Predictions are always fun to make because they are absolutely meaningless, and yet, they still get a big reaction from every fanbase online. The new division realignment makes predictions a little more exciting this year. Some teams got the short end of the stick, and it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with the adversity. Some teams, like Tampa and Colorado, have an opportunity to win 75 percent of their games due to how unbalanced their divisions are. The division realignment also affects individual awards too. In what should be a goals heavy North division, it’s hard to see how Auston Matthews doesn’t win the Rocket when his main competitors play in the brutal East division. The same goes for Connor Mcdavid and the Art Ross. But hey, this is why we play the games, right? So let’s dive into predictions for every division, every award and maybe even some bonus prognostications.
- Philadelphia Flyers
I think the Flyers just have the most depth on offence and defence and the division’s best goalie. Niskanen retiring could be a loss, but with Phillipe Myers, Provorov, Sanheim and Gosthibhere back there, I think they’ll be ok. Here’s hoping for a healthy season for both Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom
- New York Rangers
I’m kind of all in on the Rangers, so I can’t back out now. I really hope their young talent takes a big step, and I’m confident in Shesterkin to have a stellar year. It is also exciting to see K’andre Miller crack the lineup and be on the second line to start.
- Boston Bruins
No Pasta to start the year and many holes on defence, but they’ll find a way to get enough points. I can’t see them being particularly dangerous in the playoffs, though.
- Washington Capitals
4th spot was tough for me, but I like the Caps D unit more than the Pens. Massive fan of Samsonov, too, and I think Kuznetsov has a big bounce-back year.
- Pittsburgh Penguins
I’ll never rule out Malkin or Crosby, but when two of your six defencemen are Mike Matheson and Cody Ceci, no sir, I do not like it. Depth scoring could be an issue too.
- Buffalo Sabres
If the Atlantic division was a thing this year, I wouldn’t rule out the Sabres for a wildcard spot, but it’s hard to see them overcoming their goaltending woes in this unmerciful division.
- New York Islanders
Yes, I will sleep on the Islanders, and I’ll do it with the AC on 60 and the fan on full blast blowing right in my face. They lost one of their top defencemen and will struggle to find ways to score. Regression is written all over them.
- New Jersey Devils
I mean… Jack Hughes? The 2021 draft is loaded, so Devils fans can be excited about that.
- Toronto Maple Leafs
It’s the Leafs, it’s preseason predictions, of course, they will be first. They have the most talent and finally made substantial upgrades on D. Freddy will need to find his 17-18 form if they want a chance at winning it all, though.
- Calgary Flames
I feel like many people are low on the Flames, and I’m not really sure why. They finally have a consistent goalie, and they still made the playoffs last year despite bad years from Gaudreau and Monahan.
- Edmonton Oilers
Mcdavid and Draisaitl alone gets you 3rd in this division. I like some of the depth moves they made, and watch out for Kailer Yamamoto this season. Goaltending could be their biggest crutch.
- Montreal Canadiens
They are still going to struggle to score, but they have a great D core and a maybe, possibly, fully focused Carey Price? Toffoli is a good signing, but he’s another player that creates a bevy of chances without finishing them off. Either way, they’re more consistent and structured than the teams behind them.
- Winnipeg Jets
Have the offensive firepower to make the playoffs, but their defence will continue to struggle. Hellebuyck will need another Vezina type year for them to have a chance.
- Vancouver Canucks
They just have so many holes on defence and after the first forward line. It’s Quinn Hughes and everybody else back there. Demko and Holtby will be an exciting partnership, but they have big shoes to fill.
- Ottawa Senators
I’m not going to lie, I think the Sens could compete for a playoff spot if Matt Murray can play as well as he has in the past, but it just doesn’t seem likely. They will be competitive, though.
- Tampa Bay Lightning
No Kucherov shouldn’t really matter, considering who else is in their division. Carolina could give them a run for their money, but I doubt they care that much about coming first when you know you’re going to have to play them in the playoffs anyway.
