The NHL season is at about the halfway point, and a handful of teams have come out as Stanley Cup contenders. In the Western Conference, those teams are the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights. The Eastern Conference has a few more contenders than the Western Conference.
In the Eastern Conference, the Florida Panthers, Tampa Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, and New York Rangers are all championship contenders.
Of all the teams I mentioned above, the Tampa Bay Lightning have the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup. The Lightning do not have the most points in the NHL (the distinction belongs to the Florida Panthers), but the Lightning have the most Playoff experience and are one of the most well-rounded teams in the league.
I realize this is not a very controversial pick. The Lightning have made the Playoffs seven of the last eight seasons and made three Finals appearances in that time. Two of those three Finals appearances were in the previous two seasons and ended in victory.
Besides the Playoff experience that the Lightning possess, they have an incredibly well-rounded roster. Their starting goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy, is arguably the best netminder in the league. Vasilevskiy is 24-7-3, allows only 2.25 goals per game, and has a .922 save percentage. Those 24 wins are the most in the league, and the 2.25 goals allowed per game is the sixth-best in the NHL. The Russian netminder is very hard to score on and a main reason the Lightning are winning so much this season.
Offensively, the Lightning are still led by center Steven Stamkos. Stamkos has been the Lightnings’ captain since 2014. He was just voted into his seventh All-Star Game and is having another solid season. He has 20 goals, 31 assists, and a /- of 10. Stamkos may be in his 14th season, but he still knows how to score and set up his teammates to score.
On the defensive side, the Lightning are led by 13-year veteran Victor Hedman. Hedman has not stopped impressing and has nine goals, 36 assists, and a /- of 12. He also still has a lot of stamina and leads the Lightning with a TOI of 25:09.
The Lightning have some more players that are having solid seasons and big contributors to the Lightnings’ success. However, they success is mainly in part to Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Henrik Lundqvist + Sergei Zubov = 👏
— NHL (@NHL) January 28, 2022
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| Title: Who has the best shot to win the Stanley cup and why.
| Author: Max Heering
| Date: Jan 28, 2022