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NHL Season Predictions: Eastern Conference

Highly subjective standings predictions.

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Six Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

To round out the Defending Big D staff’s season predictions, we present the Eastern Conference standings. Many of us feel it’s a little bit of “more of the same” in the other conference.

While David’s dog left us with his Eastern Conference standings, Huw’s swallowed the whole thing — which explains the holes in this one too.

Below is our Eastern Conference prediction along with our season in GIF form offerings for your enjoyment.


Taylor: In the East, Washington likely squeaks out the regular season title again, but Pittsburgh and Tampa will be within shouting distance this year. The Leafs make the playoffs thanks to American wonder Auston Matthews and Canada has to admit that good hockey can be played south of Detroit.

Eastern Conference season in GIF form:


Erin: New Jersey makes a surprising foray back into the playoffs while the Bruins continue to regret confusing talent and temperament. Jaromir Jagr continues to defy all laws of human nature to help the Florida Panthers continue to be the most interesting team on the east coast if still the second-most successful one in Florida.

Eastern Conference season in GIF form:


Robert: The Wings keep hanging on to the Streak by their rock climber-like finger muscles, and Florida does a great job of amassing points with a good team in a weak division. Canada's teams are still bad, but Montreal sneaks in thanks to Carey Price's getting hurt much later in the season than last year. Montreal will blame Subban.

Eastern Conference season in GIF form:


Mike: I would not be surprised if the road to the Stanley Cup Final goes through the Sunshine State. Both the Panthers and Lightning will be atop the East. Detroit will somehow continue to make the postseason and Montreal will do what Montreal does - disappoint. I also see Boston returning to the playoffs, and would not be surprised if Buffalo makes a push for the No. 8 seed. The East is top heavy but the bottom of the conference, well, not so good.

Eastern Conference season in GIF form:


Ann: Florida and Tampa battle it out for the Atlantic Division, Pittsburgh tries for a repeat while Washington tries again to not waste Ovechkin's best years. Who cares, I'm just washing the East for updates on Sam Gagner.

Eastern Conference season in GIF form:


David: Tampa is still primed to dominate. Pittsburgh almost never stays healthy, which is their only real flaw. Washington is still kind of an x-factor team hindered by a patchwork blueline. Toronto will be a force in a few years thanks to Randy Carlyle and Dave Nonis' impressive failures.

Eastern Conference season in GIF form:


Jordan: It's a clear two-horse race in each of the Eastern Conference divisions. Pittsburgh and Washington will fight for the Metro crown while Tampa Bay and Florida will do battle for the Atlantic. The Bruins will sneak in while the Red Wings will finally see their streak fall.

Eastern Conference season in GIF form:


Huw: I think the Eastern Conference will end up being the same old, same old. Pittsburgh and Washington will dominate the Metropolitan division although the Rangers will follow them closely. Tampa tops the Atlantic division but their interstate rivals, the Florida Panthers, will give them a fight for their money. The Bruins will get back into the playoffs this season too. I don't think there will be many surprises coming from the East.

Eastern Conference season in GIF form:


Wes: I don't know, man. I would challenge someone to talk me out of Tampa Bay or Florida, but that seems like over-thinking things. Pittsburgh is top-heavy, but in a light-travel/light-talent conference all they need to do is land somewhere in the top eight to be dangerous. Montreal is going to regret losing Subban. There's a lot of junk in the middle of this conference, guys, and it'll get nastier when Lundqvist and Bishop head west in trades.


Melissa: Watch out for the Panthers, who beat out the Bolts for the top spot in the Atlantic. Meanwhile, the Caps and the Pens pick up where they left off last season, and the Bruins miss the playoffs (again), while the Hurricanes make the cut.

Eastern Conference season in GIF form:


Kathleen: The Penguins have the momentum, which may be all the differentiator they need in the Metropolitan. The Lightning will look to rebound from last season but will still have their hands full with the scrappy, hungry Panthers in the Atlantic. No one can sleep on the Devils; I'd put money on them making it back to the playoffs. The Bruins won't be last, but they won't make the postseason, either.

Eastern Conference season in GIF form: