It’s happening. The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs are officially expected to start on August 1. Due to the COVID-19 pause, a traditional 16-team playoff would be unfair to those teams on the bubble fighting for a playoff spot. As a result, the NHL has introduced a unique 24-team tournament for this year’s postseason.
Considering there are only 31 teams in the league, the vast majority of teams made either the Stanley Cup Qualifiers or have earned themselves a bye. As a result, there is also a wide variety of skillsets between the 24 teams. In this article, we rank every team that qualified for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs from worst to best.
For the ranking, offense, defense, goaltending, experience, depth, and consistency were all considered. There is a lot more to determining the true best teams than just looking at the standings. Here are the rankings.
24. Montréal Canadiens
2019-20 Point Percentage: .500 (24th)
Coming in at last is the Montréal Canadiens. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The Habs had a mediocre season at best, recording just 17 regulation wins in 70 games in addition to going 0-4 against the last-place Red Wings.
While Montréal has some decent pieces on offense such as Brendan Gallagher, Johnathan Drouin, Max Domi, and Tomas Tatar, the Canadiens lack top-end talent. Shea Weber has had an excellent season, which can’t be said for the majority of the Canadiens’ D-core. Carey Price is no longer one of the top goalies in the NHL and his contract is turning into a disaster.
In short, all aspects of Montréal’s game are below average. While they are not a terrible team, they don’t carry very many redeeming qualities into the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. While of course, anything can happen, it is very likely they will be in for a rude awakening against the Penguins in the qualifying round.
23. Chicago Blackhawks
2019-20 Point Percentage: .514 (23rd)
The Chicago Blackhawks finished last in a tightly contested Central division, scoring 208 goals and allowing 214 in the regular season.
The Blackhawks, like the Canadiens, are a below-average team on the cusp of mediocrity. The Hawks do have experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as a lot of the team’s core, including Patrick Kane, Johnathan Toews, Brandon Saad, and Duncan Keith have won multiple championships with the team.
Corey Crawford quietly had an excellent season, posting a .917% SV in front of a lackluster defense. The majority of Chicago’s defense is either aging or weak on the defensive side of the puck. This can cost them against top offensive gunners such as Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the Qualifiers.
22. Florida Panthers
2019-20 Point Percentage: .565 (15th)
Heading into the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Panthers are a very one-dimensional team. While they lead the league with six players in the top-100 goal leaders, outside of their top-six talent, Florida is easily one of the worst teams in the NHL.
The Panthers are loaded with top-end offensive talent, as Aleksander Barkov, Evgenii Dadonov, Mike Hoffman, Johnathan Huberdeau, and even Noel Acciari in an unexpected breakout year have all had stellar offensive campaigns this year. Then it all goes downhill.
The Panthers don’t have a single reliable defensive defenseman on their team, and Sergei Bobrovsky was unexpectedly one of the worst starting goaltenders in the NHL this season after signing a massive contract. In short, the Florida Panthers give up a LOT of goals. The Panthers have given up an average of 3.25 goals per game, the third-highest in the NHL, and highest among playoff teams. While the Panthers’ offense can win some them games, they don’t realistically have the defense needed for a deep playoff run.
21. Minnesota Wild
2019-20 Point Percentage: .558 (21st)
The Wild are a very interesting team. Their main weakness obviously lies in between the pipes, as Devan Dubnyk and Alex Stalock is arguably the worst goaltending tandem in the league.
Minnesota also lacks star-power, as their leading scorer was Kevin Fiala with 54 points in 64 games. On the contrary, the Wild have a lot of great middle-six forwards and it rounds out their offense decently. Minnesota’s main problem offensively is they don’t have a “go-to guy,” when a big goal or offensive push is needed.
What keeps Minnesota from the very bottom is their defense. Quietly, the Wild have one of the best D-cores in the league as they have allowed the least inner-slot opportunities in the NHL this season. Their high goals-against average is to blame on abysmal goaltending. If the Wild’s goaltending is even remotely good, they have some valuable pieces and can surprise a lot of people in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
20. Nashville Predators
2019-20 Point Percentage: .565 (16th)
The Predators have had a disappointing season at best. By making a splash in free agency and acquiring Matt Duchene, a very solid Preds team on paper was supposed to compete with the Blues, Stars, and Avalanche for the top of the Central Division. It didn’t exactly work out that way.
