Will the Colorado Avalanche repeat as Stanley Cup champions? Is there a darkish horse on the market, ready to steal their throne? What will the playoff subject appear like when all of it performs out in 2022-23? And which star gamers are going to be traded earlier than it does?

With summer time absolutely upon us, the Matthew Tkachuk sweepstakes concluded and only some impression free brokers left to signal, The Athletic requested our NHL workers these questions, plus who the primary coach fired and main award winners will likely be and extra. The following are our early 2022-23 NHL season predictions.

We’ve introduced in senior nationwide author Sean Gentille, analytics guru Shayna Goldman and NHL betting professional Jesse Granger to offer context, evaluation and a few skepticism for the outcomes.

Stanley Cup champion

Gentille: I’m not shocked by the highest two right here, although I wouldn’t have guessed they’d be so shut. On lots of ranges, I get it. The Hurricanes had been actually good final season, then went out and added the prime-time goal-scorer they wanted (Max Pacioretty) and upgraded on Tony DeAngelo (Brent Burns). Also, I voted for them myself. But … virtually 32 p.c general? Crushing the remainder of the Eastern Conference subject? I wasn’t anticipating all that. Does that make sense?

Also, godspeed to whoever voted for the Oilers. Best staff in Canada. Nobody denies this.

Goldman: See Sean, I really assume I perceive why they’re so shut. Normally you’d assume the Avalanche would blow the Hurricanes away, however this can be a staff that 1) is at the moment with out Nazem Kadri or a alternative of his caliber, and a pair of) has a new-look goalie tandem after Alexandar Georgiev changed Darcy Kuemper. Colorado has proven that it actually solely wants league-average goaltending to get by, however it is sensible to see them come again towards the sphere and particularly a Hurricanes staff that has made strong enhancements (or at the least robust side-steps to maintain/barely construct on the place they left off).

Granger: If you agree with the whopping 31.8 p.c of the workers who imagine within the Hurricanes, now could be the time to run to the sportsbook and put these bets in. They obtained the second-most votes, with no shut third, however at the moment have the fifth-best odds to win the Cup at 12-1. That’s wonderful worth contemplating Colorado is simply +425 to repeat as champs. Carolina can be behind Toronto, Florida and Tampa Bay, in line with the percentages.

The longest shot that obtained a vote from the workers is St. Louis. You can get the Blues at 25-1 proper now.


Gentille: The Rangers have “good enough to make the Final, not good enough to win it” power, apparently.

Granger: Lots of affection right here for the Rangers, who’ve solely the fifth-best odds to win the Eastern Conference at 9-1.

Goldman: Some of us are betting on the Maple Leafs to not solely escape Round 1 however to achieve the Final? It’s daring, however hey it may occur … possibly after an aura cleaning or 12. I do just like the constructing blocks for the Oilers and the potential of going a step additional than final season — possibly if Leon Draisaitl has two functioning legs to go together with Connor McDavid’s dominance.

The actual staff that deserved extra votes, although, is the Lightning. Corey Perry’s nonetheless there and nonetheless cursed!

Dark horse

A staff that missed the playoffs in 2021-22 and may very well be an actual contender in 2022-23.

Gentille: I didn’t need to take Vegas right here, however I did anyway — and so did lots of us. On one hand, that’s nonetheless a weird mixture of gamers, and the cap issues won’t ever go away. On the opposite, a run of accidents just like the Golden Knights had final season is unlikely, and the Pacific Division is fairly suspect. I don’t assume I like them to advance all that far, however they need to see the postseason.

Granger: It’s no shock the Golden Knights ran away with this vote regardless of lacking the playoffs after which buying and selling away their high scorer in Pacioretty this summer time. Not solely is Vegas slated to make the playoffs in line with the oddsmakers, however it’s additionally neck-and-neck with Edmonton to win the Pacific Division outright at +250.

Sean is spot on along with his remark in regards to the weak division. Even if the Flames keep afloat with Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar serving to offset the losses of Johnny Gaudreau and Tkachuk, the Los Angeles Kings are the one different staff with underneath 10-1 odds of profitable the division. Add in the truth that three groups are being given basically no shot in line with the percentages — Ducks, Sharks and Kraken all at 80-1 to win the division — and it’s a recipe for a bounce-back season in Vegas.

Goldman: Picking Vegas virtually felt like dishonest given how shut it was to the postseason in 2021-22 and what we all know held them again. New teaching and ideally a more healthy squad ought to assist — except administration retains buying and selling away gamers for nothing to repair their cap points. The spicy factor right here is having Ottawa, Columbus and Detroit forward of the Islanders and, hell, even the Devils.

Biggest drop-off

A staff that made the playoffs in 2021-22 however received’t be again.

