The wait is over. The 2021/2022 NHL season is almost amongst us and many teams have their eyes set on the Stanley Cup Trophy. Will Tampa Bay Lightning repeat their title or will there be some upset? We have prepared for you a list of six title contenders who are looking to get their hands on the trophy in the end of the year.
After a disappointing Second Round exit in the Playoffs last year, Colorado Avalanche will be looking to finally materialize their chances this upcoming 2021/2022 NHL season. They have been looking pretty good during the Regular season last year, but got knocked out by the Vegas Golden Knights with 4-2. Gabriel Landeskog, Erik Johnson, and Nathan MacKinnon are eager to lift the trophy and they will do their best to do so this time.
Not only that the team has a great depth in the roster, but they also have lots of potential that hasn’t been reached yet. The pre-season period had its ups and downs winning just two games out of six. They lost twice to their rivals the Vegas Golden Knights (3:4, 4:7) and suffered two more defeats away from home against Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars.
If you weren’t already hyped for the season, you will be after watching this!
One day closer to opening night!#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/N9uJgdlKPQ
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) October 2, 2021
However, the team looks really solid and they will definitely be looking to top their division once again this year which will give them a bit of space to breathe during the first couple of rounds in the Playoffs. Avalanche haven’t won the Stanley Cup since the 2000/01 NHL season and with this team they have at the moment, they are huge contenders to repeat this achievement.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The back-to-back champions of the Stanley Cup Trophy will be looking to make history by lifting the title for a third consecutive time. They are opening the season against Pittsburgh Penguins who have always been a tough opponent to play against. The team didn’t make a lot of changes to their squad during the break, but they still managed to acquire experienced hockey players like Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Zach Bogosian, Corey Perry, and Brian Eliott.
All of them are above 30 years old, with Bellemare, Perry, and Eliott standing at 36-years of age. Hence, Tampa Bay Lightning will surely be a title contender this year, since they have managed to preserve their roster and made just small amendments to it. Their captain, Steven Stamkos, is hungry for new glorious moments and knows pretty well how to lead his team.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The team from Toronto, Canada, has its traditions in NHL, dating back to the 1917/18 season when they won their first Stanley Cup. In the next 50 years, they managed to increase this number to 13 Stanley Cups. However, since the 1966/67 NHL season the Leafs have found it really difficult to reach the finals once again, yet alone to lift the trophy.
During the last season, they won their North Division, but only to lose in the opening round of the Playoffs against their rivals, and future runners-up, the Montreal Canadians. The series was intense and they lost by the smallest of margins, but in the end what matters is who won and not much how it had happened.
The Leaf: Blueprint Moment #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/IbVB5yCLWa
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 10, 2021
The team made some additions during the break, getting Petr Mrazek from Carolina Hurricanes, David Kampf from Chicago Blackhawks, and Nick Ritchie from Boston Bruins. With their roster built around John Tavares, Morgan Rielly, Mitch Marner, and Auston Matthews, they certainly have their chances of breaking the 55-year drought this year.
The Florida Panthers – for me, that’s one of the hidden favorites for the Stanley Cup Trophy. Last year, they had a good run prior to the Playoffs, but fate put them against the defending champions, Tampa Bay Lightning, in the opening round. Both teams have put on a great show for the audience, but in the end the Lightning won 4-2.
This year, the Panthers will be looking to go beyond the First Round of the Playoffs and with names in their roster like Aleksandar Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, and Jonathan Huberdeau, they fancy their chances of doing so.
They did a good run in their pre-season games, winning their first five games. They won twice against the Nashville Predators and the Dallas Stars and won one game against the back-to-back champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, the last two games have resulted in a defeat for the team from Florida (2:4, 2:6) also against the team from Tampa. All in all, the team looks decent and would be really looking to make an upset during the upcoming 2021/22 NHL season.
Vegas Golden Knights
The pearl from Las Vegas, the team of the Vegas Golden Knights will be looking to live up by its name and get the “gold” in the end of this season. Founded in 2017, the team has been a threat to their opponents ever since. During their first season in NHL, they managed to reach the finals of the Stanley Cup, but they eventually lost the series against Washington Capitals with 4-1.
During 2020/21 season, they had a great chance to make history and lift the trophy for the first time, but they lost in the Semifinals against Montreal Canadians. However, their series against Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche have shown us that the team can cope with the pressure and it’s just a matter of time for them to reach the Finals once again, but this time to win the series.
Head Coach Pete DeBoer provides updates ahead of tomorrow’s opening game against the Seattle Kraken. #VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/L1Nnk9E0N1
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) October 11, 2021
Mark Stone, Reilly Smith, Alex Pietrangelo and the whole squad of the Vegas Golden Knights will be looking to get revenge against some teams this year. They will need to play smart, aggressive, and preserve their best for the Playoffs. They have the potential to lift the trophy, but we will see whether the stars will be aligned in their favor in the end of the season.
Boston Bruins is the last title contender on our list. The team managed to break a 39-year drought without a trophy by winning the Championship in the 2010/11 NHL season. Since then, they have come close to winning it for 7th time in their history, but they didn’t manage to defeat St. Louis Blues during 2018/19. This year things are no different, as the team is looking pretty solid before the start of the Regular season.
They have made 9 additions to their roster including some really good hockey players like Nick Foligno from the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Tomas Nosek from the Vegas Golden Knights. During the last season, the Boston Bruins finished third in their East Division which put them against the Washington Capitals in the First Round of Playoffs. They managed to snatch the victory by winning the series 4-1.
However, their next opponent was New York Islanders who broke their chances for the Trophy by defeating them 4-2. This year, the Boston Bruins will be looking for revenge in the Regular Season and they will do their best to spare their best players for the Playoffs Rounds.
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