Hawks Insider

NHL 2021-22 predictions: Playoff picks and Stanley Cup winner

/ by Charlie Roumeliotis
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Hawks Insider
Toronto Maple Leafs
USA Today

The 2021-22 NHL season is officially here! So let's waste no time and dive right into playoff predictions:

Atlantic Division:

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

2. Toronto Maple Leafs

3. Boston Bruins

4. Florida Panthers*

Metropolitan Division:

1. Carolina Hurricanes

2. New York Islanders

3. New York Rangers

4. Philadelphia Flyers*

Central Division:

1. Colorado Avalanche

2. Winnipeg Jets

3. Dallas Stars

4. St. Louis Blues*

5. Chicago Blackhawks*

Pacific Division:

1. Edmonton Oilers

2. Vegas Golden Knights

3. Vancouver Canucks

Eastern Conference Final: Maple Leafs over Panthers

  • Florida was legitimately one of the best teams in the league last season but ran into the defending (and eventual) Stanley Cup champions in the first round. Aaron Ekbald is healthy and Spencer Knight taking over as the No. 1 will guide the Panthers to the Eastern Conference Final.

Western Conference Final: Avalanche over Oilers

  • Edmonton surrounded Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl with some depth, but can Mike Smith repeat last season's performance at age 40? Colorado will prove to be too much to handle.

Stanley Cup Final: Maple Leafs over Avalanche

  • Look, I don't have a good reason for the Maple Leafs to win it all other than it's just time. It's time for Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and a healthy John Tavares to lead this team on a deep run. It's time to silence the critics. Win a round, get some confidence and anything can happen.

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