Here are my predictions for the 2019-2020 NHL season. Most of this will be extremely inaccurate but anything I get correct will be bragged about for years to come.
I had the easiest time making my picks for the Atlantic, only moving Montreal in and out of 4 different spots. While I think Tampa Bay is the clear winner, the number 2 spot could certainly be going back to Boston but here’s how I think things will play out.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Toronto Maple Leafs
3. Florida Panthers
4. Boston Bruin
5. Buffalo Sabers
6. Montreal Canadians
7. Ottawa Senators
8. Detroit Red Wings
Just had one of the best NHL seasons of all time and are coming back with the same squad. They are going to be great again, the Russians will make sure of it. Nikita Kucherov, known for working his bag off is going to torch the league again. Mikhail Sergachev keeps getting better and will form a deadly top pairing with Bond villain Victor Hedman.
The Maple Leafs are damn good and will continue to get better this season. They boast one of the deepest forward groups in the league. Line 1A and 1B are more appropriate titles for the lines centred by Auston Matthews and John Tavares. All signs point towards a bounce-back year for number 88 Bill Nylander and both Johnsson and Kapanen are trending in the right direction. The questions, of course, will be on the Leafs Defense. The addition of Tyson Barrie is one that was well-received by leafs nation and while I see this as an improvement over Jake Gardner only time will tell how much of an improvement. A full season of Jake Muzzin is huge but in order to take the next step and become a legitimate contender, the Leafs will need a solid showing from Cody Ceci, (Sens fans would recommend you don’t hold your breath on that) Travis Dermott, who has continued to grow nicely, and either or all of Justin Holl, Kevin Gravel, Jordan Schmaltz, or better yet we see Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren take a spot and run away with it. Regardless of who it is manning the bottom half of Toronto’s blue line, this will be the year they finally get out of the first round.
The cats went to work in the offseason. Officer Bobrovsky took his talents to Flordia and solidified the Panthers only glairing weakness. On the shoulders of everyones favourite “underrated” superstar Alexsander Barkov, this team is going to playoffs baby. They can score and their powerplay is lethal. Bob changes the entire outlook for this squad just in time for young guns Henrik Borgstrom and Owen Tippet to have breakout seasons. I like their chances at the Playoffs
They did overpay both Brett Connolly and Anton Stralman, but when you are going for it you’ve gotta go for it.
The Bruins didn’t do anything to get worse. They still have arguably the best line in hockey, an elite goalie, who was spectacular in the playoffs, and a sneaky good D-core. Chara is getting really, really old but Krug, Carlo, Mcavoy, Grzelcyk, and Clifton round out a very solid top 6. The window is not closed for the Bruins and they will be in the playoff race whether it’s in the second, third, or wild card spot.
Bruins fans will hope to see more playoff Charlie Coyle. 9 goals and 16 points in 24 games after scoring only 6 regular-season points with the B’s in 21.
The Sabers are…….still not going to make the playoffs. Sorry, not a wagon. They added Marcus Johnsson, who when healthy can be a major difference-maker. He adds depth and can play up and down the lineup. This along with the addition of their man Jimmy Vessy will help Buffalo challenge for a spot. Their young stars will continue to improve but it wont be enough. Carter Hutton is like Joe Flacco…not elite.
I have no idea what this team is going to do. I could see them as high as 3rd or as low as dead last. They have decent depth but lack star quality talent upfront still. I can’t remember Montreal’s last real 1st line centre. Domi had a awesome breakout year in Montreal… can he keep it up? Any team with Carey Price is going to win a few games. The stats guys like the Canadians D beyond Webber as well. The potential pairing of Petry and Kulak is actually a pretty intreguing one. You’ve also got Ryan Poehling coming up who is good for 3 goals a game. Sooooo you never know.
Taking Brady Tkachuk isn’t looking so bad now… its a mess in Ottawa for sure but Tkachuk and Chabot give some reason to feel optimistic. Another high pick should be coming their way. In fact, ill go as far as to say another high pick will be coming their way. An ageing Craig Anderson in front of Maple Leafs outcasts Hainsey and Zaitsev. It’s not going to be pretty. They and Detroit will battle for this last spot.
The Wings would probably like to finish dead last. It’s full rebuild time. We’re all ready for Stevey Y to make his mark on the team. You have Dylan Larkin and that’s about it.
Ottawa gets the edge here because of the Defense. led by 33-year old Mike Green. It’s a shit show. Madison Bowey might be something to build on but he’s not ready and you really can’t/shouldn’t rely on Johnathan Ericsson and Trevor Daily. Good luck Yzerman.