The 2017-2018 NHL regular season – the 101st – starts today with four games on the schedule. Here’s how I see each team finishing in the standings, followed by some storylines, random comments and predictions, including the Stanley Cup Champion.
* Those in bold denote my projected playoff teams
- The Boston Bruins begin their season at home Thursday night against the 2017 Western Conference Champion Nashville Predators.
- Here is the complete roster for the Bruins on opening night: Noel Acciari, David Backes, Matt Beleskey, Patrice Bergeron, Anders Bjork, Brandon Carlo, Zdeno Chara, Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, Anton Khudobin, David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Riley Nash, David Pastrnak, Paul Postma, Tuukka Rask, Tim Schaller, Ryan Spooner, Frank Vatrano. Injured: Austin Czarnik, Emil Johansson, Torey Krug.
- Teams on the rise: Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Carolina Hurricanes.
- Teams likely to disappoint: Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings.
- The Vegas Golden Knights open their inaugural season on Friday in Dallas against the Stars. Their first home game at T-Mobile Arena is on Tuesday, October 10th against the Arizona Coyotes. The NHL is the first of the top four pro sports leagues in North American to enter the market in Sin City.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins seek to become the first team since 1982 to win three straight Stanley Cups. The New York Islanders won four straight from 1980 to 1983.
- The Washington Capitals have not made it past the second round of the playoffs since 1998.
- The Anaheim Ducks have defeated the Flames 29 straights games at home (regular season and playoffs), the longest such streak in the NHL history. The last time Calgary won a game in Anaheim was April 25, 2006.
- For only the second time in the past 13 seasons, no player scored 50 goals last season. Could any one of the following players accomplish the feat this year: McDavid, Crosby, Matthews, Tarasenko, Marchand, Stamkos, Kucherov, Ovechkin, Laine, Pastrnak…
- NHL players will not compete in the Olympics for the first time since 1994.
- EA Sports NHL continued its annual tradition of simulating the upcoming season. And their NHL 18 simulation predicted the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Stanley Cup. They also predicted the Vancouver Canucks to finish dead last in the regular season standings.
- My prediction? The Columbus Blue Jackets will win the Stanley Cup, defeating the Minnesota Wild. Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will hoist the Conn Smythe Trophy.