PROJECTING SUCCESS IN THE Stanley Cup playoffs is in some ways like a religious belief. Objective analysis will only take you so far. The rest is a leap of faith. What do your gut instincts tell you about which players will be ready for the two-month endurance test and, conversely, who will not be ready for the challenge? As the late Bob Johnson explained it, a Stanley Cup champion must be able to win sprints in the first couple of rounds and then endure marathon conditions for the last two rounds. Pittsburgh has a better team than Winnipeg, and the Penguins have a better chance to advance in the playoffs. Historically, Letang has been a better defenseman than Byfuglien. He was solid in Pittsburgh’s 2009 Stanley Cup win and a key contributor to its championship in 2016. Byfuglien had an excellent playoff when Chicago won the Cup in 2010, although he was playing right wing at the time. Since his conversion to defense, he has had only one playoff round, in which a clearly superior Anaheim team sidelined Winnipeg quickly. However, the career statistics are not determinative in projecting the future. Letang is not playing as well as he was in past years. Byfuglien is playing the best hockey of his career. He is playing with passion and commitment. I am making a leap of faith – Dustin Byfuglien over Kris Letang in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. Tom Thompson has been an NHL scout/director/assistant GM since 1985.