Now, all 30 teams start with a blank slate and aim to make it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and hope to hoist the Stanley Cup come June. Some teams have better odds than others, but in October, everyone's even.
The NHL's 98th season opens up tonight, and earlier in the week, Whiz Wit gave you previews of all 30 teams in the league. Here are the previews for the Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central, and Pacific Divisions.
In this issue, we have what's new this year, as well as playoff, Stanley Cup, and individual award predictions.
Here's how it'll work. It's a five-minute sudden death session, just like the 4-on-4 from a year ago, and if a game is still tied, it will go to a shootout. If a team gets penalized, the game will be 4-on-3 until the penalty expires, where it will then turn to a 4-on-4 until the next stoppage of play. If a team is two men down, it'll be 5-on-3. And, if a team decides to pull their goalie and they get scored on with an empty net, that team surrenders that overtime point. I think it will succeed and be very entertaining for seasons to come.
Coach's Challenge: Similar to the NFL, the coach will be able to challenge certain plays and will go to refs and the video center in Toronto to review the play. Coaches can only challenge goals that were scored on possible offsides of those involving interference on the goalie, and a coach must have a timeout in order to challenge. Will this be used a ton this year? I don't think so. I think coaches will want to spend the challenges when they really need to.
Hello, Brooklyn: After over 40 years on Long Island, the New York Islanders have a new home in Brooklyn. The team moves from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale to the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets. It certainly isn't a hockey arena, with a capacity of 15,795 in size and built for the Nets. There's obstructed views, one end of the rink doesn't have lower bowl seating, and the jumbotron is over one of the blue lines, not center ice. It's better than not being anywhere near Long Island!
Meet the New Boss: A total of 12 coaches and GMs are new faces to different franchises. Many of these faces are well-known in the league, while others are brand new. Here they are:
- Don Sweeney takes over for Peter Chiarelli as GM of the Boston Bruins.
- Dan Bylsma takes over for Ted Nolan as coach of the Buffalo Sabres.
- Jeff Blashill takes over for Mike Babcock as coach of the Detroit Red Wings
- Peter Chiarelli takes over for Craig MacTavish as GM of the Edmonton Oilers.
- Todd McLellan takes over for Todd Nelson as coach of the Edmonton Oilers.
- Ray Shero takes over for Lou Lamoriello as coach of the New Jersey Devils.
- John Hynes takes over for Scott Stevens, Adam Oates, and Lou Lamoriello as the sole head coach of the New Jersey Devils.
- Jeff Gorton takes over for Glen Sather has GM of the New York Rangers.
- Dave Hakstol takes over for Craig Berube as coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.
- Peter DeBoer takes over for Todd McLellan as coach of the San Jose Sharks.
- Mike Babcock takes over for Peter Horachek as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- Lou Lamoriello takes over for Dave Nonis as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Reloading On New Guys: Some teams got better in the offseason to contend for the playoffs by adding new parts, some in the draft, some via trades, and some in free agency. Here were some of the biggest moves in the offseason:
- Ryan O'Reilly was traded to the Buffalo Sabres.
- Dougie Hamilton was traded to the Calgary Flames.
- Eddie Lack was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes.
- Artemi Panarin signed with the Chicago Blackhawks.
- Brandon Saad was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
- Patrick Sharp was traded to the Dallas Stars.
- Mike Green signed with the Detroit Red Wings.
- Cam Talbot was traded to the Edmonton Oilers.
- Milan Lucic was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.
- Evgeny Medvedev signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.
- Phil Kessel was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- Sergei Plotnikov signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- Martin Jones was traded to the San Jose Sharks.
- T.J. Oshie was traded to the Washington Capitals.
- Connor McDavid was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL Draft.
- Jack Eichel was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL Draft.
- Noah Hanifin was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL Draft.
1. Washington Capitals (Metropolitan #1)
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (Atlantic #1)
3. Montreal Canadiens (Atlantic #2)
4. New York Rangers (Metropolitan #2)
5. New York Islanders (Metropolitan #3)
6. Pittsburgh Penguins (Wild Card #1)
7. Detroit Red Wings (Atlantic #2)
8. Columbus Blue Jackets (Wild Card #2)
Washington defeats Columbus in 5 games
Tampa Bay defeats Pittsburgh in 7 games
Montreal defeats Detroit in 6 games
New York Islanders defeat New York Rangers in 7 games
Washington defeats New York Islanders in 6 games
Montreal defeats Tampa Bay in 7 games
Washington defeats Montreal in 6 games
1. Anaheim Ducks (Pacific #1)
2. St. Louis Blues (Central #1)
3. Nashville Predators (Central #2)
4. Chicago Blackhawks (Central #3)
5. Los Angeles Kings (Pacific #2)
6. Dallas Stars (Wild Card #1)
7. Calgary Flames (Pacific #3)
8. Minnesota Wild (Wild Card #2)
Anaheim defeats Minnesota in 4 games
Dallas defeats St. Louis in 7 games
Chicago defeats Nashville in 7 games
Calgary defeats Los Angeles in 6 games
Anaheim defeats Calgary in 5 games
Chicago defeats Dallas in 6 games
Anaheim defeats Chicago in 7 games
STANLEY CUP FINAL PREDICTION
Conn Smythe winner: Corey Perry
Hart Trophy: Alex Ovechkin (Washington)
Art Ross Trophy: Jamie Benn (Dallas)
Rocket Richard Trophy: Alex Ovechkin (Washington)
Vezina Trophy: Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay)
Norris Trophy: P.K. Subban (Montreal)
Calder Trophy: Connor McDavid (Edmonton)
Jack Adams Award: Todd McLellan (Edmonton)
Selke Trophy: Patrice Bergeron (Boston)
Will many of these predictions be wrong? Yes, hence why they're predictions. But do I hope that they're correct? Yes I do. Enjoy the NHL season! We're not completely done. Thursday will be a Flyers preview in time for their season opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
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