Top 10 NHL Stanley Cup Contenders for 2013-14
By Dan Knightly (@DanKnightly) Special to The Hockey Guys
The 2013 shortened season saw anything and everything happen. We saw the Chicago Blackhawks go on an incredible run — regular season through the playoffs and the offseason was all about the buyouts . Stars such as Vinny Lecavalier and Danny Briere fell victims. But, once again owners gave big money away to try and improve their teams.
Here is my list for the top 10 Stanley Cup contenders going in to the NHL 2013-2014 season.
1. Los Angeles Kings
Jonathan Quick just might be the best goaltender in the world right now. With the core together they are basically the same team that won the cup back in 2012. Injuries played a huge factor in them losing to the Hawks in the Conference final. It’s difficult to bet against the Kings right now.
2. Chicago Blackhawks
This team is just too skilled to have the Stanley cup hangover. Just like LA their core is still intact — and what a core it is.
3. St. Louis Blues
This team has a great group of denfenceman lead by Alex Pieterangelo. If they can find a way to score consistently they will have as good as a shot as anybody.
4. Boston Bruins
With the addition of Loui Erikson i think they are even better. Tukka Rask has shown he is an elite goalie and they still have the best defenseman Zdeno Chara putting fear into his opponents.
5. New York Rangers
New coach Alain Vigneault’s style fits with this roster better than Tortorella’s did. Expect a huge bounce back year from Brad Richards. Oh yeah, they also have King Henrik in net.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins
I have them so far down because of the goaltending situation. Fleury has looked just as bad or even worse than Ilya Bryzgalov recently. But with the two best players in the world (Crosby and Malkin) you’re always a threat.
7. Anaheim Ducks
Despite losing in the first round, this team is still a powerhouse. They have 3 NHL legitimate goalies and look for them to trade one of them to greatly improve their roster.
8. Detroit Red Wings
Detroit is always a threat as long as they have GM Ken Holland and head coach Mike Babcock driving the boat. With additions of Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson this team will score more goals now. Jumping to the East will greatly improve their chances at returning to glory.
9. Toronto Maple Leafs
Were a minute away from eliminating the Boston Bruins before a collapse of epical proportions happened. Solid tandem in net- David Clarkson and David Bolland- the breakout player of the year IMO Jake Gardiner, this team will be very good and hard to play against.
10. Philadelphia Flyers
The bryz circus has left town and that can only mean good things for the fly guys. Up front they might have the best young 9 forwards in the league. Leading the way is arguably 3rd best player captain Claude Giroux. Adding Lecavalier will be a huge help to Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier. The questions marks are in net- can Steve Mason and Ray Emery handle the load all year. Even with adding Mark Streit the defence was a disaster last year. I feel it was a fluke they missed the playoffs and will return to a strong team in the East.