Betting Odds & Early Predictions For 2018 NHL Championship
There are probably still some Penguins players sipping champagne from the Stanley Cup after their second consecutive NHL championship, which means that it’s probably not the ideal time to start looking forward to next season and making some NHL predictions. That is what we do here, though, and I’m positive that none of you are going to come back and blast me for making some wrong calls about next season when the dust has barely settled on this one.
What I am going to do here is take a look at each conference and try to predict what might go down next season. This is all before the inevitable blockbuster trades and free agency moves that are sure to come this season, so this is sure to be a subject that we address a few more times before the puck drops on a new season.
A Closer Look At The 2018 Stanley Cup Championship NHL Predictions
Eastern Conference NHL Predictions
The big question that needs to be asked here is which team is going to rise up and beat the team that has dominated the East for two straight years. The Pittsburgh Penguins are the favorites until someone else can knock them off, which is not going to be easy given the talent that is stacked on that squad. The most obvious contender would be the Washington Capitals, but until they make a serious run in the playoffs, can they really be considered a threat.
If we are forced to look elsewhere, then how about the Columbus Blue Jackets? They made a big jump forward last season, and will likely try and swing some moves that might help them take another step towards a title. The Tampa Bay Lightning are another team to look out for. They underperformed last season, and I think they might be able to bounce back.
As far as a dark horse team goes, look no further than the Toronto Maple Leafs. Young, hungry, and in possession of a coach who knows how to win. I can’t see the Penguins going three in a row, so let’s take the Blue Jackets to win the East.
Western Conference NHL Predictions
The Nashville Predators were the team that represented the West in the Stanley Cup Final last season, and they have a solid group of players to build around this offseason. They will be good again next season, but I’m not so sure they will make as deep a run in the postseason.
For me, the team to beat in the West next season will be the Edmonton Oilers. They are an exciting young squad that ow has some playoff experience under their belts. I think they will dominate the Pacific Division, and may even go into the playoffs as the top seed in the West. Anaheim may be there or thereabouts, but their core group is starting to age.
The Chicago Blackhawks will be right there in the mix, and the dark horse for next season may well be the Calgary Flames, who have a ton of cap space available in which to strengthen their defense. It’ll be the Oilers who represent the West, and who win the Stanley Cup next season.