T.J. the Sports Geek’s 2017 NHL Season Preview

NHLPreview17

Hello everyone,and welcome to my NHL Season Preview. I apologize for the delay. I have had some technical issues lately and therefore had to push production back a week or so. Here we are,nonetheless. Here are my summaries for all 31 teams and a playoff preview and a Stanley Cup prediction. This is it!

Western Conference

Pacific Division

OilersLogoEdmonton Oilers       109 pts

Last season the Oilers made their comeback to the postseason,winning one series and coming close winning another and getting to the conference finals. Led by league MVP Connor McDavid,the boys in blue and orange hope to get even further. McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both got rewarded with long-term deals to stay in Edmonton. Milan Lucic hopes to have a better season as well as the physical forwards Zack Kassian and Patrick Maroon. The defense looked it’s best in years last season, anchored by Oscar Klefbom, Kris Russell,Adam Larsson and Darnell Nurse. Minding the net is Cam Talbot who was very efficient last year and should continue that this season. Todd McLellan’s bunch is looking to make a big push towards the Stanley Cup this season.

AnaDucksAnaheim   Ducks         106 pts

The Ducks were a series away from getting back to the Stanley Cup Finals only to get knocked around by the Predators. The main stars on this team are back in Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler,and Corey Perry. Cam Fowler signed an extension in the offseason to continue anchoring Anaheim’s fearsome blue line along with Kevin Bieksa,Josh Manson,and Brandon Montour. The goaltending got a little bit stronger with longtime veteran Ryan MIller coming over to back-up John Gibson. The front office of the Ducks has done a great job of keeping this group together to try and get to a Stanley Cup final,but they are a year older and with the rise of the Edmonton Oilers,the battle for the division title got tougher. They’re still a very good team, but it remains to be seen if they can get past being shown the door again and again come playoff time.

FlamesCalgary Flames                    102 pts

The Flames were able to snag the last playoff spot last season and were bounced early by Anaheim in the opening round. In the offseason they went out and bolstered their roster by trading for Travis Hamonic from the Islanders,joining Dougie Hamilton and Mark Giordano on the blue line. Jaromir Jagr also joins the team,but is having the 45-year-old forward worth it? Also new are the goaltenders as they acquired Mike Smith and Eddie Lack. Smith is expected to start much of the games for Calgary. One player hoping to break out is Sam Bennett,who had a down year from his rookie campaign, but may bounce back if he’s on a line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. The Flames look like they’ll be a lot better and two reasons why they went to get help in the offseason are because they lost in the postseason and against their provincian rivals,the Edmonton Oilers. Can they beat them in the Battle of Alberta and win a playoff game or series? We’re about to find out.

sharksaltSan Jose  Sharks          95 pts

The Sharks are not the team they were when they reached the Stanley Cup Finals two seasons ago and in the playoffs last season,it showed as the aging team ran out of gas versus Edmonton. While the team didn’t acquire many players, they kept much of their core in place to try and get back to the Cup finals. One player who is gone,though,is Patrick Marleau,who spent more time in a Sharks uniform than anyone in history. Joe Thornton,however,is back and he and Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture make up the nucleus of this San Jose team. Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns heads the defenseman core along with Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun and Paul Martin. Martin Jones looks to continue his solid goaltending while forwards Joel Ward,Tomas Hertl,and Melker Karlsson round out the best of the San Jose front lines. Is the Sharks’ window closing? It depends on how their young core does with the old timers on the roster. I think they’re at least a playoff team,but a contender? That’s asking a lot.

lakingsaltLos Angeles Kings                 91 pts

The Kings,once Cup contenders,have missed the postseason two of the last three seasons. Darryl Sutter was replaced with John Stevens as head coach as a result of the team performing below expectations. If Los Angeles wants to get back to the postseason,they’re going to need the best out of their best players such as Anze Kopitar,Drew Doughty,Marian Gaborik,and goaltender Jonathan Quick. Forward Mike Cammilleri returns to the club he started with on a one-year contract while Dustin Brown needs to have a more productive season than he has in year’s past. If the Kings can stay healthy,especially Quick, as well as the regular mainstays and the youngsters coming to contribute,they might have an outside chance to get back to the playoffs. I see them on the outside looking in.

