Who Would Have Won the 2005 Stanley Cup?

Stanley_Cup_Season_2004-05Here in 2017, we just enjoyed a fantastic first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, just like any other year.

Except 2005.

Twelve years after the NHL cancelled its entire season due to the inability of the league and the players’ union to come to an agreement, one question remains: who would have won the Stanley Cup had the 2005 season been played?

For the purposes of this article, we will assume that the salary cap was not yet implemented for the 2004-05 season, instead coming into play in 2005-06 like in real life.

Here are how the divisional standings may have played out, with each team’s 2004 and 2006 point totals, respectively, in parentheses next to their names.

 

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

  1. Philadelphia Flyers (101, 101)
  2. New Jersey Devils (100, 101)
  3. New York Rangers (69, 100)
  4. New York Islanders (91, 78)
  5. Pittsburgh Penguins (58, 58)

The Flyers do not have Peter Forsberg as he stays with the Avalanche, but they can keep 2004 leading scorer Mark Recchi, among others. They edge out the Devils for the division while the Rangers get a huge lift from having Jaromir Jagr for a full season.

Northeast Division

  1. Ottawa Senators (102, 113)
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs (103, 90)
  3. Buffalo Sabres (85, 110)
  4. Montreal Canadiens (93, 93)
  5. Boston Bruins (104, 74)

Despite still having Joe Thornton on the roster, the Bruins fall mightily from their first-place perch in 2004. Zdeno Chara has not yet been acquired, and Andrew Raycroft plays like the real Andrew Raycroft.

Chara, meanwhile, plays with newly-acquired Dany Heatley on the first-place Senators (this never happened in real life), who also nab the top seed in the East.

Buffalo is on the way up and Toronto is on the way down, but it still takes one more year for Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek to arrive, so the Sabres don’t leapfrog the Leafs just yet.

 

Southeast Division

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning (106, 92)
  2. Carolina Hurricanes (76, 112)
  3. Atlanta Thrashers (78, 90)
  4. Florida Panthers (75, 85)
  5. Washington Capitals (59, 70)

Oddly enough, 2005 is sandwiched between years in which Southeast Division teams (Tampa Bay, Carolina) won Stanley Cups. The Bolts still win the division in ’05, though. Carolina started off the 2006 season on a cold note and Eric Staal, while effective, is not yet the elite player he was that season.

 

Western Conference

Central Division

  1. Detroit Red Wings (109, 124)
  2. Nashville Predators (91, 106)
  3. St. Louis Blues (91, 57)
  4. Columbus Blue Jackets (62, 74)
  5. Chicago Blackhawks (59, 65)

The Red Wings won the President’s Trophy in both 2004 and 2006, so it’s safe to predict they would have in 2005 as well – especially with Brendan Shanahan still in the lineup.

St. Louis experienced an extreme drop from 2004 to 2006, but Al MacInnis has not retired yet while Pavol Demitra and Chris Pronger still wear the note for one more year.

 

Northwest Division

  1. Calgary Flames (94, 103)
  2. Colorado Avalanche (100, 95)
  3. Vancouver Canucks (101, 92)
  4. Edmonton Oilers (89, 95)
  5. Minnesota Wild (83, 84)

After a surprise Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2004, the Flames win the division in 2005. Colorado begins its decline without Patrick Roy, but still has a respectable season, keeping Peter Forsberg for one final year before the salary cap forces him out.

 

Pacific Division

  1. San Jose Sharks (104, 99)
  2. Dallas Stars (97, 112)
  3. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (76, 98)
  4. Los Angeles Kings (81, 89)
  5. Phoenix Coyotes (68, 81)

The Sharks don’t have Joe Thornton yet, but it’s okay. San Jose won the division and went to the Conference Final without him in 2004, who’s to say they wouldn’t have done the same in 2005?

Also, Anaheim gets Teemu Selanne back. He adds a jolt to the offense as the Ducks are about to become one of the NHL’s elite in a handful of years.

