2021 NHL season picks – Stanley Cup, division winners and awards

This week the puck drops on the 2020-21 NHL season, which will be unique in many ways: new divisions, new playoff format, helmet promotion and more.

But we look ahead and answer the big questions: Who’s going to win the Stanley Cup? Who is the favorite of the Grand Prix? Who will win each of these new divisions?

Here are our choices:

Step forward:
East | North | Central | West | Cup
Hart | Ross | Richard
Norris | Vezina
Calder | Adams

Eastern 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: Kite
Ben Arledge: AirmanPierre Becky: PenguinsSachin Chandan: Airman
Linda Con: BrownDimitri Filipovich: PenguinsEmily Kaplan: Flyers
Tim Cavanagh : AirmanDon La Greca: BrownVictoria Mathias: Capital CitiesBarry Melrose: AirmanArda Öcal: BruinsChris Peters: FlyersGreg Wyszynski: Capitals

The best choice: Leaflets (seven votes).

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Greg Wyszynski analyzes the departure of free agent Zdeno Chara des Bruins and his future with the Capitals.

Northern Division

That’s all the Canadian division covers: Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets.

Sean Allen: JetBen Arledge: Maple Leaf
Pierre Becky : Maple Leaves
Sachin Chandan : OilersLinda Cohn: OilersDimitri Filipovich: Maple Leaves
Emily Kaplan : Maple Leaves
Tim Cavanagh : Don La Greca Jets: Maple Leaves
Victoria Mathias : Maple Leaves
Barry Melrose : Flame
Arda Öcal : Maple Leaves
Chris Peters : Maple Leaves
Greg Wyszynski : Maple leaves

The best choice: Maple Leaves (nine votes).

2 Connected

Central division

It’s a bit of a mess in this newly designed volume: Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning.

Sean Allen: Lightning
Ben Arledge: Flash
Pierre Becky : LightningSachin Chandan: Lighting
Linda Con : LightningDimitri Filipovich: HurricanesEmily Kaplan: Lightning
Tim Cavanagh: The Hurricanes of Don La Greca: FoudreVictoria Mathias : Lightning
Barry Melrose: HurricanesArda Ocal: HurricanesChris Peters: HurricanesGreg Wyszynski: Lightning

The best choice: Lightning (9 votes).

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Emily Kaplan reports that the Blackhawks team took another hit when Jonathan Toews announced that he will miss the start of the NHL season because he has an undisclosed illness.

Western Division

With all the Canadian clubs remaining overseas, the remaining Pacific teams have made new friends in Central : Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, St. John’s, St. Louis, and St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights.

Sean Allen: Golden KnightsBen Arledge: Avalanche
Pierre Becky : Golden KnightsSachin Chandan: Avalanche
Linda Cohn: Golden KnightsDmitry Filipovich: Avalanche
Emily Kaplan: Avalanche
Tim Cavanagh: Golden KnightsDon La Greca: AvalancheVictoria Mathias: Avalanche
Barry Melrose: AvalancheArda Öcal : AvalancheChris Peters: AvalancheGreg Wyszynski: The Golden Knights

The best choice: Avalanche (9 votes).


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Stanley Cup Champion

The new playoff format, where the final four is divided by regular season points, could result in some dream games in the Cup Final. Here’s our pick for the eventual champion:

Sean Allen: Avalanche
Ben Arledge: Golden KnightsPierre Becky: Maple Leaves
Sachin Chandan : BruinsLinda Con: Golden KnightsDmitry Filipovich: Avalanche
Emily Kaplan: CapitalTim Kavanagh: Golden KnightsDon La Greca: AvalancheVictoria Mathias: Avalanche
Barry Melrose: AvalancheArda Öcal : Maple Leaves
Chris Peters : Golden KnightsGreg Wyszynski: Maple leaves

The best choice: Avalanche (five votes).

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Greg Wyszynski explains how the unique format of the Stanley Cup playoffs could result in some exciting games this year.

Heart Trophy (MVP)

Sean Allen: Carter Hart, FlyersBen Arledge: Nathan MacKinnon, AvalanchePierre Becky: Austin Matthews, Maple LeafsSachin Chandan: Austin Matthews, Maple Leafs
Linda Cohn: Nathan MacKinnon, AvalancheDmitri Filipovich: Nathan MacKinnon, AvalancheEmily Kaplan: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Tim Cavanagh: Austin Matthews, Maple Leaf
Don La Greca : Nathan MacKinnon, AvalancheVictoria Mathias: Austin Matthews, Maple Leafs
Barry Melrose: Nathan MacKinnon, AvalancheArda Öcal: Nathan McKinnon, Avalanche
Chris Peters: Nathan MacKinnon, AvalancheGreg Wyszynski: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs.

The best choice: Nathan MacKinnon (eight votes).


The NHL returns on the 13th. The return of January! Here you will find everything you need to know at the start of the season:

– A guide to the 31 ranked NHL teams: Top 100 Players
– Fantasy Hockey Sketchbook
– Major Rule Changes for 2021
– Attendance Rankings
– Top 100 Prospects.

Ross’s Artistic Trophy (Rating Title)

Sean Allen: Connor McDavid, OilersBen Arledge: Nathan MacKinnon, AvalanchePierre Becky: Connor McDavid, OilersSachin Chandan: Connor McDavid, OilersLinda Con: Connor McDavid, OilersDimitri Filipovich: Connor McDavid, OilersEmily Kaplan: Connor McDavid, OilersTim Cavanagh: Leon Draisaitl, OilersDon La Greca: Connor McDavid, OilersVictoria Mathias: Nathan McKinnon, AvalancheBarry Melrose: Connor McDavid, OilersArda Ocal: Connor McDavid, OilersChris Peters: Connor McDavid, OilersGreg Wyszynski: Connor McDavid, Oilers.

