That was a weird NHL season, wasn't it? The combination of games with few or no fans, division only play, a myriad of COVID-19 postponements and a regular season that is still somehow going on solely for contractual obligations while the postseason begins has been something to watch. But after last year's postseason finished up in a sterile bubble in the middle of September, at least these playoffs will approach something near normal. That means the predictions you're about to see will inevitably be quite bad.
But first, here's another annual tradition revived now that the pandemic is abating: seeing how bad my preseason predictions were!
My Predictions: PHI/BOS/WSH/NYI, TOR/CGY/MTL/VAN, TB/CAR/DAL/CBJ, COL/VGK/STL/MIN
Actual Teams: PIT/WSH/BOS/NYI, TOR/EDM/WPG/MTL, CAR/FLA/TB/NSH, COL/VGK/MIN/STL
Thankfully the West was predictable. 11 out of 16 is not a terrible hit rate and none of these predictions were that bad outside the North, where underestimating Connor McDavid and Connor Hellebuyck was probably a bad idea.
Hart: Nathan MacKinnon
He'll be third in voting behind the obvious winner Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews.
Art Ross: Connor McDavid
At least I can get this right.
Calder: Tim Stueztle
My first instinct was Kirill Kaprizov. I should have stuck with that.
Norris: Cale Makar
If he stayed healthy this year, he may have won it. The race for the Norris is incredibly deep this year, but the favorite might well be Adam Fox.
Rocket Richard: Auston Matthews
Another one too obvious for even me to screw up.
Selke: Mark Stone
Another year where a winger won't win this award, but Sasha Barkov is plenty worthy of winning it this year.
Vezina: Carter Hart
I'm so sorry Carter, I'm so sorry.
Jack Adams: Jared Bednar
His team won the President's Trophy with their litany of injuries! And yet because the voting public likes underdog stories, he won't win this though his coaching was exceptional. Joel Quenneville is the favorite.
And without further ado, the playoff predictions:
Pittsburgh over New York Islanders in 6
Boston over Washington in 6
Boston over Pittsburgh in 6
Carolina over Nashville in 5
Tampa Bay over Florida in 7
Carolina over Tampa Bay in 7
Colorado over St. Louis in 6
Vegas over Minnesota in 7
Colorado over Vegas in 7
Toronto over Montreal in 5
Edmonton over Winnipeg in 6
Toronto over Edmonton in 7
Stanley Cup Semifinals:
1) Colorado over 4) Boston in 7
2) Carolina over 3) Toronto in 6
2021 Stanley Cup Final:
Colorado over Carolina in 6
Conn Smythe: Nathan MacKinnon
I'm sorry to all I have jinxed once again.