10 Sexiest Stanley Cup Final Matchups for 2015

The best time of year is just a couple of months away. The NHL regular season ends April 11th, nearly two months from today, which will signal the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Recently here at The Hockey Writers, we took a look at some of the more probable early round playoff matchups that would make us writers drool. But what about the crown jewel of the playoffs? What would be some ideal Stanley Cup final matchups? Without further ado, here are the 10 sexiest and plausible (likely playoff teams only) matchups for the 2015 Cup final.

10. St. Louis Blues vs Tampa Bay Lightning

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Steven Stamkos celebrates (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

The only possible matchup on this list without built in drama would be a final between St. Louis and Tampa Bay. However, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t make for a terrific matchup. First and foremost the Blues franchise is still seeking their first ever Stanley Cup and for a team that has been around since the 60’s, that is a terrific storyline in it’s own right. Furthermore, their head coach is one of the most recognizable coaches in the league in Ken Hitchock. The former long time Stars and Flyers coach is famous for his defensive trap game. His Blues are known as a tough, hard nosed group that is tough to beat through the neutral. Seeing them represent the juggernaut Western Conference and face the most offensively dominant and high flying Eastern Conference team in the Tampa Bay Lightning would be terrific. It would be a tale of two different styles going mono-a-mono for Lord Stanley’s Cup. Will the Blues finally break through or will Steven Stamkos join the likes of Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews as the top stars in the game with Stanley Cup rings? It would be a fun battle to watch.

9. Anaheim Ducks vs Washington Capitals

Bruce Boudreau (Flickr/clydeorama)
Bruce Boudreau formerly head coach of the Capitals and current head coach of the Ducks (Flickr/clydeorama)

This series would not only feature a ton of star power between Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler for Anaheim and Alexander Ovechkin for the Capitals, but it would an interesting coaching angle for Bruce Boudreau. A long time head coach of the Capitals, Boudreau is famous for going off on the Capitals in an expletive filled rant when the cameras were on for the road to the Winter Classic series. These days Boudreau now coaches the Ducks and it is Barry Trotz who has finally gotten the Capitals to play some defense for a change. Boudreau losing in the final to his old team? Ouch.

8. Vancouver Canucks vs Boston Bruins

 (Boston Herald)
(Boston Herald)

Would a rematch of the 2011 Stanley Cup final not be one of the most entertaining finals ever? Just four years ago the Bruins beat the Canucks in seven games, in a series filled with biting drama and embellishment. Big contributors to the drama in Alex Burrows and Milan Lucic still remain with the Canucks and Bruins respectively. Vancouver, like St. Louis, is still seeking their first ever Stanley Cup in franchise history. This would be a terrific revenge series. Not to mention Vancouver’s goaltender Ryan Miller was famously run over by Lucic when Miller was playing for the Buffalo Sabres. There is just so much to like about this matchup.

7. Chicago Blackhawks vs New York Islanders

Leddy and Boychuk Islanders
Nick Leddy won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2013, now he may end up having to beat his former team to win it again. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Everyone likes a good underdog story, right? The upstart New York Islanders, who have long been terrible in recent years, are finally competitive again. A matchup between them and the recently dominant Chicago Blackhawks, winners of two of the last five Stanley Cups would be terrific in principle. But then you add in natural rivalry between the two cities, Chicago’s deep dish Pizza versus New York style pizza and the fact Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy would be going up against his former team? This series would be tons of fun if it came to fruition. Biases aside, nothing cooler than seeing a player beat the team that traded him in the Stanley Cup final and it isn’t the only plausible matchup where that could happen.

6. Los Angeles Kings vs Montreal Canadiens

P.K. Subban Montreal Candiens
P.K. Subban & Carey Price (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

This is probably not one of the more likely matchups but a rematch of the 1993 series would be awesome. The 1993 Montreal Canadiens remain the most recent Canadian team to hoist the Stanley Cup, knocking off the Barry Melrose coached Kings in 1993. Not only would Montreal have an entire nation behind them, but they might in fact have fans of all 28 other teams behind them as the Kings have won two of the last three Stanley Cups. Unless you’re a Kings fan, chances are you are going to root for the underdog Canadiens. Didn’t I already mention that everyone loves a good underdog story? Hockey history, and an underdog type matchup? Talk about sexy.

