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2017-18 NHL preview, predictions, more

A brand new season of hockey is upon us as Metro New York sports editor Joe Pantorno attempts to predict how things will go down in the NHL this year.
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is already one of the league's biggest stars and he's not even 21 years old yet. (Photo: Getty Images)

Lace up those skates, kids, it’s time for hockey season.

The 2017-18 NHL season starts up on Wednesday night with four games, including the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins beginning their title defense with a banner raising before taking on the St. Louis Blues.

Thursday night signals the start for the New York Rangers as they’re at home to face the Colorado Avalanche while the cross-town rival Islanders get their season started in Columbus on Friday against the Blue Jackets.

On that same night, the league officially welcomes its newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights as they visit the Dallas Stars for their first-ever regular season game.

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All the while, hockey fans will be sure to keep an eye out for its largest stars like Edmonton Oilers youngster Connor McDavid, who recorded a 100-point season as a 20-year-old on his way to league MVP honors.

Still four months away from his 21st birthday, the Canadian center is expected to continue his ascent in becoming the face of the NHL.

It will surely be another entertaining season, though there might be a few calls for some more parity in the league. In the past nine years, we’ve only seen four-different Stanley Cup winners (Blackhawks, Kings, Bruins, Penguins).

Here is how I think the season will pan out. Those in italics denote playoff teams:

 

Pacific Division Standings

1.     Edmonton Oilers- 107 points

2.     Anaheim Ducks- 102 points

3.     Calgary Flames- 95 points

4.     San Jose Sharks- 93 points

5.     Los Angeles Kings- 82 points

6.     Arizona Coyotes- 81 points

7.     Vancouver Canucks- 60 points

8.     Vegas Golden Knights- 51 points

 

Central Division Standings

1.     Nashville Predators- 103 points

2.     St. Louis Blues- 99 points

3.     Dallas Stars- 98 points

4.     Minnesota Wild- 97 points

5.     Chicago Blackhawks- 95 points

6.     Winnipeg Jets- 90 points

7.     Colorado Avalanche- 55 points

 

Atlantic Division Standings

1.     Toronto Maple Leafs- 101 points

2.     Tampa Bay Lightning- 100 points

3.     Boston Bruins- 97 points

4.     Montreal Canadiens- 95 points

5.     Ottawa Senators- 89 points

6.     Buffalo Sabres- 86 points

7.     Florida Panthers- 81 points

8.     Detroit Red Wings- 70 points

 

Metropolitan Division Standings

1.     Pittsburgh Penguins- 113 points

2.     Columbus Blue Jackets- 104 points

3.     Washington Capitals- 101 points

4.     New York Rangers- 98 points

5.     New York Islanders- 96 points

6.     Carolina Hurricanes- 90 points

7.     Philadelphia Flyers- 89 points

8.     New Jersey Devils- 74 points

 

Western Conference Final

Edmonton Oilers over Anaheim Ducks

 

Eastern Conference Final

Tampa Bay Lightning over Pittsburgh Penguins

 

Stanley Cup Final

Edmonton Oilers over Tampa Bay Lightning

 

Individual Award Predictions

Hart Trophy (MVP): Connor McDavid

Art Ross Trophy (Most Points): Connor McDavid

Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman): Erik Karlsson

Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie): Carey Price

Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year): Josh Ho-Sang

 
 
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