NHL 2018 Season Predictions

I am days late for this, since I try to get this out before the season starts, and for that I’m sorry, but, well, reasons. As I write this the Sharks have played 2 games and are 0-2, which, well, is not a great start. It hasn’t changed my view of things, though. Honest. No, seriously, it hasn’t.

As is my tradition, it’s time to publish my annual season predictions for the 2018 NHL season. I do this primarily so that at the end of the season people can point at me and laugh. But it’s fun to do and forces me to think about the upcoming (cough started cough) season and get me in the hockey mood.

So, without further ado, here’s how I see this season playing out.

Eastern Conference

Playoff teams

  • Carolina Hurricanes: I like this team.
  • Columbus Blue Jackets: I like this team more.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins: do you want to suggest they aren’t a playoff contender? Not me
  • Toronto Maple Leafs: the question for me isn’t whether they make the playoffs, but how high they seed. Could they even be the top team in the east? I wouldn’t bet against it.
  • Washington Capitals: I continue to really like the Caps. I keep thinking they ought to win a cup, but the window is closing and they keep finding ways to not survive in the playoffs.

Bubble teams

  • Detroit Red Wings: It’s unclear to me whether they’re going to be good enough to get back in the playoffs, but I would be surprised if they weren’t competing for a spot late in the season.
  • Florida Panthers: Luongo is getting older. Is he still the goalie that can push this team forward? I think we find out this year.
  • New York Islanders: I want to like this team more than I do. I think they’re competitive but it’s not a given.
  • New York Rangers: what I said about Lungo? I say it louder about Lundqvist.
  • Ottawa Senators: A good, solid team.
  • Philadelphia Flyers: Good team not great team. But they could surprise me.
  • Tampa Bay: I’d call this the hardest decision for me for whether to call them a bubble team or a playoff team.

Non-playoff teams

  • Buffalo Sabres: oh, Buffalo. sigh.
  • Boston Bruins: I just don’t like this team.
  • Montreal Canadiens: I love Carey Price. I’m not convinced by the skaters.
  • New Jersey Devils: they just don’t impress me.

The Winners

  • Metropolitan Division: Washington Capitals
  • Atlantic Division: Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Eastern conference finalist: Washington Capitals

Western Conference:

Playoff teams

  • Chicago Blackhawks: Even without Hossa, this is a great team.
  • Edmonton Oilers: I think they’re for real, and they’re a lot of fun to watch
  • Los Angeles Kings: Would be my pick in the Pacific except I really like the Oilers this year. I may be a year early on Edmonton.
  • Nashville: and I’d hate playing them in the playoffs.
  • St. Louis Blues: They may give Chicago a run for the money.

Bubble teams

  • Anaheim Ducks: I think they’re fading, but they’re still dangerous
  • Calgary Flames: I want to like them more than I do
  • Dallas Stars: Good, not great. They may surprise me.
  • Minnesota Wild: solid team, but I’m not sure they’re good enough
  • San Jose Sharks: They should compete for a playoff spot this year, but I’m not yet convinced they’re a strong playoff team.

Non-playoff teams

  • Arizona Coyotes: Not this year, unfortunately.
  • Colorado Avalanche: See Vancouver Canucks.
  • Las Vegas Golden Knights: they’re going to be a fun and scrappy team, but that’s not the same as a good team, especially in the western conference. But I’ll watch them.
  • Vancouver Canucks: I still don’t think this team is playoff quality.
  • Winnipeg Jets: still don’t trust their goaltending.

The Winners

  • Central Division: Chicago Blackhawks
  • Pacific Division: Edmonton Oilers
  • Western Conference finalist: Edmonton Oilers
  • Stanley Cup Winner: Edmonton Oilers

As always, if I do well I’ll make sure everyone knows, and if I do poorly (as usual) this never happened. Game on!