Winning the coveted Stanley Cup is an annual journey that a dozen or so NHL teams have a legitimate chance to take. But. it’s tough. The problem is that everything has to go right.
Any NHL team that wins has to be fortunate. Your team can’t have injuries or must be able to replace or overcome them. Then, one or more players have to get hot enough to carry the team; or, you have to have a stunningly hot goalie to just keep his team in the game after game. It’s a grind.
A Canadian Team Hasn’t Been Close in a While
Other than the pandemically-inspired Montreal Canadiens who jumped into the bubble and went a long way on the back of goalie Carey Price, a Canadian-based team has not been close for a long time. But that doesn’t dash the dreams of hockey fans across Canada.
Right now, as the 2023-24 regular season is drawing within a couple of months to starting, the two teams that seem to have the best chances to go on a run for the Cup are the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers. Could one of these teams emerge as a contender to end Canada’s Stanley Cup drought?
The Vegas Odds and Fan Speculation
If you asked the Vegas odds, it won’t happen. They have the Colorado Avalanche and the Carolina Hurricanes rated first and second, with the Oilers and the Maple Leafs tied for third place. However, the oddsmakers might soon tip their scales in favor of the Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs are deeper than they’ve been.
Toronto and Edmonton Both Have Strong Offenses
Both Canadian teams have strong offenses. Certainly, the Oilers are always a force with the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. However, in my book, a slight edge should go to the Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs have an arsenal of high-end offensive players, with more depth than the Oilers. In addition, they have added secondary scoring.
Of the two teams, the Maple Leafs seem to be the stronger of the two contenders. Whether they are ready to win the championship or not is another issue. As I noted, things have to go well for any team who aspires to win the Cup.
The dynamic Maple Leafs’ offensive lineup, led by stars like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, always sets up an opportunity for Toronto’s championship aspirations. That said, this has been the narrative for several seasons now. And, as Maple Leafs fans know too well. It hasn’t happened.
The Bottom Line
As the regular season gets ready to kick off, the anticipation begins to build. Each season it’s the same for good teams. Fans of both the Oilers and the Maple Leafs eagerly await to see how the season unfolds.
What are the prospects of the Maple Leafs or the Oilers winning the Stanley Cup and ending Canada’s drought? While the Vegas oddsmakers have other teams ranked ahead of both the Oilers and the Maple Leafs, both teams have the offensive firepower and a competitive roster. They have the potential for going on a long Stanley Cup run.
Both teams have championship potential. While the road to the Stanley Cup remains a tough one, the Maple Leafs’ promising lineup suggests that that elusive Stanley Cup is as close as it’s ever been.
We’ll start to see come October.
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