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Just a few thoughts I put together on this year's NHL season. I feel like it's going to be a really, really good stretch of hockey for us fans. Here are some of my predictions for what's going to go down on the ice.
The Chicago Blackhawks:
The Blackhawks have had a rough run after their "dynasty" Stanley Cup streak. Not that they suddenly turned into a bad team or anything, but they seemed to have not been able to run as a perfect machine lately. One thing I must say I completely disagree with is trading Artemi Panarin for Columbus's Brandon Sadd. Panarin was the Hawk's second highest point scorer. I understand keeping the team fresh, but at what cost? The Panarin/Kane line was incredible. Then again, Brandon Sadd is not new to the team. I think his return will be exactly what the team needs to click back into focus mode. I see them winning the Western Conference Finals and continuing on to the Stanley Cup this year.
In my opinion, the Stars have everything it takes to win the Stanley Cup. They have finally fixed the biggest issue with their team, the goalie. The fix was adding Ben Bishop from the LA Kings during the off-season. Bishop is one of favorite goalies in the entire league. Not only is he a monster at defending the net, but he'll also free up the other players from picking up a lacking goalie's slack. I think the Stars will have a very successful playoff run and make it to the Cup this year.
The Preds are done. They won't make another impressive playoff run like last year. I won't go as far as to say they got lucky or didn't deserve last year's record, but it won't happen again any time soon. Captain Mike Fisher is out, and with the team's captain hanging up his skates, the team's leadership is out the window. The main reason to watch the Preds is to see if they do the opposite of my prediction. It's always fun to see a team defy the odds.
Though they fell to the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the playoffs last year, the Oilers actually showed some promise. After a pretty rough....decade or so, I think they finally have a strong chance at not only having a great playoff campaign, but maybe even winning the Cup. Captain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are lethal together, and that is what's going to take this team to victory this year.