Most of the individual players on the Predators disappointed, given their expectations- Matt Duchene, Kyle Turris, and Ryan Johansen to name a few. Supposedly, that is half of their top-six forward group. They can redeem themselves in the postseason, but their performances thus far haven’t been convincing.
The Predators have a superb top-four defense in Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, and Dante Fabbro, all of whom are excellent on both sides of the puck. However, the Preds are in a situation where they do not have a clear starting goaltender yet. Whether the Predators decide to start Pekka Rinne or Juuse Saros will be a noteworthy decision. Also, Nashville’s special teams have been a disaster, with no good reason why as they have the talent both offensively and defensively. With goaltending a question mark and a lot of underperforming forwards, depending on how they perform, the Predators can either make a deep playoff push or get bounced by the Coyotes.
19. Edmonton Oilers
2019-20 Point Percentage: .585 (12th)
This is one where the ranking and the standings really don’t match, and rightfully so. Even more so than Florida, the Oilers are a very one-dimensional team. Superstar forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have carried the Oilers to where they are in the standings, with a combined 207 points in 135 games. They led the Oilers to a historically great power play for the modern era, at a mind-boggling 29.5%.
The Oilers’ forward depth is certainly not among the league’s best. While Kailer Yamamoto, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zack Kassian, and Alex Chiasson all had good seasons, a lot of it for those players had to do with playing with McDavid and that depth isn’t really substantial enough to carry a team deep into the playoffs. McDavid and Draisaitl would have to play out of their minds.
Defense and goaltending is also a major question mark. While Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith had both had decent years, that aging goaltending tandem might struggle to lead the Oilers throughout the tournament. The Oilers’ defense is very offensive-minded and prioritizes defense second. Their style of play and lack of depth might cost them.
18. Vancouver Canucks
2019-20 Point Percentage: .565 (17th)
This was an incredible year of growth for the Vancouver Canucks, and their fans have something to be excited about. They have built a relatively young core in Elias Petterson, Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, Tyler Toffoli, and Quinn Hughes. Jacob Markstrom has also had a fantastic year between the pipes, posting a .918% SV and 2.75 GAA.
Vancouver’s forward depth on the other hand is lacking. Like Edmonton, Vancouver has had only a few players carry the weight this season and that will not cut it in a playoff series against the league’s top teams.
The defense is also not great. While it is not abysmal, the Canucks don’t have enough quality defensive defensemen to fill out their top six and limit scoring chances. Markstrom took on most of the responsibility for nullifying high-quality offensive chances for the opposition this season. Regardless, the Nucks are headed in the right direction and can make some noise in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
17. Arizona Coyotes
2019-20 Point Percentage: .529 (22nd)
Is this finally the year where Arizona can put an end to their mediocrity? We’ll have to wait and see. They certainly can.
Similarly to Barry Trotz and the Islanders, Rick Tocchet has implemented a very effective defensive system in Arizona. Complimenting their lockdown defense is one of the best goaltending tandems in the league in Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta. The Coyotes gave up the third-fewest goals in the regular season, allowing just 190 goals in 70 games for 2.61 GA/GP, which was also the third-lowest in the NHL.
However, the Coyotes offense has struggled. To address this, they traded for Taylor Hall this year, but surprisingly, it did not help much. Like Minnesota, the Coyotes have a lot of solid middle-six forwards in players such as Christian Dvorak, Conor Garland, Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, Derek Stepan, and Carl Soderberg, but lack top-end talent. The Coyotes have a lot of excellent defensive forwards but they struggle to score as they are one of the worst offensive teams in the playoff tournament. If they want to make a deep playoff push, they will have`to win some tight, low-scoring matches.
16. Winnipeg Jets
2019-20 Point Percentage: .563 (20th)
As the ninth seed in the Western Conference, the Jets have surprised a lot of hockey fans this season. As the Jets lost the majority of their defense in the 2019 offseason, expectations for Winnipeg were quite low.
However, the Jets are absolutely loaded with top-six forwards and Connor Hellebuyck had a Vezina-caliber season. While the Jets are far from the most complete team in this tournament, they have arguably the best goaltender in the NHL and have a lot of gunners that can do some damage on offense. With Winnipeg’s inexperienced and weak defensive core, this team is probably not ready to make a Cup run yet. However, with the kind of season they had and most of their key pieces being very young, the Jets can be a good team for a very long time if their defense permits.
