2013-2014 NHL preview

Sept. 18, 2013, 7:57 p.m. | By Samuel Popper Jacob Popper | 7 years, 4 months ago

The Poppers' guide to the 2013-2014 NHL season

After last year's lockout shortened campaign, NHL hockey is finally ready to start this October. With all the free agents moving around and the whole realignment thing, it might have been a little tough to formulate expectations for this full 82 game season. That's why you have the Poppers, we'll tell you all you need to know about 2013-2014. We've got an explanation of realignment, Stanley Cup predictions and even predictions for all the major individual awards. So grab your stick and sharpen your skates, ‘cause it's gonna be a heck of a season.

How does the NHL work following realignment?

Photo: The NHL's recent realignment focuses on time zones.

Gone is the six division format that had Detroit in the Western Conference and Winnipeg in the southeast division of the Eastern Conference. The NHL will now feature four new divisions, still split into Eastern and Western conferences. After the conference changes, the Eastern Conference has 16 teams (two 8 team divisions) and the Western Conference has 14 teams (two 7 team divisions).

Conference Changes:
East to West: Winnipeg Jets
West to East: Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets

Eastern Conference

Carolina Hurricanes
Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals

Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Detroit Red Wings
Florida Panthers
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs

Western Conference

Anaheim Ducks
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Los Angeles Kings
Phoenix Coyotes
San Jose Sharks
Vancouver Canucks

Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche
Dallas Stars
Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
Winnipeg Jets

The Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Photo: Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks hoists the Stanley Cup after last season's triumph. Can Chicago do it again, or will a new champ be crowned?

The playoffs will still be comprised of 16 teams, eight from each conference. The top three teams from each division automatically get in, plus two wild card teams from each conference with the highest point total regardless of division. This makes it possible for one division in a conference to send three teams while the other sends five. In the first round the division winner with the highest point total will face the wild card team with the fewest points. The other division winner will face the other wild card, and the teams seeded 2 and 3 in each division will also play each other. Winners will advance to the conference semi-finals, conference finals and eventually the Stanley Cup Finals.

How will the Stanley Cup Playoffs shape up? The Poppers Predict:

Eastern Conference

Division Champ #1 (Most Points)
Jacob: Pittsburgh Penguins
Sam: Pittsburg Penguins

Division Champ #2 (Fewer Points)
Jacob: Montreal Canadians
Sam: Detroit Red Wings

Metropolitan #2
Jacob: New York Rangers
Sam: New York Rangers

Metropolitan #3
Jacob: Philadelphia Flyers
Sam: Washington Capitals

Atlantic #2
Jacob: Boston Bruins
Sam: Boston Bruins

Atlantic #3
Jacob: Ottawa Senators
Sam: Toronto Maple Leafs

Wild Card #1 (More points)
Jacob Detroit Red Wings
Sam: Philadelphia Flyers

Wild Card #2 (Fewer Points)
Jacob: Washington Capitals
Sam: Ottawa Senators

Western Conference

Division Champ #1 (Most Points)
Jacob: Chicago Blackhawks
Sam: Chicago Blackhawks

Division Champ #2 (Fewer Points)
Jacob: Los Angeles Kings
Sam: Vancouver Canucks

Central #2
Jacob: St. Louis Blues
Sam: Minnesota Wild

Central #3
Jacob: Minnesota Wild
Sam: Nashville Predators

Pacific #2
Jacob: San Jose Sharks
Sam: Anaheim Ducks

Pacific #3
Jacob: Vancouver Canucks
Sam: Los Angeles Kings

Wild Card #1 (More points)
Jacob: Edmonton Oilers
Sam: St. Louis Blues

Wild Card #2 (Fewer Points)
Jacob: Anaheim Ducks
Sam: Phoenix Coyotes

Conference Finals

Eastern Conference
Jacob: Ottawa Senators over
New York Rangers
Sam: Detroit Red Wings over
Philadelphia Flyers

Western Conference
Jacob: Chicago Blackhawks over
San Jose Sharks
Sam: Anaheim Ducks over
Minnesota Wild

Who Raises the Cup this June…
Jacob: I've got the Ottawa Senators over the Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games. I know it's a bit of an outlandish pick but Craig Anderson had Vezina type numbers last year before his injury and although former captain Daniel Alfredsson will be missed, the addition of Bobby Ryan should provide more scoring. Canada will get its first Stanley Cup since the Canadiens won it in 1992-1993.
Sam: Give me the Anaheim Ducks over the Detroit Red Wings in 5 games. What a rematch of a dramatic playoff series this would be! The Ducks are improving rapidly under the guidance of Coach Bruce Boudreau. With firepower offensively and the brilliance of Jonas Hiller in goal, expect the Ducks to make an amazing postseason run.

Individual Awards:

Hart (MVP)
Jacob: Sidney Crosby (C- PIT)
Sam: Corey Perry (RW-ANA)

Vezina (Best Goaltender)
Jacob Craig Anderson (G- OTT)
Sam: Henrik Lundqvist (G-NYR)

Norris (Best Defenseman)
Jacob: Duncan Keith (D- CHI)
Sam: Zdeno Chara (D-BOS)

Photo: Seth Jones was the fourth overall pick in the NHL draft to the Nashville Predators. Sam and Jacob both predict him winning the Calder Trophy.

Calder ( Best Rookie)
Jacob: Seth Jones (D-NSH)
Sam: Seth Jones (D-NSH)

Art Ross (Most Points)
Jacob: John Tavares (C- NYI)
Sam: Daniel Sedin (LW-VAN)

Selke (Best Defensive Forward)
Jacob: Patrice Bergeron (C- BOS)
Sam: David Backes (C-STL)

Rocket Richard (Most Goals)
Jacob: Steven Stamkos (C-TBL)
Sam: Alex Ovechkin (RW-WSH)

Tags: NHL NHL Preview

Samuel Popper. I am a big sports fan. I play football and frisbee at Blair, I also enjoy watching basketball and hockey. I am very passionate about what I do. More »

Jacob Popper. Let's go Caps, I hope you win the Stanley Cup this year (and every subsequent year). I enjoy opinions and argument as well as sports! More »

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