Ice-Cold Takes: Totally accurate 2018-19 NHL season preview and predictions

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26: Adam McQuaid #54 of the New York Rangers is held by Tom Kuhnhackl #14 of the New York Islanders during the third period at Madison Square Garden on September 26, 2018 in New York City. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 4-3 in overtime.(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26: Adam McQuaid #54 of the New York Rangers is held by Tom Kuhnhackl #14 of the New York Islanders during the third period at Madison Square Garden on September 26, 2018 in New York City. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 4-3 in overtime.(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Ice-Cold Takes is a weekly humor column covering what is trending around the NHL. In this special edition of the column, we provide a 100% accurate summary of how this NHL season will play out.

The NHL is back! It’s officially hockey season after what felt like the longest summer of all time. The NHL did it’s best NBA impression over the summer months and featured more drama than we’ve ever seen before.

Will the 2018-19 NHL season be any different? Well, the preseason featured significant injuries, cheap shots and a Tom Wilson blind-side hit to the head, so… no. This season is going to be a wild one.

Speaking of Tom Wilson, the blind-side preseason hit rendered an entire section of these predictions useless, forcing me to change the “Tom Wilson will try to kill people” section to “Tom Wilson will try to kill more people.” Thanks a lot, Tom.

The column will be broken into three sections: Regular season standings, playoffs and awards, and story lines – which will include random things that will happen over the season. Sound the horn, Ryan, and let’s get started!

2018-19 Regular Season Standings

Atlantic Division

1. Boston Bruins
2. Toronto Maple Leafs
3. Tampa Bay Lightning
4. Florida Panthers
5. Buffalo Sabres
6. Montreal Canadiens
7. Detroit Red Wings
8. Ottawa Senators

The Bruins were a game away from first place last season and they were without Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy for key stretches late in the year. If they stay healthy, they can take the top seed.

Toronto is ranked ahead of Tampa Bay because

no one from Tampa Bay reads this

no one actually cheers for Tampa Bay. At least, no one should cheer for the team named the Lightning coming out to an Imagine Dragons song instead of “Ride the Lightning” by Metallica.

In reality, the Leafs are an overrated trash heap that are going to rely far too much on offense and probably won’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs. If I said that, though, Leafs fans would get all salty. So if you are a Leafs fan, don’t read that last part.

The Panthers and Sabres will both be decent. The Canadiens stay out of last because they are wasting Carey Price’s best years and the Senators, well, they are a team.

Metropolitan Division 

1. Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Philadelphia Flyers
3. Washington Capitals
4. Carolina Hurricanes
5. Columbus Blue Jackets
6. New Jersey Devils
7. New York Islanders
8. New York Rangers

The Penguins are back on top because Matt Murray will remember how to play the goaltender position this season. The up-and-coming Philadelphia Flyers are in second place solely because Gritty has been writing threatening letters to anyone who gets close to them in the standings. Plus, he’s in tight with his main man “Gar.”

Look for a great season from the Hurricanes on the backs of Finnish stars Sebastian Aho and Tuevo Teravainen (sick DJ name). I really wanted to rank the Islanders higher because of my man-crush on Matt Barzal but the rest of the team isn’t really that good.

Central Division

1. Winnipeg Jets
2. Nashville Predators
3. St. Louis Blues
4. Dallas Stars
5. Minnesota Wild
6. Colorado Avalanche
7. Chicago Blackhawks

The Winnipeg Jets are a better version of a team that was possibly the best in the NHL a year ago. Unfortunately, they still have to go to battle with Nashville. The Blues have added key pieces in Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak, David Perron and Pat Maroon, which jumps them into the third spot.


The Dallas Stars will also have a big year. I don’t know why, they just seem like the kind of team that should be a whole lot better than they were last year.

Pacific Division

1. San Jose Sharks
2. Vegas Golden Knights
3. Arizona Coyotes
4. Edmonton Oilers
5. LA Kings
6. Anaheim Ducks
7. Calgary Flames
8. Vancouver Canucks

The story of the Pacific division will be a bounce-back year for Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, who find themselves back in the playoff picture. The biggest surprise in the division will be how good the Arizona Coyotes are now, as anyone who had been paying attention at the end of last season wouldn’t have bet so much money against them.


