3. Washington Capitals
To me, the obvious first choice has to be the Capitals. An old rival for the Canes, going back to the Southeast Division days. The Capitals are local, being based only a state away in Washington, D.C. which allows their fans to travel for the game. Two local, loyal fanbases coming together and filling up a 50,000 seat stadium would be a sight to see. Also, two expansion teams who have faced hard times and come through. a lot of storylines and threads exist to tie these clubs together.
The rivalry has always been rough, but now it’s becoming more and more even, and that has caused animosity to grow. The playoff series last year was characterized by chippiness highlighted by impressive feats of skill. The only thing for sure when these two teams meet is entertaining hockey.
The atmosphere would be electric and playing the Capitals would be the best way to ensure a capacity crowd, especially after the intense and entertaining games the teams have contested recently. Who can forget the playoff series from this past season?
The stars in this matchup would be numerous. You have Alexander Ovechkin, one of the faces of the League, while the Canes have young guys like Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov, who are the future of the league. This league has a lot to benefit from putting this matchup on the national stage.