2019–20 NHL Predictions: Stanley Cup Winner, Hart Trophy, Art Ross and More

After a busy summer that saw numerous noteworthy trades and signings, a new NHL season is finally upon us. There are plenty of questions on how all that movement will impact things throughout the season, but more importantly what it all means when the postseason returns. 

Will the Lightning finally break through and bring the Cup back to Tampa Bay, or will the drought up north finally end, sending Lord Stanley home? Who will emerge from a tough-as-nails Central Division and how will the Flames rebound after flopping in the first round? 

Here’s how SI’s hockey crew thinks things will shake out by the end of the 2019–20 season: 

Stanley Cup Winner

Alex Prewitt: Lightning hasn't struck once for Tampa Bay in the Steven Stamkos era, so why not now? Their historic regular season was zapped into oblivion by Columbus, but the Bolts wisely spent the offseason tinkering rather than overreacting (and overhauling). Hometown Stanley Cup hero Pat Maroon comes on board to work with his former junior hockey coach, Jon Cooper, and Kevin Shattenkirk is a buy-low, high-ceiling addition on the back end. Otherwise, it is pretty much the same roster that matched the '95–96 Red Wings with 62 wins for most all-time. Seems like a solid bet.

Jeremy Fuchs: Tampa Bay. We may never know what happened in the first round. But there is just too much talent on this team. They have the best scorer, two Norris-quality defenders, the defending Vezina winner. They should be able to rebound.

Joan Niesen: After being ousted from the playoffs in the first round (for the third straight year), Toronto overhauled its roster into something that looks a lot like a Stanley Cup contender. Finally signing Mitch Marner on Sept. 13 cemented that status and adding Tyson Barrie in a trade with Colorado helped shore up the Leafs’ defense. With a core that has another year of experience under its belt, Toronto should be able to finish the regular season at the top of the Atlantic Division, and better seeding should help its case to make it out of the first round and beyond.

Dan Falkenheim: The Tampa Bay Lightning. Once again, the Lightning are stacked with Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy and they're going to have another historically great offense. Replacing Anton Stralman with Shattenkirk and Luke Schenn adds some question marks on the blue line, but Mikhail Sergachev has a chance to crack the team's top pairing and breakout this season. After learning from last year's postseason embarrassment, Tampa Bay should win its first Stanley Cup in 16 years.

Kristen Nelson: After being just an overtime goal away from making the Western Conference finals last season, I think the Stars have what it takes to get it done this year. Joe Pavelski changing from teal to green is a major upgrade for a Dallas offense that’s needed depth, and Corey Perry will (hopefully) stay healthy and prove his worth (I’ll give him a pass for fracturing his foot right before training camp). Despite being ranked 29th in goals last season, Dallas was able to make a deep run in the playoffs, and that was without these two veteran forwards in the mix. A talented young defense in Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg will be helping out one of the league’s greatest goalie tandems in Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin. The Central Division is brutal, but Dallas seems to have all the right pieces right now.

Make a Random Prediction 

Prewitt: Brady Tkachuk supplants Brad Marchand as the league's foremost pest when he beats Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask with a one-handed slapshot while simultaneously tickling Marchand's armpits. Or maybe Dallas makes the Stanley Cup Final. Whatever. 

Fuchs: Brent Burns will shave after no-shave November. 

Niesen: The Avalanche will make it to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Maple Leafs—Nathan MacKinnon will get consideration for the Conn Smythe despite the loss.

Falkenheim: Auston Matthews notches his first 50-goal season and wins the Maurice Richard Trophy. Health has gotten in the way of Matthews playing a full 82 games the last couple years, but he's going to dominate this year playing next to William Nylander.

Nelson: Penguins fans will throw no less than a dozen hot dogs onto the ice when Phil Kessel returns to Pittsburgh with the Coyotes on Dec. 6. And let’s give him a hat trick that game just for funsies.

Trophy Race

Prewitt: 
Art Ross: Connor McDavid
Hart: Nathan MacKinnon
Calder: Jack Hughes
Vezina: Carey Price
Norris: Seth Jones
Selke: Aleksander Barkov

Fuchs
Art Ross: Connor McDavid
Hart: Steven Stamkos
Calder: Jack Hughes
Vezina: Ben Bishop
Norris: Erik Karlsson
Selke: Patrice Bergeron

Niesen
Art Ross: Nathan MacKinnon
Hart: Connor McDavid
Calder: Cale Makar
Vezina: Frederik Andersen
Norris: Victor Hedman
Selke: Ryan O’Reilly

Falkenheim: 
Art Ross: Connor McDavid
Hart: Nathan MacKinnon
Calder: Cale Makar
Vezina: Andrei Vasilevskiy
Norris: Roman Josi
Selke: Aleksander Barkov

Nelson:
Art Ross: Connor McDavid
Hart: Nathan MacKinnon
Calder: Cale Makar
Vezina: Ben Bishop
Norris: Victor Hedman
Selke: Alexsander Barkov 

Outbrain

More from NHL

Tags