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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, April 15, 2024

In the Crease: More NHL standings predictions

Edition eight: Ducks, Flames, Oilers and Kings.

FIXED graphic for Zach Gerson's column "In The Crease"

Graphic by Richie Han Kyaw

The Anaheim Ducks are yet another team that is in a rebuilding process. The Ducks revolve around forward Trevor Zegras, who is an up-and-coming star, and goaltender John Gibson, who, despite being on the older side, is still playing at a very high level. Apart from these two players, the Ducks do not have any other extremely noticeable pieces on their roster, although there are a few nice role players in place, such as Adam Henrique, Alex Killorn and Troy Terry. Despite the average forward core and good goaltending, the Ducks have one of the worst defensive cores in the league, which will likely be the root cause of many losses this season. As the Ducks continue their rebuild, they are not in contention for a playoff spot, but with the vision they are trying to build on, they aim to be there soon.

Ducks prediction: No playoff berth (No. 7 in Pacific Division, 76 points)

The Calgary Flames are one of the NHL’s most mediocre teams: not good enough to compete for the Stanley Cup, but not bad enough to have a top draft pick. The Flames’ strength lies with their defensive core — defensemen MacKenzie Weegar, Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson and Christopher Tanev are all very good players. The Flames also have a good forward group, which is led by Nazem Kadri and Elias Lindholm. On paper Calgary is a good team, but in a league dominated by offensive star power and talent, the Flames simply do not have enough of it. The Flames will miss the playoffs by a few points.

Flames prediction: No playoff berth (No. 6 in Pacific Division, 88 points)

The Edmonton Oilers, originally projected to be one of the NHL’s best teams and a Stanley Cup contender this season, have had an awful start to the season — so disappointing that head coach Jay Woodcroft was fired a few weeks ago. However, only around 25% of the regular season has been played, and there is a lot of time for the Oilers to turn things around, which I believe they will do. The Oilers are obviously led by Connor McDavid, the best player in the world, and superstars Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Clearly, the club has the talent on offense. The team also has a solid defensive core, in spite of awful goaltending that has let them down this season. I think the Oilers will find the goals to overcome this challenge and have just enough to make the playoffs.

Oilers prediction: Playoff berth (No. 4 in Pacific Division, 94 points)

The Los Angeles Kings are a very exciting team with high expectations, and rightfully so. The team has a very good forward group which includes Anze Kopitar, Quinton Byfield, Kevin Fiala, Phillip Danault and Pierre-Luc Dubois; this is a group that has the ability to score a lot of goals and make a lot of plays. The defensive core, led by Mikey Anderson and Drew Doughty, is also very good. All in all, the Kings have an extremely talented and well-balanced roster. They have strengths and strong play all over the ice, and for this reason, the Kings will have a very successful season.

Kings prediction: Playoff berth (No. 2 in Pacific Division, 106 points)