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Premature NHL Playoff Predictions

There’s still another week before the regular season even starts. In the meantime, we’ve gotten a decent preview of each team. Some have made significant strides in the talent of their roster while others have lost footing. It’s still early for any in-depth analysis for predictions, which means it’s way more fun to give NHL playoff predictions now! So, here’s my guess as to how April in the NHL will look.

ATLANTIC

Boston, Tampa, Montreal, Florida

I think my reasoning for the Bruins and Lightning is pretty obvious. Montreal and Florida might be a little more surprising. Granted, both teams made playoffs last year. But it was a strange year and structured differently.

We’ve seen the rapid improvement of both the Canadiens and the Panthers in the last season. Neither team had surprising departures with the exception of Jesperi Kotkaniemi. But even with JK in Carolina, the Canadiens have other young players like Suzuki and Cole Caufield who can make a huge splash.

In Florida, it’s not really any stand out players that made their team successful, rather the average of all of them. Of course there are very talented individuals, but it will be the chemistry that will carry them into the playoffs.

METROPOLITAN

Washington, Long Island, Carolina, Pittsburgh

As has so often been the case lately, the Metropolitan division will be the most competitive and closest in terms of points. Washington hasn’t missed playoffs since the 2013-14 season; Pittsburgh hasn’t missed playoffs since the 2005-2006 season. Carolina won the Central division in the reorganized divisions last year. The Islanders were knocked out of the 2021 playoffs in the semifinals.

To be honest, though, I wouldn’t be surprised by any team in the Metro making playoffs this year. Yes, even the Devils. It’s going to be a bloodbath, no matter who’s in the running.

CENTRAL

Colorado, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas

I think the Central is the division with the widest gap this year. Colorado is the obvious; they’ve been Cup contenders for several years now. Chicago has made significant changes this offseason to make themselves challengers. After that, it really could be anyone. Minnesota, in my opinion may have a slight edge because of Kaprizov. What sets Dallas apart for me is goaltending; they have three solid options among Holtby, Khudobin, and Bishop.

The Central will have a different kind of struggle for playoff spots.

PACIFIC

Vegas, Vancouver, Edmonton, Seattle

The Pacific has a similar gap, though not as wide. Vegas has been a powerhouse since they entered the league. They took a little bit of a hit when they lost Fleury, but still have a formidable roster. Vancouver made huge moves in the offseason, and just today re-signed two of the best players in the league, Pettersson and (Quinn) Hughes. Edmonton has been making steady progress over the last few years and, with their current roster, have great potential.

Seattle is probably the one you’re laughing at. Their preseason performances have been varied, to say the least, but looking at their roster, they have a good shot at just making playoffs. I don’t see them having the same success that Vegas had in their inaugural season. But in their division, I can see them doing relatively well.

Other Thoughts on NHL Playoff Predictions

Like I said, it’s all in good fun. I think we’ll all just be happy to see a full NHL season for the first time since the 2018-19 season. Personally, I’m excited to see how Seattle will do (side note, I love their jerseys and will be a bandwagoner for that reason alone), how the divisions being “back to normal” will shape NHL playoff predictions, and to have the opportunity to sit in the stands again.

Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)

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Heidi Thomas

Washington Capitals fan, casual gamer, hiking enthusiast. Ask me about my Greyhound. I also wrote a book once.

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