When Will Nhl Hockey Start? [Ultimate Guide!]

Spread the love

It’s a question that’s on the lips of hockey fans across the league: when will the 2019-2020 NHL season start? The anticipation is growing as we near the end of August, and with only 86 days to go until the puck drops, it’s time for another edition of the PredictIt NHL season prediction contest.

We’re proud to present the fourth edition of our Hockey Predictions 101 series, in which we compile the collective wisdom of our expert panelists and scorekeepers into one neat package. In this week’s edition, we’ll explore the best and worst case scenarios for the upcoming season, as well as handicap the favorites and underdogs to win the Stanley Cup later this year.

Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios

Let’s get to the good and bad news first. The former can be found by looking at each team’s performance last season, while the latter is determined by analyzing each team’s expected improvements and any adjustments made to the hockey balance sheet.

Simply put, the best case scenario for the upcoming season is that there are 14 teams left in the competition at the end of the regular season. This would put us in a rather lengthy playoff series, but given the parity that currently rules the league, it wouldn’t be a particularly shocking development. The average margin of victory in the last ten Stanley Cup championships was 3.8 goals.

On the other hand, the worst case scenario sees only eight teams still standing at the end of the regular season. In this scenario, the 2019-2020 NHL season would start early, with the season opener scheduled for November 3rd. The regular season would then run for a total of 67 games, six fewer than what is currently scheduled. The early start would give the league more time to prepare for the upcoming winter season, but it also means that the playoffs would be pushed back several weeks. Finally, in the most extreme case, the complete shutdown of the NHL due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the best-case scenario sees only four teams competing for the Stanley Cup at the end of the season. The worst case sees the cancellation of the entire season.

Handicapping The Favorites And Underdogs

While we’re on the subject of the upcoming season, let’s take a quick look at the favorites and underdogs for the 2019-2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. It is well known that the favorites are the teams that score the most goals during the regular season, and in the case of the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators, the prediction market also agrees. Both of these teams nailed it last season, scoring 73 and 71 goals, respectively. They’ll be favorites to retain their crowns in the upcoming season as well. However, while we don’t see them as underdogs, given how dominant the Boston Bruins have been recently, it’s hard not to make them the overall favorites to win the Stanley Cup this year.

The Nashville Predators are also considered to be strong favorites to win the Cup this year, largely because they matched up well with the Bruins last season. The Preds scored 70 goals during the regular season, good for second in the NHL, and they added six more in the postseason to bring their total to 76. The Bruins narrowly beat the Preds in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals, so given how closely matched the teams were, it’s not a huge shock that the market favors Nashville. However, the last time these two teams met in the finals, it was in 2007, and given the massive changes that have occurred in the league since then, it’s fair to say that the market may be overestimating the strength of the Nashville-Boston rivalry.

Favorites To Win The Cup

Looking at the favorites to win the Cup, one team stands out above the rest: the St. Louis Blues. The majority of our experts agree that the Blues are the third-strongest team in the NHL this year, and given their recent performance, that may not come as a huge surprise. Over the last year, the Blues have had some of the best seasons ever, culminating in an appearance in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals, where they defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games. The Blues topped all scorers with 32 goals during the 2019-2020 regular season, and if this trend continues, they’ll be a tough team to beat in the postseason.

Despite the hype surrounding the Los Angeles Kings, our experts aren’t quite as convinced that they’re going to win the Cup this year. The consensus among the experts is that while Los Angeles has gotten stronger, it still lacks the edge that it would need to topple the big two. The defending champions haven’t won a Cup since 2012, and although they did make it to the finals last year, they lost to the eventual Cup winner St. Louis. Despite their recent success, the Kings aren’t considered to be quite as unstoppable as they were a few years ago, primarily because of the acquisition of Jack Eichel, an All-Star player who will definitely bolster their offense.

Looking at the underdogs, it’s tough to ignore the Calgary Flames. The 2019-20 NHL season was a tale of two seasons for Calgary, as they improved their play by nearly 40 goals compared to their output in 2018-19. The majority of our experts agree that the Flames will be a real threat to win the Stanley Cup this year, largely because of the strength of their top two lines. The first line, between Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, combined for 62 goals and 77 assists last season, good for 1st and 2nd in the league respectively. Calgary’s top power forward, Brad Smyth, had a banner year as well, leading the team with 24 goals.

It should come as no surprise that the Washington Capitals are among the underdogs to win the Cup this year, as the consensus is that while they may be better than they’ve been in years, they still lack that extra gear needed to pull off the championship. The Capitals were a powerhouse a few years ago, winning the Cup in back-to-back seasons, but since then, it’s been a trying period for the franchise. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012 last year, and with many changes occurring in the organization, it’s hard to say how much longer this trend will continue.

As mentioned before, in the most extreme case scenario, the entire season may be wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this scenario, the New York Rangers are the team to beat, as they have the necessary talent to bring down the defending champions. However, given that this is still a bit of a fantasy scenario, it’s important to remember that the season may not be canceled entirely. There are going to be games, whether officially or unofficially, that the NHL decides to pushback or completely scrap. The cancellation of the entire season still remains a possibility though, especially with so many teams struggling economically due to the pandemic.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!