Did you know that Alex Pietrangelo would leave St. Louis for Toronto Maple Leafs? That is just one of the most significant changes that occurred in preparation for the 2021 NHL season. More are yet to happen before and after the start of this season’s league.
The good news is that we’ll share with you a few predictions for the 2021 NHL season. However, it’s not a guarantee that all the predictions we’ll give will come to pass. A few changes might occur amid the 2021 NHL season. So, what are the predictions?
Predictions for the 2021 NHL Season
The global pandemic has caused havoc in many sports leagues, including the National Hockey League (NHL). It brought the 2019-2020 NHL season to a halt, which ended prematurely. Thankfully, plans for the 2021 NHL season are now underway.
So, what are your expectations for the upcoming season? What team do you expect to win the Stanley Cup this season?
Here are some predictions for the 2021 NHL season.
1. Matt Murray Leaves Ottawa for Seattle
Matt Murray has been Ottawa’s No. 1 goalie from when the team committed $25 million to get him despite his sub-performance in the 2019-20 NHL season. However, Murray Will no longer play for Ottawa senators as he will play for Seattle next season.
Ottawa Senators owner, Eugene Melnyk, will be wise to expose Matt Murray in Seattle’s expansion draft but protect Filip Gustavson, who plays in Sweden. Seattle will get a well-branded goalie, and that will improve their chances of winning many games.
2. Dougie Hamilton Leaves Raleigh for Hurricanes
The Hurricanes traded for Dougie due to his cost certainty. However, things will most likely get better for the player in the 2021 NHL season as his cost won’t be certain. He’ll get a significant raise since he left Raleigh as the most coveted D-man.
Dougie will be entering the final season of the six-year contract he signed in 2015. Note that the chances are high that the Hurricanes’ performance will improve in the upcoming season. It has five D-men signed long term contract at around $4 million yearly.
3. Patrik Laine Gets Traded by the Winnipeg Jets
From October 2020, Patrik’s trade rumors have been spreading on the internet. Finally, Winnipeg Jets traded Patrik Laine to the Florida Panthers. That’s a great move for the Florida Panthers, but we expect his pay to increase in the 2021 NHL season.
The good news is that the Winnipeg Jets still has several players who can help the team maintain its top position. Some of such players include Neal Pionk and Andrew Copp, who are also due raises in the upcoming 2021 season.
4. Taylor Hall Signs a One-Year Contract with Buffalo Sabres
Taylor Hall, a left-winger, signed a new contract with Buffalo Sabres after speculations that he was leaving the team. As the most coveted and unrestricted free-agent forward this season, he spent most of his time listening to several teams’ pitches.
Taylor’s decision to choose Buffalo came as a surprise to many hockey fans, but it’s a great milestone for the team. Following Taylor’s statement that his number one priority is to win the Stanley Cup, we expect Buffalo Sabres to perform incredibly in 2021.
5. Alexander Ovechkin to Spend Four More Years at Washing Capitals
The 2019-20 Maurice “Rocket” Richard winner is yet to play for Washing Capitals for four more years. He will negotiate for his extension at the NHL as his known franchise. Ovechkin is a combination of size, speed, strength, and skills.
After playing for many seasons and winning the Rocket Richard Trophy nine times, Alexander Ovechkin is a gem to Washing Capitals. By winning the trophy three seasons consecutively, the chances are high that Ovechkin will win it in the 2021 NHL season.
6. Edmonton Oilers Signs Tyson Barrie
Tyson’s past ability and success makes him a good pick for Edmonton Oilers for the 2021 NHL season. But since his previous season performance didn’t meet many people’s expectations, his signing has not garnered enough attention.
Edmonton Oilers gave Tyson Barrie a one-year deal to prove his ability in the field. In that case, we expect Barrie to garner more points in the upcoming season. He has all the ingredients to reinvigorate his skills and ability in the 2021 NHL season.
7. Patrick Marleau is yet to add another Impressive Milestone to His Career
As the oldest player in NHL, Patrick Marleau has been making history in almost every season. He has played for the San Jose Sharks, and we expect him to perform better this season. Patrick has a consecutive games streak of 800 games.
In this 56-game NHL season, the number of games Patrick Marleau has played will rise to 1779. That will surpass Gordie Howe’s current record of 1,776 goals. It will be Howe’s most incredible accomplishment, as he may retire at the age of 41.
8. Igor Shesterkin to Win the Calder Trophy
With the 2021 NHL season set to start on January 13, New York Rangers’ goalie, Igor Shesterkin, will most likely win the Calder Trophy. This uber-talented player stands a greater chance of winning the trophy, and you can consider him a safe bet.
Igor’s impressive performance near the end of the 2019-20 NHL season shows that he is the best pick. Besides, he’s likely to build upon his performance and garner more votes than any other Calder finalist, including Alexis Lafreniere.
9. Nathan MacKinnon to Win the Hart Memorial Trophy
The NHL has crowned 13 different Hart Memorial Trophies, and we expect Nathan MacKinnon (Avalanche) to save the day. In the previous 2019-20 NHL season, he was among the three finalists for the 2019-2020 Hart Memorial Trophy.
The two other finalists mentioned were Artemi Panarin (Rangers) and Leon Draisaitl (Oilers). The NHL usually offers the award to the most valuable player to his team. The Professional Hockey Writers Association has to vote him at the end of a regular season.
10. Auston Matthews’ Chance to Win, the Rocket Richard Trophy, is high
One of the most impressive players to watch as we prepare for the 2020-21 season is Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs. 2021 will be Matthews’ year as he’s training hard to gear up his performance in the upcoming season.
By scoring 47 goals in the previous NHL season, Auston was about to win the Rocket Richard Trophy but floored by Alex Ovechkin and David Pastrnak, who scored 48 goals each. It’s no doubt that Auston will try to capture the trophy in the upcoming season.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic taking a toll on the NHL games since mid-March, we anticipate the 2021 NHL season to begin on January 13. This season will be different from the previous ones as it will comprise of only 56 games. The NHL decided that to reduce physical interactions between players to curb the spread of the coronavirus.