Can The Vegas Golden Knights Win Back-to-Back Stanley Cups?
Updated: January 8, 2024 by Bill Burniece
The 2023-23 National Hockey League (NHL) is rapidly approaching its halfway stage, and the various tables are taking shape.
Each team has approximately 50 more games to secure their place in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including the reigning champions, the Vegas Golden Knights.
Las Vegas’ hockey team is bidding to become the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998 and 1999 to become back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.
The road to the Stanley Cup playoffs is still open for all 32 NHL franchises. However, a handful of those teams are beginning to pull away from the chasing pack and starting to show their championship credentials.
The Vegas Golden Knights included, these are the five teams most likely to lift the coveted Stanley Cup at the conclusion of the current season.
1. Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche have reached the Stanley Cup finals on three occasions and walked away with the title each time, including as recently as 2022.
Colorado Avalanche were incredible that season, finishing with a 56-19-7 record during the regular season before brushing aside the Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning en route to becoming Stanley Cup champions for the third time.
Last season saw the Avalanche become the Central Division champions again, but they fell in the first round of the playoffs, losing 3-4 to the Seattle Kraken.
This season, the Avalanche are 21-11-2 from their opening fixtures, enough for second place in the Central Division. Nathan MacKinnon has already racked up 53 points through 34 games and is one of the Avalanche’s driving forces.
After blowing the playoffs last year, there are question marks over the Avalanche, but there is no denying they are in hot form at the moment.
2. New York Rangers
Long-suffering New York Rangers fans have seen their team reach the Stanley Cup 11 times, but they have only won the trophy four times and haven’t done so for exactly 30 years.
The long wait for glory could be over this year because the Rangers are 23-8-1 through their 32 games played, enough to top the Metropolitan Division by six points over the New York Islanders, who have played one game more at the time of writing.
Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider have already amassed over 30 points each, with Panarin topping the charts regarding goals (18) and assists (26).
The New York Rangers habitually start a season in fine form before running out of steam as the campaign progresses. Their fans will hope their team bucks that trend in 2023-23.
3. Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights have only existed for six seasons (this is their seventh), yet they have been in contention for the Stanley Cup twice already.
They reached the finals in 2018 but came away second best. However, they made amends in 2023 by emphatically defeating the Florida Panthers 4-1.
Being the reigning champions puts a target on your back, but the Vegas Golden Knights have, so far, coped well.
They are 21-9-5 right now, although they have lost their last three games. Golden Knights fans will be hoping that trio of defeats is only a minor blip in what will otherwise be another fruitful season.
4. Boston Bruins
Only three NHL teams have navigated their way to the Stanley Cup more times than the Boston Bruins in the competition’s history. The Bruins have made their presence known in 20 seasons, but only six of those have resulted in victories.
Last season, the aging Bruins roster became Atlantic Division champions, took home the Presidents’ Trophy, and were the hot favorites for Stanley Cup glory. Their 62-12-5 record was second to only a handful of teams, but their playoffs fell apart when they lost 3-4 to the Florida Panthers despite leading 3-1 at one stage.
The Bruins have begun the 2023-24 season on fire, so another Stanley Cup challenge could be on the cards.
5. Dallas Stars
The Dallas Stars have the worst win percentage of any team to have reached the Stanley Cup at least five times.
The Stars have competed in five Stanley Cups but have only managed to win once, doing so in 1999.
After finishing one point behind the Colorado Avalanche last season, the Dallas Stars are the team to catch in the Central Division, ironically leading the Avalanche goal difference.
Their 20-8-4 record has filled the Stars’ roster with confidence, as did the Stars’ Western Conference Final games against the Vegas Golden Knights last year. The Stars were down 0-3 but pulled it back to 2-3 before losing Game 6.
In the middle of the 2023-24 NHL season, one question is on everyone’s lips: Can the Vegas Golden Knights defy history and secure back-to-back Stanley Cup victories?
The halfway stage of the regular season is approaching, and although the Golden Knights have put themselves in contention to rewrite history, several challengers for their crown are emerging.
The likes of the Colorado Avalanche and the in-form Nathan MacKinnon look like the most likely team to prevent the Golden Knights from achieving their goal of becoming back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.
However, writing off the chances of the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, and the resurgent Dallas Stars would be silly.
There is still a lot of hockey to be played before the current regular season draws to a conclusion, giving the five teams in this article and the other 27 unmentioned teams opportunities to write themselves into the National Hockey League record books.
Every team will experience ups and downs throughout the season, but those worthy of champion status will always find a way to get the job done, come out on top, and win far more games than they lose.