The Washington Capitals ended their 44-year misery with a 4-3 win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals on the road against the Vegas Golden Knights. Washington won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Alex Ovechkin was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner (playoff MVP) with 15 goals and 12 assists in 24-playoff games and his plus/minus was 8.
Now that the Washington Capitals are finally on the board with a championship, who are the teams that have yet to win a Stanley Cup title and who is the closest to winning one? The Columbus Blue Jackets, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks, Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Vancouver Canucks, Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, and the Minnesota Wild have not won a Stanley Cup before.
Teams that are close: Columbus Blue Jackets: They have solid goaltending in Sergei Bobrovsky. Columbus has made the playoffs the past two seasons and they are well coached by John Tortorella. The Blue Jackets have a solid blue line in Seth Jones and Zach Werenski. They also have play makers like Cam Atkinson, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Artemi Panarin.
Winnipeg Jets: They turned the tables this season after missing the playoffs last season. Winnipeg is set in goal for the next decade in Connor Hellebuyck. They made it to the conference finals this past season and could make another playoff run next season. The Jets have serious offensive weapons in Mark Schiefele, Patrik Laine, and Blake Wheeler.
Nashville Predators: Nashville has made it to the playoffs every year under head coach Peter Laviolette. They made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2017 and lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. The Predators have Pekka Rinne in goal and his teammates love him. They have the best blue line in the NHL led by P.K. Subban and Roman Josi. Filip Forsberg is a sniper. Nashville will be one of the favorites to win it all next season and they won the Presidents' Trophy this past season.
Teams that are close, but need some tweaks: San Jose Sharks: They are very good in net with Martin Jones and San Jose has a good mixture of youth and veterans. However, Joe Thornton may not be with the Sharks for much longer and they just signed Evander Kane to a seven-year contract extension. The Sharks need to fix up the blue line and find another play maker. San Jose made it to the Stanley Finals in 2016 against the Pittsburgh Penguins and lost in six games.
Vegas Golden Knights: The Golden Knights were good for a reason in there first season as an expansion team, but they need to make some tweaks. Vegas basically got steam rolled in five games against the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals. They need to find a five-star player in free agency. Vegas has a lot of cap room.
Teams that have potential but need help: St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators and Arizona Coyotes.
Teams that are not close: Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, and Florida Panthers.
If I was a betting man, either the Nashville Predators or the Winnipeg Jets will be the next team to win their first Stanley Cup.