NHL Predictions 2016-17: OTF Picks Their Winners

100% of these predictions will be 100% correct.

Thus continues the tradition of a massive predict-a-thon by the OTF staff on the eve of the new season.

We've got several new predictors this year, with only Alex and Anish around to reminisce about their picks from last year. Here's a quick peek at how we did last year:

  • Exactly zero people predicted the Sharks would even make the playoffs, let alone represent the West in the Stanley Cup.
  • Alex and Caroline should feel proud to have correctly predicted that the Penguins would win it all.
  • Alex should feel ashamed that he predicted the Flames would win the Pacific.
  • Six of us predicted the Preds would win the Central. All six were wrong.
  • Link narrowly missed on his prediction that Carter Hutton would win the Lady Byng.

Without further delay, here are your 2016-17 season predictions:

Atlantic Division Champions

Alex Tampa Bay Lightning - Can anyone even touch the Lightning in this division? When you look at their solid defense and incredible goaltending, you think "Ok, this is a solid playoff team that could cause some headaches for opponents." And then you look at their forwards. My goodness. Just unfair.
Marya Tampa Bay Lightning - Florida will push them, but there isn't a whole lot going on in the division. Most teams are in the middle of a rebuild or in denial about needing a rebuild. Tampa's lineup is impeccable from top to bottom, assuming they can get their RFAs squared away.
Anish Tampa Bay Lightning- Along with David Poile, Steve Yzerman is one of the top GMs in the league today. He built a squad that made it to the Eastern Conference Final without their captain, and brought all of them back in the offseason. Not to mention, he locked up the hottest free agent in the league this summer, Steven Stamkos. The Lightning, for me, are the clear cut favorites.
Michael Tampa Bay Lightning - Montreal could potentially be in consideration here but they are too dependent on Carey Price, and as we saw last year if he goes down so does their season. Tampa Bay just has too much offensive fire power with Stamkos and company. Not to mention two top tier goalies in Bishop and Vasilevskiy. It's scary to even think about having to face a team capable of putting up the offensive numbers that Stamkos, Drouin, Johnson, Palat, Kucherov, and Namestnikov can.
Bryant Tampa Bay Lightning - Other than the Montreal Canadiens and maybe the Florida Panthers I don't see any team holding a flame to the Lightning. They're just too deep and too strong at every position. They are an obvious cup favorite.
Hayley Tampa Bay Lightning - Initially I want to say Montreal but even with Shea Weber there is still a lot of work to be done there. Tampa has a great team who is solid and they even have some youth making waves. They just need to keep doing what they have been and there won't be another team in this division to rival them.
Bobby Montreal Canadiens - While they may not be the fastest team on the blue line, the last time the Canadiens had a healthy Carey Price for a full season, they won their division. That was only two seasons ago. Furthermore, Alexander Radulov will add a new explosive dynamic to their top six forwards. On paper the Lightning match up better against Montreal, which is why I have them going further in the playoffs than the Canadiens, but Montreal should be the better team over 82 games.
Austin Florida Panthers - The Panthers had one of if not the best offseason in the NHL. They acquired more quickness on the backend and brought Reimer in to bolster their goaltending situation. Florida is continuing to build around their young core, and Jagr doesn't look to be slowing down.

Metro Division Champions

Alex Pittsburgh Penguins - Washington and both the New Yorks will prove worthy, but the Penguins will return most of their Cup winning team. Gotta be the favorites to win it all right now.
Marya Pittsburgh Penguins - They're going to try for a do-over with the same lineup, and Washington should regress somewhat. The bottom feeding teams should improve, but not enough to challenge the reigning Cup champs.
Anish Washington Capitals - Just like Tampa Bay, the Capitals kept their squad in tact from last year. I think this division is essentially a two horse race with them and the Penguins. The Penguins always seem to have injury issues throughout the season to slow them down a bit. Because of that, I am going with the Capitals.
Michael Washington Capitals - It's hard to not pick Pittsburgh here. They are the defending Stanley Cup Champions and still have Crosby and Malkin. However, the Capitals did record 120 points last season and last time I checked they still have Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetov.
Bryant Pittsburgh Penguins - Washington will put up a fight but I think Pittsburgh is going to kill it starting from day one. They play a style of game that everyone is moving to and they play it well, they're going to have Head Coach Mike Sullivan for a full season, and their top five players in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Phil Kessel, and Matt Murray form a very enviable group. Their depth still could be better.
Hayley Pittsburgh Penguins - Crosby will be coming back from the World Cup and should have no problem getting his offense going earlier this season. Washington will rival the Penguins slightly, but Pittsburgh will have the edge.
Bobby Washington Capitals - Whereas Pittsburgh is a team of ups and downs, the Capitals have defined consistency in the NHL. While they may not be able to turn up that next gear in the playoffs, Washington has proven their ability to stay focused throughout the season and produce results night in and night out.
Austin Washington Capitals - Barry Trotz's team is so well rounded and deep to pick anyone else in the division. I know Pittsburgh won the cup, but the Capitals are built more for being a great regular season team

