The 2016-2017 NHL regular season starts today with four games on the schedule, including the home opener for the Edmonton Oilers at their new arena. Here’s how I see each team finishing in the standings, followed by some random notes, comments and predictions, including the Stanley Cup Champion.
* Those in bold denote my projected playoff teams
- Overrated teams (based on how some ‘experts’ have them projected): Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers
- Teams on the rise: Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets
- Teams on the decline: St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings
- The Boston Bruins begin their season on the road Thursday night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. Boston announced they will be without Patrice Bergeron, who has a lower-body injury. His status is listed as day-to-day.
- Brad Marchand led the Bruins with 37 goals in 2015-2016 while rarely playing on the powerplay. You will see that time increase this season and he should surpass 40 goals.
- Larry Fisher from The Hockey Writers has the Bruins finishing last in the Atlantic Division. Larry, say no to drugs. Boston definitely needs some work, namely on defence, but this team is better than most in the division.
- The Vancouver Canucks have been free-falling since losing to the Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Many are projecting the Canucks to finish last overall in the league… I will have to agree.
- Everyone is raving about the Canucks signing Loui Eriksson, especially since he will play with the Sedins. I predict that he will not score more than 20 goals.
- Canadiens Michel Therrien will be the first coach to get canned. Willie Desjardins in Vancouver and John Tortorella in Columbus won’t be far behind.
- Both the Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs missed the 1970 Stanley Cup playoffs. That was the first time in league history that none of the NHL’s Canadian teams qualified for the playoffs… until 2016, when all seven Canadian teams missed out. Montreal will be the only Canadian team making it this season, barely squeaking in with a Wild Card spot.
- The Detroit Red Wings last missed the playoffs in 1990, the longest active streak in pro sports. That will end this season.
- The Edmonton Oilers will miss the playoffs for the eleventh straight season.
- EA Sports NHL 17 simulation picks the Nashville Predators to win the Stanley Cup… Right.
- My prediction? The Washington Capitals will win the Stanley Cup, defeating the Dallas Stars. Caps goaltender Braden Holtby will hoist the Conn Smythe Trophy.