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With the NHL season starting tonight, we thought it’d be fun to predict how things will unfold come next June.

Vanessa Kuri:

Stanley Cup Finals: San Jose Sharks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Stanley Cup winner: Toronto Maple Leafs

While the Toronto media was focused on Marner Watch, the Leafs also made some blockbuster moves which included trading forward Nazem Kadri to the Avalanche for Tyson Barrie and signing Cody Ceci. I believe their improvements on the blue line will propel them to get further in the playoffs this season.

Unexpected Team to Make Playoffs: Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks main struggles included having an older group of defenseman and their attempt to fix that was bringing in Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan, both players can make a significant difference for the Blackhawk’s defense. Chicago also acquired Jennings Trophy Winner and Vezina finalist Goalie Robin Lehner who just came off one of his best seasons with the New York Islanders. While the team is still somewhat older, I believe the Blackhawks can make a push to make the playoffs this season.

Team That Should Make the Playoffs But Won’t: Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets lost their Vezina-caliber goalie when Bobrovsky signed with the Florida Panthers this offseason and they also lost forwards Matt Duchene and Artemi Panarin. Coach John Tortorella was very vocally upset about those loses but believes in the team they currently have. I believe the offseason loses are going to be hard to replace and essentially cost them playoff spot.

President’s trophy winner: Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning shocked the hockey world when they were swept in the first round of the playoffs after being the 2019 President’s Trophy Winner. With an almost intact team from last year, I believe the Lightning will win again this year. 

Last Overall: Ottawa Senators

Plagued with locker room controversy and ownership issues, many players have decided to leave sign elsewhere, leaving the Senators with a very bare roster and not much to work with.

Alyssa O’Brenski:

Stanley Cup Finals: New Jersey Devils vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Stanley Cup winner: Vegas Golden Knights

There’s no team I’m more excited to see after their offseason activity than the New Jersey Devils. It seems they spent the summer hooking any and all talent they could cast a line to, which was just the cherry on top of their skillful core that’s already been on the rise. Any Cup prediction this premature is bold, to say the least, but I’d like to see this SCF match-up of a team that’s hot with peaking, young talent who gets just barely inched out by an infant franchise who’s been there before.

Unexpected team to make playoffs: Chicago Blackhawks

Teams that made a notable splash this offseason include the Rangers, the Devils, and more. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks quietly turned the tides, tightening up their lackluster defense, securing a – dare I say it – elite goaltending tandem, and plucking a third-overall draft pick. Chicago is ready to be back in the running, showing that two years of missing playoffs were two too many.

Team that should make the playoffs, but won’t: Columbus Blue Jackets

After losing a handful of their biggest names to free agency, Columbus is a shell of the team they were last year. They were playing with house money when they swept last season’s President Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning, and I don’t think they can pull together enough skill consistently this time around to replicate that magic.

President’s trophy winner: Colorado Avalanche

I don’t think anyone is ready for what this team has been cooking up over the past few seasons. Nate MacKinnon, Gabe Landeskog, newly-locked-up Mikko Rantanen… the talent on their front lines are slowly perfecting themselves to unleash on the rest of the league and make you forget the 48-point Avs who made their tragic mark on history only a few years ago.

Last overall: Ottawa Senators

…I’m not the first to say it, and I won’t be the last.

Elham Mohamud:

Stanley Cup Finals: Vegas Golden Knights vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Stanley Cup winner: Toronto Maple Leafs

The Vegas Golden Knights have been a powerhouse since their NHL debut and they won’t disappoint this year but the Maple Leafs have something to prove and if they have the ability to exit the first round – they’ll take it all the way. The Maple Leafs are completely stacked with great players that can both score and defend the net and with the city of Toronto on the high of winning their first NBA championship, a Stanley Cup after 53 years is achievable. 

Unexpected team to make playoffs: Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers have a new coach (that knows a thing or two about winning a Stanley Cup) and the addiction of goalie Bobrovsky can makeup for the lack of defense. 

Team that should make the playoffs, but won’t: Calgary Flames

The Flames had a great season last year but I don’t know if they can hold up the momentum this year.