Former New York Islander Ray Ferraro said on TSN, “I think the Jets have had an unreal year given what’s happened to them.” And he’s absolutely right. Now the question is how far it continues.
15. New York Rangers
2019-20 Point Percentage: .564 (18th)
It took a lot of time for the Rangers to get going, but they were playing some very convincing hockey prior to the coronavirus hiatus. A major part of this success was due to their rookie Russian netminder, Igor Shesterkin, who has made a name for himself right away in the Big Apple. Shesterkin has gone 10-2-0 with a .932% SV to kickstart his career and has brought the spark to the Rangers that they so desperately needed.
Lots of NHL fans believe Artemi Panarin should win the Hart Trophy after an incredible 2019-20 regular season, and other top-six forwards such as Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome have had excellent seasons and have far exceeded expectations. However, the Rangers’ forward depth is lacking. While they are fifth in the NHL in scoring, the vast majority of that has come from their top forwards as they have been so dominant season.
Now here’s the major red flag. The Rangers defense is not good, to put it nicely. Players such as Tony DeAngelo and Jacob Trouba both are offensive defensemen at heart and aren’t the greatest on the defensive side of the puck. Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren were superb, however. Igor Shesterkin, or whoever ends up playing will have to play top-notch goaltending if the Rangers want any chance of going anywhere as they have given up the second-most shots per game this season at a whopping 34. The Rangers have some great pieces but aren’t complete enough to be a top team just yet.
14. Calgary Flames
2019-20 Point Percentage: .564 (19th)
Last season, the Flames finished first in the Western Conference and second in the National Hockey League. That didn’t exactly happen this year, but regardless, the Flames still don’t get enough credit. They are a very complete team.
Looking at their offense, they have solid depth throughout the lineup and some good top talent in Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm, and Matthew Tkachuk. While Gaudreau and Monahan didn’t have spectacular seasons, hockey fans know what they are capable of as they can bounce back any minute.
David Rittich is an average netminder, but he has a quietly solid defense in front of him. Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, and Rasmus Andersson are just a few solid defensive defensemen the Flames have. While no parts of their game particularly stand out, the Flames are a very balanced and complete team. Unlike some of the teams ranked below them, despite their records, the Flames don’t have any glaring weaknesses heading into the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
13. Columbus Blue Jackets
2019-20 Point Percentage: .579 (14th)
For other teams in the Metropolitan Division, the Blue Jackets are like a gnat that doesn’t want to go away. Despite losing almost all their star players in the offseason, being plagued with injuries left and right, and having to compete in hockey’s toughest division, the Blue Jackets still managed to finish above average. That’s quite impressive, actually. But what makes the Blue Jackets so tough?
Defense, physicality, and goaltending. John Tortorella runs a tight ship, but yet again, has gotten much more out of the Blue Jackets than anyone would have expected. The Jackets have a lot of good defensemen, and even the players from the AHL who filled in were serviceable. Seth Jones is arguably a top-five defender in the National Hockey League and Columbus has a lot of excellent two-way forwards to implement their defensive style, such as Cam Atkinson, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Alexander Wennberg. That has been complemented with top-notch goaltending from Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins.
Last year, when Columbus swept Tampa Bay in one of the craziest upsets in sports history, they had some top talent in players such as Panarin, Duchene, and Ryan Dzingel; however, that was not the main reason Columbus emerged victorious. Their gritty play style wore Tampa Bay out mentally and physically, as the Jackets are an extremely frustrating team to play against. They’re not the most skilled, but they’re tough as nails. That is the type of team that can win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
12. Toronto Maple Leafs
2019-20 Point Percentage: .579 (13th)
The coaching transition from Mike Babcock to Sheldon Keefe has worked out tremendously in the Leafs’ favor. On offense, Toronto is stacked to the rim throughout the entire lineup. When John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen, William Nylander, and Andreas Johnsson make up your top six, you are already set up to be an offensive juggernaut.
Freddie Andersen is a solid goaltender. While some fans overrate him and others underrate him, Andersen is not a top goalie or anywhere near the bottom; he is slightly above average in reality.
