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NHL predictions 2021: Final standings, awards, playoff projections, Stanley Cup pick

After some uncertainty, the 2021 NHL season formally is right here and the puck will drop on a 56-game, 116-day dash to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Like at all times, hope springs everlasting for all 31 groups and, like earlier seasons, it is totally different for every one. Some are wanting on the subsequent couple of months as a time to set up their technique and put together for the postseason as a Cup contender whereas others are utilizing the time to proceed to construct and breed success with their membership. 

This season can be a novel one stuffed with twists and turns. Other than the compact schedule, which is able to embrace the primary time in league historical past that groups will play 4 consecutive video games in opposition to the identical opponent inside a daily season, COVID-19 has and can impression issues. Divisions have already been realigned based mostly on geographic places, with one containing simply Canadian groups due to a journey ban between the U.S. and Canada. And the NHL is anticipating extra video games to be postponed; the Stars’ first three video games — two in opposition to the Panthers and one in opposition to the Lightning — have been postponed due to 17 gamers testing optimistic. 

The postseason has additionally been tweaked, with the 4 high groups in every division advancing to the playoffs and the No. 1 crew taking part in No. 4 and No. 2 taking part in No. 3. The winners then face off, with the champ of the division assembly the opposite 4 winners in a re-seeded semifinal earlier than the Stanley Cup Remaining.

NHL SCHEDULE CHANGES: List of games postponed, rescheduled because of COVID-19

Usually, the highway to the Stanley Cup is a protracted, twisting, curving one with endless potholes — this yr can be further winding however it is going to finish with the identical end result: a Stanley Cup champion. Who can be there’s the best thriller. The tight schedule this yr makes it much more vital to get off to a great begin whereas avoiding shedding streaks all through the season. Predicting what can be is at all times a tough idea, however it is time to look into the longer term and see who will make the 2021 season one to recollect.

(Getty Photographs)

NHL predictions for 2021

Awards

Award Winner
Hart Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Vezina Jacob Markstrom, Flames
Artwork Ross Connor McDavid, Oilers
Rocket Richard Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Norris Cale Makar, Avalanche
Calder Alexis Lafreniere, Rangers
Selke Mark Stone, Golden Knights
Jack Adams Travis Inexperienced, Canucks

East Division

1. Philadelphia Flyers
2. New York Islanders
3. Washington Capitals
4. New York Rangers
5. Boston Bruins
6. Pittsburgh Penguins
7. Buffalo Sabres
8. New Jersey Devils

Central Division

1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Dallas Stars
3. Carolina Hurricanes
4. Columbus Blue Jackets
5. Nashville Predators
6. Florida Panthers
7. Detroit Crimson Wings
8. Chicago Blackhawks

West Division

1. Colorado Avalanche*
2. Vegas Golden Knights
3. St. Louis Blues
4. Minnesota Wild
5. Arizona Coyotes
6. Los Angeles Kings
7. San Jose Sharks
8. Anaheim Geese

North Division

1. Toronto Maple Leafs 
2. Calgary Flames
3. Montreal Canadiens
4. Vancouver Canucks
5. Edmonton Oilers
6. Ottawa Senators
7. Winnipeg Jets

*Presidents’ Trophy: Avalanche

Playoffs

East bracket

Collection Winner
(1) Flyers vs. (4) Rangers Flyers
(2) Islanders vs. (3) Capitals Capitals
(1) Flyers vs. (3) Capitals Flyers

Central bracket

Collection Winner
(1) Lightning vs. (4) Blue Jackets Lightning
(2) Stars vs. (3) Hurricanes Stars
(1) Lightning vs. (2) Stars Stars

West bracket

Collection Winner
(1) Avalanche vs. (4) Wild Avalanche
(2) Golden Knights vs. (3) Blues Golden Knights
(1) Avalanche vs. (2) Golden Knights Golden Knights

North bracket

Collection Winner
(1) Maple Leafs vs. (4) Canucks Maple Leafs
(2) Flames vs. (3) Canadiens Flames
(1) Maple Leafs vs. (2) Flames Maple Leafs

Semifinals

Groups are re-seeded based mostly on factors from the common season.

Collection Winner
(1) Flyers vs. (4) Stars Flyers
(2) Maple Leafs vs. (3) Golden Knights Golden Knights

Stanley Cup Remaining

Collection Winner
Flyers vs. Golden Knights Golden Knights
Conn Smythe Trophy Robin Lehner

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