It’s here baby, Christmas in October! The NHL Season starts tonight so in this post, I’m going to give some season long predictions along with a preview of the four games tonight. Let’s get to it!
Nothing changes here at the top, with Tampa winning the division, Boston coming in second, and Toronto in third. The surprise is Florida coming close to these teams and getting a wild card spot. The Sabres end up staying in the playoff race for the full season but ultimately fall short. The Red Wings, Canadiens, and Senators battle it out in the race for the bottom.
The Blue Jackets put it together this season and surprise many winning the division. Both Pennsylvania teams end up making it comfortably. The defending champs sneak in as the second Wild Card, while the Hurricanes tease us once again but don’t make it because of, you guessed it, goaltending. The New York teams and New Jersey bring up the rear as teams that don’t contend for the playoffs but aren’t bad enough to fall to the bottom of the league.
Smashville wins their second straight Presidents Trophy as they cruise to the title. The Jets lose a few points in the standings but still finish second. The chance to Jim Montgomery sparks the Stars to a third place finish, with the Wild coming in fourth. Allen prevents a loaded Blues team from finishing higher, but they still end up getting the second wild card. The Avs barely miss out, while the Blackhawks finish in last fairly easily.
The Sharks pull away and win the division with relative ease. The Ducks, on the back of Gibson, manage to win second. Vegas manages to get third to get back into the playoffs. The Kings end up just missing, while the Coyotes make their way off the bottom to fight for a spot to the bitter end. The Flames, despite their top end talent, fall off due to the loss of Hamilton on the blue line. The Oilers waste another McDavid season, while the Canucks battle in the Jack Hughes race. If I had to pick one team to finish in one spot in their division in the whole league, I would pick the Canucks for last in the Pacific. Good luck uniting the Hughes brothers!
McDavid wins the Art Ross and Hart again with 117 points. Gibson ends up edging out Bob for the Vezina. Karlsson wins the Norris en route to getting an 8/80 contract. Mittelstadt ends up winning a close Calder race with Pettersson, while Torts ends up winning the Jack Adams keeping the Jackets together with the circus surrounding Bob and Panarin’s pending free agency.
Lightning end up beating the Blue Jackets to go to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they end up beating the Sharks, fresh off a win in the Western Finals over the Predators.
FIVE BOLD PREDICTIONS
1) The Sharks have the best power play in the league coming in at a 28% clip. Karlsson and Burns together should be deadly with Thornton’s playmaking ability perfect for setting up Burns on the half wall, along with Couture and Pavelski. The best PP since the lockout was 26.8% by the 2012-13 Capitals, so this would be the best power play the league has seen in decades.
2) It’s been six years since we’ve had a 50+ goal scorer not named Ovechkin. That year, Stamkos scored 60 and Malkin scored 50. This year, we get two new 50 goal scorers, and three total for the first time since 07-08. Ovechkin gets back to 50 once again, while Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews both join him. It ends up an amazing race for the Rocket Richard with Laine winning by one goal.
3) Dylan Larkin puts up 80 points. He’s going outside of the top 100 in drafts, but as you regular readers know, I love Larkin’s potential. Even on a terrible Red Wings team and going against the first liners on the opposition, Larkin is already among the best at even strength. This year, he puts up enough power play points to push a point per game.
4) Tyler Seguin scores 95 points. The coaching change helps the Stars as the top line becomes a top three line in the league. Seguin is entering his prime and is perfectly positioned to make a big jump like Hall did last season.
5) Mitch Marner leads the Maple Leafs in points. I know, I said Matthews was going to score 50 goals, which means Marner is probably getting 90-95 points, if not more. The jump to Tavares from Bozak is massive, and loading up the top power play will only help Marner out. Have fun having to pay him next offseason Toronto!
OPENING NIGHT PREVIEWS
Montreal @ Toronto
Not much to talk about here with Toronto being massive favorites. Get all of the Leafs in your lineup you can, stream who you can, etc. As for Montreal, I’m interested to see how Jesperi Kotkaniemi looks in his NHL debut. He’s worth a flier as a cheap DFS option as he’ll see top six minutes with Drouin on his wing.
Boston @ Washington
I like Boston in this spot as a tough matchup for the Caps. Charlie McAvoy gets a massive boost with Torey Krug out for at least three weeks. He’s already owned everywhere, but it’s huge for his owners and makes him an elite DFS option at his price. I think we see a tighter game here.
Calgary @ Vancouver
Interesting that the Canucks are only small underdogs in this one. Elias Lindholm is an elite streamer playing with Gaudreau and Monahan to start the game. I suspect that Horvat and Boeser will be underowned making them nice DFS options. I am excited to see Elias Pettersson‘s debut and how the Calgary power plays are set up with Hamilton’s departure.
Ducks @ Sharks
I can’t wait to see how this Sharks team looks. This is a rough matchup for the Ducks; their chance to be in this game is for Gibson to stand on his head. I’m not using him yet, but I want to see how Troy Terry looks on the top line, assuming he’s there as it appears right now. Ondrej Kase‘s playing time is also worth monitoring.
That’s all for now guys. Whether I’m back Thursday or Friday morning depends on how much action there is tomorrow. There will still be previews coming out from Sven, so be sure to check them out. Lackey will have some new posts soon as well. As always, feel free to leave any questions, comments, and suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care and enjoy some hockey!