But, it’s no secret that Toronto has one of the worst defenses in all of hockey. Jake Muzzin was an excellent offseason addition as he brings physicality and defensive tactics to the table, but overall, the Leafs lack physicality and defense. Morgan Reilly, for example, is one of the best offensive defensemen in hockey but he is mediocre at best on the defensive side of the puck. The Maple Leafs have given up 3.17 goals a game in the regular season, the second-worst among playoff teams. While Toronto is loaded with talent, that is too large of weakness to put them in the top ten.
11. New York Islanders
2019-20 Point Percentage: .588 (11th)
What an emotional roller coaster this season has been for the Islanders. Injuries, inconsistent goaltending, 17-game point streaks, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau highlight the insanity this season has been for the Isles.
The Islanders defense when healthy is one of the best in the league with Barry Trotz’s system at work. Pelech, Mayfield, and Boychuk are all incredible on the defensive side of the puck and physically, while Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews have all transformed into excellent two-way defenders. Then, the Islanders have some of the league’s best center depth with Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Casey Cizikas. The question remains the wingers and goaltenders.
The top five wings are projected to be Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Bailey, and Derick Brassard. These five guys are good hockey players but are extremely streaky and very underwhelming for a top-six forward core. After that, the depth on the wings completely plummets. Like the wingers, Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss have both had very inconsistent seasons as there are still questions about who the Isles should start in the playoffs as Ilya Sorokin is ineligible. However, we are talking about a team that went on a 15-0-2 run and a stretch of just 27 regulation losses in 91 games over the past two seasons. If the Islanders’ offense is just average, and goaltending stays consistent, the Islanders should prove people wrong yet again.
10. Vegas Golden Knights
2019-20 Point Percentage: .606 (8th)
Vegas is a very good hockey team. They are not a top-five team like some hockey writers make them out to be.
Like Calgary, the Golden Knights are one of the more complete teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner are one of hockey’s best goaltending tandems, and the Knights have excellent forward depth. Mark Stone is one of the best two-way forwards in the league, Max Pacioretty and Johnathan Marchessault are two very good offensive players, and William Karlsson has proven to be an excellent goal scorer. Two-way playing styles and excellence are seen in all of Vegas’s four lines.
Their defense is above average, but nothing special. Shea Theodore leads the unit as he is one of the most underrated defenders in the NHL, as he is incredible on both sides of the puck. Overall, Vegas doesn’t have any noticeable weaknesses and are one of the most complete teams headed into the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
9. Dallas Stars
2019-20 Point Percentage: .594 (10th)
The Dallas Stars are the epitome of a very good defensive team. We’ll start with the negative. The Stars offense has NOT been good this season. Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Alexander Radulov, Corey Perry, and Joe Pavelski have all severely underperformed. With young talents such as Rope Hintz and Denis Gurianov heating up, the Stars offense can certainly turn it around. Despite having one of the worst offenses in the league, the Stars still finished top ten. That shows how absurdly good their defense and goaltending is.
Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin is a spectacular goaltending tandem, as they both have yet again had fantastic seasons for the Stars. Dallas focuses on lockdown defense, and they certainly have the guys to do it. John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen are a great, young top defensive pairing, and players such as Esa Lindell and Stephen Johns, among others, are solid as a rock defensively.
When the Stars are hot, they are a scary team. Last season, they came the closest out of all the Blues’ opponents to defeat them, as it took a double-overtime in Game 7 for St. Louis to emerge victorious. The Stars went on a fantastic 36-13-7 run this season playing tough, defensive game. The Stars will certainly be a headache for whoever they end up playing.
8. Philadelphia Flyers
2019-20 Point Percentage: .645 (6th)
The Flyers this season are quite similar to the Islanders last season, where a new coach was brought in and expectations were low, only to end up being one of the top teams in the National Hockey League.
The Flyers have gone 14-2-1 against Metropolitan Division opponents this year, excluding the Islanders (0-2-1) and Penguins (1-1-1). They have the fourth-best goal differential in the league this year (+36) as well as the best shot differential. With Carter Hart already emerging as one of the league’s top goaltenders, the Flyers have certainly had an incredible season. Their forward core is deep, and their defense has been very solid as unexacting players such as Matt Niskanen, Travis Sanheim, and Phillipe Myers have really stepped up to the plate.
