Edmonton Oilers: 2018/19 NHL Season Predictions That May Shock You

EDMONTON, AB - MARCH 27: Edmonton Oilers Center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point on a goal by Edmonton Oilers Left Wing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) in the first period during the Edmonton Oilers game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets game on March 27, 2018, at Rogers Place in Edmonton, AB. (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - MARCH 27: Edmonton Oilers Center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point on a goal by Edmonton Oilers Left Wing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) in the first period during the Edmonton Oilers game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets game on March 27, 2018, at Rogers Place in Edmonton, AB. (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The NHL season is upon us, and it’s time to make our annual predictions on who will finish where, the franchise that will be hoisting Lord Stanley’s cup, and which players will be making speeches at the awards gala next summer. A gala that should feature a few more Edmonton Oilers than in the past.

I’m of the belief that the Edmonton Oilers are going to shock the NHL and make a massive step back in the right direction. They’ve got the talent to be a top-2 team in their division and in the end, I genuinely believe that’s where they will end up. And if this pre-season is any indication of the talent the roster possesses on the right-wing, that prediction should very well hold up.

Now let’s take a look at the rest of the league!

Pacific

  1. San Jose
  2. Edmonton
  3. Calgary
  4. Vegas
  5. Anaheim
  6. LA
  7. Arizona
  8. Vancouver

It’s hard to argue not putting San Jose at the top as they added Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson to an already strong veteran group but the surprises in the Pacific will be Edmonton and Calgary making a return to the post-season and both Anaheim and Los Angeles missing the playoffs.

I think that the Ducks and the Kings are getting far too long in the tooth and they’ll be going into this year with some pretty big names on the IR.

Vegas WILL take a step back. Their defense isn’t as good, and they’re not the new boys in town anymore. Paul Stastny is a good player but he doesn’t move the needle offensively for them, and Max Pacioretty has a lot to prove after the season he just had in 2017/18.

Vancouver and Arizona will be pains in the butt to play against but ultimately won’t have the guns necessary to move up the standings… This year.

Central

  1. St.Louis
  2. Nashville
  3. Winnipeg
  4. Colorado
  5. Dallas
  6. Chicago
  7. Minnesota

The Blues did a wonderful job of adding very good veterans in the offseason in players like Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak, and Patrick Maroon. They’ve got great young forwards bubbling under as well in Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou, and Klim Kostin. The question is, can Jake Allen carry them to the promised land.

The shocking pick here is the Jets NOT finishing in the top-2 of the division. Not that last year was an aberration, but I don’t think they’ll be as good this year as last. They’ll take a step back as expectations weigh them down.

Atlantic

  1. Tampa Bay
  2. Toronto
  3. Florida
  4. Buffalo
  5. Boston
  6. Montreal
  7. Detroit
  8. Ottawa

This division is set up for the Leafs and the Lightning to walk in and take it. Tampa has the most impressive depth in the NHL, and it doesn’t stop at the pro level. Their AHL club is boiling over with highly rated prospects like Taylor Raddish and Mathieu Joseph.

Toronto with Tavares in the fold should automatically net them a playoff spot right now, but I’m concerned with their defense and penalty killing. Losing Bozak and Komarov will hurt their PK.

The shocking picks in this division are both Florida and Buffalo making the playoffs and Boston missing out.

Boston is the LA/Anaheim of the East. They’re aging incredibly fast. They’re not getting any faster, and they’re relying on those old vets like Chara, Bergeron, and Rask to carry them through the season. This will be the year that Father Time catches up to the Bruins.

For the Panthers, they’re due. Adding Mike Hoffman was a stroke of genius on their part as he’ll be topping 30 goals this year. The emergence of potential Calder trophy winner Henrik Borgstrom will be noticed early and often.

As for the Sabres, it’s time for Eichel and company to get their act together. They’ve finally got a stud defender on the back end in Rasmus Dahlin that can turn a game on its head instantly with a juke or a jive. They’ve got a burgeoning young goalie in Linus Ullmark who is ready for prime time and adding savvy vets like Berglund and Sobotka will go a long way for them.

Metropolitan

  1. Washington
  2. Pittsburgh
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Carolina
  5. Columbus
  6. New Jersey
  7. New York Islanders
  8. New York Rangers

Tough year it’ll be for the New York area teams. They’ll all be fighting for the Jack Hughes pick this season. Taylor Hall can’t carry the Devils into the post-season again, how will Mat Barzal fare having to play the toughs that John Tavares was before he left, and as good as Henrik Lundqvist is, he won’t be putting the Rangers’ kids on his back and marching to the post-season.

Washington, Pittsburgh, and Philly leading the division shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody, but I do think we should keep an eye out for the Flyers. As soon as Carter Hart is ready for prime time, which could be as early as this season, it’s on.

Shocked to see Carolina in the top-4? Adding Dougie Hamilton, Petr Mrazek, Calvin De Haan, Michael Ferland, and Andrei Svechnikov will pay massive dividends on the ice. They won’t be playing Bill Peters Corsi system anymore. New Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour will have this team back in the race and in an entertaining manner no less.

Awards

Stanley Cup: Pittsburgh Penguins
Hart: Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)
Art Ross: Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)
“Rocket” Richard: Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)
Calder: Andrei Svechnikov (Carolina Hurricanes)
Norris: Erik Karlsson (San Jose Sharks)
Vezina: Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Lady Byng: Mitch Marner (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Selke: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton Oilers)
Adams: Dave Hakstol (Philadelphia Flyers)
President’s Trophy: Tampa Bay Lightning
Stanley Cup Finalist: St.Louis Blues
Conn Smythe: Phil Kessel (Pittsburgh Penguins)