Everyone knows the captain of the winning team gets the Stanley Cup first. He gets to take it from commissioner Gary Bettman and have his well-earned moment with it. But who gets it next is always interesting to watch. Which grizzled veteran or sentimental favorite deserves the captain's hand-off of the Stanley Cup this year? Our picks.
ANAHEIM DUCKS: It would be apropos if Ryan Getzlaf passed the Cup to Corey Perry, even though both won it as sophomores in 2007. But we suspect RYAN KESLER will sneak in there.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: The Hawks lack an obvious Cup-less elder statesman. If CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF cracks the lineup, he’s worthy. He’s 33 and lost in the 2011 final with Vancouver.
DALLAS STARS: Would Jamie Benn hand the Cup off to grizzled vet Jason Spezza? It’s more likely Benn gives it to TYLER SEGUIN first and honors their bromance.
DETROIT RED WINGS: MIKE GREEN has had to deal with more than his share of devastating playoff disappointments, personally and on a team level. He’d be the top candidate.
FLORIDA PANTHERS: Sentimental choice Jaromir Jagr has two Cups already. That leaves ROBERTO LUONGO, who has yet to win and came painfully close in 2011 with Vancouver.
LOS ANGELES KINGS: BRAYDEN MCNABB was a black ace when the Kings won in 2014. Others newcomers without a Stanley Cup ring are veterans Luke Schenn and Jamie McBain.
MINNESOTA WILD: RYAN SUTER deserves the chalice for his gruelling service. He’s led Minnesota in minutes every year since signing, averaging almost 29 per game in four seasons.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS: MIKE FISHER is Nashville’s second-oldest player, he’s an emotional leader and he’s married to country music star Carrie Underwood. He checks off every box.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS: MAREK ZIDLICKY is by far the oldest and most experienced Islander, and he doesn’t have a ring yet, though he went to the final with New Jersey in 2012.
NEW YORK RANGERS: It’s gotta be ‘Hank.’ HENRIK LUNDQVIST has been the heartbeat and face of the franchise for a decade and has willed New York close to glory in the past.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: Nearing the end of an unlikely NHL career, MARK STREIT deserves some Cup love. The 38-year-old is still one of the team’s biggest minute-munchers.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: TREVOR DALEY may be a newcomer, but he’s the oldest Penguin without a Cup ring. A run to the conference final with Dallas in 2008 is his personal best.
ST. LOUIS BLUES: SCOTTIE UPSHALL, the second-oldest Blue, has made the playoffs three times in 10 full seasons and advanced past Round 1 once. He’s overdue.
SAN JOSE SHARKS: Joe Pavelski could be forgiven if he hung on to the Cup an extra long time. But, knowing him, he’ll pass it off to former captain JOE THORNTON in short order.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: The Cup would likely pass into the hands of veteran RYAN CALLAHAN, a heart-and-soul player on the downside of his prime at 31.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS: Jason Chimera would be a nice veteran choice, but if they win it all, BRADEN HOLTBY will play a huge role and that will net the him the first pass from Alex Ovechkin.