Pacific Division Champions

Alex San Jose Sharks - I am officially done doubting Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton based on age. Until they stop putting up ridiculous offensive numbers, they are the toast of the Pacific Division. Brent Burns could put up a Norris worthy season as well. This team should roll through this schedule with ease.
Marya San Jose Sharks - Edmonton et al aren't ready to compete, and both the Ducks and Kings should take a step back this year. They have one more year to make a run with their current roster and I believe they'll go all in.
Anish San Jose Sharks - The Ducks will regress a bit this year, and the Kings always just kind of play to get in the playoffs, not so much to win the division. Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, and Arizona are all not ready to challenge the top dogs in the division quite yet. Because of that, the Sharks will take the Pacific this year.
Michael Los Angeles Kings - I might be the only one not picking the Sharks here but I believe the Kings will take the division by a small margin over San Jose. I still believe San Jose played way above their ceiling in the playoffs and aren't convinced they are that good. Plus, the Kings defense and goaltending makes them better suited for success over a full season.
Bryant San Jose Sharks - I wanted to say the Ducks to give a different answer than everyone else but I think them switching from Bruce Boudreau's system is going to hurt them early on. The Sharks have the same roster from last season and even if some of their older top players regress they still have a great team.
Hayley San Jose Sharks - They have the most stability out of this division. The Ducks and the Kings are a nightmare to play against but pushing people around isn't going to get them to the playoffs and if it does, well...ask Anahiem how that worked out for them last year.
Bobby San Jose Sharks - While the Sharks made the Stanley Cup Finals last season, their closes competition within the division both look weaker than last season. Both Anaheim and Los Angeles look like they are worse than last season. Furthermore, the Oilers are trapped on Peter Chiarelli's wild trading ride and the Canucks look horrific. I'm excited to see the Flames and some of Arizona's young guys this season, but this division is easy to call.
Austin San Jose Sharks - Bringing almost the entire team back and their style of play is conducive to winning a lot of hockey games. Anaheim and LA both take a step back, and the Sharks win the Pacific by 10+ points.

Central Division Champions

Alex Dallas Stars - The worst goalie tandem in the league can't possible duplicate that performance this year. Really, it just can't be done. Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi will be at least a little bit better. Because of that and because the rest of the division didn't do much to get better (other than the Predators) the offense should continue to carry the Stars to the top of the division for the 2nd straight year.
Marya Nashville Predators - Because someone has to believe in this team, and it's time. Most of the teams regressed over the summer, and Winnipeg still hasn't shown the ability to dress a real goalie.
Anish Nashville Predators - Because why not, right? The Blues lost some key players this summer, as did the Blackhawks. The Jets, Wild, and Avalanche are all kind of in limbo right now, and the Stars are the only other team that could win this division in my eyes. Regardless of who wins it, it will come down to the last few games of the season.
Michael Nashville Predators - I feel the Blues and Blackhawks actually regressed with the losses of David Backes and Andrew Shaw respectively. Dallas is still as scary as ever but their defense is not good and their goaltenders are streaky and wildly inconsistent. Nashville added P.K. Subban to a defense corps that was already ranked near the top of the league, Ryan Johansen will get a full season with the team, and Kevin Fiala should add some offensive pop to one of the bottom two lines.
Bryant Chicago Blackhawks - *ducks*. I think the Predators could very well finish out the best but the combination of the team getting used to not having Shea Weber to solidify things in the defensive end and potentially shuffling up defensive pairings could be a slight hindrance early on. Also, the goaltending is so suspect right now with Pekka Rinne. The Blackhawks have virtually the same roster from last season and Kane and Toews should only be getting better. They're a scary opponent.
Hayley Nashville Predators - Sure we're biased here, but when you look at the rest of the central, Nashville is the only team that progressed this summer. The rest of the division won't be able to adapt to the changes the Preds have made, and most of them won't have the man power either. Looking at you Chicago.
Bobby Nashville Predators - The fact of the matter is this is the deepest team in the central. Top six? Check. Stellar depth guys? Check. Solid defense? Check plus. Rinne's consistency is the only question, but a bad Rinne still can steal big games, as seen against the final game against Anaheim last April.
Austin Dallas Stars - One of the deepest forward cores on the entire league with an up and coming defense. The goaltending situation is obviously not ideal, but they have enough pieces around them to win the Central.