5. Nashville Predators vs Washington Capitals

Barry Trotz Predators coach
Barry Trotz formerly the head coach of the Nashville Predators for 15 seasons now coaches the Washington Capitals (Robin Alam/Icon SMI)

This one seems far less likely than others but a big story line is built right in. After 15 years as head coach of the playoff bubble Nashville Predators, Barry Trotz took on the head coaching position for the Washington Capitals this season. With a new coach this season the normally defensively stout and offensively weak Predators are comfortably leading their division as a team finally showing some offensive flare. On the flip side, Trotz has turned the Capitals, a team always known for offensive firepower up the wazoo, into a more balanced two-way team. The question would be obvious, which team has done a better job fixing their weakness? After 15 years with Nashville, can you imagine Trotz losing to the Predators in the final? Of course he would be happy for the people of Nashville but to not be apart of that team and to see them celebrate right in front of you? Ouch, talk about bittersweet.

4. San Jose Sharks vs Detroit Red Wings

Mar 22, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan stands behind the bench during the second period against the Boston Bruins at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan stands behind the bench during the second period against the Boston Bruins at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Another unlikely matchup as the Sharks don’t look like a team poised to make a deep run but this would be a terrific final. Not only have the Sharks and Red Wings faced each other a number of times in the playoffs before the recent realignment, but Sharks head coach Todd McLellan is a disciple of Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock. McLellan was an assistant under Babcock when the Red Wings last won the Stanley Cup back in 2008. Since then the Sharks have faced the Red Wings twice in the postseason, beating them both times in 2010 and 2011. Despite being in separate conferences now, these two teams still know each other better than most do with the coaching connection and veteran stars on both benches. San Jose and McLellan trying to win their first ever Stanley Cup against the storied Red Wings and Babcock? The mouth salivates at the idea.

3. San Jose Sharks vs Boston Bruins

(Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)
(Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Nick Leddy beating the Chicago Blackhawks would be cool and all but it wouldn’t be half as noteworthy as Joe Thornton beating the Boston Bruins. Yes the Bruins have indeed already won a Stanley Cup since the Sharks stole Thornton away from them in a brutally lopsided trade in 2005, but Thornton preventing them from winning a second one in five years? Or Thornton losing in his first ever final against his former team? Having to watch his former club celebrate in front of him after finally getting so close? Regardless of the outcome, this would be a drama filled series to be certain.

2. St. Louis Blues vs Detroit Red Wings

Chris Osgood is one of the best goaltenders of our generation, but rarely gets the respect he deserves.  This blogger would like to see that change.
Chris Osgood

Being in the Western Conference for as long as they were, and being as good as they have been for years, the Red Wings developed rivalries with a number of teams. One of the more notable ones has been with the St. Louis Blues. Both occupied the central division for a number of years and the Blues want what the Red Wings have. It is one of those one-sided rivalries in terms of championship success over the years and man oh man, would it be a treat to watch the Blues try to win their first Stanley Cup by taking on the Wings in a final. Remember Steve Yzerman’s famous double OT goal of Game 7 against the Blues? St. Louis fans certainly want to forget it but it is seared in their memory.

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1. Chicago Blackhawks vs Detroit Red Wings

(Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)
(Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)

There really wasn’t ever a consideration for any other potential matchup to take the top spot. The Blackhawks and Red Wings rivalry is the mecca of possible Stanley Cup final matchups. Two teams with a long history of playoff series, 16 to be exact with Chicago holding a slim 9-7 advantage. Most recently the Blackhawks stormed back in 2013 after being down three games to one to the Red Wings, before winning in seven games. These two historic hockey cities and franchises plain don’t like each other. When beloved players go from a Blackhawk to a Red Wing and vice versa, they frequently get booed by their former club’s fans when visiting with their new club. Bitter rivals are bitter rivals. These two classic original six teams in the Stanley Cup final would be in a a word, fantastic.

