Although it might feel like the regular season got started just yesterday, the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs are finally here. And as is usually the case, this year’s Championship run looks set to be as exciting as ever.
Although the entire 2023 season has produced some really solid hockey so far—with stand-out performances by the likes of the Seattle Kraken taking many NHL fans by surprise⎯there are certain players that have really blown us away.=
With that said, here are the key players to watch out for as the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs finally get underway!
Connor McDavid has had a pretty incredible season so far and is easily one of the hottest prospects going into the 2023 playoffs.
McDavid has consistently been putting in excellent performances in the regular season. And based on the stats he has managed to rack up, he is a very likely candidate for the Hart Trophy for the most valuable player this year.
When he is on form, McDavid looks leagues ahead of most other players in the league. It is also clear that the Edmonton Oilers are putting a lot of stock in McDavid delivering when the playoffs roll around, with his unique combination of speed, agility, and situational awareness now an integral part of their strategy.
Although the defending champion Colorado Avalanche line-up is looking pretty strong all over, Nathan Mackinnon is one of the standout players on this incredibly strong team.
Mackinnon has performed incredibly well throughout the season so far, which has seen him secure his first 100-point regular season ever. As part of this squad, Mackinnon will be given plenty of opportunities to shine⎯captain Gabriel Landeskog is out for the entirety of the playoffs due to a knee injury.
Despite this setback, the rest of the squad is looking incredibly strong. And if the buzz on the online sports betting sites is anything to go by, many are already backing the Avalanche to take home the trophy this year. Whether or not the Comeon odds are correct in predicting that they are peaking at just the right time, however, remains to be seen!
In addition to Conor McDavid, David Pastrnak has been one of the strongest goal-scorers in the regular season and has managed to rack up a whopping 60 goals so far. This easily puts him as one of the strongest in the entire Boston Bruins line-up, who will undoubtedly be relying on him as the playoffs get underway.
Thankfully, if Pastrnak’s most recent performances are anything to go by, this looks pretty much like a sure thing. Following a 5−3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers just a few weeks ago, this Czech phenom became the second Boston Bruins player ever to score 60-plus goals in a single season.
Over the last number of years, the New Jersey Devils have spent a considerable amount of time beefing up their roster. And whilst this didn’t always result in the best performances at the time, it is clear that this strategy is now beginning to pay dividends.
Jack Hughes is one of the talents that the Devils added to their roster in recent years. Hughes is a versatile and highly skilled player, with sniper-like precision when it comes to finding the back of the net.
Hughes has put in incredible graft this season and has managed to secure over 97 points, with 43 goals and 54 assists. This easily makes him one of the League’s rising stars and threatens all other teams looking to challenge the New Jersey Devils!
Although the New Jersey Devils are not necessarily in contention to take home the Stanley Cup this year, based on his performances in the regular season, Jack Hughes has a bright future beyond the 2023 playoffs.
Now in his eighth season in the NFL, Jack Eichel of the Vegas Golden Knights doesn’t look like he is slowing down any time soon! In fact, since moving to the Golden Knights from the Buffalo Sabres, Eichel seems like he has a new lease on life. And so far, his performances this season have been incredibly solid.
Now fully recovered from the surgery that caused him to miss over half of the 2021−22 season, Eichel looks better than ever on the ice. He is leading the Vegas Golden Knights squad with 65 points, which is his best outing since before the injury.
Given that the Golden Knights also shelled out an eye-watering $10 million to secure him on their roster, it is also clear that they will be trying to put him to use as best they can. And whilst this in no way means they are guaranteed to walk away with the Stanley Cup, it is clear they are going to do everything in their power to make it a possibility!