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NHL Players' Vote Repeats Avalanche Favorites As Cup Champions

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“It might win the Stanley Cup, I say,” McKinnon said with a laugh.

Clearly, had McKinnon been able to pick his own team, the center would have predicted the Colorado Avalanche would repeat as champions.

Of the 50 players polled at NAPMT and the NHL European Players Media Tour in Paris in August, 32 chose Avalanche to win the Cup this season.

Five chose the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes received three votes each, while the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers received two votes each. Two players declined to answer. I chose the Toronto Maple Leafs.

So when the Avalanche raise their flags in the rafters (9:30 PM ET, TNT, SN NOW) before kicking off the regular season against the Chicago Blackhawks at the ball arena on Wednesday, they’ll be back in no time. You are expected to do the same. 1 year from now.

‘Well, I’d like to think we (win the cup),’ says Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews Said. “But Colorado, who won last year, are clearly going to be big favorites given the team they have and what they’ve accomplished. So I have to go with them.”

Obviously, Colorado is the easy answer and that’s part of this.The NHL is still defined by equivalence and unpredictability, and even put in place by, June 26 No one can blame you for choosing the team that lifted the cup on the day.

‘Very difficult’ says Vancouver Canucks defense Quinn Hughes Said. “Who knows? There might be 10 teams or so. For now, we have to go to Colorado. [three] A few months ago I think. That was not too long ago. They are the defending champions, so you have to beat them. “

That said, for all the parity and unpredictability of the NHL since the introduction of the salary cap in 2005-06, it has become commonplace for champions to maintain and even repeat success. .

The Chicago Blackhawks won the championship in 2010, 2013 and 2015. The Los Angeles Kings won in 2012 and he in 2014. The Pittsburgh Penguins won in 2009 and won in 2016 and 2017.

Video: NHL Network Predicts Stanley Cup Matchups

The Lightning won 2020 and 2021 and reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2022, losing to the Avalanche in six games. That’s another good reason to go to Tampa Bay.

Edmonton Oilers Center Connor McDavid “They were just there before” and chose the lightning bolt.rangers defense Jacob Truba “They’ve proven they’re a team,” Lightning said.

avalanche defenseman Kare Makar“For all their stars, Tampa can’t be counted,” said the goaltender, while nodding to Carolina and Toronto. Andrei VasilevskyForward of the St. Louis Blues Robert Thomas Lightning said he was “hungry for something different and was right there last year.”

But if hunger wasn’t a problem for the Blackhawks, Kings, Penguins, or Lightning, why would it be a problem for Avalanche?

“When the team gets the job done and they see what it’s like to win, some people say, ‘Oh, we won and I’m not motivated.'” Dallas Stars goalie Jake Ettinger Said. “I think it’s the exact opposite. They’re going to want to do it again. I can’t wait to play them. Of course I’m looking forward to playing in the playoffs.”

Other candidates made major changes.

Flames fell forward Johnny Gaudreau Was a free agency but added a center Nazem Kadri free agency and forward Jonathan Huberdeau via trade.

“They made some good pickups,” said the Winnipeg Jets center. Mark Shaifel, one of the players who chose Flames. “To get Huberdor is to fill the void in Gaudreau and get Kadori. [is important]they are good [defense] Legion. I think it’s a difficult team to play against.”

Panthers subtracted Huberteau, but moved forward Matthew Takachuk Via trade from Calgary. They also gained experience in the Stanley Cup playoffs, defeating the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference first round and being swept by the Lightning in the second round to win the series for the first time since 1996.

McKinnon, who picked Florida when he couldn’t pick Colorado, said, “I think they’ve learned a lot and will be better.

Rangers Extra Forward Vincent Trochek In free agency, Hurricanes added defense Brent Burns Transfer Max Pacioretti in trades. (Pacioleti is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, but is expected to return in February.)

However, Avalanche is much the same. They lost Kadori and a goalie, Darcy Kemperthey added forward Evan Rodriguez They acquired free agency goalkeeper Alexander Georgiev in a trade and still have McKinnon, Makar and the core of the company.

Several players said they chose Avalanche because of how many players were returning.Vegas Golden Knights Forward Mark Stone Citing Makar and McKinnon in particular, “They still have the best defenseman on the planet, and they still have one of the best centermen on the planet.

“If it wasn’t for us, I might go back to my old team, Colorado,” said Kemper, who signed with the Capitals as an unrestricted free agent. “A lot of their players are coming back. Obviously there are a lot of good players out there. They’ve done it before, so obviously they can do it again.”

They are the team to beat.

“Yeah, I think so,” McKinnon told the “NHL @TheRink” podcast. “Yeah, of course there are some new players as we talked about, but it feels good. I learned a lot from last season. , but the playoffs [are] We’re excited to get there when it matters. “ staff contributed to this report