In 2018 we saw Washington win their first Stanley Cup, Vegas make the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season, and Connor McDavid win yet another Art Ross Trophy.
Moving into 2019, here are five bold predictions I have for what the New Year could have in store for us.
Joel Quenneville Will Coach St. Louis:
Quenneville brought Chicago three Stanley Cups before being fired by the team early in the season in effort to turn the Blackhawks downward spiral around.
The St. Louis Blues and Quenneville have history.
Quenneville coached the Blues from 1997-2004, when he was eventually fired late in his eighth season due to being in danger of missing the playoffs after seven straight playoff appearances.
In November, St. Louis decided to fire their Head Coach Mike Yeo, currently Craig Berube in serving as interim Head Coach of the struggling Blues team.
With a talented roster, the Blues are in need of an experienced Head Coach.
I think Joel Quenneville would qualify for that position!
Who knows, but it would certainly make for an interesting division matchup between Chicago and St. Louis!
Ovechkin Will Not Win The Rocket Richard:
Alexander Ovechkin has been awarded the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals in the NHL in 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018.
With 29 goals thus far, Ovechkin currently leads the league in goals again.
However, he has some tough competition this season, with Tavares, Skinner, Laine, Landeskog, and MacKinnon all gunning for deep playoff runs on their respective teams.
With the return of Bergeron to the line up, don’t be surprised if David Pastrnak hits another hot streak.
McDavid Pushes Edmonton To Playoffs:
Edmonton is currently four points out of the second Wild Card spot, although Connor McDavid is having yet another impressive season.
Connor McDavid has 21 goals, and 35 assists for the fourth most points in the NHL.
McDavid also won the Art Ross Trophy, and Ted Lindsay Trophy in 2018 despite the Oilers not making the playoffs.
With Head Coach Ken Hitchcock behind the bench now, I could see McDavid propelling the Oilers to a playoff appearance, especially with Edmonton playing in a weaker Pacific Division.
If McDavid gets Edmonton to the playoffs, his validation for the Hart Memorial Trophy, and Ted Lindsay Trophy increase significantly.
Nashville’s Struggles Continue, Fall In Standings:
Playing in a rather deep division, the Nashville Predators have had an injured riddled season, and have now lost five games in a row, and are 3-6-1 in their last ten games.
After an extremely impressive Stanley Cup Finals run in 2017, Nashville came back and won the President’s Trophy in 2018, however would be eliminated in the Second Round to the Winnipeg Jets.
With their roster remaining intact Nashville is expected to make another deep playoff run.
Well if this season continues this way, the Predators are going to have a hard time getting past division foes Winnipeg, and Colorado.
There are only so many years that Nashville will have this strong, and deep of a roster, it’d be a shame for them to watch even just one season go down the drain.
Toronto Maple Leafs Win The Stanley Cup:
For the first time since 1967, the Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup.
This team is good.
Currently second in the Atlantic Division with a record of 26-11-2, the Maple Leafs have gone 6-3-1 in their last ten games, and appear to be gaining more and more chemistry.
Tavares has stepped up in his first season in Toronto with 26 goals, and 18 assists.
Mitch Marner, and Auston Matthews have also produced with 53, and 35 points respectively.
Even Defenseman Morgan Reilly has 13 goals, and 31 assists to add to the mix.
Get Goaltender Frederik Andersen playing even better than his 2.50 goals against average, and .923 save percentage, it’ll be extremely difficult for any team to defeat this Toronto team.
I never thought I’d see the day Toronto wins another Stanley Cup, but this team is convincing.
Ovechkin: www.NHL.com www.hhof.com
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