2014-15 NHL Season Predictions

2015 NHL PredictionsEvery year around this time, hockey poolies convene in annual drafts to select their players who will earn them bragging rights for hockey pool supremacy.  Also during this time, hockey fans and so called hockey experts throw their two cents in and make their pre-season NHL predictions.  Well the new NHL season is days away from starting. The Hockey Fanatic again joins the mass array of hockey fans predicting the best of  the best and who will be the also rans of the next NHL season.   Here’s our educated guess as to who will finish at the top of each division, and ultimately who will win the Stanley Cup.

2014-15 NHL Season Predictions

First off, the Hockey Fanatic feels that we will again see dominance in the West and unlike previous seasons, we expect some unexpected falls from grace with a couple NHL teams who have dominated in recent years.  Here is our predictions for how each of the NHL divisions will finish.

Eastern Conference

Metropolitan Division

  1. New York Rangers
  2. Pittsburgh Penguins
  3. Washington Capitals
  4. New York Islanders
  5. New Jersey Devils
  6. Philadelphia Flyers
  7. Columbus Blue Jackets
  8. Carolina Hurricanes

Pittsburgh needs goaltending, they could be one of the teams that begins their fall from grace although a healthy Sidney Crosby may say otherwise.  We expect the Washington Capitals to perform much better under new head coach Barry Trotz.  Has Ovie checked out?  Columbus and Philly are two teams that cold fluctuate the most.  The Islanders could have a nice season with a healthy John Tavares and a good start to the season.

Atlantic Division

  1. Boston Bruins
  2. Montreal Canadiens
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning
  4. Detroit Red Wings
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs
  6. Ottawa Senators
  7. Buffalo Sabres
  8. Florida Panthers

We think that this is the year that Detroit misses the post season in like forever.  Many are liking how Tampa Bay looks, but it remains to be seen how Stamkos will perform without Marty St. Louis by his side for a full season.  This could be the year that Montreal brings a Cup back to Canada.  This will be the year of Carey Price and PK Subban.  Toronto will be better but we think Randy Carlyle will be fired by December.  Ottawa will play tough but just doesn’t have all of the pieces they need to contend with the big boys.  Boston is just a hardworking team that may surprise some by offering up Zdeno Chara as trade bait at some point in the next couple of seasons.  Florida should be better but won’t, even Booby Lu won;t help them win enough games to get into the post season.

Western Conference

Central Division

  1. Chicago Blackhawks
  2. St. Louis Blues
  3. Dallas Stars
  4. Colorado Avalanche
  5. Minnesota Wild
  6. Winnipeg Jets
  7. Nashville Predators

The Blackhawks are awesome.  If they stay injury free they will have a tremendous season and we’ll be hearing a lot of Cheslea Dagger.  Could this finally be the year of the St. Louis Blues?  They have a lot of the key components of being a contender.  For our money the team that made the greatest improvements in the off season were the Dallas Stars.  We think that Jamie Benn is still underrated.  Dallas could be a dark horse come playoff time.  On paper the Avs look stacked, however we think that their goaltending will be less than stellar this season.  Jarome Iginla is a nice addition but he played on a good Bruins team last season, hard to say how much he’ll help the Avs this season.  Minnesota will be tough to play against but goaltending could be an issue.  The poor Jets will be  a hardworking bunch but they simply lack the superstar player and top notch goalie top get them to the post season.  The Preds will not score a lot of goals and with Barry Trotz gone may be in a transition year.

Pacific Division

  1. Anaheim Ducks
  2. Los Angeles Kings
  3. San Jose Sharks
  4. Arizona Coyotes
  5. Vancouver Canucks
  6. Edmonton Oilers
  7. Calgary Flames

Man the Canadian teams are in tough in this Division.  The Anaheim Ducks are going to be a tough team to beat this season as are the defending champions the Los Angeles Kings, but when you are the Stanley Cup champs everyone is gunning for you every night.  This is a do or die year for the San Jose Sharks, not only do they have to get into the playoffs but they have to win at least two rounds.  They were our pick to win it all last year but their colossal collapse to the Kings in round one last spring put an end to that.  Do they have something to prove or will they dismantle by mid-season?  Will Joe Thornton be a Ranger by the trade deadline?  Vancouver could finish as worse as sixth if they get off to a slow start.  How will Ryan Miller perform in the fishbowl?  He’s not Roberto Luongo.  What has Miller won in his pro career?  A couple of silver medals?  Will it be enough.  No Kesler means less grit.  You have to think that the Sedins will have a better year but they will again need to be point per game players if the Canucks are to make the playoffs, which we are predicting they won’t.  We are a long-time fans of the Edmonton Oilers but the management team in that town is terrible.  The Oilers have better goaltending and have gotten a little bigger, but they have a porous defense and lack a bonafide #2 centerman.  This could be another long season.  They should be a little better and at least shouldn’t be out of the playoff picture five weeks into the season, but it will take a minor miracle for these boys to make the playoffs this season.  In fact I am so superstitious that this is the first time in 8 seasons that I am not getting the Center Ice package to watch all of the Oiler games.  I can’t stand to watch a team lose so much.  The Flames are on the downswing and although they are a hard working bunch they will have little fizzle this season.  Could be in the running for the Connor McDavid sweepstakes come June.

As for Stanley Cup predictions.  Our final four picks are:  From the East:  Tampa Bay and Montreal, From the West:  Chicago and Los Angeles.  Out pick for the Stanley Cup winner:  Chicago Blackhawks.

Enjoy the season hockey fans.