 

Eastern Conference Playoff Lineup (*division winner)

  1. Ottawa Senators*
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning*
  3. Philadelphia Flyers*
  4. New Jersey Devils
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs
  6. Buffalo Sabres
  7. Carolina Hurricanes
  8. New York Rangers

 

Western Conference Playoff Lineup (*division winner)

  1. Detroit Red Wings*
  2. San Jose Sharks*
  3. Calgary Flames*
  4. Dallas Stars
  5. Colorado Avalanche
  6. Nashville Predators
  7. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
  8. Vancouver Canucks

 

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

1. Ottawa Senators over 8. New York Rangers in 5 games
2. Tampa Bay Lightning over 7. Carolina Hurricanes in 6 games
3. Philadelphia Flyers over 6. Buffalo Sabres in 6 games
4. New Jersey Devils over 5. Toronto Maple Leafs in 6 games

We get an exciting matchup between the defending Stanley Cup champs and the eventual 2006 champs, but the Hurricanes do not discover the playoff juggernaut that is Cam Ward until the following spring.

Also, Martin Brodeur and Eddie Belfour square off in an interesting series.

 

Western Conference Quarterfinals

1. Detroit Red Wings over 4. Vancouver Canucks in 4 games
7. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim over 2. San Jose Sharks in 7 games
3. Calgary Flames over 6. Nashville Predators in 6 games
4. Dallas Stars over 5. Colorado Avalanche in 6 games

The Mighty Ducks savor their role as underdogs again and San Jose suffers the first of what will become many memorable early playoff exits.

 

Eastern Conference Semifinals

1. Ottawa Senators over 4. New Jersey Devils in 6 games
3. Philadelphia Flyers over 2. Tampa Bay Lightning in 6 games

Dominik Hasek’s team is too strong offensively to fall to Martin Brodeur and the Devils while the Flyers knock off the defending champs.

 

Western Conference Semifinals

1. Detroit Red Wings over 7. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 6 games
4. Dallas Stars over 3. Calgary Flames in 7 games

Detroit avenges its 2003 loss to Anaheim two years later, beating the Mighty Ducks in six in a tough battle. Dallas upsets the Flames in seven.

 

Eastern Conference Final

1. Ottawa Senators over 3. Philadelphia Flyers in 5 games

Philadelphia fails to make the Stanley Cup Final again as the Senators prove to be just too strong all around.

 

Western Conference Final

4. Dallas Stars over 1. Detroit Red Wings in 6 games

Marty Turco’s struggles against Detroit during his career have been well-documented, but give him the edge here with Manny Legace tending the net in Hockeytown.

 

2005 Stanley Cup Final

Mike Modano leads Dallas to its third Stanley Cup Final appearance in seven seasons as the Stars look for their second-ever Stanley Cup. It won’t happen, as a loaded Senators team proves to be too much to handle, winning the Stanley Cup at home in Game 5. Daniel Alfredsson wins the Conn Smythe as part of a formidable core with Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley, Wade Redden, Zdeno Chara and Dominik Hasek.

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2017 NHL Mock Draft: Version Three

The playoffs are in full swing, but for 15 teams, all eyes are on June 23 – the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Those 15 teams will get a little clearer picture on where they will be picking on April 29, when the draft lottery is conducted. For now, though, we will use a randomized draft order from tankathon.com’s(http://www.tankathon.com/nhl) simulator.

Also, I did not post my playoff predictions on this page, but if you pay close attention, you’ll get a sneak peek at how I think things are going to play out…

 

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KELOWNA, CANADA – OCTOBER 25: Nolan Patrick #19 of Brandon Wheat Kings shoots on net during warm up against the Kelowna Rockets on October 25, 2014 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

1. New Jersey Devils – Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

New Jersey wins the lottery in this simulation despite having the fifth-best odds. Nolan Patrick has to go first in this draft – he may not be the same caliber as Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews, but he has what it takes to be a franchise center.

