As I get my self acquainted with this new NHL I am taking a page out of Ek's book and writing some wacky predictions I think will happen this year (or like I am sure a lot of people are saying next year). I have never covered the entire league like this before. Hope you enjoy!
To be clear, with in these predictions I am working in a frame work that there will be 4 divisions including a Canadian division playing interdivisional games only.
1. Anaheim Ducks
This is a bit of a twofer, the Ducks will finish top 10 in scoring this year. With their new core players fitting in much better and their veterans playing for thier careers, they're talents will take over and they will be a threat in the West. They will however finish bottom 10 in goals against again.
2. Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes will be the bullies of the West and will have the most fights in the league this year. They have a ton of players that get under the skin of their opponents which will make them a hard team to play against.
3. Boston Bruins
The Bruins are a team in transition right now. Which is perfect for a wacky predictions like this one. Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk will be the best tandem in hockey offensively and defensively. They will be a +40 and combine for 60+ points.
4. Buffalo Sabers
Kevin Allen nailed this one in his predictions saying that both Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel will have career years. But my moneys on Carter Hutton having a career year, now his vision issues have been sorted, playing more than half the games and keeping the Sabers in the race. They will be a team you'll need to shut down if you want to win.
5. Calgary Flames
In a Canadian Division the additions of Markstrom and the maturing of the core, I think the fortunes will change for the Flames this year. Johnny Gaudreau will double his goal total of 18 from last year and almost break 100 points.
6. Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes will win their division (especially if its only interdivisional play) next question.
7. Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks are far from being the Juggernaut they were in the early 2010s
Unfortunately, this team will be last in the league. They are lacking an identity and a goalie. Time to rebuild again.
8. Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche will make 2 very large trades this year one to acquire Marc Andre Fleury and one for Evgeni Malkin but lose in the finals.
9. Columbus Blue Jackets
Unfortunately, the Blue Jackets are a good team but that's all. Not much wackiness surrounding them. So lets go with this: Stinger the Blue Jackets' Mascot will win the Most Awesome Mascot Award for his Charity work and for doing the largest stunt of Zip Lining into the Oppositions bench.
10. Dallas Stars
Last years runners up will keep the band together and go for it again! Which again makes it hard for me to make a Wacky prediction. However with Ben Bishop and Seguin having surgery it gives me indication that Seguin in particular is going to come back better than ever and get 90 points.
11. Detroit Red Wings
The red wings are a wacky team. Anything is going to better than last year.
My prediction falls into the stats category again. I feel Dmytro Timashov will find a home on a scoring line with Dylan Larkin and they will be a dynamic duo. Timashov will lead the team in scoring in his breakout season.
12. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers in a Canadian Division will find themselves tied for first place with Vancouver this year. The Oilers are built to win in the short term.
13. Florida Panthers
The Panthers will be sold to the Nordiques organization and will resume play in 2021 in Quebec City. Sorry Panther fans this pandemic means a bigger short fall than normal.
14. Los Angeles Kings
The Kings are in an incubator. Rob Blake is a smart GM and he knows his core is going grey. So Blake will make some moves that turns the Kings around quick. While promoting his developing players too that will see success on the ice that will lead to Blake winning the Jim Gregory.
15. Minnesota Wild
Here is a wacky one. The Wild will have record breaking attendance when fans are readmitted.
16. Montreal Canadiens
Another twofer. In a Canadian division Montreal will fall in second or third.
This is for the opposite reason why Edmonton will claim first. Montreal's defense is primed and ready to hold off the attacking teams in the Leafs, The Jets, and The Oilers. My second prediction is that Marc Bergevin will be relieved of his duties mid season.
17. Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators will win their Division.
Forsberg and Johansen will score more than 30 goals a piece.
18. New Jersey Devils
Glancing at their Roster there's something to like about the New Jersey Devils. I think whatever I say about them will seem wacky. They are in a tough division, however they are drawn, but if its interdivisional play through out I think the experience the Devils will acquire will start paying off later in the season and they could make a run. Devils will make the playoffs.
19. New York Islanders
Ilya Sorokin will win the Calder and Vezna trophy. Islanders will sneak into a playoff spot.
20. New York Rangers
The youth movement is at large in Manhattan. This will make them an unpredictable team which will mean they will win some games they aren't supposed to. Igor Shesterkin is going to be a difference maker. Rangers finish 2nd in the division.
21. Ottawa Senators
I believe in Murray. The Senators will finish higher than the Toronto Maple Leafs.
They made some good hockey moves this summer/fall and it will pay off.
22. Philadelphia Flyers
Another team going through a youth movement.
With some players standing out and others falling behind. Morgan Frost will take a step back and not score more than 10 goals.
23. Pittsburg Penguins
The Penguins have been building from within successfully around their aging core, plugging in holes where they crop up, however those plugs have moved on. Penguins miss the playoffs.
24. San Jose Sharks
Sharks will take the Pacific Division in interdivisional play. They have a very talented forward group with a very savvy defense calling the shots. Bob Boughner will coach that group really well and will be prepared.
25. St. Louis Blues
Such a good team. I believe in Binnington he'll bounce back. Speaking about bouncing back my wacky prediction is that Jay Bouwmeester rejoins the team after recovery and scores 15 goals to end his career.
26. Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning will be heathier than ever before and repeat.
27. Toronto Maple Leafs
This is more reality bites than just being negative. I think the personalities in the dressing room will clash to the point that it shows up on the ice. Leafs fall to 6th in the all Canadian division.
28. Vancouver Canucks
As I said Vancouver will tie for first in the all Canadian division. Elias Pettersson will go 1.90 points per game.
29. Vegas Golden Knights
The Knights may not make the playoffs. Too many changes to quickly. Players will have no buy in, play as a group of individuals instead of a close knit team like they had been when they went on their run.
30. Washington Capitals
I will disagree with EK, I still think the Capitals are designed to win and the team hasn't changed much. I think the competitiveness of the Capitals is even stronger now with Lundqvist in the room.
31. Winnipeg Jets
The Winnipeg Jets will be dead last. I don't believe in their team defense or the talent they have on the blueline. I respect Paul Maurice as a coach I just don't think he has all the right pieces yet.