CoyotesArizona  Coyotes     85 pts

The young Coyotes are hoping to improve on a lackluster 70-point campaign from last season and the era of Shane Doan is over. Arizona added Derek Stepan who had a stellar 55-point season last year with the Rangers and Miklas Hjalmarksson from Chicago. One has to wonder if Clayton Keller will at some point join the young nucleus of Max Domi,Christian Dvoark,Jakob Chychrun and Anthony DuClair. With Mike Smith now in Calgary, the Coyotes need to find out who their next netminder will be, the odds-on favorite is Antti Raanta, who backed-up admirably for Henrik Lundqvist in New York while longtime back-up Louis Domingue is also in the mix. I think Arizona will have more points than last season,but they’re not playoff material just yet.

CanucksVancouver Canucks      77 pts

The Canucks are in rebuild mode and it’s probably going to take a couple seasons. The Sedin twins are there,but this is their final contract year in Vancouver,the only city they’ve ever played in. A big question has to be that at age 36, do they resign for less money to stay or try and go to a contender (s)? Only time will tell.One big question for the team is goaltending. Who will be in net? Jakob Markstrom was brought in to possibly be the number one netminder,but Andres Nilsson is also in the mix and has been a starting goaltender in the past with limited success. Bo Horvat hopes to continue to grow in leaps and bounds as well as Brock Boeser,who was electric in limited time last season. Vancouver signed Sam Gagner,Alexander Burmistrov, and Michael Del Zotto  to bring some more veteran presence to this team. Overall,I think the Canucks will have a few more points than last season. Nothing more or less.     

goldenknightslogoVegas  Golden Knights        67 pts

The league’s newest team is actually an intriguing one to me. First off,they have a star netminder in Marc-Andre Fleury fresh off of a Stanley Cup win who will guide the way and be a leader to a team hoping to find their place in this league quickly. This team is largely made-up of cast-offs from other teams in the expansion draft,but is also full of potential as well in the time to come. One player making some noise is Tyler Wong,who is hoping to make the big club. He’s been a star in preseason for Vegas and the league is taking notice. Among the players who are already here hoping to make an impact is Shea Theodore,who has something to prove after being let go in Anaheim along wiith Clayton Stoner. Other players like Cody Eakin,Erik Haula,David Perron,and James Neal should provide a lot of scoring for this club. The key for a successful inaugural year for the Golden Knights is to be competitive,and I think they will be. Look for a lot of games where they lose by a goal from this team,but look out for them in the future,it looks bright!

Central Division

PredatorsNashville  Predators    106 pts

The Predators finished as runner-ups in the Stanley Cup Finals,a feat that few expected. While they lost James Neal to the expansion Golden Knights and captain Mike Fisher announced his retirement, there’s plenty of reason to see that these Preds can still compete. They re-signed Pontus Aberg in the offseason after seeing his production in the playoffs. They also signed Nick Bonino away from the team they lost to in the Finals,which should ease the pain of the aforementioned losses of Fisher and Neal. Bonino joins a star-studded roster with Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg,P.K. Subban,Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Ellis. But the star of the show is netminder Pekka Rinne,who had a .976 save percentage before the postseason last year. At 34, Rinne is still at the top of his game. I absolutely like this roster,they may be even better than last year’s squad and I think they’ll contend once again. Last season was no anomaly.

StarsDallas Stars   101 pts

After a 109-point season in 2015-16, the Stars dropped off and mustered a 79-point campaign which saw coach Lindy Ruff replaced with Ken Hitchcock. Joining the already dangerous cluster of forwards Dallas has in Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Jason Spezza are Alexander Radulov and Martin Hanzal coming from Moscow and Arizona,respectively. Their best move,though,was getting Ben Bishop in net. Dallas now has a top notch netminder. A couple of players fans should watch is Esa Lindell who has earned his place alongside John Klingberg on the blue line and Tyler Pitlick,a young forward who,in limited time with Edmonton due to injury,showed some flashes of production and energy. I’m wishing Pitlick a lot of luck in Dallas. The moves the Stars have made will definitely add new life to this team and I think they’re without question getting back to the playoffs. Solid goaltending, strong play from their forwards,and great defense will be the key.

BluesSt. Louis  Blues           97 pts

Armed with a new coaching staff headed by Mike Yeo, the Blues hope to be better than they were last year.  Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko welcome the dynamic Brayden Schenn from Philadelphia and locked up defenseman Colton Parayko long-term. Jake Allen needs to have a better season than last year. He did show that he might be back to form during the postseason,notching a .935 save percentage. If he can exude that same toughness he did in April this year,the Blues are in better shape than first thought. Robby Fabbri is a player that’s hoping to make a splash after blowing out his ACL in February. He’s still very young at 21 and Yeo is hoping to try him out at center and hoping he can flourish in his system. With this team showing improvement at defense and a focused goaltender in net,it’s safe to say this club will be postseason bound again and may get even farther than last year.

