One bold prediction for every NHL team heading into 2022-23

Ken Reid is joined by Sam Cosentino and Hailey Salvian to discuss which rookie will have the most impact, who has the best team in Alberta, and who is underrated heading into the regular season.

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Bold predictions are different than your run-of-the-mill "normal" prediction. Instead of thinking, you know, Connor McDavid will win the Hart Trophy, a "bold" take would be to suggest Trevor Zegras scores 130 points and unanimously wins the award.

Anyone prepared to get that bold?

In doing these, I find it important to not just shoot random thoughts from the hip, but try to root it in something that -- to some extent -- is possible. These may not be the most likely outcomes, but there is a pathway to each. If 50 per cent come true, I'll consider it an A+.

So, before we really get going into this NHL season, have a laugh, an eyebrow raise, or a disgusted head-shake at what we boldly predict for your favourite NHL team in 2022-23 ...

Anaheim Ducks: They acquire Jakob Chychrun in trade

Ottawa is the "non-bold" landing spot pick for Chychrun, so we'll go with a rebuilding team that hasn't gotten quite as aggressive with its additions yet. Anaheim for years had a deep, young and hyped defence corps that has deteriorated somewhat and could use another young, productive player like Chychrun. The Ducks have four 30-plus defencemen in their lineup, but a decent collection of young-ish forwards up front. Add Chychrun to Jamie Drysdale (and, one day, 10th overall pick Pavel Mintyukov) and the Ducks have a strong defence core to build around.

Arizona Coyotes: Mullett Arena becomes a positive

It's not great that an NHL franchise is playing in a roughly 5,000-seat capacity rink for a few years -- and it's not great that they think they'll sell as many tickets this way for now. But if we can look past the initial shock, you can see opportunity. While Vegas embraced the "big" when it arrived into the league, can Arizona embrace the "small" in a big way? You're in a college rink, so lean into that vibe. The on-ice product won't be strong, but the rink could become a fun place if the cards are played just right.

Boston Bruins: Jeremy Swayman takes over the crease, becomes difference-making goalie

The 23-year-old split 41 games each with Linus Ullmark last season, and the two finished with comparable numbers. Now Swayman is playing for a contract, in the final year of his ELC. He took the job in the playoffs from a struggling Ullmark after Swayman himself didn't finish the regular season all that strong. Put it all together this season and Swayman could help the Bruins stabilize through some early-season player injuries, and elevate them in the back half and the post-season.

Buffalo Sabres: Jack Quinn earns more Calder love than Owen Power

In 45 AHL games last season, Quinn scored 26 goals and 61 points, nearly leading the team in scoring with just over half the schedule played. He found his way into two NHL games and scored a couple of points. If Quinn can earn and maintain a top-six spot in the Sabres lineup, and then get some power-play minutes too, he'll be in a great position to produce. We think Power should have a strong first season too, but with Buffalo still likely facing plenty of losses this season, Quinn could be in the better spot to wow with his numbers.

Calgary Flames: They win the Stanley Cup

The five-game demolition by the Oilers is fresh in mind, but it was about the worst performance we'll see from Jacob Markstrom. These Flames return at least as good on paper as last season, and possibly better in depth up front and in skill on the blue line. Last season is more likely to be a building block than a setback.

Carolina Hurricanes: They get to the Stanley Cup Final

Neatly, these two teams fit back-to-back in alphabetical order! The Hurricanes were demolished by the Lightning and Bruins in the playoffs from 2019-2021 and then took the Rangers to the Game 7 brink in Round 2 last season. They have been building and pushing for that breakthrough, which we believe happens in 2023. They had the goaltending last year and seemingly, finally, had the offence. They've added Max Pacioretty's goal-scoring (when he's ready to return later this season) and Brent Burns adds more potency from the blue line. This team is dripping in depth, with a nice combination of experienced vets and still-young players (Svechnikov, Jarvis, Kotkaniemi) who haven't hit their peaks. This is the year they represent the East in the final.

Chicago Blackhawks: Seth Jones is traded before the start of the 2023-24 season

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are in the final year of their contracts and both could be dealt away in-season before testing the market next summer. The Blackhawks already traded away Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach, two players in their early 20s who could have been bright spots in the post-Kane/Toews era. Former GM Stan Bowman went all-in on acquiring Seth Jones in what was a wild trade at the time, and one that looks even more horrendous now that Chicago is looking to rebuild. Jones, about to start Year 1 of an eight-year, $76-million contract, just doesn't fit into this picture now and could be starting to decline whenever the Hawks are ready to win again. He has a full no-movement clause and so is completely in charge of his fate, but is he even going to want to stick through what's coming?

Colorado Avalanche: Pavel Francouz takes over the No. 1 role and at least equals Darcy Kuemper's 2021-22 performance

Kuemper came in to Colorado for one year, posted a .921 regular season save percentage, and then a .902 in the playoffs when he missed time to injury. With Kuemper gone and replaced by the unproven Alexandar Georgiev, don't overlook Pavel Francouz. The 32-year-old had a .926 save percentage last season, and in 2019-20 he posted .923 in 34 games. He's more likely to earn the bulk of the starts, and his 57-game NHL career sample screams potential dark horse on a contending team.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Patrik Laine scores 50 goals for the first time, challenges for the Rocket

If the top line duo of Laine and Johnny Gaudreau stick, it has the potential to be one of the most terrifying in the league. Gaudreau is one of the best transition players in the NHL and logged 75 assists last season. Pair that with Laine, a shoot-first, ask-questions-later type player, and the Finn is in a great spot to top his personal career-best of 44 goals scored in 2017-18. Maybe he even challenges for the Rocket Richard Trophy.

Dallas Stars: Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin both return as 30-goal scorers

Neither have reached that number since 2018-19 and Seguin, especially, has dealt with serious injury concerns in the years since. The Stars weren't a high-octane offence by any measure four years ago, but they really leaned into defence and elevating the likes of Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson under coaches Jim Montgomery and then Rick Bowness. Now Peter DeBoer is at the helm and part of the motivation to change coaches was to bring about a different style. If that means more offence, then these two 30-somethings will have to be a bigger part of it.

Detroit Red Wings: Ninth place in the Eastern Conference

There are a lot of non-playoff teams from the Eastern Conference last season that have reason to believe they could improve this year. But out of Ottawa, New Jersey, Detroit, New York Islanders and Columbus, is there anyone you feel very confident will actually make the playoffs? The Red Wings made several veteran additions over the summer that should at the very least make them harder to get two points from. Being the first team out in 2022 would be a big step forward for the team.

Edmonton Oilers: Dylan Holloway wins the Calder Trophy

The opportunity looks like it could be there for Holloway. If he sticks with the Oilers, it will be as a top-six forward, which means he'll be tied to one of Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl in that role. Considering that you or I could tap in a few goals next to those players, you can imagine the potential that an actually skilled player -- and a 14th overall pick -- would have. Holloway scored 22 points in 33 AHL games last season and would become the first Oiler to win rookie of the year.

Florida Panthers: From Presidents' Trophy winner to playoff bubble team

The best regular season team in the league last season underwent more change than you'd think a roster with that success would need, but the quick second-round sweep loss to Tampa led to an unpredictable reaction. This team's blue line is going to miss MacKenzie Weegar a heck of a lot, that it's going to be a stretch for Sergei Bobrovsky to improve on last season at 34 years of age and that the offence won't be as potent (value scorer Mason Marchment is gone too). Are they better built for the playoffs with a Matthew Tkachuk type? Perhaps. But you gotta get there first, and the bold prediction here is that the Panthers have to fight for one of the wild card spots until the bitter end.

Los Angeles Kings: They miss the playoffs

Teams that look to move out of a rebuild don't always have straight lines up -- there are often bumps along the way. Last season, the Kings benefitted hugely from Vegas falling out of contention and Vancouver's exceedingly cool start, but they had the worst offence of all the playoff teams. If Vegas returns to being a threat and the Canucks' showing under Bruce Boudreau continues, the Kings will be in tough to build on their playoff appearance. They're still on the way up to be sure, but in this bold prediction they have one season of taking a little step back.

Minnesota Wild: Kirill Kaprizov wins the Art Ross Trophy

Absolute blasphemy these days to suggest anyone besides Connor McDavid could win this award -- the guy got over 100 points in a 56-game season, for crying out loud! Ah, but here comes Kaprizov, who scored 47 goals and 108 points in his first full NHL season. It's not a stretch to suggest he could go up from there as the Wild need him now more than ever. Kaprizov gets over 120 points this season, and narrowly beats out McDavid.

Montreal Canadiens: Cole Caufield breaks out with a 40-goal season

Looking at Caufield's final stat line from last season, it'd be quite a leap for him to go from 23 to 40 goals in one year. But you have to remember the 21-year-old was used differently in the back half of the season compared to the front. Caufield struggled under coach Dominique Ducharme, scoring just once in his first 30 games. But under Martin St. Louis, Caufield exploded for 22 goals in 37 games -- a better-than-necessary pace to hit 40 goals over 82 games.

Nashville Predators: They miss the playoffs

While Nashville did make positive additions in Ryan McDonagh and Nino Niederreiter, it must be noted that some of their highest (and most surprising) scorers from last year might be due some regression. Ryan Johansen scored 26 goals (his most in seven years), but had a shooting percentage nearly twice as high as his career average. Matt Duchene scored a career-high 43 goals on the second-highest shooting percentage of his career. Filip Forsberg also scored over 40 for the first time, with a career-high shooting percentage. All three of them were top-30 in on-ice shooting percentage in the NHL last season. These players likely won't fall off a cliff, but the Predators made the playoffs by just three points last season, so they were already on the bubble.

New Jersey Devils: Dougie Hamilton wins the Norris Trophy

Rewind two years and this prediction would have been far less "bold." About halfway through the 2019-20 season, Hamilton was second among all defencemen in goals, fourth in points and was one of the mid-season favourites for the award. Then he got injured and missed the last two months of the interrupted season. In the shortened 2020-21 season, Hamilton finished eighth in scoring at the position. Last season, Hamilton joined the Devils and again sustained a mid-season injury that limited him to 62 games. Health will be a major component, but as the Devils rise and Hamilton settles in, the 29-year-old could still have another push for the award in him.

New York Islanders: The last year of Lou Lamoriello

The Islanders will be a potential bounce-back team this season. After back-to-back appearances in the conference final, they fell out of the playoffs last season but also had to deal with an extended road trip to start the season and a COVID outbreak. But what if they don't get back on track and miss the playoffs again? At that point, the decision to fire Barry Trotz and not change over any of the roster will be scrutinized, and could lead to the dismissal of the GM.

New York Rangers: K'Andre Miller is the breakout defenceman of the season

Most years there is at least one defenceman who elevates a couple of tiers in the league hierarchy, opening eyes across the continent and earning respect as an "underrated star." Think along the lines of Devon Toews or MacKenzie Weegar. This year that player is Miller, who scored 20 points last season and perhaps doesn't have the same national name recognition as teammates Adam Fox or Jacob Trouba. We see his points, ice time and measurable impact all rising as he establishes himself as a real force.

Ottawa Senators: Shane Pinto scores 20, becomes an X-factor in franchise's quick rise

All the attention is being paid to the top six in Ottawa, and how they might still seek a defenceman on the trade market. But that third line has the potential to make for something special, too. With Josh Norris and Tim Stutzle leading the charge down the middle, if 21-year-old Shane Pinto can put together a season that's Calder Trophy finalist worthy (or even just in the discussion), then the Sens will be strong and deep at an important position.

Philadelphia Flyers: Chuck Fletcher is the first GM fired

Is this the least bold prediction of the bunch? Perhaps. The Flyers are a mess right now, caught trying to push forward for wins when their winning percentage might suggest a rebuild is in order. Fletcher is in Year 5 at the helm of the Flyers, overseeing one playoff appearance and the franchise's first back-to-back playoff misses since his dad was GM of the Maple Leafs in the early '90s.

Pittsburgh Penguins: The landing spot for Jonathan Toews

I'm more writing this one to will it into existence. At the 2006 NHL Draft, the Penguins took Jordan Staal second overall, leaving Toews for the Blackhawks at third. Now here we are, with Toews on the way out of Chicago and the Penguins trying to duct tape together a contender year by year. Toews isn't the force he once was, and salary retention is absolutely necessary, but it's a nice storyline to think about Toews and Sidney Crosby coming together finally in the later stages of their career.

San Jose Sharks: Erik Karlsson throwback, bounceback season

Karlsson has been significantly slowed by injuries in recent years, so we're banking on some health luck here. The Sharks will be doing everything to bring out the best in Karlsson, especially now that Brent Burns is out of the picture. He'll get plenty of ice time, power-play time and the opportunity to rack up points. He hasn't scored 60 points in five years, but gets back to that level as long as the games played are there.

Seattle Kraken: Their goaltending bounces back and finishes middle of the league

Only the New Jersey Devils and Seattle Kraken had team save percentages worse than .900 at 5-on-5 last season. The Kraken, though, had the sixth-lowest expected goals against at 5-on-5. Philipp Grubauer, signed to a long-term contract with a $5.9-million AAV after he was acquired, saw his save percentage go into the toilet, falling from the .916-.926 range he posted every year from 2015-16 through 2020-21, all the way to .889. If he bounces back to even league average and the Kraken's off-season scoring additions boost their 28th-ranked offence, then Year 2 should be a noticeable improvement for the franchise.

St. Louis Blues: Vladimir Tarasenko finally gets traded

It's been a couple of years since Tarasenko requested a trade out of St. Louis, and he's coming off a bounce-back campaign in which he stayed healthy and scored 34 goals. Now, Tarasenko is entering the final year of his contract. If the Blues are a top-of-the-league contender, they'll probably keep him for a run, but anything less than that may leave them pondering a move to return an asset -- or NHL player -- if Tarasenko's intending to test the open market anyway. Especially if Tarasenko has another productive year, he should draw interest.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Somehow, someway, they acquire Patrick Kane in trade

The biggest trade candidate all season is going to be the Blackhawks superstar, and Kane's full no-movement clause will also give him complete control of his destination -- if he chooses to go at all. It would definitely take some salary retention (as it will for most possible destinations), but we've seen teams including the Lightning nimbly weave through the cap to fit impactful players around the deadline.

Toronto Maple Leafs: They reach the Eastern Conference Final

It might be bold enough to predict just one playoff round win for the most cursed franchise in the NHL, but let's really lean into this and go for another one. Eventually, this roster has to turn the corner, right? The forwards are as strong as ever and this is the best blue line (when healthy) that Kyle Dubas has put together in his tenure. The X-factor is in net, obviously, and if just one of the goalies catches fire, it should be enough to lift the Leafs. And having two-time Stanley Cup winner Matt Murray as one you're banking on isn't the worst gamble in the world.

Vancouver Canucks: The captain gets traded

With the season about to begin and no extension yet signed, it's unclear just how open Bo Horvat is to negotiating during the season. If he's more likely to shelve business talk until after the season, then there are a few avenues toward a departure. One is if the Canucks are well out of it by the trade deadline and need to move him for assets. But even if the Canucks are hanging around the playoff picture, can you go into the summer without Horvat's name on a contract, and risk losing him for nothing? Unless the Canucks are challenging for the division title or something, they may have to consider the possibility of moving the captain (and, yes, this one could get blown up in a week).

Vegas Golden Knights: Logan Thompson is a fantasy hockey MVP

After having so much goaltending that it became something of a controversy with Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury, this year's Golden Knights start off with questions and concerns at the position. Logan Thompson, 25, will be the starter out of the gate after going 10-5-3 with a .914 save percentage last season. Vegas still has a talented lineup in front of him, even after having to shed some of it in the off-season. If the goaltending holds up, Vegas could get back to challenging for the division again, and that would provide enough wins and a good enough save percentage for some lucky fantasy owner who plucks Thompson later than some more recognizable names.

Washington Capitals: Peter Laviolette will be the first coach fired this season

Someone has to wear this. Laviolette has lost in the first round of the playoffs in both of his first two years behind the bench in D.C., which is the same result predecessor Todd Reirden had. But while Reirden was able to claim two division titles, Laviolette has overseen two seasons of decline. And now he has to start this year without Tom Wilson or Nicklas Backstrom in the lineup. If the Islanders return to form and the likes of New Jersey or Columbus take a step up and push Washington early, the team may feel it needs to act and change the voice in the room.

Winnipeg Jets: They have two 100-point scorers

Kyle Connor, still one of the most underrated stars in the league, scored 47 goals and 93 points last season, so it's not too much of a leap from there to get him to 100. But if new coach Rick Bowness is committed to getting the most out of Nikolaj Ehlers and allows him to succeed with a permanent spot on the top line opposite Connor, he could be in a great position to blow up. His 2.95 points per 60 minutes ranked third on the team last season behind Connor and Mark Scheifele, and his 1.5 goals per 60 ranked second to Connor. Ehlers was averaging three-plus minutes less per game than these two, though, so more ice time on an offensively happy line could lead to a big-time breakout.

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