Predicting playoff runs for every team that has clinched
By: Harrion Dupree
The NHL’s season is starting to wind down, and with that we see playoff berths. As of now, 5 teams have punched their ticket to compete for the cup. But here’s the question… who are the contenders and who are the pretenders? Let’s investigate what teams I think will do well and the ones that will disappoint come postseason time.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs have once again made it to the playoffs. Should we be happy or in for another disappointing year? Well, the offense has been the one to shine for the Leafs again this year. Auston Matthews is a 50-goal scorer and is complimented by the likes of Mitch Marner and company. They even added some defensive depth with the addition of Mark Giordano at the trade deadline. Goaltending has been somewhat of an issue, but nothing they can fix before the playoffs come. The only thing I’m looking for in this squad is confidence. The Leafs have been known to be 1st round exits in the past years. Honestly, I think they’re hungry and can finally push themselves into another round, but I don’t see them hoisting the cup, but it all depends on matchups. Looks like the 1967 cup drought will remain standing.
Floor: 1st round exit
Ceiling: 2nd round exit
Florida has thoroughly impressed me this year. Their offense is lethal to the league and almost unstoppable. They also have a solid defensive core and goaltending. They also had one of the best tradelines I’ve seen in years gearing up for a deep run, adding stars to their roster like Claude Giroux. But how will this pan out in the playoffs? I think Florida has had a thorn in their side for a while now that they finally make that deep run. Looks like the Cup might stay in Florida, but this time in Sunrise.
Prediction: Floor: East Finals
Ceiling: Stanley Cup Champs
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… The Avs and the Panthers are very similar. Their offense is potent, but they also have a great defense led by Cale Makar. The Avs don’t really show any weaknesses… in the regular season. In the postseason however, they haven’t been able to get it done. The familiarity of the team is a good sign though, this isn’t their first rodeo. They are the favorite to win it all, but I can also see them as a surprise early exit just because of their track record. They have a very high ceiling but also a low floor.
Floor: Second Round
Ceiling: Stanley Cup Champs
New York Rangers
The Rangers have gotten better and better as the season has progressed. They’re starting to shy away from just relying on Shesterkin and showing their other sides of play. Their offense has shined over the past few weeks with Artemi Panarin leading the way with surprises such as Chris Kreider. Their defense has been solid enough to keep them in the race, but still have great talent such as reigning Norris winner, Adam Fox. I see the Rangers making a deep run because of how good their goaltending play is, which is one of the most important things for a playoff caliber team.
Floor: 1st Round exit
Ceiling: East Finals
The Canes are another interesting case but have consistent enough to make the playoffs every year. Since becoming their coach, Rod Brind’Amour has led them to four consecutive playoff berths. The Hurricanes have a very well-rounded team for a while now, but haven’t really shown their worth in the playoffs. I think that they are very overlooked as a team and can make some noise this year with people like Aho, Schvechnikov, and Staal. Don’t count out Carolina for they will be one of many to finally get it done.
Floor: 2nd Round Exit
Ceiling: Stanley Cup Final