11 thoughts on “10 Sexiest Stanley Cup Final Matchups for 2015”

  1. I like the matchups you list. They’d make for some interesting series for sure.

    Only note: would it kill you (and seemingly every other hockey writer) to include Niklas Backstrom on the list of stars for the Capitals? He’s fifth in points overall in the league (ahead of every player you mentioned in the Anaheim – Washington matchup justification) and tied for first in assists. It kills me that he doesn’t get the same recognition as Ovechkin and others in the league.

    One other suggested fun match up would be Capitals – Blackhawks for a Winter Classic rematch. Doesn’t have the depth of the matchups you have here, but it’d provide some grist for the sportswriters.

    • hes terrific but for whatever reason doesnt have that star power. Perhaps overshadowed by ovechkin, perhaps soft spoken? Perhaps just lack of success for Washington?

  2. Gee… why the hate? I think CHI v DET would be a pretty awesome final.

    Here’s my ten dream finals:

    10. We Probably Shouldn’t Be Here Cup – Boston vs Calgary
    9. I’m Feeling “Blue” Cup – NY Rangers (blue shirts) vs St. Louis
    8. Red-headed Step-Child Cup – NY Isles vs San Jose
    7. It Never Snows Here Cup – Tampa Bay vs. Anaheim
    6. Our Goalies Have Something to Prove Cup – Pittsburgh vs Vancouver
    5. Can I Please Win One Cup – Washington vs. St. Louis
    4. Revenge Cup – Boston vs Chicago
    3. Underdog Cup – NY Isles vs Nashville
    2. Canada Cup – Montreal vs Winnipeg
    1. Original Six Cup – Detroit vs Chicago!

    • boston chicago would be interesting for revenge, but i prefer a final with at least one time that hasn’t won a cup in awhile/ever. thanks for your read and comment with your list tho!

  3. Ha ha ha. Yeah, the red wings in so many scenarios. The most boring, softest team in the league with the most over-rated coach. And a team that has no chance at a cup this year imo. Sexy pic? lol Yeah, maybe to the mayor of Detroit. Unreal. lol

    • Red Wings are boring? Datsyuk and Zetterberg are amazing to watch, young guys like Nyquist and Tatar as well. Abdelkader is a hard worker, lots of guys to like on Detroit.

  4. What a Horrible post, unless you are ONLY writing this for Detroit Fans.

    So, you want people to believe that the 4 best Matchups included Detroit in 3 of them? Either you are Stupid or utterly Biased. Either Way, QUIT!!!

    Watch how I list 10 matchups off the top of my head that are not only BETTER than yours but NEUTRAL in its MO.

    10. Pittsburgh vs. Anaheim
    9. Detroit vs. Nashville
    8. Boston vs. St. Louis
    7. Washington vs. Los Angeles
    6. New York Rangers vs San Jose
    5. Tampa Bay vs. Winnipeg
    4. Montreal vs Chicago
    3. New York Islanders vs Calgary

    2. Montreal vs Calgary – For Canada
    1. Pittsburgh vs Los Angeles

    • Explain to me any interesting subplots for your 10, 9, 8, 7, 5, 4, 3, or 1? Your best subplots are dan boyle vs former team and an all canada final which would take any intrigue out of it because either way canada has already won. A canadien team vs american team would be intriguing for Canada.

    • Pittsburgh vs LA as number one?…Yeah I’m quite sure you’re the one who is stupid. The author of the article provides valid reasons for each of his picks. I don’t see the significance in any of your top 5. I am not a Red Wings fan but I can understand perfectly why they are in his top four selections. His top three matchups are better than your whole list, just an fyi. Besides, Red Wings play real, exciting hockey and the teams they are matched up against in this list have a long history of playing each other. Oh and nice bias for number two, not so neutral when you have to add in (For Canada) on the side.

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