Supreme Winners of the League

Eastern Conference Champion Western Conference Champion Stanley Cup Champion
Alex Tampa Bay Lightning Dallas Stars Tampa Bay Lightning
Marya Tampa Bay Lightning San Jose Sharks Tampa Bay Lightning
Anish Tampa Bay Lightning San Jose Sharks Tampa Bay Lightning
Michael Tampa Bay Lightning Nashville Predators Tampa Bay Lightning
Bryant Tampa Bay Lightning Chicago Blackhawks Chicago Blackhawks *ducks*
Hayley Tampa Bay Lightning Nashville Predators Tampa Bay Lightning
Bobby Tampa Bay Lightning Nashville Predators Tampa Bay Lightning
Austin Florida Panthers Dallas Stars Florida Panthers

Awards Season

Hart Rocket Richard Norris Vezina Jack Adams Calder Selke Conn Smythe
Alex Jamie Benn Alex Ovechkin Brent Burns Ben Bishop Lindy Ruff Auston Matthews Jonathan Toews Nikita Kucherov
Marya Sidney Crosby Alex Ovechkin Erik Karlsson Carey Price Jon Cooper Auston Matthews Patrice Bergeron Steven Stamkos
Anish Steven Stamkos Alex Ovechkin Brent Burns Carey Price Lindy Ruff Auston Matthews Anze Kopitar Ben Bishop
Michael Sidney Crosby Alex Ovechkin Erik Karlsson Carey Price Barry Trotz Auston Matthews Anze Kopitar Jonathan Drouin
Bryant Jamie Benn Alex Ovechkin Roman Josi Carey Price Mike Sullivan Auston Matthews Anze Kopitar Jonathan Toews
Hayley Jamie Benn Alex Ovechkin Roman Josi Ben Bishop Lindy Ruff Auston Matthews Jonathan Toews Steven Stamkos
Bobby Carey Price Alex Ovechkin Erik Karlsson Carey Price Todd McLellan Patrik Laine Anze Kopitar Ben Bishop
Austin John Tavares Steven Stamkos Aaron Ekblad Carey Price Gerard Gallant Auston Matthews Sean Couterier Aleksander Barkov

Two Preds Predictions

Who will lead the Preds in goals scored? How many will they score? How many regular season starts for Pekka Rinne?
Alex Filip Forsberg - 40 54
Marya Filip Forsberg - 38 55
Anish Filip Forsberg - 37 60
Michael Filip Forsberg - 40 62
Bryant Filip Forsberg - 36 60
Hayley James Neal - 40 60
Bobby Filip Forsberg - 34 56
Austin James Neal - 34 66
OTF Average 37.4 59.1

Two Preds Questions

Going into the 2016-17 season, what is the biggest missing piece for the Predators? What would constitute a successful season for the Preds this year?
Alex Clearly goaltending. The man who has been carrying this team to the playoffs for the better part of a decade is now the one reason it can't find success there. Hanging any kind of meaningful banner in that damn arena. If that happens, I vote for a ritualistic burning of that ridiculous 7th man banner.
Marya Goaltending remains the biggest question. Even if Subban isn't everything we expect him to be, we have the scoring and the defense to have a successful season. A conference final. Given the size of the moves over the summer, anything less than a step forward constitutes failure.
Anish Goaltending has to be the biggest concern going into this season. It is all dependent on which Pekka Rinne shows up for the Preds. Recent memory might prove that it won't be the Vezina nominee one. It has to be making it to the Western Conference Final. This team made the moves in the offseason to give them the best opportunity to win. Anything less than the conference final would be a disappointing ending.
Michael 3-on-3 OT strategy. Last season they went 2-12 in OT. If they won even half of those games, they would've been right there with Chicago for the third playoff spot and their road in the playoffs could've been much different. Without a doubt making it to the Western Conference Final. This team has the makings of a Stanley Cup champion, the only problem is they have to get used to making deep playoff runs. Last year was a good first step but this season they take the next step.
Bryant Goaltending. Pekka Rinne isn't getting any younger and the odds are probably against him to have a bounce back season, though I'd love to see it happen. A Western Conference Final appearance. David Poile has done pretty much all he can do to improve this team and management is spending a ton of money on the players he has brought in. A team should always look to improve on their prior season and that would mean making it out of the second round.
Hayley Goaltending is the question this year, but like last year just because we have scoring depth doesn't mean the puck will find the back of the net. Anything less than the Conference final would be a tragic ending. After all the hype and acquiring a personality like Subban the Preds have to take it to that level.
Bobby Does Pekka find the elixir of youth early on, or does it take 65+ games of searching? Western Conference Finals. Dallas is overrated, Chicago lacks depth, and the Blues will have goaltending issues. The Preds should win the division and be expected to beat any of those teams in the first two rounds.
Austin Having a full year of consistent goaltending. Western Conference Semis losing to Dallas or San Jose

Have a take? Give us your thoughts and predictions below.