At home, the Flyers were an incredible 25-6-4 this season, but only 16-15-3 on the road. It might be difficult for Philadelphia to play in a hub city as they really use their fans’ energy to their advantage. While the majority of players on Philadelphia have had improved or career years, the Flyers’ future is very bright. But now is the time to tell if the Flyers are the real deal. Go prove it.
7. Carolina Hurricanes
2019-20 Point Percentage: .596 (9th)
Like Columbus, the Canes have been plagued with injuries all season and still managed to stay very competitive in the Metropolitan Division. The Hurricanes are loaded on paper, especially on the defensive end. When Jaccob Slavin, Jake Gardiner, Brady Skjei, Haydn Fleury, Sami Vatanen, Trevor Van Riemsdyk, and Joel Edmundson are all in the organization, the Canes can automatically put out six excellent defensemen. But, the loss of Brett Pesce and Dougie Hamilton due to injury is absolutely devastating, and keeps Raleigh’s team out of the top five.
With Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, and Teuvo Teravainen leading Carolina’s offense, you know that Carolina has reliable top gunners. Their forward depth is incredible as they have a loaded middle six and productive fourth line.
Heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, however, the one question lies between the pipes. Goaltending is Carolina’s only weakness, as Petr Mrazek and James Riemer are both fringe starters at best. However, even with questionable goaltending, the Canes worked their way to the Conference Final last season and more than capable of doing so again and even further. When the Hurricanes are hot, they are a force not to be reckoned with.
6. Washington Capitals
2019-20 Point Percentage: .652 (5th)
For the fifth consecutive season, the Washington Capitals have won the Metropolitan Division. Their offense is lethal as they have scored 3.42 goals per game, the second-highest in the entire NHL. With Alex Ovechkin, arguably the sport’s greatest goal scorer ever, Jakub Vrana, Tom Wilson, TJ Oshie, Nicolas Backstrom, and Evgeny Kuznetsov all in the top six, the acquisition of Ilya Kovalchuk, and John Carlson on the back end, it is no wonder Washington is as explosive of an offensive team as they are.
Washington’s defense isn’t nearly as good as their offense, but it is still quite serviceable. While Carlson’s defensive game isn’t great, players such as Radko Gudas, Jonas Siegenthaler, and Nick Jensen hold down the fort.
It is no secret that Braden Holtby has had a terrible year, but has been a top goalie for years. Due to Ilya Samsonov’s injury, Holtby will get the nod between the pipes. If he returns to his normal form, Washington will certainly make a lot of noise in the playoffs.
5. Colorado Avalanche
2019-20 Point Percentage: .657 (3rd)
Joe Sakic has done an incredible job building the Colorado Avalanche, as they were bottomfeeders just a few seasons ago. Their first line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen is one of hockey’s best and it is complemented with a very deep forward core throughout.
Their defense is solid and led by rookie Cale Makar, the current frontrunner for the Calder Memorial Trophy for the NHL’s best rookie. Ian Cole, Ryan Graves, and Nikita Zadorov are all exemplary defensive defensemen. Looking at the lineup and the kind of season the Avalanche had, they are an impressive team and one of the best in the Western Conference. In fact, our writers picked Colorado to win the Stanley Cup.
What keeps them outside of the top three is their lack of experience and questionable goaltending. Since Phillip Grubauer was injured, newcomer Pavel Francouz has taken over the starting role. While he has had a very good season behind a stacked Colorado defense, we do not know whether he is good enough to win a Cup quite yet. Time will tell, but the Mile High City certainly has a scary team heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins
2019-20 Point Percentage: .623 (7th)
Talk about a bounce-back year for the Penguins. After being unexpectedly swept by the Islanders last year, many hockey fans questioned if it was the end of an era of Penguins’ dominance. However, despite being the most injured team in the league, the Penguins managed to stay near the top of the standings all season.
Pittsburgh’s offense is going to be incredible. With injuries to players such as Jake Guentzel, Nick Bjugstad, and Evgeni Malkin this season, the Penguins made a splash at the trade deadline and acquired Jason Zucker, Patrick Marleau, Conor Sheary, and Evan Rodrigues. On their offense, they could now have Sidney Crosby, Guentzel, Malkin, Sheary, Bryan Rust, Zucker, Marleau, Patric Hornqvist, and Brandon Tanev make up their top nine. Their offense is stacked and experienced, as they have the top three highest playoff scorers among active players (Crosby, Malkin, and Marleau).
