As we come upon the start of playoffs here are some of the major contenders: Nashville and Tampa Bay are the primary teams looking good for the final two. But there’s always a wildcard possibility like the New Jersey Devils, finding their way to the last two. The lineup of top 4 ranking predictions for the 2018 Stanley Cup are as follows:
- Nashville Predators
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Boston Bruins
- Vegas Golden Knights
The Predators have had one great season this year, but with the Lightning following close behind them, the true spot for number one is still up for grabs. The Bruins have really come full swing this season as well, thanks to their top scorers this season Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. The Las Vegas Golden Knights might even be the first expansion team to make it to the final two. It’s still too early to tell, but these teams are definitely the ones to follow during the cup.
Now for the top trophy contenders of the season, let’s take a look at some of the favorites.
The Hart Trophy Candidates:
- Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
- Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils
- Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oils
- Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
- Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
The Hart Trophy is awarded to the NHL’s Most Valuable Player, an honor bestowed on only the best the league has to offer.
While all these players are worthy contenders for this trophy, Kucherov lead Tampa Bay to their victorious Stanley Cup spot. We’ll see if Malkin and Kopitar will power ahead of him in these upcoming games. Tampa Bay may be on top now but I’d love to see a wildcard candidate like Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils bring this trophy home.
The Vezina Trophy Candidates:
- Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
- Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets
- Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
The Vezina Trophy is given to the league’s best goaltender, and is considered to be a tough award to earn as playing between the pipes isn’t exactly an easy position.
Andrei Vasilevskiy was originally the top contender for this award but got a literal rust during the home stretch. Which luckily didn’t prove to be critical for Tampa Bay in clinching their playoff spot. It looks like Pekka Rinne could be taking this one home after his astounding season. The Predators have truly proved themselves this season, this could be an easy win for Pekka Rinne.
The Norris Trophy Candidates:
- Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
- P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators
- John Klingberg, Dallas Stars
- John Carlson, Washington Capitals
- Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers
- Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
The Norris Trophy is given to the NHL’s best defensive player. P.K. Subban and John Carlson are likely to go head to head for this award. While John Klingberg even with his offensive break won’t get the recognition he rightly deserves, due to the Dallas Stars rough regular season end. Which excluded them from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
These next couple of weeks will prove to be extremely crucial to the players. This will determine their fate as trophy contenders. Only the best will rise. The Tampa Bay Lightning and The Nashville Predators have the potential to make it to the final two. As long as they continue playing how they’ve been, either one of them could have it in the bag!