#Stanley #Cup #favorite
We’re nearing the end of the calendar year 2022. That means it’s no longer too soon to speculate on what happens in 2023. We’ve seen the NHL in action for roughly a third of the season now. And with some shocking teams sitting high in the standings, it seems like a good time to update our championship picks.
Whether it has changed from your preseason pick or not, tell us, Daily Faceoff roundtable: Who is your Stanley Cup pick right now?
MATT LARKIN: I think I’ll cave and update mine. I picked the New York Rangers before the season started. I’m pivoting to the Dallas Stars. They have all the pillars you want from a Cup-winning team: alpha goaltender (Jake Oettinger), dominant No. 1 defenseman (Miro Heiskanen), beastly No. 1 center (Roope Hintz) and, of course, a budding superstar in Jason Robertson. I expect GM Jim Nill to add another high-impact forward before the trade deadline, too. I’m envisioning the Cup taking residence in the Lone Star State for the first time since 1999.
FRANK SERAVALLI: My preseason pick was the Carolina Hurricanes, and while they’ve never been in trouble for a minute this season, I’m going to pivot and go with the Boston Bruins. They’ve got some serious “Last Dance” vibes at the moment. They’ve also been virtually unbeatable on home-ice (15-0-2), which is needed during a deep playoff run. There’s been no drama around the David Pastrnak contract situation. Linus Ullmark is putting together the Vezina season that no one is really talking about. Jake DeBrusk and Taylor Hall are playing their best hockey in years. And here’s the kicker: I think the Bruins are going to be huge deadline players, trying to bolster both this year’s chances and maybe even their future if Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci hang ’em up after hoisting Lord Stanley’s chalice again.
MIKE MCKENNA: I’m too stubborn to look off my preseason favorite: the Pittsburgh Penguins. So I’m sticking to my guns in saying Sidney Crosby and the gang lift the Stanley Cup once again this June. The Penguins have been red-hot lately despite missing top puck-moving defenseman Kris Letang for a stretch. And even though the blueline is still thin with Jeff Petry out of action, I think Marcus Pettersson has really stepped up. Bryan Rust is finally playing up to his ability. And ever since Teddy Blueger stepped back into the Penguins lineup, the penalty kill has been staunch. I could go on down the list of players, but really it boils down to this: Pittsburgh doesn’t have any passengers right now. Crosby is leading the way, and Tristan Jarry is 10-0-1 in his last 10 games with a .941 save percentage. I’m not sure how much roster tweaking GM Ron Hextall can do at the trade deadline, but it might not matter. The Penguins are a legit Stanley Cup contender.
NICK ALBERGA: Unlike Frank, I will stand firm with my preseason pick of the Carolina Hurricanes. As per usual, they’re not the flashiest team, but again, they’re getting the job done. Furthermore, they’ve done most of their damage without No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen. Pyotr Kochetkov has been a fantastic story. On top of that, Max Pacioretty has yet to play a game. Additionally, I fully expect the Canes to be active in advance of the trade deadline. As currently constructed, they’re already a contender, so just wait until they get healthy and potentially acquire a player or two as well. I’m all-in; they should be as well.
STEVEN ELLIS: I’m sticking to my guns here with the Carolina Hurricanes as well. They’re still looking sharp in the Metro and might be able to take over the division lead before too long. Goaltending has been a mixed bag, but the fact that they have three goalies who, when healthy, can all go on hot streaks excites me. The play of Martin Necas is huge, and Jordan Martinook has been a pleasant surprise, too. I’m not 100 percent sold on them, but I still have to hold strong for now.