Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Thursday, February 22, 2024

In the Crease: Stanley Cup and Presidents’ Trophy predictions

Edition One: NHL Awards predictions

FIXED graphic for Zach Gerson's column "In The Crease"

Graphic by Richie Han Kyaw

In the spring edition of ”In the Crease,” I will be predicting NHL awards, mostly individual awards. However, this week, I will focus on team awards: the Stanley Cup champion and the Presidents’ Trophy.

Stanley Cup Final Matchup: Colorado Avalanche vs. Florida Panthers

Stanley Cup Champion: Colorado Avalanche

This NHL season has been one of the most unpredictable seasons in recent memory, and there have been more surprise players and teams than there usually are. Nevertheless, despite the parity seen throughout the league, I continue to hold the belief that the Avalanche are the most complete and well-balanced team in hockey, with the Panthers not far behind. Playoff hockey is very different from regular-season hockey.

In the playoffs, the game is much more physical and defensive play becomes more important, which is why teams that make deep runs have to be well-balanced on both the blue line and with the forward core, not just being a top-heavy team that lacks depth. That is why the Avalanche and Panthers are poised to make deep runs. A Stanley Cup Final between these two clubs would definitely be a close one, but ultimately, I see the Avalanche pulling it off, simply because their talent would be too overwhelming for the Panthers. Having to stop superstar Nathan MacKinnon is hard enough, but having to do that on top of stopping stars Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin is simply too much to ask. I see Colorado taking the series in six games, winning its second Stanley Cup in the past three years.

Presidents’ Trophy: Vancouver Canucks

The Presidents’ Trophy is awarded to the team that finishes the regular season with the best overall record.

Since the very beginning of the season, the Canucks have been on an absolute tear. They’ve been dominant. This is primarily due to the club’s great extent of talent among both their forward and defensive cores, as well as phenomenal goaltending by starting goaltender Thatcher Demko. The Canucks’ talent is headlined by superstar forward Elias Pettersson and superstar defenseman Quinn Hughes. With loaded talent and speed, the Canucks are the ideal regular season team. I see them making a deep playoff run, but not making it to the Stanley Cup for two main reasons. The first is that the roster does not have much, if any playoff experience. The second is that the Canucks are what I would consider a ‘flashy’ team, and I do not believe this will be  enough for them to make a run for the Stanley Cup. Nevertheless, they are poised to be the best regular season team in the NHL, and this is only the beginning for their young core of talented players. They have a very bright future ahead of them.