NHL season predictions
“Wake me up when September ends.” That seems to be the mindset for many hockey fans as soon as the Stanley Cup Final ends in the spring.
This offseason saw a slew of notable moves that are sure to shake up the dynamics of the league. Most notably, John Tavares signed with the Maple Leafs, Erik Karlsson was traded to the Sharks, Max Pacioretty was traded to the Golden Knights and Ilya Kovalchuk will be making his return to the NHL with the Kings after spending the last five years playing in Russia.
The NHL recently released the betting odds to win the Stanley Cup, putting the Maple Leafs as the favorites with the Lightning, Jets, Predators and Golden Knights rounding out the top five.
Every time a new season starts, sports analysts always come out with season predictions on who will win each division and who will win the cup. Here are mine:
Atlantic: Tampa Bay Lightning
Metropolitan: Washington Capitals
Central: Winnipeg Jets
Pacific: San Jose Sharks
East Champion: Tampa Bay Lightning
West Champion: Nashville Predators
Stanley Cup Champion: Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning are a popular pick every year, and last year they came within one game of playing in the Final, losing to the eventual champion Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Lightning are led by the three-headed-goal-scoring monster that is Nikita Kucherov (who scored 100 points for the first time in his career last year), as well as Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point.
Other key players like last year’s Norris Trophy winner, defenseman Victor Hedman, and 2018 NHL All-Star goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy will make this a tough team to beat all year and come playoff time.
The Lightning will be playing in a tough Atlantic Division with the Maple Leafs and Bruins both reloaded and dangerous championship contenders, but the Lightning’s experience together and overall firepower will make them a tough team for anyone to beat.
There seems to be many teams capable of reaching for the Cup this year and with no obvious choice for who will win, we should have a thrilling season-long race to the end on our hands.
Sports trivia question of the week:
Who was the first NHL team to win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles?
A) Ottowa Senators
B) Montreal Canadiens
C) Detroit Red Wings
D) Toronto Maple Leafs
Answers to last issue’s questions: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dion Sanders. Read the next issue to find the answer to this issue’s sports trivia question
David Pepin, a junior, studies English and Marketing. He is the sports editor of Le Provocateur.