Visit Our Sponsors
Predictions made by Frank Fleming on October 14, 2019 at 1:55 am ET.
Special Thanks to Richard Biver for our Goalie Mask Designs.
2019/20 NHL PREVIEW
Philadelphia Flyers 90 Points
Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes are two excellent centers, and now they are teammates. The City of Brotherly Love is looking to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012, with first-year coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench. Nolan Patrick could have a breakout season for the Flyers, as he was the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft. If Carter Hart can be a wall between the pipes, the Flyers could have enough to remain in the mix come playoffs. Claude Giroux will have to stay Mr. Reliable as well. The talent is there, but can the Flyers put it all together?
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
Tampa Bay Lightning 4 Washington Capitals 2
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
Dallas Stars 4 Vegas Golden Knights 2
STANLEY CUP FINALS:
Tampa Bay Lightning 4 Dallas Stars 2
Vancouver Cauncks 96 Points
Vancouver could hoist the cup sooner than later. This is a team deep with young talent scattered everywhere. Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser will both be considered stars in the NHL if they aren't already. Travis Green could be on the hot seat if the Canucks aren't winning hockey games; with the right leader, this is a team nobody wants to play.
Tampa Bay Lightning 114 Points
1.After having one of the best regular seasons in NHL history, the Tampa Bay Lightning were rewarded with a first-round sweep in last year's playoffs. This year will be similar in terms of success for the Lightning. This is the best team in the NHL on paper, but can they get it done in the playoffs? One has to think after getting embarrassed last year, the Lightning will come out striking. Additions Kevin Shattenkirk and Patrick Maroon will only add more depth to this already deep team.
Boston Bruins 106 Points
In what could be Zdeno Chara's final season, the Boston Bruins are seeking redemption. After losing to the Blues in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins return with a roster that looks almost the same. One thing that could change this year is playing time for Rask. Jaroslav Halak could see more time this season as Tuukka Rask turns 33 this season. Boston has the talent to make another run, and when you play in Boston, "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!!!"
Ottawa Senators 68 Points
The Senators are in the middle of a rebuild. This is a young team with a new coach. A lot will be answered this year for the Senators. Tkachuk and Chabot are the two building blocks for this franchise if it hopes to win a Cup. It will be another year of tearing things down and trying to build it up higher for the Senators this season.
Florida Panthers* 102 Points
The tide is high down in Florida, and with Coach Joel Quenneville behind the bench, this could be a breakout year for the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky is now the goalie for the already talented Panthers. With a new goalie and a legendary coach, the pieces are there for Florida to sneak in as a wild card. Bob will either be a boom or bust for the Panthers.
Winnipeg Jets* 98 Points
One team that disappointed last year was the Winnipeg Jets. After a great 2018 season, the Jets lost in the first-round last season to the Blues. The Jets have a lot of people to prove wrong this season, but with most of their deadly offense still on the roster, it shouldn't be a problem. Connor Hellebuyck will need to bounce back after a disappointing 2019 season to give the Jets a shot at raising the Cup.
New York Islanders 88 Points
Nobody expected the New York Islanders to do what they did last season without John Tavares. After pilling up 103 wins in Barry Trotz's first season as head coach for the Islanders. Losing Robin Lehner and Valterri Filppula translated into acquiring Semyon Varlamov along with Derick Brassard. They were the best defensive team in the NHL last season but ranked 22nd on offense. On the power play, the Islanders were even worse. It will be a tall task to repeat the success had last season for New York.
Montreal Canadiens 94 Points
One team that is interesting this year is the Montreal Canadians. They have some real talent on the roster, and one of the best goaltenders in recent history. But after that, it all falls off pretty quick. After failing to acquire Sebastian Aho, the Canadians picked up Ben Chiarot for the next three years. Shea Weber must remain healthy to keep the Canadians in contention. Actually, a lot has to go right for the Canadians to be in contention, but time will tell.
Pittsburgh Penguins 102 Points
The Penguins were swept in the first-round last season to the Islanders. In what was one of the most significant moves this summer, Phil Kessel was traded to Arizona. Pittsburgh, in return, received the former third pick in the 2012 draft. Crosby and Malkin are still two of the best centers in the NHL, and Jake Guentzel is a beauty. On the blue line, however, this team is not extremely deep.
Washington Capitals 110 Points
Coming off of a Championship season in 2018, the Washington Capitals went on to lose out of the playoffs in the first-round last year to a bunch of jerks. With much of their previous championship core still intact, the Washington Capitals have put themselves in an excellent position to take another trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, Nicklas Backstrom and Brandon Holtby are both set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1st. The window for the Capitals to win another cup is closing, but with Alexander Ovechkin, anything is possible.
