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Expert Picks

Stanley Cup predictions for 2018-19

Sharks favorites among NHL.com panel; four others picked as champions

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The San Jose Sharks didn't just land an all-star in defenseman Erik Karlsson when they acquired him a trade with the Ottawa Senators on Sept. 13, they also brought in the final piece to a Stanley Cup championship team, according to seven of the 18 NHL.com panelists who have made their preseason predictions.

The Sharks, who have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 18 of the past 20 seasons, have never won the Cup, reaching the Final in 2016, where they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. 

Karlsson, who played his first nine NHL seasons with the Senators, will also be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the playoffs, three of panelists predicted. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (2), forward Logan Couture (1) and goalie Martin Jones (1) were the other picks for Conn Smythe from San Jose.

Video: Sharks going all in for 2018-19 season

Though the Sharks received the most votes to win the Cup, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who reached the Eastern Conference Final last season, were selected by six experts to win it all. 

The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets each got two votes and the Penguins got one. The Washington Capitals, the defending Stanley Cup champions, were not picked by any of the experts to repeat. In fact, the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights, who played in the Stanley Cup Final last season, were not selected by any of the experts to get back there this season. 

The Lightning are the overwhelming favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the Cup Final, receiving votes from 13 of the 18 experts. The Toronto Maple Leafs (2), Penguins (2) and Boston Bruins (1) got the other votes from the East. 

In the West, the Sharks got nine votes to reach the Final while the Jets got five and Predators four.

Of the six who picked the Lightning to win the Cup, three predicted defenseman Victor Hedman to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, two choose forward Nikita Kucherov and one picked goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. 

The other Conn Smythe picks were Filip Forsberg of the Predators (2), Sidney Crosby of the Penguins (1) and Mark Scheifele of and Patrik Laine of the Jets. 

 

Amalie Benjamin, NHL.com staff writer 

Atlantic Division

1: Tampa Bay Lightning | 2: Toronto Maple Leafs | 3: Boston Bruins

Metropolitan Division

1: Washington Capitals | 2: Pittsburgh Penguins | 3: Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Florida Panthers | 2: Columbus Blue Jackets

Central Division

1: Winnipeg Jets | 2: Nashville Predators | 3: St. Louis Blues

Pacific Division

1: San Jose Sharks | 2: Vegas Golden Knights | 3: Los Angeles Kings

Western Conference wild cards

1: Dallas Stars | 2: Calgary Flames

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: San Jose Sharks

Stanley Cup champion: San Jose Sharks

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Martin Jones (SJS)

Video: VGK@SJS, Gm6: Jones blockers aside Karlsson's wrister

 

Tim Campbell, NHL.com staff writer

Atlantic Division

1: Tampa Bay Lightning | 2: Toronto Maple Leafs | 3: Boston Bruins

Metropolitan Division

1: Pittsburgh Penguins | 2: Washington Capitals | 3: Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Florida Panthers |  2: Buffalo Sabres

Central Division

1: Nashville Predators | 2: Dallas Stars | 3: Winnipeg Jets

Pacific Division

1: San Jose Sharks | 2: Vegas Golden Knights | 3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference wild cards

1: St. Louis Blues | 2: Edmonton Oilers

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: San Jose Sharks

Stanley Cup champion: San Jose Sharks

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Erik Karlsson (SJS)

 

Brian Compton, NHL.com deputy managing editor 

Atlantic Division

1: Toronto Maple Leafs | 2: Tampa Bay Lightning | 3: Boston Bruins

Metropolitan Division

1: Pittsburgh Penguins | 2: Washington Capitals | 3: Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Florida Panthers | No. 2: New York Islanders

Central Division

1: Nashville Predators | 2: St. Louis Blues | 3: Winnipeg Jets

Pacific Division

1: San Jose Sharks | 2: Los Angeles Kings | 3: Vegas Golden Knights

Western Conference wild cards

1: Colorado Avalanche | 2: Calgary Flames

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: San Jose Sharks

Stanley Cup champion: Tampa Bay Lightning

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Nikita Kucherov (TBL)

