We’ve finally reached the end of the offseason and things kick off this week around the NHL. Exhibition games are underway in Europe and final cuts have come down all around the league. The excitement for the upcoming season is palpable, with even the most minor transactions generating plenty of interest among hockey fans.
With that in mind we’re going to ask you, the PHR reader, to give us your thoughts on the upcoming season. We start with the Atlantic Division, which last season gave us just three playoff teams but each of them recorded at least 100 points. The Tampa Bay Lightning led the way—just as our community predicted at this time last year—taking home the Presidents Trophy as the league’s best regular season team. Tampa Bay recorded 128 points but were stunned in the first round by the Columbus Blue Jackets and will be looking for revenge.
Tampa Bay is the odds-on favorite to win the division once again in 2019-20, but both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins don’t trail far behind. Not only will those three powerhouses battle it out for positioning at the top of the group, but the Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers are both expected to compete for playoff spots and potentially improve on their respective 96 and 86-point seasons. The Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators will all have to make large improvements to get into that playoff race, but as we saw last season with the St. Louis Blues, nothing is impossible in the NHL.
Who do you think will come out on top of the Atlantic Division in the regular season? Can Toronto really come out on top after handing so much of their salary cap to a handful of forwards? Will Boston reach the same level even with Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron another year older? Does the feisty young forward group in Montreal have what it takes to dethrone one of the top three? Cast your vote below and explain how you think the season will play out in the comments!
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