 

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2. Vancouver Canucks – Timothy Liljegren, D, Rogle BK (Sweden)

Vancouver passes up on some blue-chip centers and addresses its needs, taking the draft’s top defenseman in Liljegren. While his defensive game has some work to do, Liljegren has the ability to create plenty of offense from the blue line, which is the exact type of player the Canucks’ system is lacking.

 

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3. Carolina Hurricanes – Nico Hischier, C, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

Despite having some talent at the center position, the Hurricanes, who move up eight spots in this simulation, cannot pass up a talent like Hischier.

 

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4. Colorado Avalanche – Gabriel Vilardi, C, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

After finishing with the worst record of any NHL team since 2000, Colorado’s luck doesn’t get any better as the Avs lose out on a top-three pick. Luckily, a top-three talent is still on the board in Vilardi. He is the exact type of player Colorado needs, possessing brilliant game-managing skills and talent worthy of an NHL roster spot right now.

 

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5. Vegas Golden Knights – Casey Mittlestadt, C, Eden Prairie HS (Minnesota)

Without any knowledge yet of Vegas’s roster other than minor leaguer Reid Duke, let’s just assume the Golden Knights take the best available player. At this point, it’s a tough decision between Mittlestadt and Mississauga winger Owen Tippett, but Mittlestadt’s offensive prowess at center gives him the edge.

 

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6. Arizona Coyotes – Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

Not much debate here, the talented winger Tippett (no relation to Arizona head coach Dave Tippett) is the easy pick.

 

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7. Buffalo Sabres – Michael Rasmussen, C,  Tri-City Americans (WHL)

Rasmussen is a big power forward who skates well and can wreak havoc in front of the net. A big asset to have at center.

 

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8. Detroit Red Wings – Martin Necas, C, Brno (Czech Republic)

Necas is one of those players who has a nose for the net and attracts the puck like a magnet. The Red Wings could go in a number of directions here after missing the playoffs for the first time since 1990, but Necas is an offensive spark plug who could fill the top-six center position that Dylan Larkin was once expected to.

 

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9. Dallas Stars – Callan Foote, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Too easy. Dallas could use a young, two-way defenseman, and Foote is a solid, well-rounded blueliner with a hockey pedigree and stunning smarts.

 

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10. Florida Panthers – Eeli Tolvanen, RW, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)

Florida has basically zero depth at the right wing position, so it would be smart to address their lack of depth early in this draft. Tolvanen has a shot reminiscent of Patrik Laine’s, and would look great with Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov setting him up.

 

Everett Silvertips vs Portland Winterhawks
EVERETT, WASHINGTON – SEPTEMBER 18: (Photo by Christopher Mast/Everett Silvertips)

11. Los Angeles Kings – Cody Glass, C, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

It’s not 2014 anymore. The Kings missed the playoffs, fired their coach and GM, and have one of the worst prospect pools in the NHL. They cannot take a high-risk player here, but everyone in this group of the draft seems to carry a little bit of risk. The high-scoring Glass is probably the best choice if the Kings don’t trade this pick.

 

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12. Winnipeg Jets – Nicolas Hague, D, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

A defenseman would make a lot of sense for the Jets here and Hague is the best on the board. He is well-rounded and can log minutes in any situation.

 

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13. Philadelphia Flyers – Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)

He’s small, but pound-for-pound, Yamamoto is one of the best players in this draft. He is extremely smart and skilled in the offensive zone and is the type of winger the Flyers could use in their system.

 

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14. Tampa Bay Lightning – Cale Makar, D, Brooks Bandits (AJHL)

Tampa can take a risk here having a pretty good team and system that simply had terrible luck with injuries this season. Makar was an offensive machine in the AJHL this year, but there are concerns about whether his game will translate to higher-level play.

 

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15. New York Islanders – Miro Heiskanen, D, HIFK (Finland)

Another best-player-available situation, and the Islanders should go with Heiskanen if he’s available. He adds to a fairly deep group of defensemen and although a little undersized, Heiskanen has plenty of smarts and puck-moving ability.