President’s trophy winner: Dallas Stars

Last overall: Los Angeles Kings

Injuries have hurt the LA Kings since early in the 18-19 season. Quick has had a hard time during his comeback in the preseason. It’s going to take a while for him to get his groove back and the team will suffer the consequences.

Kayla Lupoli-Nolan:

Stanley Cup Finals: Boston Bruins vs San Jose Sharks
Stanley Cup winner: San Jose Sharks

The Bruins have solid coaching and a pretty consistent roster for them to be easy contenders again while the Sharks have all of the factors to get back to the finals. The Sharks have been pretty consistent in the playoffs for the last few years and honestly, I would love to see Jumbo lift the cup. 

Unexpected team to make playoffs: Arizona Coyotes

The Yotes have a great coaching staff this season with Kessel on the team, I think it’ll be the asset that pushes them to the playoffs, even if it’s just the first round. 

Team that should make the playoffs, but won’t: Carolina Hurricanes

I love the Canes, I really do, and I want to see them in the playoffs, but the Metro is a tough division as always and I just don’t see them making it this year. 

President’s trophy winner: Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa knows what they’re doing and they know they’re doing it right. With consistent talent all across the board, they’ll be lifting that trophy again. 

Last overall: Buffalo Sabres 

Unless the Sabres can somehow pull it together, I don’t see them landing any higher than last overall this season.

Jennifer Moglia:

Stanley Cup Finals: Boston Bruins vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Stanley Cup winner: Boston Bruins

The Bruins made it last year and their roster hasn’t undergone any major changes. The Golden Knights have to be looking for some sort of redemption for how they went out last year, and they still have the talent to go far. I think in this case the Bruins will prevail solely because they’ve got more experience than Vegas. The Knights need a few more failed playoff runs before the work will pay off.

Unexpected team to make playoffs: New York Rangers

I may be biased, but I think they’ll sneak in through a wild card spot this year. They’ve had one of the fastest rebuilds in recent memory, practically transforming their group for the better in roughly two seasons. Some think the presence of younger players like Kaapo Kakko will weigh them down, but older (and more talented) summer acquisitions like Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba can carry them.

Team that should make the playoffs, but won’t: Tampa Bay Lightning

I’m getting the feeling that something just isn’t right with this group after the way their quest for the Cup ended last season. It’s all there on paper, but I think that major changes need to happen before progress can be made.

President’s trophy winner: New Jersey Devils

A bit of an odd pick, but I can’t see how they won’t be one of the best teams in the league with the offseason they had. Getting Jack Hughes and P.K. Subban in the same summer? This team is bound to be a powerhouse.

Last overall: Ottawa Senators

I’m honestly not sure what to expect from this group, except that I don’t think it’ll be great. They need to determine what direction they’re headed in for the future and exactly what has gone wrong for so long before they see real success.

Ruchi Patel:

Stanley Cup Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Nashville Predators
Stanley Cup winner: Tampa Bay Lightning

It’s almost like the NHL rewards teams who’ve hung around long enough in contention. It happened with the Washington and St. Louis, I think it’ll happen again to Tampa Bay. They got swept in the first round last playoffs and that’s probably because they thought it’d be easier and may not have been fully prepared. With a long offseason, I think they’ll be well rested and ready for a long season. My pick for who will face them is Nashville because they’re the most well rounded team in the West. They have solid offense, defense, and goal tending which is rare when you look at the rest of the teams.

Unexpected team to make playoffs: Arizona Coyotes

I think Arizona can sneak into a wildcard spot. They went on a run in the second half of last season and almost cracked the wildcard then. With a hopefully healthy Antti Raanta and newly acquired Phil Kessel, I think they’ll be good enough to finally make the playoffs.

Team that should make the playoffs, but won’t: Columbus Blue Jackets

Losing Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky for free this summer is going to have a profound impact on the team. While they have some other great players, I think they’ll be feeling the loss of these two greatly. 

President’s trophy winner: Tampa Bay Lightning

With the season they had last year and minor tweaks they made to the roster, I don’t see how they don’t win it again.

Last overall: Ottawa Senators

Even they know it.

Tweet us @puckitupblog or our individual accounts to let us know what you think about our predictions!

One thought on “Our 2019-2020 Season Predictions

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