With the 2021 NHL postseason right around the corner, fans can’t wait to see who will be able to make plenty of noise from start to finish. Both out East and West, multiple teams are getting ready to try and compete for a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. In this article, we have our NHL Conference Championship futures picks, as we should see some great battles on the ice starting later this month.
The Western Conference postseason should be one to remember
It goes without saying, but the Western Conference postseason should be one to remember. Leading up to the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, the two favorites to meet in the Finals and compete for a trip to play for all of the glory are the Colorado Avalanche and the Las Vegas Golden Knights. If they end up meeting in the conference finals, what a showdown it truly will be.
Leading up to the postseason, both teams have +350 NHL Playoff odds to win the Western Conference and then go on to play in the Stanley Cup Finals. Things are so close here, the Las Vegas sportsbooks couldn’t even differentiate their odds before the postseason starts. That tells you just how close they think that things are going to be. With that said, don’t forget about the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars, as they both hold +900 odds.
With that said, we think it will either come down to the Avalanche or the Golden Knights to win the Western Conference. No disrespect to Dallas or St. Louis, but the other two teams have showcased just how brilliant they’ve been throughout the year. They’re also the two favorites to win the Stanley Cup too. It feels like whoever wins the West will go on to be the champs.
If we had to pick one team, and while it’s not an easy decision, we’re going to rock with the Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas is no stranger to going on deep postseason runs. In 2018, they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals and lost. Last season, they were the No. 1 seed in the West, but lost to the Dallas Stars in the conference finals. This time around, we think they’ll get the job done, as Vegas is our pick to win the Western Conference.
The Eastern Conference postseason will also be a right race
As excited as we are for things out West, the Eastern Conference postseason will also be a tight race, as several teams will try to book a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Similar to the WC, multiple teams have emerged as the favorites: Tampa Bay, Boston, and Philadelphia. Each team looks poised to go on a deep postseason run, while Toronto will also look to put on a show.
With the NHL postseason almost here, Tampa Bay has the No. 1 odds to win the Eastern Conference at +400, while Boston is +600, Philadelphia is +650 and Toronto is +900. All four teams will want to try and pull off several surprises on the ice, but from our seat, we think it will come down to either Tampa Bay or Boston going on to win the Eastern Conference. It will also be super close.
With that said, Tampa Bay is the favorite out East for a reason: they’ve also been superb throughout the regular season and have what it takes to down the rest of the field. The team has been incredibly balanced offensively and defensively, which is why they had so much success during the regular season. The hope is that the unit will continue to stay strong from start to finish in the playoffs.
Guys like Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat, Victor Hedman, Yaani Gourde, Steven Stamkos, and others are hungry to make plenty of noise as soon as they put on their skates for the first game of the postseason. We think they’ll be able to flourish, which is why Tampa Bay is our Eastern Conference pick.
Who will go on to win the Stanley Cup?
While we’ve made our conference picks, who will go on to win the Stanley Cup? As you’ve been able to tell from above, we think that the Golden Knights and Lightning will win their respective conferences, meaning they’ll go on to face off in the Cup Finals.
In what should be a sensational Stanley Cup Finals series, this one has all the potential to go down to the wire. Both Vegas and Tampa Bay know what it takes to step their games up in pressure situations. For Vegas, they’ll be hungry to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, while Tampa Bay will be hoping to get the job done for the third time. The Lightning of course won it all last year and did so before in 2004.
The Golden Knights holds +400 Stanley Cup odds prior to the playoffs getting underway, while the Lightning are set at +700. Again, we think this series could end up going the distance, but our pick is with Vegas. Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Marchessault, Shea Theodore and others are fired up to bring the Cup to Sin City. Will they reach that goal? We think so. Vegas is our pick.