 

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16. Nashville Predators – Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

Nashville would like a high-scoring center, and Suzuki fits the profile perfectly. He’s incredibly talented in the offensive zone with keen awareness and the ability to find the net consistently.

 

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17. Calgary Flames – Juuso Valimaki, D, Tri-City Americans (WHL)

A well-rounded defenseman, Valimaki is a little small but incredibly effective on both sides of the puck.

 

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18. Toronto Maple Leafs – Urho Vaakanainen, D, JYK (Finland)

The Maple Leafs are going to continue to trend upwards, but they could use another shutdown defenseman. That’s where Vaakanainen comes in, as he has elite defensive awareness and can help suffocate opposing offenses.

 

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19. Boston Bruins – Klim Kostin, LW, Dynamo Moscow (Russia)

Boston would like a forward here and preferably one with a high offensive upside. Kostin is a risk, but he could become a significant offensive threat, especially if his struggles this year turn out to be the result of just a shoulder injury.

 

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20. Ottawa Senators – Maxime Comtois, LW, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)

A little more depth at wing would be helpful for Ottawa, and Comtois is a high-risk, high-reward prospect that the Sens can afford to take a flyer on.

 

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21. San Jose Sharks – Jason Robertson, LW, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

Robertson has lit up the scoreboard late in the OHL season and in the playoffs, racking up 18 points in 11 postseason games thus far and shooting up the draft boards. San Jose will reach for him due to its need of a left winger, but he could definitely pay off.

 

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22. St. Louis Blues – Lias Andersson, C, HV 71 (Sweden)

A late-season breakout has Andersson looking like a good pick, especially this late in the draft. The Blues would gladly take one of the three left wingers just mentioned, but Andersson would be a good addition also.

 

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23. New York Rangers – Jake Oettinger, G, Boston University (NCAA)

The Rangers at some point have to come to the realization that Henrik Lundqvist won’t be an elite goalie forever. Oettinger is a great choice to fill in whenever the King decides to hang ’em up.

 

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24. Anaheim Ducks – Elias Pettersson, C, Timra IK (Sweden)

Pettersson’s lack of production as of late is a bit concerning, but he is not a one-dimensional player. He does plenty of things right all around the ice and can still make a positive impact even if the points don’t pile up like expected.

 

25. Arizona Coyotes (from Minnesota) – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G, HPK (Finland)

In case Louis Domingue can’t become a consistent No. 1 goalie, the Coyotes have to think about the keeper position and how it effect their future. They took a winger earlier in the round, so Arizona can safely address what is probably its weakest position in terms of prospects.

 

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26. Columbus Blue Jackets – Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, Guelph Storm (OHL)

Ratcliffe is a big power forward with some offensive ability, which could go a long way for a team that lacks a little size up front.

 

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27. Pittsburgh Penguins – Henri Jokiharju, D, Portland (WHL)

Pittsburgh is a little thin on young defensemen in the system, and Jokiharju is one of the best overall players on the board at this point.

 

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28. Edmonton Oilers – Shane Bowers, C, Waterloo (USHL)

Bowers may not be a superstar-caliber player, but he should be a consistent producer all over on the ice. He would also be a good leader in the locker room for Edmonton’s young group.

 

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29. Washington Capitals – Kristian Vesalainen, LW, Frolunda (Sweden)

Vesalainen is a player who is already skating with pros in Sweden and could make an NHL roster earlier than many of the picks in this year’s draft pool. He would fit well with Washington, who needs some young depth on the left wing side.

 

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30. Montreal Canadiens – Kole Lind, C, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Lind has been an offensive machine this season, which is exactly what the Canadiens need out of a young center. This is a perfect fit, but it is a very real possibility that Lind doesn’t fall this far.

 

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31. Chicago Blackhawks – Ivan Lodnia, LW, Erie Otters (OHL)

The Blackhawks just seem to be able to make a star out of anyone, and the somewhat small Lodnia could become a star in the Windy City. Even better, he could be some day be playing next to his Erie teammate Alexander DeBrincat, who has been absolutely dominating the OHL.