- Carolina Hurricanes
Everyone has questions about their goaltending, but I don’t actually think it’s that worrisome. They have too many good defencemen for me to worry about that. I think Aho is a sneaky Hart Trophy candidate this year.
- Dallas Stars
Pretty much third by default. I mean, the other teams in this division just aren’t outstanding. No Seguin will obviously hurt, but they have guys that can fill his shoes.
- Florida Panthers
Florida has good players; the question is do they have a good team. I honestly don’t know, but as long as they get average goaltending this year, they should be fine.
- Nashville Predators
I hear a lot about the Preds having too much talent to miss the playoffs, but I really don’t see it. They are stacked on D, no one will argue that, but upfront, I’m not impressed. I love Forsberg, but after that, it just seems like a lot of good middle line guys. I could be very wrong about this but, let’s see.
- Columbus Blue Jackets
Again, I ask, where will the goals come from? The Dubois trade rumours are picking up steam, and depending on what they get back, they could be losing their best offensive player. The goalie situation will be an interesting one to keep an eye on.
- Detroit Red Wings
Soon Red Wings fans, soon….
- Chicago Blackhawks
You’re just fucked. I mean, I really don’t know what else to say. You have one NHL calibre centre to start the season.
- Colorado Avalanche
Colorado or Vegas is kind of a toss-up, but I think Colorado having Mackinnon pushes them over the edge. Vegas has a lot of good players, but not one elite player, especially on forward.
- Vegas Golden Knights
The regular season is just a warm-up for the real thing.
- St. Louis Blues
The Blues got really fortunate with this division. I’m not confident in their goaltending, but I cannot put them behind any other teams in this weak division.
- Minnesota Wild
I think the Wild are the least volatile of all the teams left, and I like what they’re trying to do. They genuinely do not have any good center’s, but their D core and wingers are good enough. A change at goalie was also badly needed.
- San Jose Sharks
Martin Jones and Devin Dubnyk, that’s all I need to say, really.
- Anaheim Ducks
Please, just get John Gibson some help. The goal here should be to get another top 10 pick and then come fully loaded in 2021-2022.
- Arizona Coyotes
Speaking of just being fucked, the Coyotes did not have a single draft pick until the fourth round last year and then decided to spend that pick on a person who bullied a disabled teen. Many bad contracts and not much talent up front means a painful season is ahead for the Yotes.
- LA Kings
As excited as I am for Drew Doughty’s revenge season, this Kings team just isn’t good. But they’ll be fun to watch because of how many exciting prospects they have. Soon Kings fans, soon.
Toronto, Carolina, Colorado, Philly
Colorado over Carolina
Art Ross Trophy
Candian Division means a ton of points, and I think Mcdavid is pissed off at the discourse around him and Mackinnon right now. He’s going to have a humongous big year.
He probably should’ve won it last year, and I think this year his team will have the standing to help him win it. He’s dominant every single night.
Vezina has as much to do with your team’s stats as it does the individual performance, and I think both will combine here. Hart will continue to improve, and his team sets him up nicely to win this award.
Kaprizov isn’t even really a rookie. I mean, the guys spent 5 full seasons in the KHL and turns 24 in April. Last year he had over a point a game in the KHL. He’s extraordinarily talented and will be the Wild’s leading scorer this year. It’s his award to lose.
In my mind, Slavin is the most complete defenseman in the league, and I think he gets rewarded for his play this year. The question will be, can he put up enough points to convince the voters? I say, yes.
Rocket Richard Winner
With Pasta out and Ovechkin in a tough division, it’s hard to see anyone but Matthews walking away with the scoring title. A full season of Sheldon Keefe means a ton of minutes and a ton of power-play chances. Matthews loves to score against the Sens and the Habs too.
Team to surprise
New York Rangers
Team to disappoint