Toronto Maple Leafs 108 Points
The Toronto Maple Leafs sit in the top tier of the NHL in terms of talent, but it has yet to translate to a Cup. Matthews remains one of the most elite players in the league, and Tavares is a tremendous talent. The last time the Leafs raised the Cup was in 1967, and this could be the year it all changes. A little bit of offseason drama in Toronto can blow over if this team wins out the gate.
Buffalo Sabres* 98 Points
This year should be more of the same for the Buffalo Sabres. Casey Mittelstadt has yet to live up to the hype, while Jack Eichel remains one of the better players in the league. No chance this team makes the playoffs this year, but as their young talent continues to develop, the future looks bright. Rasmus Dahlin hopes to pick up where he left off last season in an impressive rookie year.
New Jersey Devils 51 Points
1.We are the ones, the ones who disappoint. The New Jersey Devils spent all off-season fooling their fans that they were back, but as we do the ten-day late preview, it is clear they are not back and in fact, are one their way to becoming the worst team in the NHL. In fact, it is the collapse on opening night that soured my mood and caused this long delay. The Devils can't hold a lead and have no fight when they fall behind. They try to add style points on every goal leading to turnovers and are incompetent on the power play. This team has already imploded the season is already over, it's too bad they can't bring back Lou Lamoriello to clean this mess, because this team is a disaster.
New York Rangers 96 Points
One team to look forward to is the New York Rangers. Bringing in The Breadman would be huge for any team, but when you bring in Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox, and have two rookies as talented as Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov, it would make for the most successful offseason. Dan Quinn could be on the hot seat quick if the Rangers struggle out the gate. Lundqvist will become 38 years old this season and took a step back last season, it will be interesting to watch how many games he starts.
Anaheim Ducks 90 Points
Corey Perry was bought out this offseason, and the Ducks are now without their longtime leader. Having Patrick Eaves and Ryan Kesler out for the year hurts this team's chance of success, but John Gibson gives this team a chance almost every night. If the Ducks stay healthy, they could surprise some people but don't bet on it.
Nashville Predators* 100 Points
The Country Music Capital of the world fell short again at winning the Cup last year. P.K. Subban is no longer on this Preds team, who signed Matt Duchene with the free cap space. Roman Josi will have a big year, who is now the Predators' number one defensemen. The Central is stacked with good teams, and the Predators are one of those good teams.
Calgary Flames 108 Points
Bill Peters left a good first impression on Calgary after last season. Nobody expected the Flames to earn 107 points last season. Goaltending is a big question mark about this otherwise outstanding team. Johnny Gaudreau is a top 20 player in the NHL and they have plenty of talent surrounding him to make the playoffs, but you need goaltending to win a Cup.
San Jose Sharks 102 Points
The window is closing in San Jose. Still, no Cup for the Sharks for sure stings, but this team is always excellent. Joe Pavelski leaving for Dallas hurts, but they have some solid young talent. Martin Jones is not a Stanley Cup caliber goalie, so he and Aaron Dell must rise to the occasion if the Sharks make it back to the playoffs this season. Joe Thorton wants a Cup, but his time left in the NHL is questionable.
Edmonton Oilers 88 Points
Connor McDavid is the Mike Trout of the NHL. Not saying that the NHL doesn't market him well enough, he just does not have much of supporting staff. Besides Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins, there is little help for the greatest player in the league. Until McDavid gets some help, the Oilers will continue to be a sad franchise.
Detroit Red Wings 78 Points
One of the younger teams in the league this season is the Detroit Red Wings. Although they have some respectful young talent, the Red Wings are not a complete team. Steve Yzerman has big plans for Detroit, but Rome wasn't built in one day. Expect the Red Wings to compete down the road, but not this season. Last year Detroit was one of the worst teams defensively and did not do much this offseason to change that.
Columbus Blue Jackets 86 Points
1.Columbus put all of their chips on the table last season when they refused to trade Panarin and Bobrovsky. Instead, they were buyers and acquired Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel, and after losing out of the playoffs, neither player resigned. Panarin left for the Rangers, and Bobrovsky packed his bags for Florida. A lot of weight will be on Seth Jones and Zach Werenski to carry this team, but with no goalie, they will not go far.
Chicago Blackhawks 92 Points
The Chicago Blackhawks now have two outstanding goaltenders after bringing in Robin Lehner to back up Corey Crawford. The Blackhawks gave up the second-most goals scored last year, and it is tough to win games that way. Olli Maatta should help with those matters, but the team needs to stay healthy too.