The best choice: Connor McDavid (11 votes).

Error! The file name is not specified. Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are expected to score a good number of points in the 2020-21 season. Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Richard’s Rocket Cup (points list)

Sean Allen: Steven Stamkos, Lightning
Ben Arledge: Auston Matthews, Maple LeafsPierre Becky: Austin Matthews, Maple LeafsSachin Chandan: Austin Matthews, Maple Leafs
Linda Cohn: Alexey Ovechkin, CapitalsDmitriy Filipovich: Austin Matthews, Maple Leaf
Emily Kaplan : Austin Matthews, Maple Leafs
Tim Cavanagh: Alex Ovechkin, CapitalDon La Greca: Alex Ovechkin, CapitalVictoria Mathias: Alex Ovechkin, CapitalBarry Melrose: Leon Draisaitl, OilersArda Ocal: Alex Ovechkin, CapitalChris Peters: Austin Matthews, Maple Leafs
Greg Wyszynski: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs.

The best choice: Auston Matthews (7 votes).


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Norris Trophy (best defender)

Sean Allen: Alex Pietrangelo, Golden KnightsBen Arledge: Seth Jones, Blue JacketsPierre Becky: Victor Hedman, LightningSachin Chandan: John Carlson, CapitalLinda Cohn: Victor Hedman, LightningDimitri Filipovich: Dougie Hamilton, Emily Kaplan Hurricanes: Victor Hedman, Lightning
Tim Cavanagh: Miro Heiskanen, StarsDon La Greca: John Carlson, CapitalVictoria Mathias: Victor Hedman, LightningBarry Melrose: Shea Theodore, Knights of GoldArda Öcal: Charlie McAvoy, BruinsChris Peters: Seth Jones, Blue JacketsGreg Wyszynski: Victor Hedman, Lightning

The best choice: Victor Hedman (five votes).

Vezina Trophy (responsible goalkeeper)

Pay attention: The NHL GMs vote on this award.

Sean Allen: Carter Hart, FlyersBen Arledge: Carter Hart, FlyersPierre Becky: Tuukka Rask, BrownSachin Chandan: Carter Hart, FlyersLinda Cohn: Robin Lehner, Golden KnightsDmitri Filipovich: Robin Lehner, Golden KnightsEmily Kaplan: Tuukka Rusk, BruinsTim Cavanagh: Carter Hart, FlyersDon La Greca: Ilya Samsonov, CapitalVictoria Mathias: Carter Hart, FlyersBarry Melrose: Carter Hart, FlyersArda Ocal: Igor Shesterkin, RangersChris Peters: Carter Hart, FlyersGreg Wyszynski: Carter Hart, Flyers.

The best choice: Carter Hart (8 votes).

Error! The file name is not specified. Rangers Goaltender Igor Shesterkin may take the equipment at the end of the 2020-21 season. Jerome Myron – Sports in the United States Today

Calder Trophy (best rookie)

Sean Allen: Kirill Kaprizov, WildBen Arledge: Kirill Kaprizov, WildPierre Becky: Alexis Lafreniere, RangersSachin Chandan: Tim Steil, Senator Linda Cohn: Igor Shesterkin, RangersDmitry Filipovich: Kirill Kaprizov, WildEmily Kaplan: Igor Shesterkin, RangersTim Kavanagh: Igor Shesterkin, RangersDon La Greca: Ilya Sorokin, IslandersVictoria Mathias: Kirill Kaprizov, WildBarry Melrose: Alexis Lafreniere, RangersArda Öcal: Alexis Lafreniere, RangersChris Peters: Igor Shesterkin, Rangers Greg Wyshynski: Kirill Kaprizov, Wild.

The best choice: Kirill Kaprizov (five votes).


This season, watch NHL games live on ESPN+ every night (and during replays). Click here to see the upcoming program and how to register.

Jack Adams Award (Head Coach)

Pay attention: The award was presented at the end of the regular season by the National Hockey League Broadcasters Association.

Sean Allen: Peter DeBoer, Golden KnightsBen Arledge: Travis Green, CanucksPierre Becky: Peter DeBoer, Golden KnightsSachin Chandan: Claude Julien, Canadian
Linda Cohn : Jared Bednar, AvalancheDmitri Filipovich: Rod Brind’Amour, Emily Kaplan Hurricanes: Ralph Krueger, SabresTim Cavanagh: Rod Brind’Amour, Don La Greca Hurricanes: David Quinn, RangersVictoria Mathias: Ralph Krueger, SabresBarry Melrose: Jared Bednar, AvalancheArda Öcal: Travis Green, CanucksChris Peters: Jared Bednar, AvalancheGreg Wyszynski: Peter Laviolette, Capitals.

The best choice: Jared Bednar (three votes).

Our panel: Sean Allen, NHL fantasy columnist; Ben Arledge, Associate Editor; Pierre Becky, Associate Editor; Sachin Chandan, hockey fantasy columnist; Linda Cohn, host of SportsCenter’s In the Crease; Dmitri Filipovic, NHL Editor; Emily Kaplan, NHL National Reporter; Tim Cavanagh, Editor-in-Chief; Don La Greca, ESPN Radio Host; Victoria Mathiasch, NHL Fantasy Magazine Columnist; Barry Melrose, NHL Analyst; Arda Ocal, ESPN Editor; Chris Peters, NHL Editor; Greg Wisinski, NHL Editor.

Related Tags:

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