The 2023/24 NHL season is underway. Hockey fans are rejoicing as the NHL kicked of the 2023/24 season last week, and already it’s been a fun start to the season. Of course its early enough to have some fun with it, so we thought we would share some predictions for the upcoming season.
The 2023–24 NHL season is the 107th season of operation of the National Hockey League. The regular season began on October 10, 2023, and will end on April 18, 2024. Here’s a look at some of The Hockey Fanatic’s Predictions for the 2023/24 NHL season.
NHL Regular Season Predictions
Some of these are meant to be fun but with many we did spend some time looking at some potential storylines for the 2023/24 NHL season.
- The Vegas Golden Knights will not repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Too many good team and the stars aligned perfectly for the Knights to win this season. Look for another team out of the Western Conference to win it all this season. Or potentially a Canadian team wins the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1993.
- Mike Babcock will be the first coaching casualty of the season…. oh wait.
- Connor McDavid will not get 150+ points this season. After amassing 153 points last season, the Edmonton Oilers captain will see his point total reduce by 15-20 points this season. Not for a lack of effort or skill, but because teams will be adjusting how they play McDavid and the Oilers. The Oilers are a Stanley Cup favourite and teams will be gunning for them each and every night. Our expectation is that Connor McDavid will finish in the 125-138 point range this season.
- The Vancouver Canucks will be a vastly improved team this season. Rick Tocchet will have this team playing as a team and performing hard each and every night. They will make a push for a wild card playoff spot, but will fall short in achieving post season action.
- Connor Bedard will come as advertised. Players, coaches, teammates, hockey fans and NHL hockey writers will be amazed at what this kid can do. Barring injury Bedard will win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. The Bedard roadshow will be travelling to an NHL arena near you.
- Nazem Kadri will get traded from the Calgary Flames. Things just haven’t worked out for Kadri in Calgary, so a change of scenery just might make sense for the player and the team. Especially if the Flames stumble out of the gate.
- The Seattle Kraken will miss the playoffs. Goaltending woes will plague this team and they will not score as much as they did last season.
- The Ottawa Senators will finish third or fourth in the Atlantic Division and enjoy a taste of the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
- The Buffalo Sabres will again miss the playoffs. Goaltending will be an issue for the Sabres this season. Some great young talent on this team, but they need a little more season before they become a playoff contender.
- Auston Matthews scores 52 goals. With new contract in hand, Matthews will become more of a complete player and focus on his overall game. He will find the back of the net a lot this season, but not to the tune of 60 goals that many are predicting. (Editor’s Note: This post was completed after Matthews had back to back hattricks to start the season). Matthews was the first player to start the season with back-to-back hat tricks since Alex Ovechkin in 2017-18, and just the fifth player to do it in NHL history. Could he score 60+ this season? Sure. Will he? No.
- Patrick Kane will sign with a Canadian team. While many think Kane might sign with his hometown Buffalo Sabres, Kane wants another crack at a Stanley Cup Championship. Look for him to sign with one of three Canadian teams once he returns from injury.
- Pierre Luc Dubois plays in forty games or less with the Los Angeles Kings during his first season. Dubois will get off to a great start and then the Kings will again suffer some injury issues as they fight for a playoff spot.
- The San Jose Sharks will be the lowest scoring team in the NHL this season. After making the playoffs every season for a number of years, the Sharks are in rebuild mode and will be looking to infuse the lineup with some youth and inexperience this season. Hold on to your hats Sharks fans, it could be a long season.
- The Montreal Canadiens will be improved but will fail to compete for a playoff spot. Les Habitants had 31 wins last season. This year they will improve and hit 35 wins but The Sens, Red Wings and Sabres will all be improved as well.
- Leon Draisaitl wins the Rocket Richard trophy this season. Draisaitl is a beast and if he’s 100% healthy he will score more powerplay goals than anyone else in the league. We think he will hit at least 55 goals this season but he could surpass 60. He’s an elite shooter.
- Brady Tkachuk out performs Matthew Tkachuk. The Sens are an up and coming team lead by Brady Tkachuk. For the past few years Matthew Tkachuk has overachieved, look for Brady to continue to develop his game and will the Sens into a playoff position.
- The New York Rangers quietly become a top two team in the Metropolitan Division. Look for the Rangers to become a top ten team in the NHL this season and come on strong in the second half of the season.
- Shayne Gostisbehere of the Detroit Red Wings has his strongest season to date and puts up 75 points for the Detroit Red Wings.
- Alex Ovechkin falls short of Wayne Gretzky’s all-time NHL goal record and only scores 23 goals this season. The Great 8 misses a handful of games with injury impacting his performance this season.
- The Carolina Hurricanes win the President’s Trophy as the NHL’s best regular season team. Look for the Canes to put up 114 points this season.
- Auston Matthews will be named the MVP at the 2024 All-Star Game on February 3 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. He’ll score five goals and win MVP honors in front of the home crowd.
- The Edmonton Oilers make a blockbuster trade at the NHL trade deadline. The Oilers are all in this season. With Leon Draisaitl having only two more season under contract and Connor McDavid with three seasons, the Oilers need to win now. They will be pulling out all of the stops to make it happen. They’re cash strapped so they will need to ship some money out, but look for them to be buyers at the trade deadline. Goaltender? Shutdown dee-man?
- The Boston Bruins will not get over 55 wins this season. The Bruins had 65 wins last season. They’ve had some major personnel changes and as such will regress slightly. Expect the Bruins to be in the 46-50 wins category this season.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning look to trade Steven Stamkos at the NHL tradeline. Teams kick tires but he remains a Bolt.
- The Colorado Avalanche win eight out of their first ten games and sixteen of their first twenty on their way to being the top team in the Western Conference.
- The St. Louis Blues, in danger of missing the playoffs, trade defenseman Colton Parayko to a playoff contender. The Blues do in fact miss the playoffs this season.
- Marc-Andre Fleury is traded to the Edmonton Oilers a move that benefits both teams as both teams win opening round playoff series.
- Sidney Crosby puts up 87 points and again leads the Pittsburgh Penguins in scoring. The Pens make the playoffs on a strong second half.
- In his first year as coach of the Nashville Predators, Andrew Brunette sees the team miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year after a season of injuries and scoring woes.
- The Arizona Coyotes seek an extension to play two more seasons at Mullett Arena until they secure the building of a new arena in Mesa, AZ.
- Gary Bettman announces that he will retire as NHL Commissioner at the end of the 2025-26 NHL season. Owners thank him for his decades of services and fans continue to boo Gary when his name is mentioned or as he makes appearances throughout league events.
- A Canadian team finally wins the Stanley Cup.