BlackhawksChicago Blackhawks  96 pts

The team with the best record in the Western Conference last season may have their window of opportunity closing  as far as netting another Cup. Their hopes were dashed by Nashville in the opening round of the playoffs last year. One player who they’ll try and win without is Artemi Panarin,who had excellent chemistry with Patrick Kane. Panarin was traded to Columbus in exchange for former Blackhawk Brandon Saad. Patrick Sharp also returns from a two-year stint in Dallas to be teammates with Jonathan Toews,Brent Seabrook,and Duncan Keith. Corey Crawford continues to tend goal for Chicago,but for how much longer? His .907 save percentage in the playoffs was very underwhelming. One player to watch is Nick Schmaltz who could very well be on his way to playing on the top line at some point. The Blackhawks aren’t as young or dominant as before,but they’re still a playoff team. I think with Panarin gone it will hurt them quite a bit.

WildMinnesota  Wild    94 pts

The Wild had their best regular season in team history only to be bounced in the first round by St. Louis in the playoffs. Will this year be different? The Wild traded Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella to Buffalo for Tyler Ennis. Ennis joins an already potent lineup of Mikko Koivu, Zack Parise,and Erik Staal. The defense,led by Ryan Suter, isn’t as deep as they’d like and younger prospects aren’t exactly coming through the pipeline. While the defense isn’t that strong,their offense and goaltending is superb. Devan Dubnyk hopes to continue his success between the pipes for Minnesota. While they were a strong team last season, the lack of a 30-goal scorer a year ago and the competition in the division getting stronger,I see them on the outside looking in as far as a return postseason trip goes. They’re probably going to prove me wrong,though. They always do.

WinnipegJetsWinnipeg   Jets   84 pts

The Jets could actually make the playoffs if things go in the right direction. One thing they hope improves is their goaltending. They signed Steve Mason in the offseason who they hope can fill the void in net for Winnipeg. THis team boasts a lot of youth with winger Patrik Laine,who scored 36 goals as a rookie last season and could get more this season. Blake Wheeler and  Mark Scheifele should continue to put up quality numbers as they did a year ago while Nikolaj Ehlers hopes to build on his breakout season he had last year with 64 points.  Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba head the Jets’ productive blue line and welcome  Dmitry Kulikov to try and get their goals against numbers down. Should everyone stay healthy,this team could be postseason bound,however,they have a tough fight in the division ahead of them and it’s too competitive of one for them to get in this year.

avalanchealtColorado  Avalanche     63 pts

Last season,the Avalanche totaled only 48 points in the standings and didn’t do a hell of a lot in the offseason to make adjustments or improvements. When your best moves were signing Jonathan Bernier to back-up Semyon Varlamov and seeing if Nail Yakupov has anything left, it doesn’t look very good. However,there are stil some decent pieces on this team like Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene. Duchene may be on the trading block as rumours of him leaving Colorado swirled over the summer. Nathan McKinnon needs to pick his production up after only scoring 16 goals last season, he’s far from his rookie year production after winning the Calder trophy in 2013-14. One bright spot could be forward Tyson Jost,who could be this team’s version of Jonathan Toews and was the top draft pick last season. Tyson Barrie and Erik Johnson lead a very thin blue line for the Avs. I think they’ll have a better point total this year,but it’s clear that the process is a rebuilding one in Colorado.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

mapleleafslogoToronto  Maple Leafs   104 pts

The Maple Leafs were one of the surprise teams last season that made it to the playoffs. Auston Matthews was dynamic in his rookie year,scoring 40 goals,winning the Clader trophy and was even a darkhorse candidate for MVP. He could have an 80-point output in his sophomore season. Matthews,along with  Mitch Marner and William Nylander in the team’s youth movement, added a veteran to their mix in Patrick Marleau. At 37, Marleau hopes to help bring Toronto it’s first Cup in 51 years as well as finally winning it himself. Also new to the Leafs are center Dominic Moore and defenseman  Ron Hainsey,who both bring a lot of postseason experience.  Frederik Andersen has proven he can perform under pressure in the net,which could prove to be the difference for whether or not the Maple Leafs win this division. Given how lackluster it is, I think they will. 