 

Nicholas J. Cotsonika, NHL.com columnist

Atlantic Division

1: Toronto Maple Leafs | 2: Tampa Bay Lightning | 3: Boston Bruins

Metropolitan Division

1: Pittsburgh Penguins | 2: Washington Capitals | 3: Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Florida Panthers | 2: Columbus Blue Jackets

Central Division

1: Winnipeg Jets | 2: Nashville Predators | 3: Dallas Stars

Pacific Division

1: Vegas Golden Knights | 2: San Jose Sharks | 3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference wild cards

1: St. Louis Blues | 2: Los Angeles Kings

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: Nashville Predators

Stanley Cup champion: Tampa Bay Lightning

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Nikita Kucherov (TBL)

Video: Nikita Kucherov lands at No. 3 on the list

 

Matt Cubeta, director, NHL International

Atlantic Division

1: Tampa Bay Lightning | 2: Toronto Maple Leafs | 3: Boston Bruins

Metropolitan Division

1: Pittsburgh Penguins | 2: Washington Capitals | 3: Columbus Blue Jackets

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Florida Panthers | 2: New York Rangers

Central Division

1: Winnipeg Jets | 2: Nashville Predators | 3: St. Louis Blues

Pacific Division

1: San Jose Sharks | 2: Vegas Golden Knights | 3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference wild cards

1: Edmonton Oilers | 2: Chicago Blackhawks

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: Nashville Predators

Stanley Cup champion:: Tampa Bay Lightning

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Victor Hedman (TBL)

 

Sebastian Deschambault, LNH.com managing editor

Atlantic Division

1: Tampa Bay Lightning | 2: Toronto Maple Leafs | 3: Florida Panthers

Metropolitan Division

1: Pittsburgh Penguins | 2: Washington Capitals |3: Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Boston Bruins | 2: Columbus Blue Jackets

Central Division

1: Winnipeg Jets | 2: Nashville Predators | 3: St. Louis Blues

Pacific Division

1: San Jose Sharks | 2: Vegas Golden Knights | 3: Anaheim Ducks 

Western Conference wild cards

1: Los Angeles Kings | 2: Calgary Flames

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: San Jose Sharks

Stanley Cup champion:: San Jose Sharks

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Erik Karlsson (SJS)

Video: SJS@VGK: Karlsson scores first goal with the Sharks

 

Sergei Feldman, content manager, NHL International 

Atlantic Division

1: Tampa Bay Lightning | 2: Toronto Maple Leafs | 3: Boston Bruins

Metropolitan Division

1: Pittsburgh Penguins | 2: Washington Capitals | 3: Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Florida Panthers | 2: New Jersey Devils

Central Division

1: Winnipeg Jets | 2: St. Louis Blues | 3: Nashville Predators

Pacific Division

1: San Jose Sharks | 2: Los Angeles Kings | 3: Anaheim Ducks

Western Conference wild cards

1: Chicago Blackhawks | 2: Vegas Golden Knights

Conference champions

East: Pittsburgh Penguins

West: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup champion: Pittsburgh Penguins

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Sidney Crosby (PIT)

 

Tom Gulitti, NHL.com staff writer

Atlantic Division

1: Toronto Maple Leafs | 2: Tampa Bay Lightning | 3: Boston Bruins

Metropolitan Division

1: Pittsburgh Penguins | 2: Washington Capitals | 3: Columbus Blue Jackets

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Florida Panthers | 2: New Jersey Devils

Central Division

1: Nashville Predators | 2: Winnipeg Jets | 3: St. Louis Blues

Pacific Division

1: San Jose Sharks | 2: Vegas Golden Knights | 3: Anaheim Ducks

Western Conference wild cards

1: Chicago Blackhawks | 2: Minnesota Wild

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: Nashville Predators

Stanley Cup champion: Nashville Predators

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Filip Forsberg (NSH)

