Before the puck even drops for the regular season, let’s make crazy predictions. Who will win the 2018-2019 Stanley Cup? Which NHL team will surprise you? And which team will let you down?
The Surprise: St. Louis Blues
With newly acquired forwards like Tyler Bozak (11G, 32A), Patrick Maroon (17G, 26A) and Ryan O’Reilly (24G, 37A) the St Louis Blues have added grit and point producers this off season. These new acquisitions should bring a big jump to the team who respectfully finished fifth in the extremely tough Central division. Ryan O’Reilly might be the most exciting piece the Blues have added, but he is what’s considered a full package player with speed, grit, soft hands and great vision on the ice. A Blues fan or not, it’s exciting to think of what Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko line can achieve.
The Let Down: Edmonton Oilers
It’s hard to imagine a team with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Cam Talbot and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could have sank so low last season the year after a great playoff run. There are high expectations this season for the Edmonton Oilers but have they done enough to do any better? So far they are having a great pre season from young guys like Ty Rattie, Patrick Russell and Kailer Yamamoto.
The only way this team does well this season is with a bounce back season from Cam Talbot. The defense needs keep the SOG to a minimum and Milan Lucic gets back to who we all know Milan Lucic really is. It’s tricky, this is our let down team but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will do poorly, just don’t expect a deep playoff run. Oiler fans are expecting too much because of their one playoff run two seasons ago, give the young team more time otherwise you’re gonna feel let down.
The Stanley Cup Winner: Toronto Maple leafs
Now, before you shout profanity at us just hear us out. Toronto has been an up and coming team for a couple of years now; with the signing of John Tavares, it’s hard to ignore what’s going on in this organization. Kyle Dubas has done an amazing job at building this team, bringing in John Tavares and Tyler Ennis might just give them that edge. Freddy Andersen will need to have another fantastic season, while all the young guys have developed into great, young NHL players.
The only question marks are, what is going on with William Nylander and what to do about their subpar defense? Knowing Kyle Dubas, he’s already got a plan. We can only assume he knows that defense needs some upgrading. Nylander is a big piece of this team, might even be the best team down the middle with him in the lineup. Personally, not a Leafs fan but it’s gonna be really exciting to watch them this upcoming season.