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Looking Back: Ten Bold Predictions for the 2019-20 NHL Season

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Maybe these were a little too bold

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

A couple weeks ago, I took the time to revisit my predictions for the 2019-20 NHL season - I did pretty well. Those predictions weren’t the only ones I made before the season started. I also went out on a limb with 10 Bold Predictions for the season and tried to prognosticate some of the more unlikely outcomes for the season. These predictions weren’t nearly as successful.

Let’s take a look back at what became of my “10 Bold Predictions”.

(here is the original post for accounting purposes)


1. The Ottawa Senators won’t be THAT bad

They were pretty darn bad. The Senators finished ahead of only the embarrassingly bad Detroit Red Wings. With two picks very early in the coming draft and a very good young core, much better days are ahead for the Senators - they just didn’t come this season.

From the original post:

The Senators are going to be back but everyone is predicting them to finish at the bottom of the standings for the second consecutive season. I don’t see it. Between Thomas Chabot and Erik Brannstrom, the team has the makings of a very exciting blueline. Add to that the fact that Brady Tkachuk is a legitimate star in the making and there is a decent core to build around. New head coach D.J. Smith won a Memorial Cup with the Oshawa Generals by using lesser-skilled players to play a low-event system that slows everything down - they were able to shut down a team with Connor McDavid, Dylan Strome and Alex Debrincat in the OHL finals. Smith might be able to do the same thing this year and the Sens will win enough games to finish outside of the bottom-3 in the East.

2. Clayton Keller is going to produce at a nearly point per game pace

Not quite. Keller finished the season with 44 points in 70 games. Consistency was his downfall. He looked to be turning the tide after putting up 13 points in 14 games during the month of December but he followed that up with only four points in all of January.

The 21 year old is going to need to start producing at a higher rate if he wants to live up to the long term contract he signed last summer.

From the original post:

When he signed a huge $57.2m extension this summer, Keller will become the focal point of a Coyotes offense that should be drastically improved this season. Arizona finished in the bottom-5 for goals scored last season due to a number of factors - not the least of which was being decimated by injuries. With Nick Schmaltz and Phil Kessel riding shot gun this season, we are going to finally see the potential Keller has. After scoring 65 points as a rookie two seasons ago, Keller is going to get up near 80 this year.

3. Cale Makar and Miro Heiskanen will be the two best players from the 2017 Entry Draft - yes that includes Elias Pettersson

This one is up for debate. All three players had great seasons. Makar is likely to win the Caler, Heiskanen should get some Norris votes and Elias Pettersson is starting to put himself in the upper echelon of NHL forwards. At the end of the day, all three teams have to be ecstatic that they were able to get franchise players out of the 2017 draft.

From the original post:

Pettersson is good, Makar and Heiskanen will be better. There’s not much more to it.

4. The Buffalo Sabres will make a huge splash by trading for Taylor Hall at the deadline

They probably should have. The Sabres are in shambles and fans are starting to turn on ownership as their rebuild has been a disaster despite having one of the best young players in the game in Jack Eichel.

From the original post:

Taylor Hall is set to be the biggest name on the free agent market next summer. It’s likely that the Devils would like to get him re-signed but with Darren Farris (the same agent as Mitch Marner) at the helm, the odds are good that Hall hits the open market in an attempt to sign a record contract. The Devils will be better this season but they are still likely to fins themselves as sellers at the deadline. They’ll look to swing a blockbuster for a huge haul (pun very much intended).

Buffalo is a team that is starving for a playoff birth. With Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin in tow, the re-build has to take a big step forward this season. We know their ownership isn’t afraid to make a splashy move and this will be it.

5. The Boston Bruins will miss the playoffs

This one is embarrassing. I thought father time was going to finally catch up with the Bruins but instead they were the best team in the NHL. A big swing and a miss on my part.

From the original post:

This is a lineup that is aging and has a lot of miles on their bodies. Add to that the fact that they’re in one of the best divisions in the league and the Bruins are going to fall below both Florida and Buffalo in the Atlantic standings.

6. John Tortorella will be fired before Christmas

Another one that was way too bold - though it sounds like it almost happened. The Blue Jackets were pretty bad to start the season but they turned things around int he second half and now Torts is one of the front runners for the Jack Adams trophy.

From the original post:

The Columbus Blue Jackets are going to be really bad this season. That’s not exactly the best situation for Torts and his volatile personality. He’ll be the first coach to be fired this season and it will come by early December.

7. Semyon Varlamov won’t get injured this season

Finally got one right. Varly stayed healthy this year and looked good behind the Barry Trotz system with the Islanders. He finished the regular season playing 45 games with a .914 sv%.

From the original post:

For Avalanche fans, this might be the craziest of them all. Varlamov has a lower body that simply isn’t conducive to a full NHL season. It’s the reason Colorado traded for Philipp Grubauer and the reason Joe Sakic decided to move on from Varly this summer. That said, I just have this weird feeling that he’s going to stay healthy this season and he’ll look really good playing in the Barry Trotz system.

8. The Seattle franchise will announce their name as the Totems and NHL fans will freak out when their jerseys aren't green

This one is still up in the air. The Seattle franchise hasn’t yet announced their team name but that should come in the not to distant future.

From the original post:

The new franchise has their GM and they made big news last week when they hired hockey legend Cammi Granato as a member of the front office. Now, as the team starts to build towards the expansion draft, the next step is to announce a name. Totems is the front-runner at this point. Everyone assumes the jerseys will be green given the colours of the other sports franchises (past and present) in Seattle. The NHL team is going to be red and black - you can take that to the bank.

At nearly every press conference the franchise has had kids present wearing Washington Wild jerseys - that isn’t an accident. The NHL franchise is going to adopt the red, white and black colour scheme to pay homage to a hockey organization that has a lot of history in the region.

9. The Florida Panthers will be the only team in the league to have a winning streak of 10 games or more

The Panthers got pretty good by the end of the season but they never reached a winning streak of 10 games - their longest was six while going 8-2 in that 10 game span. Had they been getting even league average goaltending, they very well could have put up a lot more wins.

From the original post

Joel Quenneville is the best coach in the NHL - and I’m not sure the second best is particularly close. When the Panthers talked him out of retirement, they were making a move that w ill have a bigger impact than any on-ice acquisition. With Barkov, Dadonov and Huberdeau up front, this is a very talented team that can win a lot of games. It might take a while for the Panthers to get comfortable with the new system but once they do, things could get interesting in the Atlantic. I expect the Panthers to flounder around .500 for the first few months of the season before they rattle off a huge winning streak in January.

10. The general public will finally get tired of Gritty

This one is absolutely true. Gritty tries way too hard and outside of Philly, he’s not nearly as popular as the NHL wants you to believe.

From the original post:

Gritty was a fun departure from the norm when the Flyers introduced him last year but he jumped the shark a long time ago.