The 2020 Stanley Cup Finals matchup is officially set. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars will meet for the right to hoist the iconic trophy; and while the playoffs looked different this year, both teams will be looking to add another chapter to their history by earning the right to raise another championship banner.
Both teams have already raised one; the Stars were champions (albeit in controversial fashion) in 1999, while the Lightning won it all in 2004.
This year’s Finals, however, have the Detroit Red Wings fingerprints all over it.
Former Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill is as responsible as any for building the Stars, who had fallen on hard times by the time he arrived prior to the 2013-14 season, into a yearly threat. Meanwhile, current Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman presided over the Lightning as GM from 2010 to 2018, turning them into one of the elite squads in the NHL.
Red Wings senior Vice President Jim Devellano is happy for both sides, and will be paying attention closely to this year’s championship round.
“It brings a big smile to my face,” Devellano said. “Jim Nill and a few of our other people went to Dallas and did a good job. Steve Yzerman and (Red Wings assistant GM) Pat Verbeek’s fingerprints are all over Tampa. It makes me feel good. I’m happy for both teams.”
Under Jim Nill, the Stars made waves by dealing for future superstar Tyler Seguin, as well as acquiring the likes of goaltender Ben Bishop, forwards Alexander Radulov and Joe Pavelski, and several others over the course of his time deep in the heart of Texas.
For his efforts this year, he came in 3rd in voting for GM of the Year.
For the Lightning, this is their second trip to the Finals since 2015. Under Yzerman, the team became a dangerous offensive powerhouse, thanks in large part to key signings including Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde, as well as draft picks such as Nikita Kucherov, Anthony Cirelli, Blake Coleman, Brayden Point, Cedric Paquette, and Ondrej Palat. They also snagged goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy from a pick obtained from the Red Wings for Kyle Quincey.
– – Quotes via Ansar Kahn of MLive Link – –