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2024 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview

(Photo courtesy of “Player holding Stanley Cup after they won the title.”

Riley Fontana
Connector Editor

It’s official, the Stanley Cup Playoff race has officially begun. 16 teams have clinched their spots at a chance for the coveted cup. With three spots remaining open, fans have high hopes for their favorite teams to claim one as soon as possible.  

As of April 12, 2024, the teams who have clinched their spots are the New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lighting for the Eastern Conference. For the Western Conference, the Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks, Colorado Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators are competing. At this point in the season, it’s hard to tell who will take the cup, especially with how many teams have a reputation for choking in the second round.  

By far, the strongest competitors are the Boston Bruins, who have been having an incredibly hot season and are generally one of the best teams each season. Many sports betting websites are saying the Colorado Avalanche is a great bet and won back in 2022. Having several cup wins is not always a sign a team will come out on top, especially with newcomers to the league, the Vegas Golden Knights, taking the cup last season.  

Right now, there is mostly speculation about the strongest cup contenders, but there are a few teams who deserve it more than others, especially given how much the same teams win. Out of the teams currently slotted for the playoffs, the following teams have never won a Stanley Cup: the Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets and the Nashville Predators. Other teams have not touched the cup in over 20 years, but their team names are etched into the silver for eternity.  

Out of the four teams that have never won a Stanley Cup, the most satisfying to see win would be the Florida Panthers, who have lived in infamy for a few years. The Panthers have always struggled to be a good team, and being located in Sunshine, Florida, a city that does not value hockey, makes it even harder for them to thrive. They are one of the laughingstocks of the NHL no matter how hard they try to prove themselves as a decent hockey team.  

The Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets would also make a satisfying win. A Canadian team has not won since 1993 when the Montreal Canadians brought it home. Canada is the home of hockey as a sport and many fans will take a win from any of the seven Canadian teams as a win for the nation. The Vancouver Canucks are one of the longest-standing NHL teams without a cup, so a win for them would be historic and end a centuries-long slump.  

The NHL is a league where the same teams win the Stanley Cup repeatedly, so hopefully the 2024 playoffs bring in a new champion. The playoffs officially begin on April 20 and, until then, there is plenty of hockey to watch as teams battle for a wildcard slot.  

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