Which NHL franchise will escape the ‘Unhappy Membership’ subsequent?
There are 11 franchises which have by no means gained a Stanley Cup, however first-timers have additionally been victorious up to now two seasons. Will one other emerge in 2020? We break down which groups are in one of the best place to interrupt the curse.Mark Stone|David Becker/NHLI by way of Getty ImagesOne of essentially the most satisfying elements of the previous two Stanley Cup championships was the actual fact a franchise that has by no means gained the title earlier than bought to elevate the trophy. The Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues had toiled for many years till their day within the solar got here, making it all of the extra exhilarating for his or her long-suffering fan bases.
Of the present 31 NHL franchises, solely 11 have but to win the Cup. Arizona, Buffalo, Columbus, Florida, Minnesota, Ottawa (the outdated Sens don’t rely – they moved to St. Louis earlier than folding solely in 1935), Nashville, San Jose, Vancouver, Vegas and Winnipeg are the present members of ‘The Unhappy Membership’ (a time period I credit score to Vancouver author Jason Brough).
Whereas the Blues proved final 12 months that each one you need to do is get into the sphere to make a championship run, we will already get rid of Ottawa and San Jose as a result of these groups don’t make the playoffs. In all chance, Buffalo can be toast. So who’s trying one of the best proper now?
1. Vegas Golden Knights – The latest NHL staff has seen nothing however sustained success from the get-go and whereas the Pacific Division has been a wild roller-coaster this season, the Golden Knights at the moment are on high, having gained eight of their previous 10 video games. Accidents to the Canucks and Oilers helped the Vegas run, however give the Golden Knights credit score: they’re getting scorching on the proper time. Given how little playoff expertise there may be elsewhere within the Pacific, the Golden Knights are in one of the best place to get out of their very own division earlier than dealing with a Central opponent that needed to take the exhausting route – the Blues, Avalanche and Stars will all need to play one another beforehand and people won’t be simple sequence.
2. Vancouver Canucks – The youngsters are for actual in Vancouver and although the Canucks have run into harm issues (Brock Boeser, Jacob Markstrom), the staff has video games in hand on each division opponent close by. Within the short-term, it’s going to be as much as Thatcher Demko to carry down the crease till Markstrom returns. Tyler Toffoli offers the staff Cup rings from his L.A. days, although the Canucks will doubtless need to tangle with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl’s Edmonton Oilers within the first spherical.
3. Nashville Predators – This may occasionally seem to be an atypical reply, however the Predators have been enjoying higher of late, profitable six of their previous 10. A lot of Nashville’s main guys have already been to a Cup closing due to the staff’s run again in 2017, so the expertise is there. Coach John Hynes has been experimenting with some fairly unorthodox line combos up entrance, but when he’s getting wins you need to give him credit score. We all know the protection corps is stacked, in order that’s a energy. Having mentioned all that, the Predators might have a murderous path by way of the Central – assuming they will maintain onto a wild card spot.
4. Florida Panthers – The one Unhappy Membership staff within the East that appears tangible is Florida, the place the Panthers merely must go a wounded Toronto staff for the third seed within the Atlantic Division. Now, the Cats must get previous Boston and Tampa most probably en path to the convention closing, but when this staff can lastly come collectively, they’ve bought some fascinating components. Dare I ask if Sergei Bobrovsky can assist in web? He has gained three of his previous 4 begins…
5. Winnipeg Jets – Winnipeg will get the nod over Arizona though the margin is nil – however the Jets have a recreation in hand and a barely higher document up to now 10 video games. Winnipeg additionally has Connor Hellebuyck in web and a bunch of underachieving forwards who’re beginning to warmth up, so the timing may be there. However, the protection corps continues to be depleted and the Jets would have a harsh path by way of the West. Not less than we all know the ambiance at dwelling video games shall be electrical.
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Tags: vegas golden knights, vancouver canucks, nhlConnect: Concerning the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect professional at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all known as his home. He lives in Toronto together with his spouse and children the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.