By Amrit G.
There are 5 Stanley Cup contenders for the 2014-2015 season. These teams include the Nashville Predators, the Montreal Canadiens, the St. Louis Blues, the New York Rangers and the Chicago Blackhawks. As the Stanley Cup playoffs are approaching quickly everyone will be looking forward to them. With surprise teams such as the Minnesota Wild, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets all making the playoffs this could be the year for massive blowouts or upsets.
- The Nashville Predators have been outstanding all year and have been near the top all year in the Western Conference. Finishing third overall in the Western Conference in the NHL with 104 points. Nashville’s head coach Peter Laviolette and GM (General Manager) have been a huge part in the teams forty-seven wins this season. Big names like James Neal, Cody Franson and Mike Ribeiro were all big off-season and trade deadline acquisitions. These key players have been added to one of the strongest cores, including Shea Weber, Pekka Rinne and Roman Josi. They have made Nashville one of the highest scoring NHL teams in the league. Adding two of the top rookies to this mix of players, Phillip Forsberg and Seth Jones, have made Nashville a Stanley Cup contender.
- Montreal has struggled this year scoring goals, but Hart trophy candidate Carey Price has carey-ied (pun intended) them to being the second best team in the Eastern Conference. Carey Price has earned the great honour of the rare goaltending award, the Triple Crown. This pristine award is presented when a single goaltender leads the National Hockey League in the three major goalie stats: Wins, Save Percentage and GAA (Goals Against Average). Montreal has suffered from their top players being injured and unable to play. These players include: Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk.. Despite injured players, and not scoring goals, this team has very strong defence, and an outstanding goaltender has placed them in a good position to win the Stanley Cup.
- The St. Louis Blues have been lingering around as a top team in the NHL for many years. This year they have done very well with a strong defence, and an MVP performance by forward Vladimir Tarasenko. With an extremely young and talented team, they rely on speed and skill, they have done very well, being tied for first in the Western Conference for first overall. With all their young talent they have good veterans with a lot of playoff experience. There core group of players including Alex Pietrangelo and T.J. Oshie, will help them a lot. To sum up they are looking to make a long cup run with a young team something that you don’t see very often.
- New York Rangers won the Presidents Cup this year having the post points in the NHL and finishing first in the league. With star goalie Henrik Lundqvist being out for a lot of the season back up goaltender Cam Talbot has been outstanding. Cam along with one of if not the deepest roster of stars in the NHL have carried them all season long. They are looking to make a playoff run this year after making it to the Stanley Cup Finals last year and running into the L.A. Kings. New York looks forward to another outstanding Stanley Cup run.
- The Chicago Blackhawks are a Stanley Cup favourite every year. Featuring players like Jonathan Towes, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford they are a powerhouse in the Western Conference. Winning the Cup in 2010 and 2013 they are always in the mix for a Stanley Cup. With Patrick Kane being likely out until the 2nd round they will have to push through without arguably the best player in the NHL. Once again, look for them to make a Stanley Cup run and go all the way.
Now all we need are for the playoffs to begin to see what will happen. As I said in the intro this is one of the most interesting years without the main teams being in the playoffs, (the L.A. Kings and San Jose Sharks). To sum up let the playoffs begin as people around the world are excited for them to start.