Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Oilers or Panthers? A Stanley Cup Final rooting guide for the 30 other fan bases

The Stanley Cup final matchup is set, and it’s a good one. In one corner, the Florida Panthers, back for the second year in a row with a chance to avenge last year’s loss and finally capture the first championship in franchise history. In the other, the Edmonton Oilers, featuring the best player in the world and a dynamic supporting cast, and looking to bring the Cup back to Canada for the first time since 1993. It’s quite possibly the two best teams in the league, and certainly two of the most exciting. The whole thing should be pretty great.

So who you got?

You’ve probably already made up your mind, which is completely fine. But sometimes, you’re not sure, and could use a nudge. That’s where I come in, with my annual rooting guide to the final for the other 30 fan bases. We’ll look at all the factors in play, and come up with a suggestion for which team you fence-sitters could choose.

This year brings an interesting dynamic, as the Panthers are the first losing finalist to return the next year since the Penguins in 2009. Last year, when they were facing the Golden Knights, they were my recommended pick for 18 of the 30 other fan bases. But this year, with a new opponent and a subtle season-long heel turn, can they maintain that level of support? Let’s find out…

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