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Hockey Media’s Predictions for the 2018-19 NHL Season and Stanley Cup



Premiere_Coupe_Stanley_1893 By Français : Inconnu English: Unknown [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Predicting who will win the Stanley Cup is virtually impossible (Washington vs. Vegas, anyone?) Yet every year, columnists from across North America try anyway. Fortunately for them, you really have to work at it to find last year’s picks on Google, so no one remembers how wrong they were.

It looks like they’re at it again.

Here’s a smattering of some of the national, regional and local outlets and their Stanley Cup picks for 2018-19.

The Post-Gazette must have caught country fever, with both Jason Mackey and Matt Vensel picking Nashville as their Western Conference representatives. Mackey thinks the Penguins will take home the Cup, while Vensel picks Nashville over Tampa Bay. You can read a cornucopia of predictions and thoughts in their NHL season preview.

Frank Seravelli of TSN thinks the Penguins will struggle and picks the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup.

ESPN‘s final preseason power rankings has the Penguins at #8, behind Vegas (#7), the Erik Karlsson powered San Jose Sharks (#6), the defending champion Capitals at #5, the #4 Predators, the #3 (and odds on favorites to win the Cup, according to Vegas) Maple Leafs, #2 Lightning and top ranked Winnipeg Jets.

ESPN’s 14 NHL experts have a narrow range of picks for Cup winner: Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay, San Jose, Winnipeg, San Jose, Winnipeg, Penguins, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg, Nashville, Nashville, San Jose and Tampa Bay. Ten of the 14 have Tampa Bay coming out of the East, with just one picking the Penguins.

Sports Illustrated has the Penguins at #9 in their preseason power rankings.

USA Today’s slate of panelists: Kevin Allen, Jimmy Hascup, Mike Brehm and Jace Evans are mostly sold on a San Jose vs. Tampa Bay Lightning final (only Hascup differs with Jets vs. Leafs, a Canadian dream–but a TV ratings nightmare). Allen and Brehm think the Lightning will win it all while Jace Evans picks the Sharks.

Yahoo Sports thinks the Penguins will make it back to the cup, only to lose to everyone’s trendy pick, the San Jose Sharks.’s experts pretty much–but not entirely–agree: either Tampa Bay or San Jose is going to win the Stanley Cup. Of the 18 panelists, 7 picked San Jose, 6 picked Tampa Bay, 2 picked Nashville, 2 picked Winnipeg and 1 picked the Penguins.

The Philadelphia Inquirer can’t help but take a shot at Sidney Crosby in their season preview, yet they also pick the Penguins to make it to the Stanley Cup Final in a rematch with the Sharks. (They pick the San Jose to win it all, natch.)

NBC Sports Boston also picks the San Jose Sharks to win it all over the Lightning. The Penguins are predicted to make it to the Eastern Conference Final.

NESN says the Canadian drought will finally come to an end with a Maple Leafs victory over the Sharks.

In their Bracketology NHL Season Preview, TSN’s simulation picks the Winnipeg Jets over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

If you believe in the predictive power of video games, EA’s NHL 19 simulation says the Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup over the San Jose Sharks. The Penguins are predicted to finish second in the Metro.

Nobody knows who The Athletic picked because it’s behind a paywall.

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gerald gilbert
gerald gilbert
3 years ago

West I gotta say the Jets. San Jose and Nashville are strong on the back end but I don’t see them keeping up with the Jets. Vegas had a lot of players with career highs last year and odds are its not going to happen again. East May be the Pens fan in me but I’m going with the Pens. It will be tough though. Tampa and Toronto look really strong but Tampa doesn’t seem to have that killer instinct and Toronto is still unproven. Caps still have the Cup winning team but the Pens lost in 6 in overtime… Read more »

John Chergi
John Chergi
3 years ago

Agree Gerald! The Penguins are well-rested and have some new blood and talent. Brassard and Jack Johnson some key acquisitions. Tampa really melted in Game 6 and Game 7 vs. the Caps. I can’t pick them. Toronto only team I’d consider but Pens have a decided experience factor. Probably Jets & Sharks out West. I’m impressed with the Jets speed and big rugged skilled forwards. I’ll say PENS and SHARKS. PENS in 6 for the 2019 Cup. JC

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