The NHL season is imminent, and it's time to make our annual predictions about who will finish where, about the franchise that Lord Stanley's cup will raise, and which players will hold speeches at the awards next summer. -gala. A gala with a few more Edmonton Oilers than in the past.
I believe that the Edmonton Oilers will shock the NHL and take a huge step back in the right direction. They have the talent to be a top-2 team in their division and in the end I really believe they will end up there. And if this preseason is an indication of the talent that the selection holds on the right wing, then that prediction would have to last very well.
Now let's look at the rest of the competition!
- San Jose
It is hard to argue that San Jose is not going to top it off because they have added Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson to an already strong veteran club, but the surprises in the Pacific will be Edmonton and Calgary returning to the low season and both Anaheim if Los Angeles miss the playoffs.
I think the ducks and the kings are going too long and they will enter this year with a few pretty big names on the IR.
Vegas will take a step back. Their defense is not so good, and they are no longer the new boys in the city. Paul Stastny is a good player, but he does not move the needle offensive to them, and Max Pacioretty has much to prove after the season he just had in 2017/18.
Vancouver and Arizona will struggle to play against, but will ultimately not have the weapons needed to come up … This year.
- St. Louis
The Blues have done a great job by adding very good veterans in the off-season to players like Ryan O & Reilly, Tyler Bozak and Patrick Maroon. They have great young forward breasts in Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou and Klim Kostin. The question is, Jake Allen can take them to the promised land.
The shocking choice here are the Jets that do NOT end in the top-2 of the division. Not that an aberration was last year, but I do not think that they will be just as good last year. They will take a step back, because the expectations weigh heavier.
- Tampa Bay
This format is set for the Leafs and the Lightning to walk in and take it. Tampa has the most impressive depth in the NHL and does not stop at a professional level. Their AHL club is overflowing with highly regarded prospects such as Taylor Raddish and Mathieu Joseph.
Toronto with Tavares in the fold should now automatically give them a playoff spot, but I am worried about their defense and penalty stroke. Losing Bozak and Komarov will hurt their PK.
The shocking choices in this division are both Florida and Buffalo, causing the playoffs and Boston to go wrong.
Boston is the LA / Anaheim of the East. They age incredibly fast. They do not get faster and rely on old veterinarians like Chara, Bergeron and Rask to spend the whole season. This is the year that Father Time catches up with the Bruins.
They are due for the Panthers. Adding Mike Hoffman was a brilliant move on their part, because he will achieve 30 goals this year. The rise of potential Calder trophy winner Henrik Borgstrom will be noticed early and often.
As far as the Sabers are concerned, it is time for Eichel and company to put together their act. They finally have a stallion defender at the back in Rasmus Dahlin who can turn a game directly upside down with a juke or a jive. They have a budding young goalkeeper in Linus Ullmark who is ready for prime time and adding smart vets such as Berglund and Sobotka will go a long way for them.
- New Jersey
- New York Islanders
- New York Rangers
Hard year for the teams in the New York area. They will all fight for the choice of Jack Hughes this season. Taylor Hall can not bring the devils back to the postal season, how will Mat Barzal have to do to play the strengths that John Tavares was before he left, and as good as Henrik Lundqvist, he will not let the Rangers down & # 39; children on his back and marching to the late season.
Washington, Pittsburgh and Philly leading the division should not be a surprise to anyone, but I think we should keep an eye on the Flyers. Once Carter Hart is ready for prime time, this can be as early as this season.
Startled to see Carolina in the top-4? Adding Dougie Hamilton, Petr Mrazek, Calvin De Haan, Michael Ferland and Andrei Svechnikov will pay huge dividends on the ice. They will no longer play the Bill Peters Corsi system. New Head Coach Rod Brind & # 39; Amour will have this team back in the race and in an entertaining way and no less.
Stanley Cup: Pittsburgh Penguins
Hart: Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)
Art Ross: Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)
"Rocket" Richard: Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)
Calder: Andrei Svechnikov (Carolina Hurricanes)
Norris: Erik Karlsson (San Jose Sharks)
Vezina: Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Lady Byng: Mitch Marner (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Selke: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton Oilers)
Adams: Dave Hakstol (Philadelphia Flyers)
President & # 39; s Trophy: Tampa Bay Lightning
Stanley Cup Finalist: St. Louis Blues
Conn Smythe: Phil Kessel (Pittsburgh Penguins)