NHL News

Lightning? Avalanche? Leafs? Our Stanley Cup, awards picks

The puck drops on the 2020-21 NHL season this week, a season that will be unique in a great many ways: new divisions, a new playoff format, ads on helmets and much more.

But we’re looking way ahead, answering the big questions: Who will win the Stanley Cup? Who are the favorites for all the major awards? Who will win each of those new divisions?

Here are our picks:

Jump ahead:
East | North | Central | West | Cup
Hart | Ross | Richard
Norris | Vezina
Calder | Adams

East Division

Here are the teams competing in this division: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals.

Sean Allen: Flyers
Ben Arledge: Flyers
Pierre Becquey: Penguins
Sachin Chandan: Flyers
Linda Cohn: Bruins
Dimitri Filipovic: Penguins
Emily Kaplan: Flyers
Tim Kavanagh: Flyers
Don La Greca: Bruins
Victoria Matiash: Capitals
Barry Melrose: Flyers
Arda Ocal: Bruins
Chris Peters: Flyers
Greg Wyshynski: Capitals

Top pick: Flyers (seven votes).



ESPN’s Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski present their toughest picks and players to watch in the NHL top 100 list.

North Division

This all-Canadian division includes: Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets

Sean Allen: Jets
Ben Arledge: Maple Leafs
Pierre Becquey: Maple Leafs
Sachin Chandan: Oilers
Linda Cohn: Oilers
Dimitri Filipovic: Maple Leafs
Emily Kaplan: Maple Leafs
Tim Kavanagh: Jets
Don La Greca: Maple Leafs
Victoria Matiash: Maple Leafs
Barry Melrose: Flames
Arda Ocal: Maple Leafs
Chris Peters: Maple Leafs
Greg Wyshynski: Maple Leafs

Top pick: Maple Leafs (nine votes).

Central Division

It’s a bit of a hodge-podge in this newly revamped group: Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning

Sean Allen: Lightning
Ben Arledge: Lightning
Pierre Becquey: Lightning
Sachin Chandan: Lightning
Linda Cohn: Lightning
Dimitri Filipovic: Hurricanes
Emily Kaplan: Lightning
Tim Kavanagh: Hurricanes
Don La Greca: Lightning
Victoria Matiash: Lightning
Barry Melrose: Hurricanes
Arda Ocal: Hurricanes
Chris Peters: Hurricanes
Greg Wyshynski: Lightning

Top pick: Lightning (nine votes).



Greg Wyshynski breaks down Zdeno Chara’s free-agent departure from the Bruins and his future with the Capitals.

West Division

With the Canadian clubs all staying above the border, the remaining Pacific teams inherited some new friends from the Central: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights

Sean Allen: Golden Knights
Ben Arledge: Avalanche
Pierre Becquey: Golden Knights
Sachin Chandan: Avalanche
Linda Cohn: Golden Knights
Dimitri Filipovic: Avalanche
Emily Kaplan: Avalanche
Tim Kavanagh: Golden Knights
Don La Greca: Avalanche
Victoria Matiash: Avalanche
Barry Melrose: Avalanche
Arda Ocal: Avalanche
Chris Peters: Avalanche
Greg Wyshynski: Golden Knights

Top pick: Avalanche (nine votes).

Stanley Cup champion

The new playoff format — where the final four is re-seeded by regular season points percentage — could yield some “dream matchups” in the Cup Final. Here are our picks for the eventual champ:

Sean Allen: Avalanche
Ben Arledge: Golden Knights
Pierre Becquey: Maple Leafs
Sachin Chandan: Bruins
Linda Cohn: Golden Knights
Dimitri Filipovic: Avalanche
Emily Kaplan: Capitals
Tim Kavanagh: Golden Knights
Don La Greca: Avalanche
Victoria Matiash: Avalanche
Barry Melrose: Avalanche
Arda Ocal: Maple Leafs
Chris Peters: Golden Knights
Greg Wyshynski: Maple Leafs

Top pick: Avalanche (five votes).



Emily Kaplan reports that the Blackhawks’ lineup has taken another hit, as Jonathan Toews announced he will miss the start of the NHL season as he deals with an undisclosed illness.

Hart Trophy (MVP)

Sean Allen: Carter Hart, Flyers
Ben Arledge: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Pierre Becquey: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Sachin Chandan: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Linda Cohn: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Dimitri Filipovic: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Emily Kaplan: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Tim Kavanagh: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Don La Greca: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Victoria Matiash: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Barry Melrose: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Arda Ocal: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Chris Peters: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Greg Wyshynski: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs

Top pick: Nathan MacKinnon (eight votes).

Art Ross Trophy (scoring title)

Sean Allen: Connor McDavid, Oilers
Ben Arledge: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Pierre Becquey: Connor McDavid, Oilers
Sachin Chandan: Connor McDavid, Oilers
Linda Cohn: Connor McDavid, Oilers
Dimitri Filipovic: Connor McDavid, Oilers
Emily Kaplan: Connor McDavid, Oilers
Tim Kavanagh: Leon Draisaitl, Oilers
Don La Greca: Connor McDavid, Oilers
Victoria Matiash: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Barry Melrose: Connor McDavid, Oilers
Arda Ocal: Connor McDavid, Oilers
Chris Peters: Connor McDavid, Oilers
Greg Wyshynski: Connor McDavid, Oilers

Top pick: Connor McDavid (11 votes).

Rocket Richard Trophy (goal-scoring title)

Sean Allen: Steven Stamkos, Lightning
Ben Arledge: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Pierre Becquey: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Sachin Chandan: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Linda Cohn: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals
Dimitri Filipovic: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Emily Kaplan: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Tim Kavanagh: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals
Don La Greca: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals
Victoria Matiash: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals
Barry Melrose: Leon Draisaitl, Oilers
Arda Ocal: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals
Chris Peters: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Greg Wyshynski: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs

Top pick: Auston Matthews (seven votes).

Norris Trophy (top defenseman)

Sean Allen: Alex Pietrangelo, Golden Knights
Ben Arledge: Seth Jones, Blue Jackets
Pierre Becquey: Victor Hedman, Lightning
Sachin Chandan: John Carlson, Capitals
Linda Cohn: Victor Hedman, Lightning
Dimitri Filipovic: Dougie Hamilton, Hurricanes
Emily Kaplan: Victor Hedman, Lightning
Tim Kavanagh: Miro Heiskanen, Stars
Don La Greca: John Carlson, Capitals
Victoria Matiash: Victor Hedman, Lightning
Barry Melrose: Shea Theodore, Golden Knights
Arda Ocal: Charlie McAvoy, Bruins
Chris Peters: Seth Jones, Blue Jackets
Greg Wyshynski: Victor Hedman, Lightning

Top pick: Victor Hedman (five votes).

Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)

Note: The NHL GMs vote for this award.

Sean Allen: Carter Hart, Flyers
Ben Arledge: Carter Hart, Flyers
Pierre Becquey: Tuukka Rask, Bruins
Sachin Chandan: Carter Hart, Flyers
Linda Cohn: Robin Lehner, Golden Knights
Dimitri Filipovic: Robin Lehner, Golden Knights
Emily Kaplan: Tuukka Rask, Bruins
Tim Kavanagh: Carter Hart, Flyers
Don La Greca: Ilya Samsonov, Capitals
Victoria Matiash: Carter Hart, Flyers
Barry Melrose: Carter Hart, Flyers
Arda Ocal: Igor Shesterkin, Rangers
Chris Peters: Carter Hart, Flyers
Greg Wyshynski: Carter Hart, Flyers

Top pick: Carter Hart (eight votes).

Calder Trophy (top rookie)

Sean Allen: Kirill Kaprizov, Wild
Ben Arledge: Kirill Kaprizov, Wild
Pierre Becquey: Alexis Lafreniere, Rangers
Sachin Chandan: Tim Stuzle, Senators
Linda Cohn: Igor Shesterkin, Rangers
Dimitri Filipovic: Kirill Kaprizov, Wild
Emily Kaplan: Igor Shesterkin, Rangers
Tim Kavanagh: Igor Shesterkin, Rangers
Don La Greca: Ilya Sorokin, Islanders
Victoria Matiash: Kirill Kaprizov, Wild
Barry Melrose: Alexis Lafreniere, Rangers
Arda Ocal: Alexis Lafreniere, Rangers
Chris Peters: Igor Shesterkin, Rangers
Greg Wyshynski: Kirill Kaprizov, Wild

Top pick: Kirill Kaprizov (five votes).

Jack Adams Award (top coach)

Note: This award is voted on by the National Hockey League Broadcasters Association at the end of the regular season.

Sean Allen: Peter DeBoer, Golden Knights
Ben Arledge: Travis Green, Canucks
Pierre Becquey: Peter DeBoer, Golden Knights
Sachin Chandan: Claude Julien, Canadiens
Linda Cohn: Jared Bednar, Avalanche
Dimitri Filipovic: Rod Brind’Amour, Hurricanes
Emily Kaplan: Ralph Krueger, Sabres
Tim Kavanagh: Rod Brind’Amour, Hurricanes
Don La Greca: David Quinn, Rangers
Victoria Matiash: Ralph Krueger, Sabres
Barry Melrose: Jared Bednar, Avalanche
Arda Ocal: Travis Green, Canucks
Chris Peters: Jared Bednar, Avalanche
Greg Wyshynski: Peter Laviolette, Capitals

Top pick: Jared Bednar (three votes).

Our panel: Sean Allen, NHL fantasy columnist; Ben Arledge, associate editor; Pierre Becquey, deputy editor; Sachin Chandan, fantasy hockey editor; Linda Cohn, SportsCenter anchor, “In the Crease” host; Dimitri Filipovic, NHL writer; Emily Kaplan, national NHL reporter; Tim Kavanagh, senior editor; Don La Greca, ESPN Radio host; Victoria Matiash, NHL fantasy columnist; Barry Melrose, NHL analyst; Arda Ocal, ESPN writer; Chris Peters, NHL prospects writer; Greg Wyshynski, senior NHL writer.

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