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National Hockey League 2018-19 Season Outlook

Hockey season is here and the National Hockey League is about to drop the puck on another season. What can you expect to see happen? The Double G Sports staff has you covered.

Scott Rogust’s 2018-19 NHL Outlook
Hart Memorial Trophy Winner: Connor McDavid
Eastern Conference Finals: Toronto Maple Leafs vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Western Conference Finals: San Jose Sharks vs Winnipeg Jets
Stanley Cup Finals: Toronto Maple Leafs vs San Jose Sharks
Stanley Cup Champion: San Jose Sharks
Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Brent Burns

How it will all go down: In the East, the Atlantic Division reigns supreme, and the young, dynamic Toronto Maple Leafs will emerge as the Conference Champions. The speed and scoring abilities of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and former Islander John Tavares will be too much for the experienced Lightning and Penguins, as they reach their first Final since 1967.

As for the West, nobody improved their chances of winning more than the San Jose Sharks after acquiring two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson to pair alongside Brent Burns, creating a deadly combination on the blue line. The offense of Evander Kane, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl is nothing to sleep on either, as San Jose emerges from the stacked Western Conference, edging out Vegas and Winnipeg to reach their second Final in four years.

The Stanley Cup Final will go six games, as the Sharks defense will smother the youthful Toronto squad. The Sharks finally put an end to their woeful playoff reputation, win their first Cup, and Joe Thornton retires on top.

Nick Durst’s 2018-19 NHL Outlook
Hart Memorial Trophy Winner: Auston Matthews
Eastern Conference Finals: Toronto Maple Leafs vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Western Conference Finals: Vegas Golden Knights vs Colorado Avalanche
Stanley Cup Finals: Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vegas Golden Knights
Stanley Cup Champion: Toronto Maple Leafs
Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: John Tavares

How it will all go down: Mike Babcock is an elite coach and now with two elite players in Auston Matthews and John Tavares, the Maple Leafs will be the team to beat this season. The Vegas Golden Knights will prove they are not a one hit wonder as they will dominant the Western Conference, win the President’s Trophy and go back to the Stanley Cup finals.

 

Chris Passarelli’s 2018-19 NHL Outlook
Hart Memorial Trophy Winner: Connor McDavid
Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Bruins vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Western Conference Finals: Winnipeg Jets vs San Jose Sharks
Stanley Cup Finals: Boston Bruins vs Winnipeg Jets
Stanley Cup Champion: Boston Bruins
Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Brad Marchand

How it will all go down: The Atlantic Division is probably the toughest in hockey. There are legitimately four teams that could easily win the division. Boston, Florida, Tampa and Toronto are all looking for that number one spot, but only one team will prevail. That team will be the Boston Bruins, & they’ll get an easy first round matchup against the Buffalo Sabres. After a tough series with Toronto they’ll be able to hold off Pittsburgh in seven to make it to the Stanley Cup.

The Western Conference is wide open as well, with four teams that could also make their way to the Cup. The popular pick will be San Jose, but I see Winnipeg coming out of the West. Connor Hellebuyck will continue to shine in goal, Patrick Laine will pot 40+ goals and Blake Wheeler will continue to be an assist machine. This Winnipeg team is ready to peak. This is their year to make the Cup Finals.

Evan Watson’s 2018-19 NHL Outlook
Hart Memorial Trophy Winner: Nathan MacKinnon
Eastern Conference Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Washington Capitals
Western Conference Finals: San Jose Sharks vs Nashville Predators
Stanley Cup Finals: San Jose Sharks vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Stanley Cup Champion: Tampa Bay Lightning
Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Nikita Kucherov

How it will all go down: Erik Karlsson is a massive piece to add to a now stacked San Jose blueline crew. He’ll win the Norris with a great supporting cast and give Jumbo a chance at a ring. Connor McDavid will probably lead the NHL in points again, with a Ted Lindsay award, but MacKinnon again carries the Avs to a playoff round in a Hart winning season. Couturier is the Selke winner. One of Pittsburgh, Columbus, or Philadelphia will miss playoffs even if they don’t deserve to. Kucherov will do his thing, Vasilevskiy wins the Vezina and William Jennings awards and the Lightning finally get their names on the cup. Vegas will win a round, but the West is a powerhouse with Winnipeg, Nashville and San Jose in the mix. However— we’ve counted them out too many times to be confident. None of those teams would surprise anyone winning the cup. In the East, Toronto is wildly overrated. Morgan Reilly is a very good player, but the defense isn’t doing Andersen many favors. It should make for a very fun team to watch. San Jose will win the president’s trophy with 116 points.

Joe Calabrese’s 2018-19 NHL Outlook
Hart Memorial Trophy Winner: Connor McDavid
Eastern Conference Finals: Pittsburgh Penguins vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Western Conference Finals: Winnipeg Jets vs San Jose Sharks
Stanley Cup Finals: Toronto Maple Leafs vs Winnipeg Jets
Stanley Cup Champion: Toronto Maple Leafs
Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Auston Matthew

How it will all go down: Bruins/Blue Jackets/Kings/Ducks struggle out of the gate because of injuries. The top teams from last year Lightning/Pens/Caps/Preds/Jets/Sharks/Knights pretty much have success again. A few dip in points, a few improve. I had the Coyotes in a week ago but the Galchenyuk injury kills that prediction, so I think the last playoff spot comes from one of the other Pacific teams
Metro 1: Philadelphia (Bold 1: Flyers win division)
Metro 2: Washington
Metro 3: Pittsburgh
Atlantic 1: Tampa Bay
Atlantic 2: Toronto
Atlantic 3: Florida
Wild Cards: Boston, Columbus
Central 1: Winnipeg
Central 2: Nashville
Central 3: St. Louis
Pacific 1: San Jose
Pacific 2: Vegas
Pacific 3: Calgary
Wild Cards: Dallas, Edmonton

Nicholas Durst
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Nicholas Durst

Nicholas Durst is a sports media professional who has worked as an on-air personality and producer with the Brooklyn Cyclones, Bleacher Report, MSG Networks, WFAN Radio and MTV. He has experience in TV, radio, social/digital media, short-form and live video across sports and entertainment. Nicholas co-hosts The MetsCast right here on DoubleGSports.com. Follow him on twitter @Nick_Durst
Nicholas Durst
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