Gentille: For a glimpse into the method, we initially posed this query to the workers earlier than Matthew Tkachuk Mania on Friday night time. Way again then, it appeared just like the Flames had been assured to both lose any commerce or take a step again subsequent season. Also, Gaudreau had already walked. Naturally, Calgary was the large winner on this class, at 54.5 p.c of the vote. Then Brad Treliving turned Tkachuk into Huberdeau and Weegar, and every thing modified. That — mixed with the weak spot of the Pacific Division, I’d think about — modified the outcomes. Sorry, Minnesota.

Goldman: Florida’s an fascinating one right here. There was already doubt after key participant subtractions this offseason and an general live-by-the-blade, die-by-the-blade, high-octane fashion that Sergei Bobrovsky has to resist (except, after all, they overlook easy methods to play to their strengths within the postseason once more). With the commerce, they carry in Tkachuk, who’s significantly better defensively than Huberdeau. But shedding Weegar hurts, particularly once you have a look at the remainder of the blue line outdoors of Aaron Ekblad and Gustav Forsling. And in the event that they’re going to make a change there, it’s going to price belongings — whether or not it’s to convey gamers in or transfer contracts out — which they’re already skinny on. Good luck, Bill Zito!

First-round flameout

A staff that can end close to the highest of its convention then lose within the first spherical.

Gentille: Sens-Maple Leafs within the first spherical goes to be a banger.

Goldman: Do you fold the staff if the Senators one way or the other take out Toronto in Round 1? It makes all of the sense on the planet why they lead the vote regardless of really having an excellent staff. The math and the vibes won’t ever add up. That’s why it’s not stunning that Edmonton is up there, too, though the Oilers’ offseason wasn’t dangerous — particularly in comparison with years previous.

Granger: I understand most of those votes are primarily based on historic narrative and never projected first-round matchups, however primarily based on the percentages, Toronto is definitely a smart decide right here. There clearly aren’t preseason odds for groups to lose within the first spherical of the playoffs, however one strategy to quantify that chances are by trying on the energy of the division. Teams with stronger divisional competitors usually tend to face a troublesome first-round opponent, and no division is stronger on the high than the Atlantic. The division options three of the league’s high 4 groups by way of Stanley Cup odds (Maple Leafs, Panthers and Lightning).

If you’re on the lookout for a non-Leafs staff to foretell for this, the percentages recommend the Rangers and Hurricanes is also in for robust first-round matchups. The Metropolitan isn’t as top-heavy because the Atlantic, however it’s the one division with 5 groups inside 9-1 odds of profitable the division.

Fewest factors

Team Percent of vote


Arizona Coyotes



Gentille: You’re midway there, Chicago. I can’t wait till Patrick Kane begins lacking video games as a result of he can’t discover his skates. Where did they go? He may’ve sworn he left them proper by his locker.

Granger: These outcomes take a look at. Chicago and Arizona are tied for the longest odds to win the Stanley Cup (or the President’s Trophy) at 500-1.

Goldman: Watch Petr Mrazek have a bounce-back season and torch administration’s makes an attempt to tank. The race to the basement between Chicago and Arizona State is on.

First coach fired

Gentille: Is that Andrew Brunette’s music? Expectations are rising in Newark, and Brunette took that affiliate head coach job for a purpose. This one appears straightforward. The whole high 4 is sensible, really. Lindy Ruff and D.J. Smith are about to take over improved rosters. Sheldon Keefe is within the Toronto pressure-cooker. And Dave Hakstol goes to have to start out Philip Grubauer on most nights.

Goldman: Ruff makes all of the sense on the planet. If they battle, it must be straightforward for administration to level to the pinnacle coach who stays on the bench after the staff parted methods with their assistants. D.J. Smith is fascinating as a result of he does have an improved roster, which has solely raised expectations. The one which stands out to me must be Peter Laviolette, for the reason that Capitals’ window is shrinking and coaches are often the primary to get the blame for a staff regressing.

Calder winner

Player Percent of vote

Owen Power


Matty Beniers


Shane Wright


Mason McTavish


Ivan Miroshnichenko


Jake Sanderson


Juraj Slafkovsky


Marco Rossi


William Eklund


Gentille: It’s inconceivable to not decide Owen Power; he was the No. 1 decide in 2021, seemed nice with Michigan and is about to be 20, on a roster that must be aggressive. Still, I’m frightened that it’s unlawful to provide the Calder to a D-man in consecutive seasons.

Goldman: I feel Shane Wright and Matty Beniers each being on Seattle may cut up the vote in the event that they’re each enjoying on the NHL degree for a lot of the season, so Power it’s. Like Sean mentioned, he actually nice final season between his time in Michigan and brief stint in Buffalo to finish the 12 months.

Vezina winner

Gentille: It’s unfair to count on any of us to say which goalies are going to be good in a given 12 months. Sincerely thought of throwing a dart for this one. Juuse Saros? Sure. Why not?

