With the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs starting, analysts are excited on who will contend for this year's Stanley Cup. There are plenty of teams to look forward to watching from both conferences during this time of year. Here are five teams that could be on their way to a Stanley Cup.
By: George Potter
1. Florida Panthers
The Florida Panthers had their best season in franchise history with a record of 58-18-6, winning them the President's Trophy. This team has a huge offensive depth and talent that has been exciting to watch all season long, for example, forward Jonathan Huberdeau leading the team with 115 points this season. In addition the team had picked up veteran forward Claude Giroux during the trade deadline. Their defense has also been good with MacKenzie Weegar when he is needed. Goaltending has been another good thing seen from Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight. This team will be extremely challenging to play during the playoffs.
2. Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes have been a dangerous team to play against and their record has shown in with 54-20-8 and has been the most dominant team of the Metropolitan division. Fredrick Anderson has had a great performance for his first time with the team. However he recently suffered a lower body injury and will be re-evaluated for his injury in one week. This injury may be concerning for Carolina’s chances. But, with Antti Raanta being another important key member in net goaltending should be on point. However, according to The Hockey Writers Carolina’s offense has some great depth on all four lines that could be dangerous towards any team they play against them. It is also important to note that Carolina’s defense can be also a deep threat as well. It would not be a surprise to see this team makes a deep playoff run and contend in hopefully a conference final
3. Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche have played like nothing could stop them this year. Even with injuries, seeing multiple players miss games, it did not affect their performance. They finished with an impressive record of 56-19-7; this team has shown to be one the best in the Western Conference. Darcy Kuemper has shown an impressive performance in his goaltending with a winning record of 37-12-4 with a save percentage of .921. This team has proven to be an offensive threat led by star forward Nathan MacKinnon who scored 88 points this season. In addition to defense Cale Makar has put up an impressive 28 goals and 86 points. This team will be extremely interesting to watch in the Western Conference. `
4. Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames had a concerning offseason last summer. However, they proved to perform like a team that has unfinished business with Darryl Sutter as head coach since their 2004 cup run. In addition to adding Tyler Tofolli into the lineup before the trade deadline. This team has been a dominant force in the Pacific Division with multiple players having huge breakout seasons on offense and defense respectively. There are players who have hit an all time high in their individual careers including Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkhachuk have both scored 100 points. Elias Lindholm has also hit 42 goals and 82 points this season. However, the one big concern is that the Flames have been known for making first round exit in the playoffs in most recent years. But the biggest question that analysts are asking is, would the Flames be Canada’s team going into the playoffs?
5. Tampa Bay Lightning
Could the Tampa Bay Lightning pull off a three-peat? Is a question hockey fans and sports analysts alike have been asking now that playoffs are coming around the corner. The team has still pulled off an excellent record for it with a record of 51-23-8. However, there are some concerns about how they have declined in goals per game. In addition to losing some key players have helped contribute to their two time stanley cup victory after last year's off season such as Blake Coleman, and Yanni Gourde. However, they were able to put some players such as Corey Perry into their lineup. Despite all the concerns around this team Tampa bay still has an offensive threat and goaltender Andrei Vasileveski is still putting in an impressive performance in net. It will be interesting to see what Tampa Bay could do this upcoming playoffs.