Over the history of the NHL, the league has seen heavyweights win the Stanley Cup and surprises win the Cup. This year hockey fans should prepare for the ladder. The Winnipeg Jets are going to win the 2017-18 Stanley Cup.
Right now they sit at fourth in the league and second in the Western Conference with a 12-4-3 record. They have a young, fast offense, a blistering defense, and a goalie in Connor Hellebuyck that has shockingly become a top five goalie in the league. In the last ten games they’ve gone 8-1-1 showing just how well rounded they can be. Blake Wheeler and Mark Schiefele have also both stepped up and shown how they can lead a team by both ranking in the top ten in points.
In the Western Conference, the Kings, Blues, and Golden Knights are the only teams to really be able to keep pace with the Jets. Vegas is a good story, but it’s still absurd to say that a team with their roster is in any contention for a conference title. The Blackhawks and Predators can never be counted out, and the Oilers are scary because of Connor McDavid, but they’ve looked awful to start the season. The Kings are already starting to show that their fast start is more of a fluke by losing four straight, and the Blackhawks are only contenders based off the dynasty they’ve built, rather than their actual play so far. In the end, the Blues, Predators, and Jets will battle it out. Eventually, I believe the Jets’ superior power play and slightly better offense will help them prevail in a seven game series against the Blues.
Winning the west would only be halfway for Winnipeg. As of right now there is no statistical argument that can be given to say the Jets can beat the Lightning. Yes, we’re only 20 games in, and the NHL has a crazy season and playoffs ahead of it, but it’s safe to say the Lightning are the best team in NHL at this point. With Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov leading the way as the best duo in hockey, it takes a fool to say that they aren’t the cut and dry favorites to win the NHL, but I believe the Jets have what it takes to be that surprise team that is finally good enough to go all the way and ride their momentum to a Stanley Cup victory.
The Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets franchise has never won a playoff game despite making the playoffs once in the 2006-2007 season, and Winnipeg waited fifteen years just to get a team back after they relocated to Phoenix in 1996. Jets fans are notoriously dedicated fans, and a Stanley cup run would be huge for the city. To this point, they’ve proven to be one of the most well-rounded teams in the league, and I have every reason to believe that they will be your 2017-2018 Stanley Cup champions.