I usually write these down somewhere and check back at the end of the year, I decided to try it here. I’m not looking for a debate or anything just throwing these out there for fun, regular season only, I won’t try and predict 4 rounds of post season now, save that for another time. I’ll do each division standings and, briefly, explain my rationale, I’ll pick my 16 playoff teams, trophy winners, and then a few quick predictions for our New Jersey Devils.
Pacific: Edmonton, Los Angeles, Calgary, Vancouver, Anaheim, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Jose
McDavid, Draistl and adding Campbell should be enough to win that division. LA added some offense with Fiala but probably not enough to overtake the Oilers. Calgary lost a little too much but added enough to still be a pretty good team, Markstrom is really good. Vancouver is better than the teams below them but not as good as the teams above them. Anaheim will be really good…soon, just not yet, they’re heading in the right direction. Which brings me to the state of Nevada, it didn’t take very long for me to dislike this team, and I think the Lehner injury is going to be too hard to overcome, not that Lehner is all that great but he’s above average for sure, they shouldn’t have gotten rid of Fleury, kharma is a b**ch. Seattle and San Jose are both just bad, no need to explain why.
Central: Colorado, Minnesota, St.Louis, Dallas, Nashville, Winnipeg, Arizona, Chicago
West playoff teams: Edmonton, LA, Calgary, Colorado, Minnesota, St.Louis, Dallas, Vancouver (no particular order)
Colorado is still the cream of the crop and they’ll breeze through the regular season. The Wild will somehow be really good despite losing Fiala and having $14 Billion in dead cap space, Kaprizov is that good. The Blues are always a solid team and that’s not going to change this year. The rest of this division is just mediocre to downright awful, I picked Dallas, Nashville, then Winnipeg but those 3 could really finish in any order, I picked this way because, why not? Arizona and Chicago are going full on awful for Bedard, he’ll probably end up in Chicago.
Atlantic: Florida, Tampa, Toronto, Ottawa, Detroit, Boston, Buffalo, Montreal
Florida takes the top spot by default, they’re still really good. Tampa will pace themselves and prepare for the playoffs, losing Palat and McDonagh will hurt, especially in the playoffs. Toronto will win games 6-5, and lose in the first round again, their goalies are bad, not 21-22 Devils bad, but bad. Ottawa is much improved and could possibly sneak past Toronto. Same with Detroit. Boston is old and injured and have drafted very poorly and it’s finally going to catch up with them, they’ll dig an early season hole that they won’t be able to climb out of. Buffalo is better but, like Toronto, bad goaltending, Comrie and Anderson? I think they’re looking at Bedard too. Montreal, yikes, they should have taken a Shane Wright, they’re going to really regret that.
Metro: Carolina, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, New York R, Washington, New York I, Columbus, Philadelphia
Carolina is still the best team in this division, they might have even gotten better with Burns and Pacioretty. Pittsburgh will be OK for now but the end is in sight, Crosby is still really good. Better goaltending, a full season of Jack Hughes, a financially motivated Bratt, I like what we’ve done and the drought is over. Rags are a paper tiger, really bad 5v5 and it’s all up to Shesterkin, if he gets hurt they’ll be even lower, no way Kreider comes even remotely close to what he did, they’re really overrated. Washington is getting old, Backstrom is done and Dylan Strome isn’t as good as he is, I may be in the minority on this but Ovechkin will slow down and I don’t think he’ll ever catch 99. Islanders are old and Lou should retire, they can’t score for beans and basically did nothing to help that. Columbus, like Toronto will play a lot of 6-5 games, except unlike Toronto, they’ll be on the losing end. Philadelphia stinks, we all know this.
East Playoff teams: Florida, Tampa, Toronto, Carolina, Pittsburgh, NJD, Ottawa, NYR
McDavid wins the Hart and Art Ross trophies, Josi takes the Norris, Shesterkin wins the Vezina again, Alex Holtz wins the Calder
Devils predictions: Hughes gets 100 points, Bratt gets 80, Hischier gets 70. Alex Holtz wins the Calder, Severson is dealt in early December, The Devils win a playoff round. Ruff is replaced in January, not fired, he’ll step down. Nemec kills it in Utica, and is promoted to NJ, which is why Severson is dealt. Luke Hughes joins the team late in the season and gets a GWG in his debut, assisted by Jack.