NHL 2021 Season Predictions

January 13, 2021 marks the proposed start date for the 2021 NHL season. In a unique year due to the global pandemic, the National Hockey League will be conducted a 56-game season with realigned divisions including an all-Canadian divisions where Canadian teams will play each other on nine or ten occasions.

On New Years Eve 2020, the Canadian government said it has issued an exemption to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for NHL players and team staff returning to Canada for training camps under “national interest grounds.” More from TSN.

There has been a number of changes within the League since the completion of last season during the ‘Return to Play’ era. The 2020-21 season will consist of intradivisional play only with the newly aligned divisions which consist of the following teams:

North (aka Canadian) Division

  • Calgary Flames
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Winnipeg Jets

West Division

  • Anaheim Ducks
  • Arizona Coyotes
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Minnesota Wild
  • San Jose Sharks
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Vegas Golden Knights

Central Division

  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Dallas Stars
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Florida Panthers
  • Nashville Predators
  • Tampa Bay Lightning

East Division

  • Boston Bruins
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • New Jersey Devils
  • New York Islanders
  • New York Rangers
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Washington Capitals
Courtesy: NHL.com

There have been a number of changes with many teams in the off-season. Zdeno Chara and Henrik Lundqvist in Washington (although King Henrik will be missing this season due to health reasons). The Seattle Kraken are entering the league next season so teams are also preparing for the expansion draft. This could be an interesting season heading into the playoffs. How will the pandemic impact certain teams? Lots of questions for sure, but we should start getting answers when the puck drops on January 13th.

The Hockey Fanatic NHL Division Predictions for 2020-21

North Division

We have the following teams making the playoffs:

  1. Calgary Flames
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs
  3. Edmonton Oilers
  4. Vancouver Canucks

The Canadiens may press for a spot as will the Jets, and while the Sens are an improved team they are just not there yet.

West Division

  1. Colorado Avalanche
  2. St. Louis Blues
  3. Vegas Golden Knights
  4. Minnesota Wild

The Sharks will be close, but Arizona, Los Angeles and Anaheim will miss the post season.

Central Division

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning
  2. Dallas Stars
  3. Columbus Blue Jackets
  4. Carolina Hurricanes

Nashville will battle Carolina for the final playoff spot, but Chicago, Detroit and Florida will still have some work to do.

East Division

This one should be a good one. There are some improved teams with Taylor Hall landing in Buffalo, the Sabres should be much improved. The Rangers have Alex Lafreniere the first overall pick from October’s NHL Entry Draft.

  1. Boston Bruins
  2. Washington Capitals
  3. Philadelphia Flyers
  4. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Islanders, Rangers will press for a playoff spot, but goaltending may be the difference in which team makes the fourth and final playoff spot in the division. Hall won’t be enough for the Sabres to snap their playoff drought.

As it stands right The Hockey Fanatic feels pretty strong about these predictions. The COVID pandemic might have something else to say about them. The great news is that there will be some assemblance of an NHL season. Hockey fans can start to get excited as training camps open in the next few days.

For you fantasy hockey types out there, NHL.com has released their fantasy hockey point projections.