Hello and welcome to Ice On Fire's official predictions, nay, prophecies of what is to come in the 2019-2020 NHL season. Why should you care about any of these predictions? Because lat year, the Calgary Flames won the Western Conference, the Islanders swept the Penguins, and the Saint Louis Blues did a thing. The NHL is volatile, unpredictable, and ridiculous, making these predictions about as valid as the highest-paid experts' opinions. When the season ends, most predictions will be wrong, and that's ok. With that in mind, though, my friends and I decided that a good predictions article should be entertaining first, and accurate second. So buckle up, and we hope you enjoy!
Let's meet the roundtable:
Josh Malinowski: Has been a Toronto Maple Leafs fan for far too long. Continuously has high expectations for his team, for some reason. Is second in our fantasy hockey league.
Avery McGrail: Hopes the Sharks go 0-82-0. Knows too many things about sports. Probably needs help. Ranks third in our fantasy league.
TJ Blackwell: Thanks God everyday for Sebastian Aho. Believes ping-pong is a superior hockey warm up activity than soccer. Is first in our fantasy league because he duped someone into trading him Connor McDavid for Thatcher Demko.
Joshua Paese: Knows nothing about hockey. Trusts his gut to lead him to prediction success. Is uncertain that a Wild is a real thing. Does not play fantasy hockey.
And now on to the picks! Please enjoy the artwork I created for these predictions, graphic design is my passion.
Key: Teams above the red line will make the playoffs
Josh: Like most of the panel, thinks the Lightning will be too strong to stop in the regular season. However, he does not have faith in the Florida Panthers and all of the money they spent in the off season.
Avery: Does like the chances of the Florida Panthers, and the rest of the Atlantic, actually. Thinks the top three spots will be tightly contested, and the next three spots after that. Wild card mania forthcoming.
TJ: Despite giving actual picks for the article, firmly believes that halfway through the season, the entire city of Ottawa will relocate on top of Seattle. Neo-Ottawa, as he calls it, will be stuck to the top of the Space Needle, and be so high up, the altitude will be too much for every team other than the Senators to handle. He says this is not a prediction, but an inevitability.
Paese: Says the Senators might have the worst mascot in the league, so they have to be bad (an astute observation). Has seen Red Wings logos everywhere, meaning they're probably old and bad by now (an astute observation). Probably got the Florida teams in the wrong order, but ya never know.
Josh: Thinks the Penguins are doomed to be old and bad. Avery tried to protest, but TJ also agreed. Josh likes the other Pennsylvania team, the Flyers, to get back to the promised land ahead teams like the Islanders and Rangers.
Avery: "I will die on this hill before I willingly bet against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang."
TJ: Thanks God everyday for Sebastian Aho. And Rod Brind'amour. And Andrei Svechnikov. And Jaccob Slavin. And Tuevo Teravainen. And...
Paese: His uncle likes the Rangers, so he thinks they'll do well. Says the Islanders' logo looks like it'd be the logo of a bad hockey team.
Josh: Likes the upstart Colorado Avalanche to take the Central Division. Down on the Stars, thinks a certain injury-prone goalie will sink them.
Avery: As much as he would like the Avs to win the division, he believes the Blues and Preds are more balanced and poised (for now). Hopes the Wild remain irrelevant for a long time.
TJ: Expects big things from the Chicago Blackhawks. Knows that once Neo-Ottawa joins the West, none of these teams will stand a chance.
Paese: As previously mentioned, doesn't know what a Wild is. Is also unimpressed by their logo, thinks it looks like a blood river weaving through the Amazon. Obviously, he thinks they will not be good.
Josh: Believes in Connor McJesus to ressurrect the Oilers with the help of Leon Draisaitl and a competent Mikko Koskinen. Is confident Vegas will be a dominant team.
Avery: Thinks very highly of the Anaheim Ducks. Likes Dallas Eakins as a coach and his chances of getting his young players to play to their ability. Any team with John Gibson has a chance to be competitive.
TJ: Long live our Neo-Ottawa overlords.
Paese: Must have even more faith in McDavid than Josh. Sharks at 8th is a bold play, but the author is on board with the pick.
Josh: Thinks the year has finally come. The Leafs offense and improved defense will finally come together when it matters most, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in 6 games.
Avery: Says a cup rematch from two years ago is on the way, and this time Vegas will ride their spite for the refs all the way to a game 7 Cup victory on home ice.
TJ: Had to give an actual prediction, so he picked Canes over Knights in 6. Actually says the Hurricanes will defeat the Neo-Ottawa Senators in 4 and return balance to the league.
Paese: Wasn't sure what to pick, eventually settling on the Hurricanes over the Stars in 6 games. That would prove to be a pretty entertaining match-up should it come to pass, and the author is rooting for a gut-feeling Cup Final to prove just how ridiculous hockey really is.
What did we learn today? Probably not much, but again, that wasn't the point. Hopefully you were entertained, and if you are a citizen of Ottawa, I'd probably take precautionary actions in case your city does float 2,000 miles to the west come early January. TJ seemed pretty confident, so at least, like, tie down your furniture or something. Here's to a new season, everyone! Hope you enjoy.