Very Surprising NHL Standings Predictions From ESPN For 2023-24 Season

Some credited sites that cover the NHL are known to have reliable people and to put out content we can trust. In the case of ESPN, there have been some questionable predictions made over recent years. The latest includes the predicted standings for the 2023-24 season.

Starting with the Atlantic Division, there are definitely some surprises they expect to happen. The Toronto Maple Leafs winning the division and the Montreal Canadiens/Detroit Red Wings bringing up the rear are exactly how it will probably end up, but the rest is definitely up in the air.

The Boston Bruins, after losing half of their key players and failing to add nearly anybody, will have a tough time all season long. Their PDO (luck stat) was incredibly high for the entire regular season and came down to Earth in the playoffs. The Florida Panthers do have the staff, but like the Tampa Bay Lightning, are missing at least one key player to start the season. Both teams down South will have to battle to start, but predicting the Lightning to miss the playoffs is bold with the high-end talent they have. Yes, the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, or both can make the playoffs, but I don't see much of a difference between the two teams. If anything, the Sabres might have the edge since they can stay healthy.

Moving on, I actually see no problem with how the Metropolitan is predicted. While I do believe that the New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, and New York Rangers could end up in any combination in the top-four, these are who should make the playoffs and the rest should miss.

The problem with the predictions in the Central Division is that they are very bold after the top-three. Yes, the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, and Minnesota Wild should finish top-three, but seeing the Nashville Predators make the playoffs and the Arizona Coyotes just missing seems very optimistic for young teams with holes. The Predators have some key players, but will continue to lack offense. The Coyotes aren'y there just yet as the defense leaves a lot to be desired right now.

The top-three teams in the Pacific Division seem to be spot on, even if the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights are swapped, but after that it is kind of a chicken shoot again. The Calgary Flames did struggle last season, but with a new coach, a big rebound is in order. But, the Vancouver Canucks are also in line for a rebound with a bit of a makeover and health permitting. The Seattle Kraken missing the playoffs isn't crazy. They still don't have a superstar yet and the depth scoring will be tough to replicate from last season.

While there are some solid (but easily predictable) predictions from ESPN, there are some bold picks and some picks that just don't make much sense. We will have to see how the season goes.

Photo credit:  © Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports