NHL Mid-Season Predictions

Be sure to check out the first part of this article titled: NHL Mid-Season Report and Awards

 

The NHL underwent an alignment after the 2013 season which resulted in a new playoff format. -printablesportsbracket.com

The NHL underwent an alignment change after the 2013 season which resulted in a new playoff format. -printablesportsbracket.com

 

I will be using current conference standings, statistics, and other advanced metrics to predict the rest of the NHL season. Down below will be my final standings, playoff matchups, and results.

Eastern Conference (overall conference standings)

Metropolitan:

Washington Capitals (#1)

Pittsburgh Penguins (#2)

Columbus Blue Jackets (#3)

Atlantic:

Montréal Canadians (#4)

Boston Bruins (#6)

Ottawa Senators (#7)

Wild Cards:

New York Rangers (#5)

Philadelphia Flyers (#8)

Non-Playoff Teams (in order of final standing):

Toronto Maple Leafs

Tampa Bay Lightning

Florida Panthers

New York Islanders

Detroit Red Wings

New Jersey Devils

Buffalo Sabres

Carolina Hurricanes

Regular Season Summary:

In the Eastern Conference, I see very little changing from now until seasons’ end. The Metropolitan teams will continue their dominance of the conference and will send five teams to the postseason. The only difficulty I had when setting the playoff teams was the decision between the Ottawa Senators or Toronto Maple Leafs. I ultimately decided to go with the more experienced team in Ottawa. As for the non-playoff teams, it’ll be hard predicting how they will pan out. I expect the playoff teams from last year, such as TB, FLA, NYI, and DET, fighting for the last playoff spot with Ottawa and Toronto, but ultimately falling short in a very tight race. Teams like NJ, BUF, and CAR I feel will continue being at the bottom of the east much like last year.

Western Conference (overall conference standing)-

Central:

Minnesota Wild (#1)

Chicago Blackhawks (#2)

Louis Blues (#6)

Pacific:

San Jose Sharks (#3)

Anaheim Ducks (#4)

Edmonton Oilers (#5)

Wild Cards:

Nashville Predators (#7)

Los Angeles Kings (#8)

Non-Playoff Teams (in order of final standing):

Dallas Stars

Vancouver Canucks

Calgary Flames

Winnipeg Jets

Arizona Coyotes

Colorado Avalanche

Regular Season Summary:

In the Western Conference, I do foresee a few minor changes. Calgary will ultimately slip freeing up the eighth and final seed for either the Kings or the struggling Dallas Stars. Even without Jonathan Quick I believe Peter Budaj will continue to find success and the Kings will edge the Stars for that final playoff spot. Compared to the East, I believe the West won’t be as close. I see Dallas as the only team contending for that eight seed. As for the rest of the non-playoff teams, I feel the West is a lot weaker than the East and they’ll be more spread out points-wise. Colorado will continue being a bottom-feeder, Coyotes are still in deep rebuild mode, and I believe the other teams are too powerful for the likes of the younger Canucks, Flames, and Jets.

 

Eastern Conference Playoffs

1st Round:

WSH defeat PHI, NYR defeat MTL, PIT defeat CBJ, and BOS defeat OTT

2nd Round:

WSH defeat PIT and NYR defeat BOS

Conference Finals:

WSH defeat NYR

Playoff Summary:

The newer alignment of the playoffs is increasingly frustrating. This is because the second-best team in the conference can be eliminated in the second round while a wild card team can have a much easier route. That is what I predict will happen, the Penguins will run into a tough second-round matchup with the Capitals, while the wild card Rangers will have a much less fierce opponent in the second-round. The weaker Atlantic division will pave a very easy route for the Metropolitan wild card team that will fight their way to a conference finals appearance. Ultimately, the Capitals will finally find playoff success and make it to their first Stanley Cup appearance since the 1997-98 season.

Western Conference Playoffs

1st Round:

LOS defeat MIN, SJ defeat NSH, STL defeat CHI, and ANA defeat EDM

2nd Round:

STL defeat LOS and SJ defeat ANA

Conference Finals:

SJ defeat STL

Playoff summary:

The return of Jonathan Quick will play a huge role in the first round of the playoffs. After a very successful regular season, the Wild will fall victim to the Kings who will down another number one seed much like they did in 2012 on their way to the team’s first Stanley Cup victory. Even though the Blues have played poorly this season, they have way too much talent to falter down the line. They will turn heads in the post-season this year and make it very close to their first ever conference championship. I also believe that the Peter DeBoer-lead San Jose Sharks will make their second straight cup appearance and try avenge their 2015 Stanley Cup loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

Stanley Cup:

WSH defeat SJ

 

Alexander Ovechkin has yet to win a Stanley Cup in his storied career. -Getty Images

Alexander Ovechkin has yet to win a Stanley Cup in his storied career. -Getty Images

 

 

Stanley Cup Summary:

After all the success, he has had in his career, it’ll finally all pay-off for the great eight. Alexander Ovechkin will finally get to raise the Stanley Cup. Once again the veteran-filled Sharks team will fall short.vThe major storyline in the cup will be Holtby vs. Jones. Ultimately, the stronger goaltender will prevail, thus resulting in a Conn Smythe and more importantly a Stanley Cup for Braden Holtby.

Share

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.