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Off The Boards: Playoff Predictions

Me and Mr. Talucci’s Ranking of NHL playoff contenders.

If you don’t know how the NHL’s playoffs are formatted: It’s the top three teams in each division, with the addition of the remaining top two in each conference. A few teams have been more or less eliminated. Here are our unbiased opinions (Some of which definitely don’t involve helmet colors).

Mr. Talucci:

1. Florida Panthers: “They are both more talented and play in-your-face hockey that’s almost impossible to beat. A great all-around team, and I love Bobrovsky.”

2. Edmonton: “Connor McDavid.”

3. Avalanche: “Talent.”

4. Dallas:  “No comment.”

5. Hurricanes: “[Audible sigh] Good and stuff.”

6. Canucks: “PDO”

7. Lightning: “Half their team is HOF’ers”

8. Toronto: “I’m not serious with that one.”

9. Bruins: “Because the universe hates me.”

10. Vegas: “Because they don’t have a salary cap.”

11. Jets: “So they can save their team”

12. Rangers: “They’re not gonna win.”

13. Flyers: “Only in my dreams.”

14. Kings: “I picked them to win the playoffs?”

15. Islanders: “They are annoying.”

16. Predators: “Why are their helmets yellow?”

My Predictions:

1. Florida Panthers: “Overall, this is a great team. I love the group and the G.M.’s moves. Matthew Tkachuk is a legend, and Sergei Bobrovsky belongs in the HOF. They’re my favorite team to bandwagon (I may have a rat in my room). They probably have been the most interesting team for the past three seasons. The parts are there, and I feel something big will happen.”

2. Vancouver Canucks: “They are my favorite team in the west, in both playoff contention and in general. They are having a strong season this year– and have been pretty reliable. I think if any Canadian team wins a cup in the near future, it’ll be this one. They seem to have a strong everything this year. They had a rough patch in February, but that’s bound to happen.”

3. Colorado Avalanche: “You can’t discount that they’re still coming off a Stanley Cup. Plus, just the general star power: Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Devon Toews. I went to an Avalanche game last season, and the vibes are there in Ball Arena. The players function well as a team, although they rely highly on the top three scorers. They made some interesting trades at the deadline, and we’ll have to wait and see if they pan out.”

4. New York Rangers: “This is partly my personal bias. In all seriousness, if they tighten up their defense (which they have been), they have a good chance– a hard-to-beat and high-scoring team with an awesome powerplay. They’ve been enjoyable to watch this year, and Alexis Lafreniere has really come through. It’s been thirty years since they won the cup– so it’s bound to happen.”

5. Dallas: “The Finnish. Another answer: their young forwards are rocking, Jason Robertson, and plenty more. With the current team as a whole, I can definitely see them getting far. They have a good team and have been having a good two seasons—and are definitely a big threat for the playoffs. Their play seems to have been working out, and I’m excited to see their performance this year.”

6. Hurricanes: “Pyotr Kochetkov is one of my favorite goalies, and they are one of the best teams defensively. They will be a hard team to beat. They have some great forwards and a shutdown defense. I love Svechnikov and he’s had a great return this year. Aho is a great forward who’s very effective on the ice.”

7. Boston: “They’re annoying. In all seriousness, the Bruins have one of the best goalie tandems in the league, with Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmak, and a great range of skaters. They definitely have a chance. My only concern is simply, their lack of performance in previous playoffs. ”

8. Toronto: “Is a curse partly why I put them so low on the list: yes. They haven’t won the cup since 1967 and just managed to squeak past round one last year– so I say give it time. (At the very least). I won’t fully discount them due to superstition because Matthews is the top goal scorer, and Marner and Nylander are amazing. My only worry (besides the curse) is their dependence on the top three. It’s not to the Oilers extent, but it’s there.

9. Lightning: “They have some of the greatest players in the league. A bunch of Hall of Famers– the only problem with that is they’re getting old. There’s no one under twenty-five on their roster. Now, I know twenty-five isn’t old– but in NHL years, they are no rookies. Unlike football or basketball, most players skip the college route and play in some form after being drafted at eighteen. To sum it up, I just think they need someone new to win.”

10. Vegas: “I don’t like them, and I don’t like chrome helmets. There is abuse of the salary cap, which is always something else. I do think they had a good chance. Statistically, the odds of a repeat are against them, and it will depend on whether they have it all together. Some of their star players have hit the injured reserve (possibly to circumvent the salary cap). It’s just up in the air if the injuries will affect their bid.”

11. Flyers: “John Tortorella is just a guy. A guy who has managed to turn the Flyers around in two seasons. Take that as what you will. The management changes help, and things are looking sunny in Philadelphia. I think that they’ve got a solid base and are setting up for a series of good playoff runs.”

12. The Winnipeg Jets: “Well, they’re something else. I mean– the franchise has been losing fans. They are still a relatively new team and haven’t taken off in 13 seasons in Winnipeg. They never really passed the first round– when they were in Atlanta, they only passed it once. It’s just been a meh 24 years. Prove me wrong.”

13. Kings. “I suppose silver chrome looks better than gold, but that’s about the only thing that the Kings are better than the Knights. Coincidentally, I always think of these teams as a tandem. Call that the helmet effect. The Kings are in this list because they kind of have to– a wildcard team. I don’t see them being like the Panthers last season– but anything could happen. Maybe it’s the chrome helmet era– a (the worst) repeat cup if I’ve ever seen one.”

14. Detroit Red Wings: “I love the Red Wings– the history the team is a part of is incredible (I’ve written an APUСH essay on it). They’re adorable, and I want them to succeed. (Definitely not because I’m wishing for the Islander’s downfall) Moritz Seider is the Calder winner, and the team is stacked with players like Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Larkin, who will hopefully return for the playoffs. This column loves Steve Yzerman.”

15. Predators: “I like the Predators; they have some good players and are well-rounded overall. Their defense can score just as well as their forwards. There’s just nothing that stands out to me as cup-winning. The thing is, I said that about Vegas last year, and look who won. At least, I think their helmets are palatable. The yellow looks pretty good. ”

16. Edmonton: “One, just the odds of a Canadian team winning the cup aren’t in their favor. They’re so low because they have a good line, and you can’t depend on that in playoffs. Three players make up 41% of the scoring. If they play like they were at the start of the season, they won’t bring home the cup. Their goalies are just okay this year. Skinner had a great time last year, and lately, the playoffs have shown that struggling goaltenders can and WILL show up.”




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About the Contributor
Lily Stanton
Lily Stanton, Sports Editor
Hi, I'm Lily Stanton, a Brien McMahon High School Junior. I am a sports editor, write the Off the Boards column, and am team lead of the Drama Club Production department. I am a big New York sports fan, and I love the New York Jets. Of course, my favorite is the New York Rangers. (I just had a HABS phase) Read Off the Boards, and feel free to reach out to me over gmail. You can find my sports photography profile below.  

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