LightningTampa Bay  Lightning    99 pts

The Lightning did not strike their way into the postseason,but fear not,they didn’t go into rebuild mode,but rather adding to what they already have. Getting back to form starts with keeping Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan healthy. The two missed 129 games combined a season ago and their time on the ice is crucial to the plan for Tampa Bay.  Chris Kunitz,a four-time Cup winner and Dan Girardi,who’s as gritty as they come defensively,hope to bring new life on the roster while  Tyler  Johnson and Ondrej Palat were re-signed in the offseason to keep much of the roster intact. One key to a postseason return is if  Andrei Vasilevskiy can carry the load as the team’s top netminder. It’s his show in net now that Ben Bishop is gone. If he proves his worth,this team is golden. If not,they’re fighting for a playoff spot. I think the latter will happen as there’s too much good talent on this team for them not to make it back to the postseason.

SenatorsOttawa  Senators       96 pts

The Sens made it to the conference finals last season,which was a surprise to many throughout hockey. However,they left Marc Methot unprotected in the expansion draft and he is now in Vegas. Methot was a steady rock on the blue line for Ottawa and replacing him may be tough,and no,bringing in Johnny Oduya at age 36 isn’t the greatest answer,but he will be partnered with Erik Karlsson on the Senators blue line. Nate Thompson,a specialist in face-offs,was also acquired in the offseason. Bobby Ryan is going to have to score more in the regular season for the Sens to make a return trip to the postseason. Same with Mike Hoffman and  Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Craig Anderson has to have a Vezina-type season if they’re going to make a deep run into the postseason. There are injuries to key players like Karlsson,Derick Brassard, Clarke MacArthur,and Ryan Dzingel. When healthy,this team can contend for a division title. However,they are worthy of another playoff berth.

CanadiensMontreal Canadiens   94 pts

The winners of this division from a season ago are trying to duplicate that feat,and with it comes a little bit of roster turnover. Forward Jonathan Drouin and defenseman Karl Alzner come over from Tampa Bay and Washington,respectively,replacing Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov. Drouin should perform well with  Max Pacioretty and  Alex Galchenyuk on the same line. Veteran forward Ales Hemsky was also signed in the offseason to provide some secondary scoring with  Paul Byron, Artturi Lehkonen, Phillip Danault ,and Andrew Shaw. Alzner joins Shea Weber on a thin Montreal blue line. Carey Price will continue to turn in miracle starts for the Canadiens that should guarantee them a lot of close victories. I think their offense improved with the addition of Drouin, but their defense is very thin and that’s a little troubling. I see them back in the postseason, but not as division champions again.

sabreslogoBuffalo   Sabres    93 pts

The Sabres made a lot of moves in the offseason in the hopes that they’ll get back to the postseason and give their young star Jack Eichel to make his chance to shine in the second season.  Defenseman Marco Scandella and forward Jason Pominville come over from Minnesota,signed forwards Benoit Pouliot and  Jacob Josefson to provide depth up front as well as acquiring defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from Montreal. Eichel will play on a line with Evander Kane and Kyle Okposo and the second and third lines of offense are adequate as well with Ryan O’Reilly,Sam Reinhart,Matt Moulson,and Pominville. Robin Lehner needs to prove he’s a top flight goaltender if Buffalo is going to have any sort of playoff chance. He’s capable,but he does have Chad Johnson to back him up. I think the Sabres are able to sneak in if they can keep everyone healthy and score early and often.

BruinsBoston   Bruins 87 pts

The Bruins made it back to the postseason last season,but it remains to be seen if the current group has enough juice to return. It was a relatively quiet offseason as the main move that was made was resigning David Pastrnak. Paul Postma is one of the few new faces in Boston as management may be gunshy about acquiring new players after overpaying for David Backes and Matt Belecksey the year before. The Bruins should have their first two lines be aggressive with Backes,Pastrnak,Patrice Bergeron,Brad Marchand,and David Krejci. They should be more than fine in the goal-scoring category. Charlie McAvoy should provide more skill and depth on the blue line along with captain Zdeno Chara,who is nearing retirement at age 40. Tuukka Rask is in the prime of his career at age 30 despite leveling off a bit,he is,however,a very effective goalie and he is of no concern as far as the goaltending goes. Overall,I think with the aging lineup of this team and with how little was done in the offseason to improve, it’s going to be a tough year for them and honestly,the youth movement needs to happen soon for the Bruins. It’s just time!

FlaPanthersFlorida  Panthers 83 pts

The Panthers cleaned house after missing the playoffs the year after the team was a top team in the conference. Florida’s lack of forward depth after the departure of 29-percent of their offense was solved when Jamie McGinn was acquired from Arizona and tenth overall pick Owen Tippett is expected to be one of four rookies in the lineup this year behind the top line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Evgeni Dadonov,who could be one of the Eastern Conference’s fast and dynamic lineups. Aaron Eklbad heads the Panthers’ blue line along with Keith Yandle that’s one of the league’s youngest defensive corps in the league and they still need time to develop. Roberto Luongo at age 38 was very limited last season and could be sharing time in net with James Reimer. I think with the roster turnover and a group needing to rebuild their foundation to have success,it’s going to be a long season for hockey fans in South Florida (if any).

RedWingsDetroit Red Wings 77 pts

The Red Wings open their new arena this season,but it doesn’t look as though their successful days are coming with them. Their 25-season playoff streak ended last season and their lackluster offseason is further proof as their only major signing was Trevor Daley away from Pittsburgh,he joins Mike Green,Niklas Kronwall,and Jonathan Ericcson on the Detroit blue line,all of whom just mentioned are 30 and over. Meanwhile,the Red Wings ‘ forwards are an over the hill gang of their own with Henrik Zetterberg,Justin Abdelkader and Frans Nielsen,but added youngsters Tyler Bertuzzi,Dylan Larkin,and Anthony Mantha. Jimmy Howard hopes to prove he has something left after missing a good chunk of last year due to injury. Petr Mrazek was not as effective in his place,only having a .907 save percentage in Howard’s absense. Overall,these veteran Wings will be struggling as they get older and their production drops off.

Metropolitan Division

penguins1617Pittsburgh Penguins 113 pts

Yep,I have somebody other than the Capitals winning this division. Despite losing seven members of last season’s team,the two-time defending champions will look to make it three in a row for the first time in nearly 35 seasons in the NHL. They have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the two stalwart Penguins who are capable of doing this again so long as they’re both healthy. They,along with Kris Letang,Phil Kessel,Conor Sheary,and Patrik Hornqvist are a lethal nucleus.  Carter Rowney, Greg McKegg and Scott Wilson hope to fill the void left behind by the departures of key forwards from last season along with Olli Maatta,who had a shaky season last year. Letang leads the blue line along with Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz. Matt Murray should continue performing well as the Pens’ top netminder and has Antti Niemi as his back-up. I think this team,despite losing key players from the season before,has a chance to win it all again. They’re talented,they’re coached well,and they have strong leadership. They’re a force!

BlueJacketsColumbus  Blue Jackets 107 pts

The Blue Jackets had a surprise year last season,one that saw them win 16 straight games at one point in the regular season,only to lose in the playoffs to the eventual Stanley Cup champions. But there’s reason to believe that Columbus might do more than they did last year. They added dynamic winger Artemi Panarin from Chicago who is an excellent sniper. He adds great depth at forward along with Cam Atkinson,Alexander Wennberg,Nick Foligno,Boone Jenner,Brandon Dublinsky and Tyler Motte,who came with Panarin in the trade. Sonny MIlano hopes to make some noise after being called up from Cleveland. Defensively,the Jackets have star blueliners in Seth Jones and Zack Werenski,both of whom had career years last season. The guy who gives his all for this team the most is Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky,who should continue his excellent play in net. I think that Columbus will contend for this division crown and could go deeper in the postseason than the year before.

CapitalsWashington  Capitals   104 pts

The Capitals were the ones with the best record league-wide and once again ended the season without a ring and it seems like the window for them to win a Cup could be narrowing. Sure,they still have Alex Ovechkin and Nikolas Backstrom,but they lost several key players in the offseason whose roles need to be filled.  Evgeny Kuznetsov is playing under the fourth year of a big contract and may play alongside Ovechkin a lot more.  Andre Burakovsky hopes to improve from a disapponting campaign a season ago, if he does,the offense will be more dynamic. The blue line may be featuring two rookies alongside an aging Brooks Orpik. Braden Holtby’s work in net is superb and he has a quality back-up in Philip Grubauer, but how long will it be before Grubauer draws interest from a team in need of a netminder? I think Washington is still a quality team,but it’s going to take some time for most of the team to gel together and play well. I think they will.