Video: NHL Tonight previews the 2018-19 Nashville Predators

 

Pete Jensen, NHL.com senior fantasy editor 

Atlantic Division

1: Toronto Maple Leafs | 2: Boston Bruins | 3: Tampa Bay Lightning

Metropolitan Division

1: Washington Capitals | 2: Pittsburgh Penguins | 3: Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Florida Panthers | 2: Buffalo Sabres

Central Division

1: Winnipeg Jets | 2: Nashville Predators | 3: St. Louis Blues

Pacific Division

1: San Jose Sharks | 2: Vegas Golden Knights | 3: Los Angeles Kings

Western Conference wild cards

1: Dallas Stars | 2: Colorado Avalanche

Conference champions

East: Boston Bruins

West: San Jose Sharks

Stanley Cup champion: San Jose Sharks

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Erik Karlsson (SJS)

 

Adam Kimelman, NHL.com deputy managing editor 

Atlantic Division

1. Tampa Bay Lightning | 2. Toronto Maple Leafs | 3. Florida Panthers

Metropolitan Division

1. Washington Capitals | 2. Pittsburgh Penguins | 3. Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference wild cards

1. Boston Bruins | 2. Columbus Blue Jackets

Central Division

1. Nashville Predators | 2. Winnipeg Jets | 3. St. Louis Blues

Pacific Division

1. San Jose Sharks | 2. Vegas Golden Knights | 3. Calgary Flames

Western Conference wild cards

1. Dallas Stars | 2. Los Angeles Kings

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: San Jose Sharks

Stanley Cup champion: San Jose Sharks

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Brent Burns (SJS)

 

Mike Morreale, NHL.com staff writer

Atlantic Division

1: Tampa Bay Lightning | 2: Boston Bruins 3: Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division

1: Washington Capitals | 2: Columbus Blue Jackets | 3: Pittsburgh Penguins

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Philadelphia Flyers | 2: New Jersey Devils

Central Division

1: Winnipeg Jets | 2: St. Louis Blues | 3: Nashville Predators

Pacific Division

1: Vegas Golden Knights | 2: San Jose Sharks | 3: Edmonton Oilers

Western Conference wild cards

1: Calgary Flames | 2: Dallas Stars

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup champion: Tampa Bay Lightning

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Victor Hedman (TBL)

 Video: Victor Hedman is named No. 6 on the list

 

Bill Price, NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

Atlantic Division

1: Boston Bruins | 2: Toronto Maple Leafs | 3: Tampa Bay Lightning 

Metropolitan Division

1: Pittsburgh Penguins | 2: Washington Capitals | 3: Carolina Hurricanes 

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: New Jersey Devils | 2: Florida Panthers 

Central Division

1: Winnipeg Jets | 2: Nashville Predators | 3: St. Louis Blues

Pacific Division

1: San Jose Sharks | 2: Vegas Golden Knights | 3: Calgary Flames 

Western Conference wild cards

1: Anaheim Ducks | 2: Edmonton Oilers 

Conference champions

East: Toronto Maple Leafs

West: San Jose Sharks 

Stanley Cup champion: San Jose Sharks

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Logan Couture (SJS)

 

Rob Reese, NHL.com fantasy 

Atlantic Division

1: Toronto Maple Leafs | 2: Boston Bruins | 3: Tampa Bay Lightning

Metropolitan Division

1: Pittsburgh Penguins | 2: Washington Capitals | 3: Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Florida Panthers | 2: Columbus Blue Jackets

Central Division

1: Winnipeg Jets | 2: Dallas Stars | 3: Nashville Predators

Pacific Division

1: San Jose Sharks | 2: Los Angeles Kings | 3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference wild cards

1: Vegas Golden Knights | 2: St. Louis Blues

Conference champions

East: Toronto Maple Leafs

West: San Jose Sharks

Stanley Cup champion: San Jose Sharks

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Brent Burns (SJS)

