Five bold NHL predictions for 2022 includes Rangers vs Golden Knights Stanley Cup Finals
The NHL will resume action from an extended Holiday Pause on December 28th. As the calendar gets set to turn to a new year, here are five bold predictions for 2022.
They include some individual player predictions, and of course potential playoff prophecies.
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Alex Ovechkin scores 60 goals
The Washington Capitals captain seems to have an extra pep to his step this year. When the 36 year-old signed his new five year-deal in the summer, many didn’t think he could average the 35 goals per season needed to break Wayne Gretzky all-time mark of 894 goals.
Ovechkin obviously wasn’t fazed by doubters and has 22 goals in 31 games so far this season. The Great 8 is on pace for 58 goals, but should score 60 or more. In his illustrious career that is now entering year 17, he’s only hit the 60 goal-mark once (65 in 2007-08). He will do it again.
Connor McDavid scores 150 points
McDavid is entering his prime years and seems to only be getting better and better. His speed, his hands, his ability to recognize opportunity is starting to reach all-time great equivalence. His 49 points in just 29 contests has him tied with teammate Leon Draisaitl. Both players are on pace for over 130 points.
However, McDavid is going to find another gear once play returns and will break the 150 point mark. He will be the first player to do so since Mario Lemieux (161) during the 1995-96 season.
Tampa Bay Lightning out in the first round
The Lightning lead the NHL with 44 points at the Break. They are the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions and are looking for a three-peat.
This season, the Eastern Conference is loaded with talented teams that are a threat in the playoffs. The Lightning may have played too many games over the last few seasons and it will catch up to them. A first round ouster is in the cards.
New York Rangers make the Stanley Cup Final
In 2018, the New York Rangers sent out a letter to fans announcing a rebuild. Many painful trades of fan favorites and the eventual buyout of legendary goalie Henrik Lundqvist were endured.
Now out of the ashes will rise a perennial Stanley Cup contender. Led by stars like Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, and another great goalie in the making named Igor Shesterkin, NY will make an improbable Cup Final appearance.
Although they will fall short, it will be the first of many long playoff runs with at least one Championship in their near future.
Jack Eichel leads Vegas to the Stanley Cup
The Las Vegas Golden Knights came into the season as one of the early Cup favorites. Despite losing key players to injury for long periods of time, and COVID-19 issues, they are tied for first in the Pacific Division. Vegas’ 40 points are also just four points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for first overall in the League.
Furthermore, during their toughest stretch they went gambling by acquiring an injured Jack Eichel for Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a top-10 protected 2022 first-round pick and a 2023 second-round pick. The 25 year-old stud center is expected to be fully healthy and back by late January or early February.
Eichel has never played a postseason game in his career. Once he gets that chance, he will lead Vegas to the promised land and claim his first Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs.