32 Boring Predictions for the 2023-24 NHL season

The NHL season starts tonight and everyone, and I mean everyone, has their bold predictions for the 2023-24 season. 

I, on the other hand, have some rather boring ones. 

Yes, this is partially done to be different at this time of year, but it’s also an exercise in trying to focus on what will actually happen in a chaotic sport that typically doesn’t properly follow rhyme or reason. 

So with that in mind, here are 32 boring predictions for the upcoming NHL season. I look forward to being wrong on all 32 of them.  

Anaheim DucksTrevor Zegras will do something undeniably cool with the puck, end up on SportsCenter for it, and it will completely muddy the waters about any proper discourse about the proper value of his $5.75 million cap hit. 

Arizona Coyotes – There will be arena jokes, lots of them. People will be up in arms about moving the team, and at the end of the day as long as Arizona is a top-10 American media market and has legal sports gambling, the team isn’t moving. 

Boston Bruins – They will not be as good as last season. They will still be a playoff team and Jim Montgomery will be questioned at times for whether he can coach through the adversity of a losing streak.

Buffalo SabresRasmus Dahlin’s contract will be used as the wrong comp for other team’s top defenders. It’s already happening in Detroit where people are asking about what Dahlin’s deal means for Moritz Seider. Remember, Dahlin was a pending restricted free agent with arbitration rights, contract status matters when setting these comps. 

Calgary FlamesDustin Wolf is the best goalie in Calgary, the Flames just have to be the ones to properly recognize it. 

Carolina Hurricanes – While interesting, the Hurricanes lack of an AHL affiliate this season won’t have much of an impact on this NHL season. Carolina’s roster is too well constructed at the NHL level, as long as Carolina finds a place for Pyotr Kochetkov to get starts – and right now that’s the Syracuse Crunch – things will be fine during this season. 

Chicago Blackhawks – The Blackhawks will be bad. They will also be must-see TV because Connor Bedard’s rookie season will be fascinating to watch and they should play a ton of high-scoring games with an awful defence in front of a goalie tandem that features Petr Mrázek and Arvid Söderblom

Colorado Avalanche Cale Makar will win the Norris, whether he’s the NHL’s best defender this campaign or not. Makar has reached a “must vote” status for many voters, and there will be worry amongst PHWA voting members about not voting and instilling the proper legacy for Makar. 

Columbus Blue Jackets – Ok, so this one is slightly bold and not boring. Adam Fantilli will outscore Bedard this season. This is not a long-term forecast, Bedard will be the better player, but this season Fantilli will have a better environment to put up points and could in the process win the Calder Trophy. 

Dallas StarsMatt Duchene will be who Matt Duchene was last season with Nashville, he’s never going to be a 40-goal scorer again. But with a $3 million cap hit, 20 goals and 50 points is exactly what the Stars need from him. 

Detroit Red WingsSimon Edvinsson will become an NHL regular lineup player at the trade deadline. At some point something is going to give with the Red Wings and one of their top prospects. At some point, either by injury or Steve Yzerman finding a trade for one his surplus of veteran defenders, Edvinsson will be a regular in Detroit. 

Edmonton OilersConnor McDavid is going to win the Hart Trophy. 

Florida Panthers – The Florida Panthers run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2023 is going to cost them in 2024. Florida clawed its way to the Final, gave everything it had, and was smashed in what was basically a five-game sweep by Vegas. Florida will miss the playoffs in 2024 because of the cost it took to reach the final in 2023. 

Los Angeles Kings – Between Pheonix Copley, Cam Talbot, and David Rittich one of the goalies will be competent enough for the Kings to be a playoff team. 

Minnesota WildRyan Hartman’s new contract is going to age poorly. Hartman already started to regress during the 2022-23 season and Bill Geurin decided to double-down that his 2021-22 season was a norm and not an outlier. 

Montreal Canadiens – They will be fun to watch, if you are a neutral fan watching games featuring the Canadiens. They’ll take chances, give up many chances, and in general they’ll provide enough entertainment value to make people forget how bad the team really is. 