 Video: Brent Burns is named No. 18 on the list

 

Shawn P. Roarke, NHL.com director of editorial

Atlantic Division

1: Toronto Maple Leafs | 2: Boston Bruins | 3: Tampa Bay Lightning

Metropolitan Division

1: Pittsburgh Penguins | 2: Columbus Blue Jackets | 3: Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Florida Panthers | 2: Washington Capitals

Central Division

1: Dallas Stars | 2: Nashville Predators | 3: Winnipeg Jets

Pacific Division

1: Los Angeles Kings | 2: San Jose Sharks | 3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference wild cards

1: Anaheim Ducks | 2: St. Louis Blues

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: Nashville Predators

Stanley Cup champion: Nashville Predators

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Filip Forsberg (NSH)

 

Dan Rosen, NHL.com senior writer

Atlantic Division

1: Tampa Bay Lightning | 2: Toronto Maple Leafs | 3: Boston Bruins

Metropolitan Division

1: Washington Capitals | 2: Pittsburgh Penguins | 3: Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Florida Panthers | 2: New Jersey Devils

Central Division

1: Winnipeg Jets | 2: Nashville Predators | 3: St. Louis Blues

Pacific Division

1: San Jose Sharks | 2: Los Angeles Kings | 3: Vegas Golden Knights

Western Conference wild cards

1: Dallas Stars | 2: Colorado Avalanche

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: San Jose Sharks

Stanley Cup champion: Tampa Bay Lightning

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Victor Hedman (TBL)

 

Dave Stubbs, NHL. com columnist 

Atlantic Division

1. Tampa Bay Lightning | 2. Toronto Maple Leafs | 3. Boston Bruins

Metropolitan Division

1. Columbus Blue Jackets | 2. Pittsburgh Penguins | 3. Washington Capitals

Eastern Conference wild cards

1. Florida Panthers | 2. Philadelphia Flyers

Central Division

1. Winnipeg Jets | 2. Nashville Predators | 3. Dallas Stars

Pacific Division 

1. San Jose Sharks | 2. Vegas Golden Knights | 3. Calgary Flames

Western Conference wild cards

1. Anaheim Ducks | 2. St. Louis Blues

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup champion: Winnipeg Jets

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Mark Scheifele (WPG)

Video: NHL Tonight previews the 2018-19 Winnipeg Jets 

 

Mike Zeisberger, NHL.com staff writer

Atlantic Division

1: Tampa Bay Lightning | 2: Toronto Maple Leafs | 3: Boston Bruins

Metropolitan Division

1: Pittsburgh Penguins | 2: Washington Capitals | 3: Columbus Blue Jackets

Eastern Conference wild cards

1: Philadelphia Flyers | 2: Buffalo Sabres

Central Division

1: Winnipeg Jets | 2: Nashville Predators | 3: Dallas Stars

Pacific Division

1: San Jose Sharks | 2: Vegas Golden Knights | 3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference wild cards

1: St. Louis Blues | 2: Colorado Avalanche

Conference champions

East: Tampa Bay Lightning

West: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup champion: Tampa Bay Lightning

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB)

 

Tracey Myers, NHL.com staff writer 

Atlantic Division

1. Boston Bruins | 2. Tampa Bay Lightning | 3. Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division

1. Pittsburgh Penguins | 2. Columbus Blue Jackets | 3. Washington Capitals

Eastern Conference wild cards

1.: Philadelphia Flyers | 2: New Jersey Devils

Central Division

1. Winnipeg Jets | 2. Nashville Predators | 3. Dallas Stars

Pacific Division

1. San Jose Sharks | 2. Vegas Golden Knights | 3. Arizona Coyotes

Western Conference wild cards

1. St. Louis Blues | 2. Colorado Avalanche

Conference champions

East: Pittsburgh Penguins

West: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup champion: Winnipeg Jets

Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Patrik Laine (WPG)

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