The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are almost upon us. After the exciting season ends on April 6, 16 teams will fight to reach the Stanley Cup Final in June, trying their best to lift the famous Stanley Cup. But, there’s still a long way to go before the champion is decided. Bookies have already provided NHL betting odds for all the remaining teams. Even though Tampa Bay Lightning won the President’s Trophy and were almost unbeatable during the regular season, the playoffs paint a totally different picture.
Besides the superstars, each team that books a trip to the playoffs will also need to rely on young stars. The playoffs this year will be without Rasmus Dahlin, the top overall pick in 2018. The 18-year old Swedish defenceman was selected by the Buffalo Sabres last year, making his debut against the Boston Bruins in October 2018. Widely regarded as the most talented young players in the NHL, Dahlin managed to win the Rookie of the Month in November 2018. Unfortunately, he won’t grace the playoffs with his presence this year, although we fully expect Dahlin to lead the Sabres to better times in the future.
Even without Dahlin, the NHL is packed with prospects that are expected to help their respective teams on the way to the Finals. Below you can see a list of the top young talents in the NHL that will do big things in the upcoming playoffs.
Brayden Point – Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning had an impressive season, winning the President’s Trophy for most points scored. Since being selected by the Lightning in 2016, Point has earned a lot of praise from his teammates. Steven Stamkos once said that he fully deserves a spot in the NHL and he wasn’t wrong. The 23-year old centre has impressed everyone with his play since, scoring his first natural hat-trick this season in a match against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This year, he has even outperformed Stamkos and other veterans on the team and has formed a deadly duo with Nikita Kucherov. Brayden Point is set to shine in the playoffs and is the top prospect to watch this year.
Auston Matthews – Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews was selected first overall pick by the Maple Leafs in 2016 and is the first player to record four goals on his debut. Talk about announcing your name, right? Matthews scored 40 goals in his debut season as a teenager at the age of 18 and has been turning heads since. He’s not playing like a 21-year old kid – Auston Matthews scored over 30 goals and dished over 30 assists this year, being instrumental to Toronto’s success.
Although bookies aren’t considering the Maple Leafs a major favourite for the Stanley Cup, everyone expects Matthews to produce magical moments. The young American star will hit it big in the playoffs and will surely be Toronto’s leader for years to come.
David Pastrnak – Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins have had a solid season, sitting behind uncontested Tampa Bay Lightning and narrowly ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division. A big part of their impressive run has been Czech right winger David Pastrnak. The 22-year old entered the league in 2014 and has been a driving force behind the Bruins’ success.
Pastrnak scored 36 goals and dished out 41 assist this year even before a freak injury forced him to take time off. With him back in the fold, the Boston Bruins’ chances for the Stanley Cup will rise considerably, with only the Tampa Bay Lightning ahead of them.
With the playoffs starting soon, punters can now place their bets on the biggest favourites for this year’s Stanley Cup. After an impressive season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are in the driving seat, with the Boston Bruins right behind them. The Flames, Sharks, and Maple Leafs are also thrown in the mix – who’s your pick?
TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 25: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) skates during the warm up before a game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario Canada. The Montreal Canadiens won 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Nick Turchiaro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)