The 2022-23 NHL season is here, and that means it is time to break out the crystal ball and make some predictions. 

The beauty of this time of year is that the possibilities are endless. Every team has some degree of hope that this year can be better than the last (well, except for the Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks). We have put together some bold predictions for the 2022-23 campaign, including which teams might crash the postseason, how far those teams might go, and which players will pop. After that, we get into which players will take home awards and which team will hoist the Stanley Cup.

Bold Predictions

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators
Getty Images

Nivison: The New Jersey Devils will reach the playoffs

The Devils might be the kings of winning NHL offseasons. They've made some key additions in each of the last few summers, but the moves have led to zero postseason appearances in four years. At the risk of falling into that trap myself, I think this Devils team has a very real shot at reaching the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. New Jersey is loaded with talented players under the age of 25, lead by Jack Hughes.

The team's underlying numbers were worthy of a better finish last season, but abysmal goaltending sank the Devils to seventh place in the division. Is Vitek Vanacek the savior between the pipes? Probably not, but he can't be any worse than what New Jersey got from that position last year, right? The Devils get average goaltending and reach the postseason for the first time since 2018.

Nivison: The Toronto Maple Leafs will reach the Eastern Conference Finals

If someone had no memory of recent NHL postseasons, they would look at this roster and wonder why this is a bold prediction. But remember... this is the Maple Leafs we're talking about. I stood on the table for them ahead of the playoffs last year, only to see them fall to the Tampa Bay Lightning in yet another first-round exit. Fool me once, shame on you, but I will ultimately forget about it and ride with you again just months later. This roster is just too tantalizing to bet against.

Auston Matthews is the reigning league MVP. Mitch Marner is a top-five winger in the league. William Nylander still seems to be underrated. The blue line is deep. The only question about this team is in net, and Toronto can score its way out of trouble when need be. Yet, this franchise has not seen the second round of the playoffs since 2004. That changes in 2023. Toronto breaks through and goes on a deep run.

Nivison: Jason Robertson will lead the NHL in goals

I wanted to go way off the board for this last one. With a new contract hot off the fax machine, Robertson is poised for a massive season with the Stars. Robertson is coming off a 41-goal season in 2021-22, and he has proven that he can score in a variety of ways. Robertson has the skill and shot to create his own scoring opportunities, but being on the NHL's best line helps, and he has a nose for the net. He isn't afraid to take some punishment around the crease in order to punch home some greasy goals. At just 23, Robertson is still entering the prime of his career, and he is set up nicely to fill the net in 2022-23.

Bengel: The Ottawa Senators will end their playoff drought

I'm a huge fan of what the Senators did in the offseason. The front office swung for the fences when they acquired Alex DeBrincat from the Chicago Blackhawks on draft night and parted with a significant amount of draft capital to do it. Just days later when free agency opened, they landed winger Claude Giroux on a three-year contract to bring some much-needed veteran leadership to the team's locker room.

This was a team that scored just 2.7 goals-per-game last year and needed a shot in the arm. Adding two extremely talented playmakers to play on Ottawa's second line is huge, considering that they already have Josh Norris and Brady Tkachuk in the fold. If the defense can improve in front of goaltender Anton Forsberg, I have no doubt that this is a playoff team.

Bengel: The Tampa Bay Lightning will be eliminated in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

It may seem a tad premature to put the Lightning in the grave so quickly, but the signs are there. This is the third-oldest team in the NHL and it's simply not nearly as talented of a roster than the one that went to the Stanley Cup Final in each of the past three seasons. They're going to miss Ondrej Palat and Ryan McDonagh more than I think a lot of people realize. I also think that the Eastern Conference is going to be incredibly deep this season and that could easily signal a first round exit for the Lightning. 

Bengel: Alex DeBrincat will lead the league in goals

I'm also going to go off the board and predict this season's goal-scoring leader. As if you couldn't tell, I'm a big believer in what the Senators are building. DeBrincat is fresh off of a season in which he scored 41 goals playing alongside Patrick Kane. Now he'll be skating on a line with Claude Giroux a majority of the time and, while Giroux isn't quite the playmaker that Kane is at this stage of his career, he's still an elite passer that DeBrincat will benefit from playing with. It certainly isn't going to surprise me if DeBrincat shatters his career-high in goals and leads the NHL in that department during the 2022-23 season.

Award Predictions




Stanley Cup Predictions


  • Western Conference Final: Calgary Flames over Colorado Avalanche
  • Eastern Conference Final: Carolina Hurricanes over Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Stanley Cup Final: Calgary Flames over Carolina Hurricanes


  • Western Conference Final: Edmonton Oilers over Colorado Avalanche
  • Eastern Conference Final: New York Rangers over Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Stanley Cup Final: New York Rangers over Edmonton Oilers