2023 Stanley Cup Final Prediction

by | Jun 2, 2023 | Soapbox | 9 comments

Well, my Stanley Cup playoff prediction record for this season is in ruins.

I went a respectable four-for-eight in the first round, a pathetic one-for-four in the second round and an embarrassing oh-fer in the Conference Finals.

Honestly, I’ve enjoyed the chaos of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. I loved seeing the 16th-seeded Florida Panthers reach the Final. It’s been fun watching Jack Eichel giving a good account of himself in his first-ever postseason with the Vegas Golden Knights.

That being said, it’s time to have a laugh and see if I can at least get the Stanley Cup Final right.


The Golden Knights got this far by eliminating the Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars. Meanwhile, the Panthers upset the first-overall Boston Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the second-overall Carolina Hurricanes.

Both clubs are seeking their first Stanley Cup championship.

Looking at the Golden Knights, they should be the favorite to win this series. Their goals-per-game (3.65) is better than the Panthers (3.13). Six Golden Knights – Eichel, Jonathan Marchessault, Ivan Barbashev, Mark Stone, William Karlsson and Chandler Stephenson – sit among this postseason’s top-15 scorers whereas Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe and Aleksander Barkov are the only Panthers among that group.

The goaltending appears to be a wash. Vegas’ Adin Hill (2.07 goals-against, .937 goals-against average) has slightly better stats than Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky (2.21 GAA, .935 SP), who is a former two-time Vezina Trophy winner. It’s the first time both netminders have gone this far in postseason play.

Hill was a castoff of the Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks and was a third-stringer for the Golden Knights until pressed into service due to injuries to Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit.

Bobrovsky, meanwhile, struggled to regain his former Vezina form after joining the Panthers as a free agent in 2019. He took over midway through the first round with the Panthers down three games to one to the mighty Bruins and carried his club into the Cup Final.

The Golden Knights appear to have a deeper, more experienced roster. Their skilled blueline is anchored by former Stanley Cup champions Alex Pietrangelo and Alec Martinez. They possess plenty of scoring punch with original Golden Knights Marchessault and Reilly Smith being Stanley Cup finalists in 2018 while Barbashev won a Cup in St. Louis with Pietrangelo in 2019.

Nevertheless, I’m drawn to the Panthers. They’re a hardworking underdog that’s been fun to watch during this postseason, upsetting three heavily-favored opponents along the way.

Bobrovsky and Tkachuk are the prime reasons the Panthers have reached this far and must be considered the front-runners for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Bobrovsky has reminded everyone this spring why he was a two-time Vezina Trophy winner. Tkachuk, meanwhile, has been clutch for the Panthers, leading them in scoring and has four game-winning goals, including three in overtime.

However, the exploits of Bobrovsky and Tkachuk overshadow a solid lineup for the Panthers. Verhaeghe, Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, Brandon Montour, Aaron Ekblad and Anthony Duclair have all stepped up and played well. This club plays an aggressive, physical forechecking style that punishes and frustrates their opponents.

My head tells me to choose the Golden Knights. My heart says to go with the Panthers.

In the end, doesn’t everyone love an underdog story?



  1. Vegas in 5. All the western guys from Canada will prevail.

  2. Well I had as my picks NJ can Florida in the conference finals since the start for the bracket challenge thingy.

    NJ making it through.

    In the West I had Edmonton vs Colorado in the west with Edmonton making it through.

    Edmonton winning a cup.

    So you may have did done much better than I.

    All I have to hang my cap on is the fact I predicted Florida going all the way to the conference finals .

  3. I hope they both loose

    • LOL Nice one!

      Panthers definitely had a tough(er) road to the finals but Vegas looks good whoever they play.

      • as much as i would love to see Eichel lift a cup before McJesus….. and my utter disgust at all previous coaches who were too cowardly to shove the mouthguard back in Tkachuk’s mouth where it belongs, i am at an impass…. gotta go 7 with at least 2 being overtime…
        but who wins? Bob…. Fla wins in 7

  4. Riding the underdog train:
    FLA in 6

    • Fla. pushed around Boston,Toronto and Carolina.Theywon t do that to Vegas.Vegas in 6!

  5. Well, I went 5-3 in the first round, 2-2 in the second, and 1-1 in the conference finals. My head tells me that Vegas has the better team, but I picked Florida over Toronto and Carolina, and I am going to stick with them in 7.

    • I agree that the series will go seven games. Possibly with as many as 4 games decided in overtime. There is no doubt that Vegas has the better team, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Florida strikes me as a Cinderella team and will squeak by.