The trade deadline has come and gone, and we’re now at a point in the season where the Stanley Cup contenders are trying to separate from the pretenders. Let’s find out who those teams are.
The Habs let go of their head coach just a few weeks back, and brought in Claude Julien who won a Cup in Boston back in 2011. Should Carey Price catch fire, this roster has the talent to go all the way.. I just don’t see it happening this year though, and I’ll tell you why. I own the secret formula on how to build a Stanley Cup roster. It goes a little something like this, 2 stud centers + 1 stud defensman + 1 stud goalie = Stanley Cup. And unfortunately for Montreal fans, this team is lacking down the middle. Big B says… Pretenders.
Acquiring Shattenkirk at the deadline showed the Caps are sick and tired of coming up short. Alex Ovechkin is now 31 and has yet to play for a Stanley Cup.. I’m not saying their window is closing because of all their young talent, but Ovi ain’t getting younger. They’re running the table with 93 points on the season and haven’t showed any signs of slowing down. This is the leagues deepest team across the board, and they have superstars at every single position. If there’s a year for the Caps finally hop over the fence, it’s this this season. Big B says… Contender.
This is very simple, when you have a healthy Sidney Crosby, anything short of a finals appearance is a bust. This roster still has all the key pieces from last year’s team, and as long as they stay hungry I think they’re the team to beat. I see the East as 2 horse race between Pittsburgh and Washington. As a fan of the game, I’m praying to the hockey gods that we get to see a Pitt vs Washington Eastern Conference Final.. a chance for Crosby and Ovi to do battle on the biggest stage (unless my Bruins make a run… but who am I kidding). This team is going to be fun to watch come playoff time. Big B says… Contender.
New York Rangers:
This is the only team I can see getting in the way of my Ovi vs Sid showdown. The Rangers can roll out 4 serious lines that are jacked with talent. The addition of Brendan Smith at the deadline was HUGE as their blue line depth is their biggest flaw. My big concern for them is a 35 year old King Henrik. With their current blue line and a 35 year old goalie, I just can’t see this group coming out of the East…Big B says… Pretender.
Columbus Blue Jackets:
I know the Blue Jackets are having an excellent year, but I’m just not sold on them this year. They’re set up for a great future with young studs like Seth Jones and Zach Werenski manning the blue line for years to come. They’re just not quite there yet though. Big B says… Pretender.
San Jose Sharks:
The Sharks are known for choking, but they finally shut me up last year with an emphatic run to Cup Finals. Jumbo Joe and boys came up a little short against the Penguins in what was a hell of a series. The West is wide open in my eyes this year, and with a similar roster to last season I see no reason the Sharks can’t get back to the Cup. Big B says… Contender.
As much as it pains me to say it, this is the team to beat in the West. They were bounced by St. Louis last year in what was one of the best series’ I’ve ever seen. With the addition of Oduya, this team is again loaded across the board. The x factor will be if youngsters like Panarin, Hartman and Jurco can handle the postseason. With the best captain in hockey leading the way, it pains me to say that I expect the Hawks to come out of the West. Big B says… Contender.
How ‘bout them Wild, eh? This team hasn’t been able to figure how to win in the playoffs the past few years, and they added a coach in Bruce Boudrou who was fired for not winning playoff games. So feel free to call me crazy, but this team will be playing in the Western Conference Finals. They have the perfect blend of experienced vets to along with their hungy young bucks. As long as Dubnyk doesn’t choke, and young studs like Coyle, Granlund and Dumba don’t crumble.. this team will be a very tough out. Big B says… Contender.
With all that being said, give me a Penguins vs Blackhawks final!