Their defense is nowhere near the league’s best and can be shaky at times. However, younger defenders such as Marcus Petterson, John Marino, and Brian Dumoulin are great defensively, as a lot of responsibility will lie on them. Also, Kris Letang is still one of the league’s best offensive defensemen. On the contrary, Jack Johnson and Justin Schultz did not have good seasons. Between the pipes, Pittsburgh can either roll Tristian Jarry, who had a wonderful season, or Matt Murray, who helped lead the Penguins to back-to-back cups. An unexpected early playoff exit is quite unlikely for the Pens again this season, as they are stacked and experienced. Whether hockey fans want to admit it or not, the Pittsburgh Penguins are still one of the very best teams in hockey.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning
2019-20 Point Percentage: .657 (4th)
Is it finally Tampa’s year? Time will tell. It could be. Despite Tampa Bay taking some time to heat up, the Lightning were hockey’s highest-scoring team for the third straight season. Needless to say, they are loaded on offense with the most star-power in the NHL with Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Anthony Cirelli, and Brayden Point to name a few.
The same can be said about their defense. Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, and Mikhail Sergachev have all become big names. Put this in front of Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning are easily the most stacked team in the league. It is quite amazing that Tampa Bay has managed to put together such as stacked team in the salary cap era.
If the Lightning don’t win it all this year, it may be John Cooper’s last year as the Lightning’s head coach. The Lightning are absolutely loaded, but after getting swept by Columbus last year, it is a legitimate question if Tampa is mentally weak and can’t overcome adversity. For example, when Nikita Kucherov took a cheap shot in Game Two last year and got suspended for a game, this showed frustration and the inability to overcome adversity. Tampa can certainly bring the Cup back to the Sunshine State, but the question comes down to whether their mentality and leadership will be adequate.
2. Boston Bruins
2019-20 Point Percentage: .714 (1st)
When you have the best goaltending tandem, defense, and top-line in hockey, it is not much of a surprise that the Boston Bruins are one of the best teams in hockey. Tuukka Rask and former Islander Jaroslav Halak won the Jennings Trophy this year, for the fewest goals given up by a goaltending tandem, as they both have had incredible seasons.
Their top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak is the best hockey has to offer. Bergeron and Marchand are two of the best two-way forwards in the millennium, and David Pastrnak is becoming a premier goal scorer in the National Hockey League. Marchand and Pastrnak have elevated their offensive game to a new level, as Marchand has soft hands and is an excellent playmaker for Pastrnak, who has an absolutely lethal wrist shot.
Their defense is loaded with some of the league’s defensive defensemen, like Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Torey Krug. Their one weakness, if you want to call it a weakness, is their forward depth isn’t nearly as strong as the rest of their team. If Boston wins a Cup or not will likely depend on if guys such as Ondrej Kase, Charlie Coyle, and Sean Kuraly perform. All in all, the Bruins are a lethal threat heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs but are far from a lock to win it all.
1. St. Louis Blues
2019-20 Point Percentage: .662 (2nd)
The St. Louis Blues are the Stanley Cup Champions until they are dethroned. The Blues have absolutely taken over the Western Conference for a year, six months, and counting. And St. Louis has only three words in their mind heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs- “Back to Back.” And it’s quite possible.
The Blues sat atop the Western Conference for almost the entire season without their star goal-scorer, Vladimir Tarasenko. It’s truly hard to find a hole in the Blues lineup. They have depth, top-end talent, Jordan Binnington has continued to be an elite goaltender, and the Blues’ defense (led by Alex Pietrangelo) is absolutely incredible. What makes the Blues slightly better than Boston is their depth and physicality. Those factors are what allowed the Blues to emerge victorious in the Stanley Cup Final last season, and nothing has changed. The Blues are the deepest team in hockey. You also have to consider the Blues had to battle in the Central Division, which is much stronger than the Atlantic for Boston.
If you went through every team in the NHL, you would be able to find one small flaw. You really can’t for the Blues. There shouldn’t be much doubt that the St. Louis Blues are the best team in hockey, and the favorites to repeat in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.