NHL PREDICTIONS EDITION
Chicago: The Blackhawks had a disappointing year by their lofty standards as they were bounced by St. Louis in the first round. The team has been purged again thanks to the salary cap, but they have great young talent and could be in the mix at the end.
Colorado: Patrick Roy is out after three season as coach and Jared Bednar of the AHL champion Lake Erie Monsters is in. The Avalanche still need to improve their defense if they want to make the playoffs.
Dallas: The Stars missed out on getting goalie Ben Bishop to shore up their one glaring weakness. Dallas can score with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, but their D needs some work as well.
Minnesota: The Wild have a new coach in Bruce Boudreau and have ridden Devan Dubnyk the last season and a half. Minnesota has barely made the postseason the last couple of season, but Boudreau will help this team’s defense and checking.
Nashville: The Predators rolled the dice and traded captain Shea Weber for P.K. Subban, who will form a dangerous pairing with Roman Josi. If Pekka Rinne can bounce back from a subpar season, the Preds could win it all like they did in the NHL17 simulation.
St. Louis: The Blues made a big move getting the speedy Nail Yakupov from Edmonton. The Blues went all-in on goalie Jake Allen when they shipped Brian Elliot to Calgary. The Blues want to take that last step to win its first Stanley Cup ever.
Winnipeg: The Jets have a bumper crop of young talent with Patrick Laine in the draft. This team might roll with Connor Hellebuckyk late in the year, but they’re a year away from really threatening for a playoff spot.
Anaheim: The Ducks are in the middle of the blow it up and try to contend rebuild. Randy Carlisle came back to replace Boudreau, but that mean a return to mediocrity. John Gibson will be the man behind the pipes since Frederik Andersen was shipped to Toronto.
Calgary: The Flames filled a big hole in getting Elliot from St. Louis and they’ve got a flashy offense with Johnny Gaudreau and others. Calgary might make a return to the postseason after missing out last year.
Edmonton: The Oilers named Connor McDavid captain to make him the youngest in league history. Edmonton has been itching for the playoffs and this could be the year.
Los Angeles: The Kings have been steady with the exception of two years ago. Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty are the anchors on defense. Can the Kings get back to the Cup again?
San Jose: The defending Western Conference champions added Mikkel Boedker to try to give a little scoring punch. Martin Jones took the next step after being Quick’s understudy in L.A. The defense rivals that of Nashville’s.
Vancouver: The Canucks have been pegged to be a team might get a shot at the number one pick in 2017. Loui Erickson will work well with the Sedin twins, but secondary scoring will be a problem.
Let’s get to the prediction portion of the program (that I’ll surely mess up.) I hope that I don’t screw them up too badly. I’ll start out East where Washington will get some measure over the Rangers in the first round. (The Caps will get the first overall seed out East.) The Penguins will top the Islanders, while Tampa Bay beats Philadelphia and Montreal tops Florida.
In the West first round, Chicago rolls past Minnesota, Nashville beats Dallas, San Jose beats St. Louis and Los Angeles wins over Calgary.
Washington gets revenge over Pittsburgh and Montreal stuns Tampa Bay to set up the East final. The Caps will make the final and give Alex Ovechkin a shot at the title.
Chicago beats Nashville a hard-fought series and Los Angeles gets by San Jose to set up another epic encounter that the Blackhawks will win
I’ve got Chicago winning it all and denying Ovie the Stanley Cup.
For my awards, Carey Price will win the Hart Trophy for MVP and the Vezina for best goalie. Auston Matthews will get the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year. Roman Josi of Nashville will win the Norris Trophy for best defenseman. Jonathan Toews will get the Selke for best defensive forward and new coach Glen Gulutzan of Calgary will be the Jack Adams Award winner for coach of the year.
That’s it for this week. See you next week and I’ll talk to you at the start of the season.
Dan Mount is a producer for Spadora on Sports. He’s also a writer for NHL on the Ice, the Nashville Predators beat reporter for The Hockey Writers and a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times in Watertown, NY. He can be found on Twitter @DanMountSports.