Hockey Independent Roundtable: Preseason Stanley Cup Predictions

Hello everyone and welcome again to the Hockey Independent Roundtable. In today’s piece, five HI writers will provide you all with their early picks for the playoffs ad the Stanley Cup. This piece will double as Part III of my five-part 2013 NHL season preview.

Part I –> Northeast Division Preview

Part II –> Eastern Conference Preview

Part III –> Hockey Independent Roundtable: Preseason Stanley Cup Predictions

Part IV –> Boston Bruins 2013 Roster Predictions: The Forwards

Part V –> Boston Bruins 2013 Roster Predictions: Defense/Goaltenders

Without further ado, here are the Stanley Cup picks for each member of the roundtable.

Seth Levin (New Jersey Devils) -

Round 1

1 Pittsburgh over 8 Tampa Bay, 2 Boston over 7 Buffalo, 3 Carolina over 6 Philadelphia, 5 New Jersey over 4 New York Rangers

8 Edmonton over 1 Vancouver, 2 Chicago over 7 Dallas, 3 Los Angeles over 6 St. Louis, 5 Colorado over 4 Detroit

Round 2

1 Pittsburgh over 5 New Jersey, 3 Carolina over 2 Boston

2 Chicago over 8 Edmonton, 3 Los Angeles over 5 Colorado

Round 3

1 Pittsburgh over 3 Carolina

2 Chicago over 3 Los Angeles

Stanley Cup

2 Chicago over 1 Pittsburgh

- Not going too out on a limb with my Stanley Cup final pick, with stars filling both rosters. It will be a rematch of the 1992 Finals, but this time I see the talent of Chicago prevailing in 6 games over Pittsburgh.  There’s obviously a lot of assumptions being made here, specifically between the pipes for both teams, and that health won’t be a major issue for either team, but my call is for things to fall in line for the Blackhawks to be crowned 2013 Stanley Cup champs.

Cris Cohen (New York Rangers) -

Round 1

1 New York Rangers over 8 New Jersey, 2 Washington over 7 Ottawa, 6 Carolina over 3 Boston, 4 Pittsburgh over 5 Philadelphia

1 St. Louis over 8 Detroit, 2 Vancouver over 7 Minnesota, 6 Phoenix over 3 Los Angeles, 5 Nashville over 4 Chicago

Round 2

1 New York Rangers over 6 Carolina, 4 Pittsburgh over 2 Washington

1 St. Louis over 6 Phoenix, 2 Vancouver over 5 Nashville

Round 3

1 New York Rangers over 4 Pittsburgh

1 St. Louis over 2 Vancouver

Stanley Cup

1 New York Rangers over 1 St. Louis Blues

- The Blues and Rangers approach hockey in very similarstyles. Ken Hitchcock and John Tortorella have put stock in goaltending and defense(finishing 1 and 3 respectively in goals against in 2011-12).Both teams haveworked to address the lack of offense that was a shortcoming last season. I don’tanticipate either team steamrolling their way to the final the way the Los Angeles Kings did last season, but better balance on both sides of the puckwill serve these teams well in the race to 16 wins.

The goaltending tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliotfor the Blues and the reigning Vezina winner Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers, combinedwith shot-blocking defense from both teams all but ensures this will be atight, low-scoring affair. Being almost evenly matched in their own zones, itwill come down to which offense will be able to manage to get that extra goal thatputs them over the top. Blues’ top prospect Vladimir Tarasenko, for whom expectationsare high, will be a nice complement to the likes of David Backes and DavidPerron. In his time with Columbus, Rick Nash managed seven 30+ goal seasonswith a mediocre supporting cast and is now surrounded with better players inNew York like Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards. Neither Tarasenko (zero games)nor Nash (four games, all losses) has a proven playoff track record of “gettingit done.” I do, however, have to give the edge to the team with the former RocketRichard Trophy winner on its side.

Bill Philp (Tampa Bay Lightning) -

Round 1

1 Pittsburgh over 8 Philadelphia, 2 New York Rangers over 7 Carolina, 3 Boston over 6 Florida, 5 Tampa Bay over 4 Washington

1 Vancouver over 8 Nashville, 7 San Jose over 2 Los Angeles, 3 Chicago over 6 Detroit, 4 St. Louis over 5 Minnesota

Round 2

1 Pittsburgh over 5 Tampa Bay, 2 New York Rangers over 3 Boston

1 Vancouver over 7 San Jose, 3 Chicago over 4 St. Louis

Round 3

1 Pittsburgh over 2 New York Rangers

1 Vancouver over 3 Chicago

Stanley Cup

1 Pittsburgh over 1 Vancouver

- Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the deepest roster in hockey were too much for the Canucks. Marc-Andre Fleury was dominating between the posts for the Penguins who win the series in five games.

Benjamin Woodward (Boston Bruins) -

Round 1

1 New York Rangers over 8 Toronto, 2 Boston over 7 Philadelphia, 6 Tampa Bay over 3 Carolina, 4 Pittsburgh over 5 Washington

1 St. Louis over 8 Minnesota, 7 Nashville over 2 Vancouver, 3 Los Angeles over 6 San Jose, 5 Dallas over 4 Chicago

Round 2

1 New York Rangers over 6 Tampa Bay, 2 Boston over 4 Pittsburgh

1 St. Louis over 7 Nashville, 3 Los Angeles over 5 Dallas

Round 3

2 Boston over 1 New York Rangers

1 St. Louis over 3 Los Angeles

Stanley Cup

2 Boston over 1 St. Louis

- At the risk of sounding like a complete homer, I’ve picked the Boston Bruins to take home the Stanley Cup in 2013 for the second time in the last three years. With the season shortened to 48 games, young goaltender Tuukka Rask will be placed in almost the same situation as he was three years ago when taking over for an injured Tim Thomas for half the year. During that short period of time, the Finnish netminder led the NHL in goals against and save percentage. Strong goaltending and one of the deepest, most well-rounded lineups in the league will lead Boston back to the promised-land in 2013.

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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.

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