Here we are barreling toward the start of the NHL Regular season. So it is time to start previewing what is to come in the upcoming 2019-20 season. I will break down every division, than the league as a whole. With a final look at the playoffs and crown my 2019-20 Stanley Cup Champion.
The league preview will be based on the current rosters of teams. So assuming we don’t have any major roster changes (which we will) or devastating injuries (which we will) this is how I see the league playing out.
01 – Tampa
02 – Toronto
03 – Pittsburgh
04 – Washington
05 – Boston
06 – Florida
07 – Philadelphia
08 – New Jersey
01 – Vegas
02 – San Jose
03 – Calgary
04 – Chicago
05 – Dallas
06 – Nashville
07 – St. Louis
08 – Colorado
With this as basis to move forward here is how I see the playoffs unfolding.
At the end of the day I think Tampa finally gets over the hump. They have all their major keys coming back. They made key upgrades this off season. They seem to be unstoppable.
The Stars remind me a lot of the 2002 Detroit Red Wings. A bunch of veterans ending up in the same place creating a type of super team. I think the regular season may have its ups and downs for them but they make the cup.
Vegas continues to show they are the real deal going all the way to the conference finals. Toronto finally gets over the hump and set themselves up for success next season. Florida takes a big step forward and proves they will be in the mix next season.
The big surprise teams will be Philly and New Jersey. The rebuild of both franchises happened faster than most would believe. I think New Jersey will still have their ups and downs but Philly is the real deal. I can see Philly fighting for a cup very soon.
I like the progress that Chicago and Clagary make this season. Chicago is going to be looking for one last cup in the Toews and Kane era. Calgary is continuing to progress but defense will keep them from making a cup run.
I think the Avalanche end up taking a step back. Playing an entire season without Mikko Rantanen. Nathan MacKinnon will drag this team across the playoff threshold, but it simply will not be enough.
Winnipeg falls off a cliff this season. Labor disputes and in team fighting kill this once promising contender.
I think we continue to see signs of “the new NHL” as the youth of the league continue to take on bigger roles.
The one wild card in all of this is Pittsburgh. If Sid and Geno are both pulling the cart this season that team could win a cup. They have a deeper roster than the past two years. If their top guys are in peak form its over.