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The San Jose Sharks did not just land an all-star in defenseman Erik Karlsson if they obtained him a trade with the Ottawa Senators on Sept. 13, they also brought in the final piece to a Stanley Cup championship team, in accordance with seven of the 18 NHL.com panelists who have made their preseason predictions.
The Sharks, who were made the Stanley Cup Playoffs at 18 of the past 20 seasons, have never won the Cup, reaching the Closing in 2016, where they lost in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Karlsson, who performed his first nine NHL seasons with the Senators, are also awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the playoffs, three of panelists predicted. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (2), forward Logan Couture (1) and goalie Martin Jones (1) were another picks for Conn Smythe from San Jose.Though the Sharks received the most votes to win the Cup, the Tampa Bay Lightning, that reached the Eastern Conference Final last season, were chosen by six specialists to win it all.
The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets each got two votes and the Penguins got you. Some of the specialists not, chosen the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals to repeat. In reality, Vegas Golden Knights and the Capitals, who played in the Stanley Cup Final last season, were not chosen by some of the experts to get back there this year.
The Lightning would be the favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the Cup Final, getting votes. The Toronto Maple Leafs (2), Penguins (2) and Boston Bruins (1) got the other votes in the East.
The Sharks got nine votes while the Jets got Predators four and five to achieve the Closing.
Of those six who chose the Lightning to win the Cup, three predicted defenseman Victor Hedman to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, two select forward Nikita Kucherov and one chosen goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The other Conn Smythe picks were Filip Forsberg of the Predators (2), Sidney Crosby of the Penguins (1) and Mark Scheifele of and Patrik Laine of the Jets.

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