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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

2018-2019 NHL Preview And Predictions: Awards, Playoffs, Stanley Cup

It seems like it was just yesterday that Alexander Ovechkin was leading the celebration of the Capitals’ first Stanley Cup victory, but the NHL returns tonight as 2018-2019 teams will look to etch their own names into history. New-look teams and perennial powers will all finally hit the ice in the next few days, and each squad will show what they’re made of as they attempt to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the hopes of making a run like the Capitals did last season. We’ll get to specific predictions for the upcoming season, but first some thoughts for the year.


Las Vegas keeps it going after their improbable season

No one expected the Golden Knights to have the type of inaugural season they had en route to their run to the Stanley Cup Final, and some might think it was a fluke that won’t be repeated. I believe the opposite will happen, with Vegas having an even better regular season than last year, claiming the Presidents’ Trophy in the process. The home-ice advantage in the postseason would make the Golden Knights the favorites just months after their 500-to-1 championship odds last season.


The Sharks are top-five in scoring and goals allowed

In a tough Pacific Division, the Sharks wanted to make a deal to improve their roster heading into the season, so they added Erik Karlsson in a blockbuster trade with Ottawa, boosting an already-strong defense. The two-time Norris Trophy award winner will be a playmaker on offense and a force on defense, which should help San Jose get in the top five of both scoring offense and defense. Last season, they were 13th and 9th in the respective categories.


The Blackhawks get back to the postseason

The Blackhawks finished last in the Central Division and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, and people aren’t optimistic about their chances for a turnaround this year. However, I expect this proud franchise to get back on track. History is on their side, and the group including Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook knows what it takes to win games.


The Capitals do not suffer a hangover

With all the well-deserved drinking the Caps did in celebration of their title, along with Barry Trotz resigning as the team’s head coach and taking the Islanders’ job, there might be some concern about the Capitals keeping the magic after finally winning hockey’s ultimate prize. But there are plenty of familiar faces on the roster, and as much as they loved last season’s celebration, they probably all want to make it happen again.



Playoff Predictions


Eastern Conference


Atlantic Division

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

2. Boston Bruins

3. Toronto Maple Leafs


Metropolitan Division

1. Washington Capitals

2. Philadelphia Flyers

3. Pittsburgh Penguins


Wild Card

1. Columbus Blue Jackets

2. New Jersey Devils


Western Conference


Central Division

1. Nashville Predators

2. Winnepeg Jets

3. Minnesota Wild


Pacific Division

1. Las Vegas Golden Knights

2. San Jose Sharks

3. Los Angeles Kings


Wild Card

1. Chicago Blackhawks

2. Colorado Avalanche



Stanley Cup Prediction


Golden Knights over Lightning



Award Predictions


Hart Trophy

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs


Art Ross Trophy

Connor McDavid, Oilers


Norris Trophy

Erik Karlsson, Sharks


Vezina Trophy

Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights


Calder Trophy

Elias Pettersson, Canucks


Jack Adams Award

Dave Hakstol, Flyers


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