With Favorites Out, New Projections Pick Stanley Cup Champs

Now that the beasts have been slain, it's time for some new blood to rise up to the top. 

With the Presidents' Trophy-winning Boston Bruins and the defending champion Colorado Avalanche having been eliminated in shocking Game 7 upsets, it's time to crown a new Stanley Cup champion. At least on paper (or computer), for now. 

The Athletic ran the remaining nine teams through a scientific mathematical projection program, completing 50,000 simulations of the rest of the playoffs. They used offensive and defensive ratings for each of the teams' players, while taking into account each team's projected strength, current health, and remaining playoff path.

And after all that, the projections say your new Stanley Cup Champions will be... The Toronto Maple Leafs.

The probabilities say that the Leafs have a 26% chance to win the Cup, with the Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars tied for the second-best chances, at 16%.
Then come the Vegas Golden Knights at 12%, the Carolina Hurricanes at 11%, the Florida Panthers at 8%, the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers (who still have a first-round Game 7 to play) at 6 and 5%, respectively, and the Cinderella Story Seattle Kraken at 1%. 

For the Leafs, who finally advanced to the second-round after an excruciating run of first-round exits, it would be an emphatic exclamation point, not only on the Auston Matthews/Mitch Marner era, but from a historical perspective. The Leafs, of course, haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1967. If they're able to do what the projections say they should, they'll end the longest Cup drought in NHL history.

But naturally, they don't play the games on paper or in a computer simulation. It's time to hit the ice to find out who's got next. 

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports