I have been watching a lot of playoff hockey games. This year, the Stanley Cup will be won by a team from the West. They are playing much much better hockey than what I have seen from the Eastern teams.
With teams like Washington, Florida and Ottawa possibly surprising their opponents, I think West takes it this year. St. Louis and Nashville seem to have their plan together and are looking like Cup candidates. LA may just surprise as well.
__________________ "I really like the way Drew Doughty plays the game. He's like a defenceman version of Erik Karlsson."
I think the likeliest winner will be Nashville or St. Louis. I would settle for Washington because it would mean that the Bruins are eliminated in the first round. If Nashville wins I would be glad to see Andrei Kostitsyn carrying the Cup.
I think the Flyers are a real contender if Bryzgalov can play just average. Their offensive depth is just crazy. Holmgren would really look like a genius with his summer moves.
He'd look like one but they were still mistakes. Philly would still have been a better club with Carter, Richards, and a decent-but-unheralded goalie than what they have now. Possibly would've been the best club in the East, instead of "the best club left".
That said, Philly still has to reach the finals, which is no sure thing given that they gave over 4 goals a game to Pittsburgh, and even if they do, St-Louis, LA, Vancouver, Chicago, and possibly even Phoenix are all better clubs. Doesn't mean they'll lose to those but they still have to win three more series -- the odds are still against them.