Nashville Predators – They’ll be a music-themed pitch to get Ryan O’Reilly into the All-Star Game by the Predators social media team. It’ll feature him playing the guitar, will probably be well produced, and it just might work when O’Reilly makes it to All-Star as one of the final vote getters. 

New Jersey DevilsJesper Bratt is going to score cross the 85-point marker this season. 

New York IslandersIlya Sorokin is going to win the Vezina Trophy this season. He’s going to post another .920-plus save percentage, plays behind a system that will help his stat push and will win enough games for GMs to pick him over Igor Shestyorkin as the league’s best goalie. 

New York Rangers – Shesterkin needs to be great, because Jonathan Quick is going to struggle when he gets the net. While the Tampa Bay Lightning have the most pressing need in net, the Rangers should also be keeping their eyes open for a better backup. 

Ottawa Senators Vladimir Tarasenko will be traded and play playoff games this season, but it won’t be for Ottawa. 

Philadelphia Flyers – People searching for illegal streams of KHL games for Matvei Michkov footage will be at an all-time high in Philadelphia. 

Pittsburgh Penguins – The power play with Erik Karlsson and Kris Letang will have to be split into two separate units. We saw this in San Jose with Karlsson, there is only one puck and one point man, it won’t work sooner than later Letang will move to the second unit. 

San Jose Sharks – Either Macklin Celebrini or Cole Eiserman will be joining San Jose at the draft in June. 

Seattle KrakenPhilipp Grubauer is going to rebound into form and be closer to the .912 career save percentage goalie he’s been in the past. 

St. Louis Blues – The Blues will try to trade Torey Krug again and he will say no, again. 

Tampa Bay LightningAndrei Vasilevsky's absence is going to expose some flaws in the Tampa system, particularly their rush defense, and Tampa’s usage of LTIR is going to spark conspiracy theories in November that they are saving their No. 1 goaltender for the playoffs.

Toronto Maple Leafs – The William Nylander contract saga will be overblown in coverage and then rather quietly handled with everyone praising Brad Treliving for being “patient,” in his approach with the deal. 

Vancouver CanucksAndrey Kuzmenko is going to regress hard, potentially scoring closer to 20 goals this season after flirting with 40 in his first NHL campaign. 

Vegas Golden Knights – This is the swan song in Vegas for Jonathan Marchessault. He’s one of the original golden misfits, who won the Conn Smythe in the spring, and at 32 without contract for the following season, the Vegas machine will soon move on without him. It won’t be in season, but just remember what happened with Reilly Smith this summer after Vegas won the Cup.  

Washington CapitalsAlexander Ovechkin will score 40-plus goals and Washington will miss the playoffs. 

Winnipeg Jets – The Jets won’t trade Kyle Connor or Nikolaj Ehlers

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NHL Anaheim Ducks Arizona Coyotes Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Calgary Flames Carolina Hurricanes Chicago Blackhawks Colorado Avalanche Columbus Blue Jackets Dallas Stars Detroit Red Wings Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers Los Angeles Kings Minnesota Wild Montréal Canadiens Nashville Predators New Jersey Devils New York Islanders New York Rangers Ottawa Senators Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins San Jose Sharks Seattle Kraken St. Louis Blues Tampa Bay Lightning Toronto Maple Leafs Vancouver Canucks Vegas Golden Knights Washington Capitals Winnipeg Jets Connor Bedard Jesper Bratt Macklin Celebrini Kyle Connor Pheonix Copley Rasmus Dahlin Matt Duchene Simon Edvinsson Nikolaj Ehlers Cole Eiserman Adam Fantilli Philipp Grubauer Ryan Hartman Erik Karlsson Pyotr Kochetkov Torey Krug Andrey Kuzmenko Kris Letang Cale Makar Jonathan Marchessault Connor McDavid Matvei Michkov Petr Mrázek William Nylander Ryan O'Reilly Alexander Ovechkin Jonathan Quick David Rittich Moritz Seider Igor Shestyorkin Ilya Sorokin Arvid Söderblom Cam Talbot Vladimir Tarasenko Andrei Vasilevsky Dustin Wolf Trevor Zegras
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