Presidents’ Trophy Race

Story posted March 17, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Evan Smith

The NHL is reaching the final quarter of its regular season so it's time to take a look at the contenders for the league’s regular-season championship, the Presidents’ Trophy.

Currently, the title seems to be down to a three-team race.

The league leaders right now are the Colorado Avalanche with 91 points, followed by the Florida Panthers with 88 points, and the Carolina Hurricanes with 87 points.

The Panthers and Avalanche have made trades over the past few weeks to help with their push. Now here’s a breakdown of where each team stands before the final stretch of the season.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche currently holds a record of 43-13-5, holding a 15 point lead in the Central Division.

They are led by a group of five players scoring above point-per-game pace, including star defenseman Cale Makar and breakout scorer Nazem Kadri. The Avalanche have been title contenders all season and have remained on top throughout the year.

However, the team was dealt a minor blow when captain Gabriel Landeskog suffered a knee injury that is expected to keep him out until playoff time. What this injury allows though is salary cap flexibility heading into the trade deadline.

If Landeskog is unable to return during the regular season, the team can essentially spend an extra $7,000,000 over the allotted $81,000,000 salary cap, similar to the tactics used by the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning last season.

The Avalanche are believed to be pursuing Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers heading towards the trade deadline.

The team has already made two trades since Landeskog went down, trading for defenseman Josh Manson and depth forward Nico Sturm.

The Colorado Avalanche management is all in and the team is primed to continue its run at the top of the league.

Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers hold a 41-13-6 record, with a four-point lead over dark horse trophy contenders, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Panthers have the highest goal differential mark in the National Hockey League with 75 goals over their opponents.

They are pushing heavily this season, recently trading for defenseman Ben Chiarot from Montreal for a package including its first-round pick.

They have the disadvantage of playing in the deepest division in the league, with four teams in playoff position and an underdog Detroit Red Wings squad causing issues for them.

Still leading scorer Jonathan Huberdeau and captain Aleksander Barkov are an experienced combo that has shown the ability to compete thus far.

Although Colorado has a leg up on these Panthers, they will remain in contention for the Presidents’ Trophy.

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes are only an overtime loss behind the Panthers with their 41-13-5 record.

The team is riding the best Penalty Kill in the league, at 89.4 percent success, to a six-point lead in the Metropolitan Division.

Sebastian Aho is the team's only point-per-game player, but the squad is playing like a tight-knit group that is proving to be a successful formula.

They have not made any trades recently but their management team has proven themselves to be aggressive over the past few years, so they are expected to make some moves before the deadline.

The Hurricanes are peaking at the right time, going 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, and are primed to make a run at the Avalanche over their last 23 games.

There are still a lot of games left and many teams are on the outskirts of the race with the ability to jump in.

The trade deadline is set for the afternoon of Mar. 21, so every team could make some splashes over the coming days.

Evan Smith is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email