Granger: Igor Shesterkin getting double the votes of Andrei Vasilevskiy is wild to me, contemplating the groups they play for. Most goalie stats are extra depending on the staff in entrance of the goalie than they’re the goalie himself. Vasilevskiy is a uncommon mixture of an elite goalie behind an elite staff. Shesterkin’s 2021-22 was unimaginable, however behind a questionable Rangers protection, I wouldn’t be shocked to see some regression. Not by way of his expertise — he’s nonetheless going to be superior — however within the stats that so many lean (too) closely on when voting for this award.

Goldman: If Shesterkin’s going to go back-to-back, he’s most likely going to must match or exceed his 2021-22. The one downside this previous season was enjoying time, and if he’s wholesome, that shouldn’t be an issue. Plus he now has a full-length season underneath his belt, which ought to assist in the long term. Vasilevskiy or Saros wouldn’t be stunning. But if Ilya Sorokin or Thatcher Demko have a shot, they’re going to must get into the postseason since that tends to be essential to even make the dialog.

Norris winner

Gentille: We’ve received a few years earlier than Cale Makar fatigue units in, proper? That was the only largest purpose I believed Roman Josi may win this previous season. Let’s simply let another person get one earlier than we spend a decade voting for this man.

Granger: Wait, a few of us didn’t vote for Makar?

Goldman: If the Makar fatigue sits in, possibly his companion will get a glance. Devon Toews did sufficient to earn a spot within the consideration this previous season. Charlie McAvoy’s harm standing may maintain him again, which may open the door for a participant like Miro Heiskanen to get a bit extra consideration.

Hart winner

Gentille: Everyone say because of Connor McDavid for giving them a break final season. He’s nonetheless solely 25, simply FYI.

Goldman: McDavid was excellent within the playoffs and nonetheless fell brief, so we have now to count on him to take it up one other notch to tug his staff ahead over the following 12 months.

Granger: The Hart Trophy is the one award with odds at the moment obtainable to guess, and McDavid is unsurprisingly the favourite at +300. However, for those who’re on the lookout for worth primarily based on the workers predictions, there’s actually some on Makar. He obtained greater than double the votes of any participant not named Connor McDavid however has solely the Eleventh-best likelihood to win it in line with the percentages (+2,000). Leon Draisaitl, Kirill Kaprizov, Nikita Kucherov, Mikko Rantanen, Huberdeau and Shesterkin are all above Makar on the board — and none obtained a single vote from our workers.

All-Stars more than likely to be traded

We requested every voter for 5 members of the year-end All-Star staff who had been more than likely to be traded. Here had been the gamers 20 p.c or extra of our NHL workers thinks get moved.

Gentille: Why would the Blackhawks commerce Kane? Is one thing happening over there?

Goldman: Huberdeau stays on the board though he was already moved this summer time to Calgary. If the Flames can’t prolong him, it might take advantage of sense to maneuver him — in any other case it’s Gauderau 2.0, with no elite passer and no belongings in change to recoup for him.

West playoff subject

We requested every voter to select the eight West playoff groups. Here is the p.c of the vote obtained by every staff. (Note: * playoff staff in 2021-22)

Gentille: For me, the large shock right here is that so few of us have talked ourselves into the Canucks. That’s a flawed roster, and who is aware of what occurs with J.T. Miller, and the Kings received higher, and the Golden Knights can’t be as dangerous as they had been final season, and … really, I can see why the Canucks are a distant ninth. Nevermind.

Goldman: The Stars and Canucks actually took a success in our re-voting after the Tkachuk commerce. The latter, as Sean mentioned, is sensible. Dallas ought to stick within the playoff race, although. The Stars must be higher than final 12 months after including Mason Marchment, which ensures them at the least 4 forwards, as a substitute of three, who can generate offense. And there’s one other 12 months of Jake Oettinger.

East playoff subject

We requested every voter to select the eight East playoff groups. Here is the p.c of the vote obtained by every staff. (Note: * playoff staff in 2021-22)

Gentille: That race for the second wild card actually does appear to be it’ll be enjoyable … immediately. Because actually, when has optimism over the Ottawa Senators ever blown up in anybody’s face?

Goldman: And that optimism comes earlier than there have been any changes in staff protection! Where I’ll disagree with you is that I feel each wild card seeds may legitimately be within the combine. There are so many disruptors within the East who may take away key factors. Detroit and Columbus are amongst them, together with Ottawa.

Granger: The betting market doesn’t share the identical optimism for the Senators, as they rank twentieth within the league and Eleventh within the East, in line with the percentages. The Red Wings — who solely 11.4 p.c of the workers voted to make the playoffs — even have significantly higher odds than the Senators.

(Photo of Connor McDavid: Walter Tychnowicz / USA Today)

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