Stanley Cup Sexiness Ranking: Which first-round series are must-see?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13: Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings holds up the Stanley Cup Trophy following Game Five of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

The still-new NHL playoff format was designed to deliver the most attractive first-round matchups possible, filled with divisional battles and traditional rivals. But while some series are going to be epic wars, other series are going to be minor skirmishes. At least on paper. 

So which ones are the sexiest? Which ones are going to be worth your time?

As we do every postseason, your friends at Puck Daddy now provide you with a handy ranking of the eight first-round series, based on the following factors: Star Power, Secondary Plotlines, Hate, Controversy, Arena Atmosphere, Game 7 Probability and the potential for awesome playoff facial masterpieces, a.k.a. Beard-o-sity.

Who takes it? Whose cuisine reigns supreme?!

Here are the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Sexiness Ranking:

Florida Panthers right wing Reilly Smith (18) and New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) fight in the second period of an NHL hockey game in New York, Monday, March 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)
Florida Panthers right wing Reilly Smith (18) and New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) fight in the second period of an NHL hockey game in New York, Monday, March 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)

8. Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders

Star Power – 7

Secondary Plotlines – 6

Hate Factor – 2

Controversy Quotient – 3

Arena Atmosphere – 7

Game 7 Probability – 6

Beard-o-sity – 6

SEXINESS RANKING: 37

Look, we’re all interested in this series, because neither of these teams have won a playoff series since the Clinton Administration. (OK, the Bill Clinton Administration, in case anyone’s reading this in 2017.)

But we’ll watch the series from afar unless there’s a moment of flashpoint violence – a possibility, given the truculent nature of some of the Islanders – or to marvel at Jaromir Jagr’s abilities on the ice and whatever the hell he decides to grow on his face.

Dallas Stars' goalie Kari Lehtonen, right, of Finland, makes the pad save on Minnesota Wild's Jason Pominville (29) in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)
Dallas Stars' goalie Kari Lehtonen, right, of Finland, makes the pad save on Minnesota Wild's Jason Pominville (29) in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)

7. Dallas Stars vs. Minnesota Wild

Star Power – 7

Secondary Plotlines – 6

Hate Factor – 6

Controversy Quotient – 7

Arena Atmosphere – 7

Game 7 Probability – 2

Beard-o-sity – 5

SEXINESS RANKING: 40

Some of this ranking is, admittedly, recency bias, as the Wild backed into the playoffs and could be missing Zach Parise, as least for the start. It doesn’t have the makings of a long series, which is what hurts its overall score, but any series involving Antoine Roussel has the possibility of some controversy. It’ll also be nice to see the Benn and Seguin show after its hiatus.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, right, looks over his shoulder as Tampa Bay Lightning's Erik Condra (22) scores during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 22, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, right, looks over his shoulder as Tampa Bay Lightning's Erik Condra (22) scores during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 22, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

6. Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings

Star Power – 5

Secondary Plotlines – 8

Hate Factor – 4

Controversy Quotient – 4

Arena Atmosphere – 9

Game 7 Probability – 6

Beard-o-sity – 6

SEXINESS RANKING: 42

This series was ranked last in the 2015 edition, and it actually lost a couple of points on its score this time thanks to the absence of Steven Stamkos. Where this series is at its best is in the secondary plotlines, which include whether Tampa can win despite its massive injury losses and whether the Red Wings can extend Pavel Datsyuk’s last ride; and in arena atmosphere, as both arenas bring it on the postseason. But as first-round series go, this one isn’t necessarily “must-see.”

Anaheim Ducks left wing Jakob Silfverberg (33), of Sweden, moves the puck against Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis (4) in the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Anaheim Ducks left wing Jakob Silfverberg (33), of Sweden, moves the puck against Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis (4) in the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

5. Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators

Star Power – 6

Secondary Plotlines – 5

Hate Factor – 7

Controversy Quotient – 7

Arena Atmosphere – 8

Game 7 Probability – 8

Beard-o-sity – 7

SEXINESS RANKING: 48

The Ducks and Predators have a little heat between them, and this is one series worth watching for some flashpoints of aggression (helped, no doubt, by the Perry/Kesler/Garbutt trinity of pests). It’s a series that could go long, and get nastier as it does. And obviously the presence of Shea Weber increased the Beard-o-sity.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Matt Cullen (7), second from left, scores past New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, left, during the first period of the NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 27, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Pittsburgh Penguins' Matt Cullen (7), second from left, scores past New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, left, during the first period of the NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 27, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

4. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers

Star Power – 8

Secondary Plotlines – 7

Hate Factor – 9

Controversy Quotient – 8

Arena Atmosphere – 8

Game 7 Probability – 5

Beard-o-sity – 4

SEXINESS RANKING: 49

No. 1 on our list last season, but times have changed. The Penguins bring the star power, the Rangers bring Henrik Lundqvist and a veteran team trying to get another crack at the Cup before the window closes. This series is somewhat diminished because the Penguins are crushing everyone and the Rangers haven’t looked like a championship team … and because the Rangers’ offense is built on counterpunching and the Penguins never give up the puck. But they’ve had their battles before, and anytime Marc Staal’s stick and Sidney Crosby’s neck are in the same series …

Philadelphia Flyers' Brayden Schenn, right, and Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson collide during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Philadelphia Flyers' Brayden Schenn, right, and Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson collide during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

3. Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Star Power – 9

Secondary Plotlines – 9

Hate Factor – 9

Controversy Quotient – 7

Arena Atmosphere – 9

Game 7 Probability – 6

Beard-o-sity – 5

SEXINESS RANKING: 54

The hate will be palpable, the stakes couldn’t be higher for the Washington Capitals and the death of Flyers owner Ed Snider changes the conversation for Philly. Would be a higher score were it not for many pundits seeing this as a quick win for Washington.

St. Louis Blues center Jori Lehtera (12) tries to keep the puck away from Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
St. Louis Blues center Jori Lehtera (12) tries to keep the puck away from Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

2. St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks

Star Power – 9

Secondary Plotlines – 9

Hate Factor – 9

Controversy Quotient – 9

Arena Atmosphere – 9

Game 7 Probability – 9

Beard-o-sity – 6

SEXINESS RANKING: 60

Two words: “Wakey wakey.” There’s a ton of hate here, plenty of chances for brutal physical play and, of course, it’s the Blues trying to win a playoff series against a defending champ looking to extend their dynasty. The kind of series this playoff format was created to encourage in the first round.

But it’s not the sexiest series…

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) stops a shot from San Jose Sharks' Joonas Donskoi (27) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 28, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) stops a shot from San Jose Sharks' Joonas Donskoi (27) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 28, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

1. Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks

Star Power – 10

Secondary Plotlines – 10

Hate Factor – 10

Controversy Quotient – 8

Arena Atmosphere – 9

Game 7 Probability – 9

Beard-o-sity – 10

SEXINESS RANKING: 66

Does it get any better than this? Two hated rivals. One of them trying to build a dynasty that rivals that of the Blackhawks. The other trying to avenge the worst playoff loss in recent memory. One with a playoff MVP goalie, the other with his understudy. And in Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, potentially the two best beards in the conference. Watch every game, DVR them, and then watch again. 

--

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY