The 2021-22 NHL season officially kicked off last night, and the Columbus Blue Jackets take the ice tomorrow. That means it’s time for our annual preseason picks. Will we be embarrassingly wrong with some of these picks? Probably! But we’ve never let that stop us.
No homer picks here, as none of us have the Blue Jackets making the playoffs. I’ll be most happy to be wrong about this one. Only one of us has the Jackets finishing in last place, however.
We also voted 5-2 in favor of the Jackets finishing over 76.5 points.
There are two clear favorites to win Columbus’s division: the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes. They seem most guaranteed to make the postseason, while the rest could easily fall out due to some glaring flaws.
It’s tough to bet against the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning, but they lost a number of important depth players this off-season, and the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers appear to be as strong as they were last season.
Poor Buffalo :(
Our only unanimous division champ is the Colorado Avalanche. The Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild, and St. Louis Blues are popular picks to battle it out for spots 2-4.
Poor Arizona :(
A nearly unanimous vote for the Vegas Golden Knights, with one vote for the Edmonton Oilers. A wide range of confidence in the expansion Seattle Kraken, from third to sixth place. I think they won’t be that good, but the division as a whole is super weak, so they could back into a spot in the top three.
The Los Angeles Kings are a popular pick to break through into the playoffs, though I feel less confident in that pick in the wake of future star Quinton Byfield’s ankle injury.
The Islanders have reached the third round in the last two seasons, and most of us think they’ll make it three in a row, with two sending them into the Stanley Cup Final. The Avs are a unanimous pick to reach the Western Conference Final, with five having them finally reaching the Cup Final.
The Avs then lead with three votes as the champ, with two votes for the Golden Knights and one each for the Islanders and the Lightning.
The plurality like our old friend Artemi Panarin, Defending winner Connor McDavid has two votes.
Fresh off a massive contract extension, Colorado’s Cale Makar is the pick to finally win the trophy that affirms what he already is: the league’s best defenseman.
Two homer votes for Elvis Merzlikins as well as 2019 winner Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Here is the full chart of votes. Share your own picks in the comments!
2021-22 Cannon staff predictions
|Metro 1||NY Islanders||NY Islanders||NY Islanders||Carolina||NY Islanders||Carolina||Carolina|
|Metro 2||Carolina||Carolina||Carolina||NY Islanders||Carolina||NY Islanders||NY Islanders|
|Metro 3||Washington||Washington||NY Rangers||NY Rangers||Washington||Pittsburgh||Washington|
|Metro 4||NY Rangers||Pittsburgh||Washington||Pittsburgh||NY Rangers||NY Rangers||Pittsburgh|
|Metro 5||Pittsburgh||NY Rangers||Pittsburgh||Washington||Pittsburgh||New Jersey||NY Rangers|
|Metro 7||Columbus||New Jersey||Philadelphia||Philadelphia||Columbus||Columbus||Columbus|
|Metro 8||New Jersey||Columbus||New Jersey||New Jersey||New Jersey||Philadelphia||New Jersey|
|Atlantic 1||Toronto||Toronto||Tampa Bay||Toronto||Tampa Bay||Florida||Tampa Bay|
|Atlantic 2||Tampa Bay||Tampa Bay||Florida||Tampa Bay||Florida||Tampa||Toronto|
|Central 2||Winnipeg||Winnipeg||St. Louis||Winnipeg||Winnipeg||Minnesota||St. Louis|
|Central 3||Minnesota||Minnesota||Winnipeg||St. Louis||St. Louis||Winnipeg||Dallas|
|Central 4||St. Louis||St. Louis||Minnesota||Minnesota||Minnesota||Chicago||Winnipeg|
|Central 5||Dallas||Dallas||Chicago||Dallas||Dallas||St. Louis||Minnesota|
|Pacific 2||Edmonton||Edmonton||Los Angeles||Los Angeles||Edmonton||Las Vegas||Edmonton|
|Pacific 3||Los Angeles||Seattle||Edmonton||Edmonton||Calgary||Vancouver||Seattle|
|Pacific 4||Vancouver||Los Angeles||Seattle||Seattle||Vancouver||Calgary||Calgary|
|Pacific 5||Seattle||Vancouver||Calgary||Vancouver||Los Angeles||Seattle||Vancouver|
|Pacific 6||Calgary||Calgary||Vancouver||Calgary||Seattle||Los Angeles||Los Angeles|
|Pacific 7||Anaheim||San Jose||San Jose||San Jose||San Jose||San Jose||San Jose|
|Pacific 8||San Jose||Anaheim||Anaheim||Anaheim||Anaheim||Anaheim||Anaheim|
|ECF||TBL over NYI||FLA over NYI||NYI over TBL||NYI over TBL||FLA over NYI||FLA over CAR||TBL over NYI|
|WCF||VGK over COL||COL over VGK||VGK over COL||COL over VGK||COL over EDM||COL over VGK||COL over VGK|
|Stanley Cup||VGK over TBL||COL over FLA||VGK over NYI||NYI over COL||COL over FLA||COL over FLA||TBL over COL|
|CBJ O/U 76.5||Over||Under||Over||Over||Over||Over||Under|