NHL Predictions

Peter Sciarotta *Predictions in this article were made prior to the season opener on October 4, 2017.         The Chicago Blackhawks’ success has, no doubt, created a new generation of Blackhawks fans. The “Blackhawk effect” has absolutely had influenced Latin community members as well. Many of Latin’s students and faculty alike have started to pay more attention to NHL hockey, and, with the NHL season upon us, I thought I’d share my predictions. Trophy Predictions

Jack Adams Award (Best Coach): Mike Babcock, Toronto Maple Leafs Mike Babcock has been the class of NHL coaching since his time in Detroit. This year, he finally has the chance to take home the Jack Adam’s award coaching an up and coming Toronto Maple Leafs squad that is looking to go from playoff bubble team to Stanley Cup contender. If Babcock is able to bring his team to the top seed in the Atlantic division, he will bring home the Jack Adams.
William M. Jennings Trophy (Least Goals Against): Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets Although the Jennings Trophy is a team award, it is handed to the goalie of the team with the least goals against (25 gp minimum). I think Sergei Bobrovsky takes the award this year not only because of Bobrovsky’s goaltending, but also because of Columbus’ stacked defense. The Blue Jackets feature a loaded defense with young talent such as, Zach Werenski, Seth Jones, David Savard, and more.
Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward): Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins It is acknowledged that Patrice Bergeron is the best defensive forward in hockey. Although he has to start the season with a minor injury, it shouldn’t be a problem. He has captured four of the last six Selke trophies and has not shown any signs of declining at age 32.
Art Ross Trophy (Scoring champion/Points leader): Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid is currently considered by many to be the best player in the NHL at the age of 20. Barring injury, it is safe to assume he should repeat as the scoring champion. Jack Eichel will challenge McDavid and finish second.
Rocket Richard Trophy (Leading Goal Scorer): Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning While I could see Nikita Kucherov or teammate Steven Stamkos winning this award, I believe Kucherov will come in and take it. While Stamkos will bounce back from an injury last season, Kucherov will use momentum from last season to lead the league in goals.
Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender): Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens Carey Price is the best goalie in the league and it has been this way for arguably the past four seasons. This season is no different as Price will have to carry a Montreal defense has little high-end talent to the playoffs.
Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman): Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning Victor Hedman has been viewed as an elite defenseman for quite awhile now. Even though he broke out in the 2014 season (55 points in 75 GP), his production skyrocketed last year (72 points 79 GP). I think he will take another step forward and truly be in the conversation for one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Erik Karlsson would be my normal prediction but he is injured to start the season.
Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year): Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins Charlie McAvoy showed last year in the playoffs that he could anchor a defense at age 19, and not look a bit out of place. Although this year is looking like a strong year for rookies, McAvoy’s talent has already been seen and he will show he can be an elite defenseman under the age of 20.
Hart Trophy (League MVP): Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres Jack Eichel has been talked about forever as a transcendent talent in this league and this year it will definitely show. In a shortened season last year he scored 57 points in 61 GP and beat his rookie total of 56 pts playing twenty less games. Although the best player in the game right now is Connor McDavid and I have him winning the scoring title, McDavid will not win because more talent surrounds McDavid than Eichel. This makes Eichel more important to the Sabres and combination of that and voter fatigue (McDavid won the award last season) will win Eichel the award.
Standings Predictions   (X)=Makes Playoffs (WC)=Wild Card Position (MP)=Missing the Playoffs Western Conference
Central Division 1.     (X) Dallas Stars 2.     (X) Chicago Blackhawks 3.     (X) Nashville Predators 4.     (WC) St. Louis Blues 5.     (WC) Minnesota Wild 6.     (MP) Winnipeg Jets 7.     (MP) Colorado Avalanche
Pacific Division 1.     (X) Calgary Flames 2.     (X) Edmonton Oilers 3.     (X) Anaheim Ducks 4.     (MP) Arizona Coyotes 5.     (MP) Los Angeles Kings 6.     (MP) San Jose Sharks 7.     (MP) Las Vegas Golden Knights 8.     (MP) Vancouver Canucks
  Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division 1.     (X) Toronto Maple Leafs 2.     (X) Tampa Bay Lightning 3.     (X) Montreal Canadiens 4.     (WC) Buffalo Sabres 5.     (MP) Ottawa Senators 6.     (MP) Boston Bruins 7.     (MP) Florida Panthers 8.     (MP) Detroit Red Wings
Metropolitan Division (The most difficult to predict) 1.     (X) Columbus Blue Jackets 2.     (X) Pittsburgh Penguins 3.     (X) Washington Capitals 4.     (WC) New York Rangers 5.     (MP) Carolina Hurricanes 6.     (MP) New York Islanders 7.     (MP) Philadelphia Flyers 8.     (MP) New Jersey Devils
  Playoff Predictions 1st Round
Western Conference St. Louis beats Dallas in 6 games Nashville beats Chicago in 7 games Calgary beats Minnesota in 5 games Edmonton beats Anaheim in 4 games
Eastern Conference Toronto beats Buffalo in 6 games Tampa Bay beats Montreal in 6 games Columbus beats New York in 5 games Washington beats Pittsburgh in 7 games
  2nd round
West Calgary beats Edmonton in 7 games Nashville beats St. Louis in 5 games
East Tampa Bay beats Toronto in 7 games Washington beats Columbus in 7 games
Western Conference Final Calgary beats Nashville in 6 games
Eastern Conference Final Tampa Bay beats Washington in 7 games
Stanley Cup Final Tampa Bay beats Nashville to in 6 games