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Evan’s NHL Daily: Conference Finals Predictions, KHL Star Crossing Pond?

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The NHL has finally got their final four, as the wait is over to see which team from the Pacific Division moved one step closer to the Stanley Cup. As it turns out, Connor McDavid will get another chance to advance to his first Stanley Cup Final, but does his team even have a shot against a much deeper Dallas Stars squad?

Matvei Michkov fell a bit in the NHL Draft last summer, partly because no one expected him to come over to North America for a few years. Those teams that passed on him might end up being wrong, because all the rumors seem to indicate that he might be in Philadelphia before we know it.

All that and more in this Tuesday edition of Evan’s Daily.

Colorado Hockey Now

We’re a few days removed from the Avalanche falling in six games to the Dallas, and one big reason why they couldn’t get past the Stars is their inability to draft and develop young talent.

Over the coming weeks, we might look towards doing some subscriber Q+A’s on YouTube. I’ll likely send out an email if anyone has questions, and answer them on video. If that’s something folks have interest in, let me know.

CHN

Conference Finals Predictions

One big reason why the Avalanche might be kicking themselves after losing to Dallas is because they had a pretty clear path to the Stanley Cup Final if they got past the Stars. That obviously did not happen, so they have to live with it.

The top team in the Pacific came down to Edmonton and Vancouver, and those two teams needed seven games to decide a winner. Ultimately, Edmonton was able to pull off the victory on the road, although things got hairy at the end when Vancouver finally decided that shooting on Stuart Skinner isn’t such a bad idea. Too little, too late.

That means the Oilers and the Stars will face-off to decide who represents the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final. And I’ll be honest, if it isn’t the Stars, I’ll be stunned. They’re stronger, deeper, and just plain better than the Oilers, and with the Pacific series going to seven games, they got a few games to rest, which means Roope Hintz might be able to return. I’ll give the Oilers a game, but think it’ll be the Stars representing the West this year.

Stars In Five

The Eastern Conference matchup seems much tighter, with it likely involving the two best NHL teams out East, Florida and New York. The Rangers have the better goaltender, but overall, I think the Panthers are more well-rounded. A great goaltender can make a big difference at this time of year, though.

To me, the Panthers are the best team in the NHL. They’re extremely talented and nasty to play against. New York should put up a good fight, but I think we’ll be looking at a warm weather final.

Panthers In Six

Michkov to North America?

There were a few reasons why the uber talented Matvei Michkov fell to 7th overall in the NHL Draft last summer. One, he seemed to kind of pick and choose where he was going, but two, no one knew when he was coming to North America. Most teams drafting in the top five want to see their guys pretty quickly, but Michkov had a contract in the KHL until 2026.

That might not be the case real soon.

There are lots of rumors swirling that Michkov’s KHL contract is going to be terminated, and that’s he’s headed to the NHL real soon. One of the big wigs over in the KHL, Roman Rotenberg, seemed to confirm it’s a real possibility and that Michkov could be headed to North America soon.

If he does, that’s a huge win for Philadelphia. I watched Michkov play a fair bit and he’s extremely talented, and that’s a team that didn’t have a ton of finishers. It will be interesting to see Michkov play under John Tortorella. When I watched the young Russian, he didn’t exactly show a ton of interest in defending, and that won’t fly under the Flyers bench boss.

If Michkov comes over and is as good as advertised, some of the teams that passed on him might be kicking themselves.

National Hockey Now

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