NYRangersNew York Rangers   92 pts

The Rangers left the playoffs earlier than expected,but will they even get back to the postseason? If they do,they’ll need to do it with their proven veterans like Rick Nash,Ryan McDonagh,and Marc Staal leading the way. Coming to New York is Kevin Shattenkirk,who Washington lost in the offseason after he came over at the trade deadline. With the mix of veterans should be more ice time for guys like  Mika Zibanejad, Jimmy Vesey,and Kevin Hayes. In addition,  Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider should provide more than enough offense to keep the Rangers competitive. Add in Henrik Lundqvist,who at 35 is still a top tier netminder. Ondrej Pavelic will serve as Lundqvist’s back-up. I think the Rangers are quite a bit older and the younger they get,the better off they’ll be in years to come. I think they’re going to try and fight for the final playoff spot at the very best this year.

HurricanesCarolina   Hurricanes       90 pts

The Hurricanes feel like they’re a team that can make noise this year after a few seasons in the cellar. They signed Justin Williams in the offseason and he should be a contributing factor for Carolina immediately,just as he was when he won a Cup there in 2006. They also traded for Marcus Kruger from Vegas via Chicago,a skilled two-way center. Williams may end up on a line with Victor Rask and Jeff Skinner,which could be a scary one.  Justin Faulk, Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin and Noah Hanifin make up what can potentially be a feisty blue line for the Canes. The goaltending is a bit suspect as longtime netminder Cam Ward may be at the end of his career in Carolina. Scott Darling was brought in to possibly supplant Ward as the team’s primary goaltender. I think if they are able to score enough on offense and figure out their netminder situation,then they can be a playoff team,but honestly,I think they’re a year away. 

FlyersPhiladelphia  Flyers 88 pts

The Flyers are hoping to make the playoffs for the third time in six seasons. If they’re to do so, they’re going to need to solve their goaltending issues. They signed Brian Elliott in the offseason to replace Steve Mason, which is possibly their biggest move they made. This team looks like a mix of veterans like Claude Giroux,Wayne Simmonds,and Jakub Vuracek being joined by young guns like number two overall pick Nolan Patrick, Travis Sanheim, Travis Konecny,and Shayne Gostisbehere.   Samuel Morin, Robert Hagg,and Philippe Myers round out a collection of young blueliners hoping to make an impact in Philadelphia. I think with the questionable netminding and the mix of both the young and the old,it’s going to be a trying year for the Flyers. 

IslandersNew York Islanders   84 pts

There are questions surrounding the Islanders,one of them is if they’ll be in Brooklyn much longer. There’s the possibility they can move back to Long Island or elsewhere around New York City,but there are other concerns as well. Will John Tavares be interested in staying? He hits free agency following this season and the team hopes to keep him. One move that was made was bringing forward Jordan Eberle over from Edmonton. Eberle and Tavares will prove to be a great line and Anders Lee hopes to be a productive part of it,too,after having a phenomenal season a year prior. Winger  Joshua Ho-Sang is quite the talent and hopes to have his name in the Calder trophy discussion. Anthony Beauvillier,Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey should be productive second-line forwards. Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk will anchor a blue line that needs to step up and get New York back in the playoff conversation,as well as solid goaltending from Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss.

DevilsNew Jersey  Devils 76 pts

There’s only one way to go for the Devils,and that’s up. One way they can do that is with their top overall pick,Nico Hischier,being ready to play. In time he could be featured on a line with  Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri. New Jersey did acquire Marcus Johansson who had a great year in Washington last season. Brian Boyle,who was also signed in the offseason,faces an uncertain future as he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia,which is treatable,but there’s a long road ahead for him. While they have a great future with their forwards,the blue line looks inexperienced headlined by veteran Andy Greene. Cory Schneider looks to rebound from an underwhelming season between the pipes last year. I think this team is rebuilding and may be in the mix for a playoff spot down the road.

Stanley Cup Playoffs

Western Conference Quarterfinals

Edmonton over Chicago

Calgary over Anaheim

Nashville over San Jose

Dallas over St. Louis

 

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Toronto over Montreal

Tampa Bay over Ottawa

Pittsburgh over Buffalo

Washington over Columbus

Western Conference Semifinals

Edmonton over Calgary

Nashville over Dallas

Eastern Conference Semifinals

Tampa Bay over Toronto

Pittsburgh over Washington

Western Conference Finals

Edmonton over Nashville

Eastern Conference Finals

Pittsburgh over Tampa Bay

Stanley Cup Finals

StanleyCupprediction17

Pittsburgh over Edmonton

Enjoy the season!

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