Minnesota Wild 82 Points
It has been a dumpster-fire in Minnesota for the last year. After firing Paul Fenton after only one season, the new general manager Bill Guerin has his work cut out for him. Mats Zuccarello should help Minnesota put the puck in the net, something the Wild have struggled with in recent history. Getting Matt Dumba and Mikko Koivu back and healthy will be a boost to the lineup, but the Wild are far from a Cup.
Arizona Coyotes 82 Points
The Dessert Dogs acquired one man this offseason who devours hot dogs. Phil Kessel was traded to the Coyotes in hopes of changing something for Arizona. The two-time Stanley Cup Champion won't be enough to win them a cup this year, but it is a step in the right direction for Arizona.
Los Angeles Kings 64 Points
The Los Angeles Kings are one of the worst teams this year. Drew Doughty might talk like he did when he won a cup years ago, but this team is far from as talented as that team. It is definitely a rebuild right now for the Kings, but with no timetable, how long it will be until the Kings are once again competitive.
Colorado Avalanche 104 points
. Avalanche incoming. The Colorado Avalanche had a talented team last year that could not put it all together. Nazem Kadri was acquired via trade this offseason, one in which also lost them, Tyson Barrie. This team should have no problem putting the puck in the net, but they will have an issue keeping it out of theirs. It is only a matter of time before this substantial group of young talent comes together to do something special, but they could use some help back on defense.
Dallas Stars 110 Points
There are some new sheriffs in town down in Dallas. Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry both signed with the Stars this offseason and joined a talented roster of young skilled hockey players. Tyler Seguin is always dangerous when he is on the ice. The Stars have one of the better goalies in the NHL in Ben Bishop. In a loaded division, this young team could have what it takes to bring a Cup to the Lone Star State.
St. Louis Blues 112 Points
Raise your hand if in January of last year, if you thought the St. Louis Blues would be Stanley Cup champions… Not too many hands up. The big question this year for the Blues will be in between the pipes. Jordan Binnington has both showed they can be incredible goaltenders in this league, but can they do it consistently enough to give the Blues a chance to go back to back? Justin Faulk joins this talented roster as he was traded for Joel Edmundson. The Blues are also without Patrick Maroon after losing him to the Lightning this offseason.
Carolina Hurricanes 106 Points
Last year's "bunch of jerks" took the league by storm. After putting an end to a nine-year playoff drought in Raleigh, the Hurricanes made it all the way to the Eastern Conference finals where they lost to the Bruins. The Hurricanes look to keep the good times rolling. This offseason they brought in Ryan Dzingel, Erik Haula, and Jake Gardiner. This is a big season for the franchise.
ART ROSS: Connor McDavid Oilers
ROCKET RICHARD: Alex Ovechkin Capitals
ADAMS: Joel Quenneville Panthers
CALDER: Cale Makar Avalanche
SELKE: Aleksander Barkov Panthers
VEZINA: Jordan Binnington Blues
NORRIS: Erik Karlsson Sharks
HART: Nathan McKinnon Avalance
SMYTHE: Victor Hedman Lightning
Coaches Who Will be Fired
Jeff Blashill-Red Wings
John Tortorella-Blue Jackets
Visit our Sponsors
Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties
ATLANTIC DIVISION FINALS:
Tampa Bay Lightning 4 Toronto Maple Leafs 2
METROPOLITAN DIVISION FINALS:
Wasshington Capitals 4 Carolina Hurricanes 3
CENTRAL DIVISION FINALS:
Dallas Stars 4 Nashville Predators 2
PACIFIC DIVISION FINALS:
Vegas Golden Knights 4 San Jose Sharks 2
STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS:
Tampa Bay Lightning
Vegas Golden Knights 116 Points
The City of Sin is the favorite to win the Cup in the West. Cody Glass is going to be a star in the NHL and should have a big rookie season. This is a roster very talented at the forward position, and that bolds well for Glass and his transition into the league. The Knights have had some magic in them since entering the league, and this could be the year they raise their first Cup in the young franchise history.
METROPOLITAN DIVISION 1st ROUND:
Washington Capitals 4 Florida Panthers 2
Carolina Hurricanes 4 Pittsburgh Penguins 2
ATLANTIC DIVISION 1st ROUND:
Tampa Bay Lightning 4 Buffalo Sabres 1
Toronto Maple Leafs 4 Boston Bruins 3
CENTRAL DIVISION 1st ROUND:
Nashville Predators 4 St. Louis Blues 2
Dallas Stars 4 Colorado Avalanche 3
PACIFIC DIVISION 1st ROUND:
Vegas Golden Knights 4 Winnipeg Jets 1
San Jose Sharks 4 Calgary Flames 3
Special Thanks to
Brett Czajkowski who wrote the team previews.