The NHL 2021-22 is upon us and with the hockey season, there are always unexpected moments and events happening. Here are our top 5 bold predictions for the 2021-22 NHL season.
New Jersey Devils make the Playoffs
The New Jersey Devils absolutely loaded up this offseason, adding many quality pieces to bolster their defense. The Devils signed a top 6 winger in Tomas Tatar, a solid backup goaltender in Jonathan Bernier, and one of the best defensemen in the league, Dougie Hamilton. They even acquired shut down defensemen Ryan Graves from the Colorado Avalanche and drafted Luke Hughes with the 4th pick in the 2021 Draft. The Devils are already the youngest team in the entire league and with another year of growth and improvement from their young guys such as Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, and company, the Devils could finally make the postseason.
The Montreal Canadiens miss the Playoffs
The Montreal Canadiens went on a cinderella Run to the Stanley Cup Finals last year after just squeaking into the playoffs last year. The Canadiens had a tough offseason, losing Shea Weber (out for the year), Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Phillip Danault, Tomas Tatar, and Carey Price (for the start of the year). On top of that, they are back to playing in the top-heavy Atlantic Division which includes the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Boston Bruins. The Canadiens are bound for regression after their magical run last season.
Sidney Crosby wins the Hart Trophy
The Hart Memorial Trophy goes to the player most valuable to the player who is most valuable to his team. For the past few years, the rising stars of the NHL, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Nikita Kucherov have taken home the award after leading the league in points. But one darkhorse candidate for the Trophy, who always seems to be playing at an elite level is none other than Sidney Crosby. Crosby and the Penguins will be without Evgeni Malkin for a few months, so Crosby could be the one to carry the Penguins.
Alex Ovechkin wins the Rocket Richard Trophy
Alex Ovechkin is still regarded as the best goal scorer in NHL History, racking up over 700 goals in his esteemed NHL career. With the amount of young goal-scoring talent being developed in the NHL such as Auston Matthews, David Pastrnak, along with Ovechkin getting older, the odds of Ovechkin winning the Rocket Richard Trophy are getting slimmer. However, Ovechkin is on a mission this year and could earn his 10th Rocket Richard Trophy while chasing Wayne Gretzky’s almost unbreakable most goals in NHL History record.
Tampa Bay Lightning win the back-to-back-to-back Stanely Cups
After winning the Stanley Cup for the past 2 straight seasons, the Lightning could add another cup to their collection by being the first team since the 1980-1983 New York Islanders to win 3 straight Stanley Cups. Although the Lightning lost some pieces of their Stanley Cup team including Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman, and Barclay Goodrow, the Lightning still have a stacked roster and those players could easily be replaced by players in the Lightning system. On top of that, the Lightning now have superstar forward Nikita Kucherov back for the entirety of the regular season. It is not out of the possibilities that Tampa wins their 3rd straight Stanley Cup.