2018-19 Stanley Cup and NHL Awards

Stanley Cup Champions: Winnipeg Jets. If you know me or this column, you know that I hold a certain power to curse teams that I want to win. If it’s said in this column, there’s a good chance it doesn’t come true.

Let the record state that the Winnipeg Jets will defeat the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Stanley Cup final (wink wink).

NHL Awards: Here’s a list of the awards as predicted by EA’s NHL 19 video game. Below it is the actual list of more accurate awards from a human, not a dumb game.

Conn Smythe Trophy: Patrice Bergeron – in a win or loss.
Hart Trophy: Brad Marchand – finally.
Ted Lindsay Award: Connor McDavid – can’t argue this one.
Art Ross Trophy: Connor McDavid – or this one.
Rocket Richard Trophy: Alex Ovechkin – by one goal.
Norris Trophy: P.K. Subban – had a hell of an offseason.
Vezina Trophy: Connor Hellebuyck – should have won last year.
Calder Trophy: Ryan Donato – breakout star of the season.

Big year for the Boston Bruins…

2018-19 Story lines

Tom Wilson will try to kill again – There is 100%, undoubtedly, unequivocally no chance that Tom Wilson changes his game after signing that big contract this offseason. The guy who tried to end careers on his way to winning a Stanley Cup will definitely be in hot water (EDIT: multiple times) after a dangerous hit (EDIT: multiple dangerous hits) this season.

The John Tavares signing will be considered a bust (if he doesn’t score in the first game) – The city of Toronto might have a full-blown meltdown if Tavares doesn’t produce early, or if he falters in any way this season. They tend to overreact to everything that ever happens. Let’s not forget, they turned on Auston Matthews in the playoffs last year. Speaking of Matthews…

The John Tavares signing will be hailed the greatest signing of all time (if he does score in the first game) – Toronto fans will get in your face (mostly virtually, on Twitter) and celebrate how Kyle Dubas is the world’s greatest genius and the Leafs are a dynasty if Tavares has a solid first game. Just ignore them. They’ll go away once the Bruins beat them in the playoffs again.

Brad Marchand will upset you – In a relatively meaningless January game, Brad Marchand will high-five an opponent after a whistle. The entire hockey world will erupt, calling foul, saying it was a dirty play, claiming they hate Marchand more than anyone in the league. Fans will discuss how he’s a rat and a guy they would love only if he was on their respective team. Nothing will come of it and Marchand will continue to be spectacular. Every. Damn. Season.

Gritty will do Gritty stuff – Gritty has been all over social media since his grandiose arrival to the world a couple of weeks ago. Don’t think that it stops once the season starts. With the Flyers actually looking decent this year, Gritty stands to benefit the most. It won’t be long before he’s given his own television show.

The San Jose Sharks will look extremely good in the regular season – Don’t they always? Add Erik Karlsson and watch this team look so incredible right up until about mid-April. If 150-year-old professional old man Joe Thornton can drum up one final legacy run, this team might be a legitimate contender.

The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets will fight to the death for the top seed – Any time these two teams meet, we’re immediately transported into the future to watch a playoff game. It doesn’t matter i it is October or April, the Jets and Preds know that the division is going to come down to a couple of points or possibly, who holds the tiebreaker between them. Enjoy these early playoff games.


The Washington Capitals will have the worst Cup hangover of all time – The Caps are going to be bad this season. Not bad in a sense that they won’t be contenders come playoffs, but out-of-shape bad in a “Maybe they went a little hard” kind of way. It’s not because they went too hard, it’s because they weren’t that good to begin with. Yes, I’m back to hating on the Caps. No, I don’t really care for your opinion on that (this is specifically for you, Jer).

The Arizona Coyotes will be media darlings – One of the better teams during the back-end of last season, the Coyotes are poised for a solid year. They are also bringing back these fantastic retro Kachina jerseys. Look for the ‘Yotes, on the back of goaltender Antti Raanta, to be everyone’s second favorite team this season.

Hot. 20 hockey smiles that prove teeth are overrated. light

There you have it. Absolutely none of these will be wrong in any way. I would bet my entire credibility on it, but I won’t because I don’t want to make you all look stupid for disagreeing.

Next week, we return to the regular trends/betting format. Enjoy the 2018-19 NHL hockey season!

Keep your head up.