- The 2023 Eastern Conference NHL Finals sees the Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers
- The 2023 Western Conference NHL Finals sees the Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden Knights
- Dallas and Carolina each have one Stanley Cup victory. Vegas and Florida are both 0-1 in Stanley Cup Finals
The 2023 Stanley Cup Finals are almost upon us. This week, the NHL Conference Finals begin with the Carolina Hurricanes facing the Florida Panthers in the East and the Vegas Golden Knights meeting the Dallas Stars in the West. With two of those teams having lifted the Stanley Cup in the past, the Hurricanes in 2006 and the Stars in 1999, there is a 50-50 chance the NHL will have a first-time Stanley Cup winner in 2023. The Panthers and Golden Knights have played for the Cup in the past, but each team fell short, Florida in 1996 and Vegas in 2018.
Before the start of the 2023 NHL regular season, the Panthers were among the top three favorites to win the 2023 Stanley Cup, and the Hurricanes and Golden Knights were also in the mix. But Dallas? They were a long shot at best at +4000.
With the 2023 NHL Conference Finals playoff series about to begin, it’s time to look at the teams who are in the mix for the 2023 Stanley Cup. But, before we do that, check out the best bets for the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup and our picks for the 2023 NHL Western Conference Finals.
2023 Stanley Cup Futures
|To Win 2023 Stanley Cup|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+250||+250||+250||+250||+260|
Despite playing without top forwards Andrei Svechnikov, Max Pacioretty, and Teuvo Teravainen, the Carolina Hurricanes made it to the 2023 NHL Eastern Conference Finals. Jordan Martinook, Jesper Fast, and Jordan Staal, have all stepped up during the postseason for the Hurricanes.
Martin Necas paced the Hurricanes in scoring for the 2023 NHL regular season. He led the team with 71 points and had the most assists on the club with 43. The team’s leading goal scorer was Sebastian Aho, with 36. Aho has continued his scoring in the postseason. He leads the ‘Canes in points (10) and goals (5). Martinook also has 10 points during the playoffs, and Fast has five goals.
Frederik Andersen has started the past six games for Carolina in goal. He is 5-0 with a 1.80 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. If Andersen falters, Carolina could go back to Antti Raanta, who started the first five games of the 2023 NHL playoffs for the team. He is 3-2 with a 2.59 GAA and .906 save percentage.
The Carolina power play is average at 18.9 percent in the postseason. As for the club’s penalty kill, the ‘Canes are the best in the league heading into the Conference Finals, killing off 90.0 percent of their penalties. Carolina’s penalty killers lead the NHL playoffs with four short-handed goals.
A resurgent Sergei Bobrovsky has helped the Florida Panthers reach the 2023 NHL Eastern Conference Finals. Bobrovsky replaced Alex Lyons after the first three games of the first round series agains the Bruins. The veteran goalie was especially good in the Toronto series, where he allowed only two goals in each of the five games and finished that series with a .943 save percentage. Bobrovsky gives the Panthers a chance to win every game they play.
Matthew Tkachuk, who the Panthers picked up in a trade before the 2023 NHL season began, had a career season in his first year with the team. The 25-year-old was the Panthers’ scoring leader with 109 points. Tkachuk is also the team’s leading scorer in the 2023 NHL playoffs. He has 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists). Two players on the Panthers are tied for the lead in team goal scoring with six goals. Those players are Brandon Montour and Sam Reinhart.
Florida’s power play is operating at 27.6 percent, while the team’s penalty kill is struggling at 65.8 percent. Florida’s penalty kill needs to improve in a big way heading into the Eastern Conference Finals, especially since the team is near the top of the 2023 NHL playoffs in penalty minutes with 167.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights took a shot on trading for Jack Eichel. That gamble has paid off, as Eichel is playing well heading into the 2023 NHL Western Conference Finals. Eichel had nine points (three goals, six assists) in six games against the Edmonton Oilers. In the first-round series against the Jet, he had five points (three goals, two assists) in five games. Eichel is the player to keep an eye on from an offensive standpoint for the Golden Knights.
In the 2023 NHL regular season, Eichel led the Golden Knights in scoring with 66 points in 67 games. The team’s leading goal-scorer was Jonathan Marchessault, with 28 goals, and Chandler Stephenson had the most assists on the team, with 49. Eichel leads the team in playoff scoring, but Mark Stone is not far behind him with 12 points (five goals, seven assists). Marchessault and Stephenson each have 10 points.
Goaltending might be a concern for Vegas in the Western Conference Finals. The team lost Laurent Brossoit to a lower-body injury during the Oilers series, and he has yet to resume skating. As a result, Adin Hill is likely to be the starter for Vegas against Dallas. Hill is 3-1 with a 2.19 goals against average and a .934 save percentage in the five games he’s played in the 2023 postseason.
Vegas has the lowest power play percentage among Conference Final teams in 2023 at 17.5 percent. The team’s penalty kill has also struggled at 60 percent.
The Vegas Golden Knights fired head coach Peter DeBoer after he failed to lead the team to the NHL playoffs in 2022. Not long after the Golden Knights let him go, the Dallas Stars hired DeBoer. Now, the former Vegas coach faces the team that let him go in the 2023 NHL Western Conference Finals.
The Stars’ Jason Robertson had a breakout year for the team in 2023. The 23-year-old played in all 82 games and set career highs in points (109), goals (46) and assists (63). Robertson led the Stars in each of those stats for the year. However, Robertson is not leading the Stars in playoff scoring. Instead, Roope Hintz, who had 75 points during the regular season, is the team leader in points (19) and goals (9). Robertson is second in scoring with seven playoff points (2 goals, 10 assists). He had zero goals in the Seattle series. The Stars have received a boost in offense from Joe Pavelski. In the eight playoff games he has played, Pavelski has picked up eight goals and two assists.
Jake Oettinger had been one of the best goaltenders during the 2023 NHL playoffs. He entered the Seattle series as one of the top three in the league in both goals against average (2.01) and save percentage (.929). His numbers now stand at 2.75 (GAA) and .903 (SP).
Dallas has the best power play percentage of teams in the 2023 Conference Finals, connecting at 31.7 percent. The team’s penalty kill is a robust 83.3 percent.
Best bets to win the 2023 Stanley Cup
If you’re looking for value, get in on the Florida Panthers as soon as possible. The team is hot, and they play in a style that tends to work in playoff hockey. With that being said, the Panthers are not my pick to win the Stanley Cup or even the Eastern Conference. Carolina has made it this far without some of their best players, and a deep team is what is needed when the playoffs roll around. The Hurricanes are that team, and I think they will hoist the Stanley Cup in 2023.
Pick: Carolina Hurricanes to win the 2023 Stanley Cup.
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