Early Contenders to Win the NHL Stanley Cup in 2019-20

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By Thomas Clarke

With a little over a month until the beginning of the new NHL season, all hockey fans will be thinking ahead to who could win the Stanley Cup. Whilst last year’s finalists, the Boston Bruins, are amongst the front-runners, there’s real competition from the likes of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Las Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche.

Don’t forget the reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, and it all promises to be another fascinating season of top-level ice hockey.

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There are question marks for the Blues though. Stars like Ryan O’Reilly were in devastating form, but Craig Berube’s team are looking much less likely to triumph in 2019/20.

This is because the Western Conference champs, who won their first ever Stanley Cup in June, had a very quiet off-season, and there is still a lot of speculation as to whether they can keep the likes of Joel Edmundson and Ivan Barbashev on their books.

Whilst this could be part of a long-term money-saving operation remains to be seen, but it’s clear that unless something happens soon, the St Louis Blues might have to work twice as hard to retain the Stanley Cup this season. 

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There are far fewer concerns about the Bruins, who are once again looking strong for the upcoming season.

However, Boston has spent much of the off-season in a state of flux and there remain big questions as to whether the team will re-sign Brandon Claro and Charlie McAvoy. Both players were in great form last season, and there remains big questions about the Boston defence with their lingering absence.

With both Boston and St Louis having fairly undistinguished off-seasons, it has left space for Tampa Bay to leap up the odds to win next season’s NHL tournament. If you go to a betting resource like https://oddspedia.com/ then you’ll see how this Eastern Conference team is well on course for picking up their first Stanley Cup since 2004.

The Lightning have just splashed out $1.75 million on defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk to add to their already talented squad. It remains to be seen how Shattenkirk will link up with key players like Steven Stamkos, but there is little doubt that Tampa could be the team to beat in next season’s NHL.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the Maple Leafs are also looking good for the upcoming season.

Whilst the team will still be feeling the hurt of their first-round exit at the hands of the Boston Bruins, all indications are that Toronto will return re-energised.

Although there are still a few questions regarding who the team’s next captain and team leaders will be, with the hopes that they can get Tyson Barrie on a long-term deal from the Avalanche, it could be yet another successful season for the Atlantic Division side.

Speaking of Colorado, many bookies have this team down as being the dark horses of next season’s NHL. The Western Conference team haven’t managed to win the Stanley Cup since 2001, but Jared Bednar is making all of the right moves to ensure that Colorado Avalanche fans have a season to remember.

As long as their center, Nathan MacKinnon, continues his epic run of form, then they should be able to improve on their relatively mediocre performance in the Central Division last season.

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We can’t discuss next season’s NHL without mentioning the fact that the Golden Knights are looking very strong, plus it’s going to be interesting to see how the Calgary Flames emerge when the new season begins in September.

And with the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars and even the Nashville Predators also in the running, it’s looking like another epic season of ice hockey lies in wait.

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