2017 NHL Playoff Predictions

Maple Leafs defeat Oilers to win Stanley Cup

Predictions by Peyton Lobb (St. Marys Independent NHL Hockey Pool Winner)

Peyton Lobb won the St. Marys Independent Hockey Pool by correctly predicting that the young Maple Leafs and Oilers would make huge strides forward this season. In the playoffs, 10-year-old Lobb predicts that the NHL’s youth movement will continue, with the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup in six games over the Edmonton Oilers. Though Connor McDavid will lead the playoffs in points, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner will have huge post-season performances of their own and will lead the Leafs to victory.

The Leafs’ road to the Stanley Cup will not be without stress, Lobb noted. Similar to 2013, Toronto will go to game 7 against the Boston Bruins (this time in the semi-finals) but this time the Leafs will close the deal to advance to the finals.  In the Western Conference, McDavid and his Oilers will outscore the Chicago Blackhawks despite a flurry of goals put up by Patrick Kane.

Capitals can no longer be denied

Predictions by Stewart Grant (St. Marys Independent Publisher/Owner)

Since 1985, the President’s Trophy has been awarded each year to the NHL team with the most points over the 82-game regular season. Historically, winning the President’s Trophy has often not translated into a Stanley Cup win within the same season, as this has only happened 8 out of 31 times.  However, teams which have won two President’s Trophies in a row (or twice in three years) have rarely been denied a Stanley Cup victory because only the most exceptional teams can lead the NHL in points in multiple years. This short list of excellence is made up of the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames within the 1980s, the Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers and Dallas Stars of the 1990s, and the Colorado Avalanche of the turn of the century. The only team to win multiple President’s Trophies and not end up with a Stanley Cup were the Vancouver Canucks, although they made it all the way to Game 7 of the 2011 Finals before losing to Boston.

All this considered, the dominant Washington Capitals are poised to finally meet their destiny this season and become Stanley Cup Champions. They are a complete team, well-equipped at each position and with one of the best coaches in the league in Barry Trotz. Alex Ovechkin has always performed well in the playoffs and this year his team will have the experience to win it all.

The Penguins can’t be dethroned

Predictions by Tyler Carruthers (St. Marys Independent Graphic Designer)

In the West I’ve got the Blackhawks coming out on top of the Predators, Minnesota topping St Louis, Calgary finally figuring out how to win in Anaheim and topping the Pacific winning Ducks, and McDavid’s Oilers beating the inconsistent Sharks. In the East I think Montreal will top New York while Ottawa will beat Boston. The Leafs will be lucky to win one game, where they will fall to the powerhouse Capitals and Pittsburgh will come out on top of Columbus in what will be one of the best first round matchups. The second round is where things get interesting. I’ve got Chicago beating St. Louis to get to the conference final where they will face the Oilers after a second round Battle of Alberta. In the East I think Montreal will come out over Ottawa and the Penguins will once again put Washington’s Stanley Cup hopes to an end. The Capitals prove once again they can’t get past the second round choking in a 7 game series. In the conference finals I got Chicago over Edmonton and Pittsburgh over Montreal forcing a Blackhawks – Penguins Stanley Cup Final where Pittsburgh will retain their championship.

Sportsnet is this years biggest winner

Predictions by Frank Doyle (Editor St. MArys Independent)

The big winner this year is Sportsnet, who unlike last year had no Canadian teams in the playoffs and the ratings plummeted. With no Canadian teams in last year Gary Bettman was the happiest man in hockey. Just for Gary’s sake it would be nice to see the Canadians teams do well. But, I think that the Cup will be going South again and I am predicting the St. Louis Blues will take home the hardware this year.

Blue Jackets take the Cinderella route, defeat Blackhawks in six

Predictions by Spencer Seymour (St. Marys Independent Co-op student)

Fans of the five Canadian teams in the playoffs should savor that moment now, as I doubt there will be much to celebrate soon. You know that Maple Leaf Square is going to be insane, however, no matter how great this season has been and how bright the future is, Toronto won’t last long against the Capitals. The Flames also seem to have a very good core to build from, but I doubt they are going to make it past the Ducks. The Senators are the only team in the postseason with a negative goal differential, allowing two more goals than they scored this season. They don’t have the consistency and talent to go far, and will fall to Boston. While it may be foolish to bet against Connor McDavid, the Oilers have zero playoff experience, and I doubt they’ll get past last year’s Stanley Cup finalist San Jose Sharks. The Canadiens, unlike any other Canadian counterpart, will go to the Eastern finals. But, if history is an indication, Carey Price’s back will give out from carrying his team, and they will fall to the Blue Jackets. Yes, Columbus. Washington has a history of failing in the postseason, and this is the Jackets’ chance to get payback for the Caps ending their winning streak earlier this season. With the Jackets hungry and with nothing to lose, they will complete the magical upset. The cannon will be fired and the high-flying Jackets will dethrone the Hawks in the finals.

Caps over the Oilers

Predictions by Al Strathdee, Mayor of St. Marys

St. Marys Mayor Al Strathdee believes that, like many others, the youthful superstar Connor McDavid will tear up the post-season. However, as much as he believes in McDavid’s ability, he believes that the Oilers will only get to claim the Western conference crown. Defeating the rising Oilers in the finals will be the Presidents’ Trophy winner, the Washington Capitals, seeing Alex Ovechkin edge out McDavid in the battle of the superstars.

Bell favours Capitals to win Stanley Cup

Predictions by Mark Bell (St. Marys Lincolns Assistant Coach and ex-NHLer)

In the first round matchups, Bell predicts that two series will go the distance: Anaheim on home ice will edge the Flames and Minnesota will eliminate the Blues. The shortest series will be the Caps over the Leafs in 5 and Edmonton over San Jose. “Hate to say that with lots of former teammates of mine in SJ, but Edmonton is going to be tough I believe,” said Bell.

“I will say the Washington Capitals will win the Stanley Cup, beating the Edmonton Oilers in the final.”

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