2023/24 NHL Season Outlook
As the crisp autumn air settles in and the leaves begin to paint the landscape with shades of red and gold, hockey fans around the world can feel the excitement building in their hearts. The ice is freshly prepared, the players are lacing up their skates, and the anticipation for the upcoming NHL season is palpable. With each new season comes the promise of thrilling games, jaw-dropping goals, bone-crushing hits, and the pursuit of the most coveted trophy in professional hockey, the Stanley Cup. The 2023/24 season is set to be a good one, here are a few insights to get you ready for the season!
The Biggest Story Line: Connor Bedard
Connor Bedard has been the talk of the hockey town over the last year. The 18-year-old Vancouver native was selected 1st overall in the 2023 NHL draft, and is set to step into a large role for the Chicago offense. Bedard is one of the most hyped prospects of this generation, and his first game against Pittsburgh on October 10th will be must-watch TV.
Bold Prediction: Bedard will score at least one goal in his debut.
Teams That I Beleive Have A Shot To Go All The Way
Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes have been a legitimate threat every season for the past few years. They have built an elite, defensive team, who on paper, should be difficult to beat in the playoffs. If you are a true hockey fan, you should know the way you look on paper is irrelevant when it comes to playoff hockey. The Canes have found themselves in the playoffs for the past 5 seasons. All they have to show for it is 3 first-round series wins and a 0-4 record in the ECF (swept by Boston in 2019). Will this be the year that Carolina makes a push, and wins it all?
Edmonton Oilers: Forwards Connor McDavid, and Leon Draisaitl led the NHL in points last season totaling 281 pts. The two are nearly unstoppable and led Edmonton to 2nd place finish in the Pacific with 109 points. They are NEARLY unstoppable because the 2 have been stopped in the playoffs the past 4 seasons. The past 2 seasons, they have been knocked out by the eventual Stanley Cup champs, Vegas in the second round in 2023, and swept by the Avs in the WCF in 2022. If Edmonton can get their defense & goaltending in check, they could be a scary team come late April.
Vegas Golden Knights: If you can bring back a similar roster the season after winning a Stanley Cup, going B2B is definitely in question. The Knights have a deep roster loaded with guys who want to be there. When this happens, another deep playoff run is on the table (2020/21 Lightning, 2016/17 Penguins). Vegas currently sits at the 6th favorite to win it all with 12/1 odds.
Teams I Am Most Excited To Watch
Chicago Blackhawks: It's hard to scroll on any social media right now without hearing about Connor Bedard and Chicago. The 18-year-old is a rare talent and one of the most hyped prospects in a long time. The addition of Taylor Hall should make this first line one to watch.
Boston Bruins: After a record-setting 133-point season, blowing a 3-1 series lead in round 1, and losing their captain to retirement - there are a lot of question marks in Boston. How will the team respond after the roller coaster of a year?
New Jersey Devils: The Devils showed massive improvement in the 22/23 season- nearly doubling their win total from the season before. They won their first playoff series since 2012, and have one of the youngest rosters in the NHL. Can they make it even further this season?
Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres are another young, up-and-coming team, who may surprise some fans this year. Despite missing the 2023 playoffs, the 91-point finish was the club's best finish over the past 12 seasons. Can they make the jump to a true Playoff contender this year?
Toronto Maple Leafs: Is it "their year"? With some nice acquisitions this offseason, their current roster is chalked full of talent, and they are the 2nd favorite to win the cup. Is this the year they finally make the push, and get it done?
My Division Predictions
As a Marketing employee at Howies, with absolutely 0 credentials other than being a fan of the NHL, here are my season predictions!
Toronto Maple Leafs
Tampa Bay Lightning
Detriot Red Wings
New Jersey Devils
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
Columbus Blue Jackets
St Louis Blues
Vegas Golden Knights
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks
Stanley Cup Prediction:
Carolina Hurricanes vs Colorado Avalanche
Carolina Wins in 6
Hart: Connor McDavid
Rocket Richard Trophy: Connor McDavid
Vezina: Connor Hellebuyck
Norris: Charlie McAvoy
Calder: Connor Bedard
Selke: Mitch Marner
Jack Adams: Rod Brind’Amour
If you made it this far, thanks for listening to my (possibly subpar) predictions! And let's get ready for another great NHL season