Predictions For The 2023-24 NHL Season

The 2023-24 NHL season is just days away, with numerous annual awards and trophies to recognize its teams and players. Most trophies and all-star selections are presented at an annual awards ceremony held in late June after the Stanley Cup is awarded. Let’s go through my predictions for the 2023-24 season.

Individual Award & Player Predictions

The race begins for individual awards, and as the league’s dynamics have been shifting in the last few years, I think player awards will look quite different this year.

Hart Memorial Trophy – Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

I think this one goes without saying: Connor McDavid is due for another big year scoring-wise. McDavid also appears on this list a few more times, and I think it goes without saying why he reappears on this list.

Previous Winner: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy – Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes

I almost didn’t want to attempt to predict this trophy, as it takes just three penalties, and the player is basically not considered. Slavin is a solid candidate for this trophy, and I think he’s shown for the last few seasons that he is due for a Lady Byng trophy.

Previous Winner: Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

Vezina Trophy – Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars

Here’s the first of a few more outlandish takes on this list. Jake Oettinger and the Dallas Stars are due to take over the central division, and it’s just a matter of when and not if they will take over. Jake Oettinger is a part of the Dallas Stars’ incredible 2017 draft class, and Oettinger has shown he’s ready to be a part of the Vezina discussion sooner rather than later.

Previous Winner: Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins

Calder Memorial Trophy – Connor Bedard, Chicago Blackhawks

I think Connor Bedard is going to have a massive rookie season. However, I’m skeptical of choosing Bedard because of the other names, like Logan Cooley, Luke Hughes, Devon Levi, and Matthew Knies, to name a few. However, Bedard is the front and center of the Chicago Blackhawks franchise. Bedard has shown a ton of promise in the preseason so far, and I’m confident that it will translate to the regular season.

Previous Winner: Matty Beniers, Seattle Kraken

Art Ross Trophy – Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Another Connor McDavid prediction, and I argue that McDavid will continue to post career-high numbers. I think it isn’t outlandish to believe that McDavid can realistically achieve 170 points this season.

Previous Winner: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

James Norris Memorial Trophy – Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres

Rasmus Dahlin is heading into a contract year, and the Buffalo Sabres want to keep his AAV as low as possible. What better motivator for Dahlin and his camp to get a substantial AAV for the maximum term by bringing a Norris Trophy win to the negotiating table?

Previous Winner: Erik Karlsson, Pittsburgh Penguins

Conn Smythe Trophy – Morgan Reilly, Toronto Maple Leafs

When I said this might get a bit outlandish, the Toronto Maple Leafs making the Stanley Cup Finals and winning is far-fetched. Morgan Reilly would undoubtedly be one of the top candidates on the Maple Leafs to receive the Conn Smythe Trophy if the Maple Leafs finally ended the drought.

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy – Max Pacioretty, Washington Capitals

At face value, I almost didn’t want to put a Bill Masterton prediction down. However, Max Pacioretty hasn’t played a full season for a few years. I think if he’s healthy, he will run away with this trophy easily. The Washington Capitals have built their team to help Alex Ovechkin achieve the all-time goal-scoring record, and Pacioretty is one of the best players to help Ovechkin in his pursuit.

Previous Winner: Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins

Ted Lindsay Award – Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Connor McDavid will likely bring home several awards this season, including the Ted Lindsay Award. He has progressed each season and always looks better than his previous season. The Ted Lindsay Award is not too out of reach for McDavid to take home yet again.

Previous Winner: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Jack Adams Award – Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs are due for a big year, especially with their free-agent acquisitions and recent draft picks. The additions and subtractions to the front office can also be a massive benefit to the team and to Sheldon Keefe’s ability to work with the players. I don’t think it’s unrealistic for Sheldon Keefe to be considered for the Jack Adams this year.

Previous Winner: Jim Montgomery, Boston Bruins

Frank J. Selke Trophy – Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs

Mitch Marner has been a solid defensive forward for a number of years. When the Maple Leafs penalty kill unit considered having Marner as a defenseman on occasion, this was a clear sign that Marner is quite defensively sound. Marner has been a crucial piece to the Maple Leafs’ success in their special units, and it shows even during five-on-five play.

Previous Winner: Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

William M. Jennings Trophy – Connor Hellebuyck & Laurent Brossoit, Winnipeg Jets

While I do have Oettinger winning the Vezina Trophy, I don’t see him having the best goals-against average for the season. The Winnipeg Jets have just brought back former backup goaltender and 2023 Stanley Cup Champion Laurent Brossoit. Brossoit and Hellebuyck were incredible together before Brossoit left for Vegas, and it was only a matter of time before Cheveldayoff attempted a reunion.

The Winnipeg Jets are due to have a better season in 2023-24. Similarly, they started strong in the 2022-23 season while also being first in their division In January of 2023 before losing almost all momentum. This is poised to be a far better season for the Jets, with a ton of changes happening in the offseason.

Previous Winners: Linus Ullmark & Jeremy Swayman, Boston Bruins

King Clancy Memorial Trophy – Mikael Backlund, Calgary Flames

The 2023 King Clancy Memorial Trophy winner and new captain of the Calgary Flames will continue to build on the momentum that he’s had throughout his entire career. Mikael Backlund is a great person off the ice, and I don’t see why he couldn’t continue reigning with another King Clancy Memorial Trophy win.

Previous Winner: Mikael Backlund, Calgary Flames

Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy – Tage Thompson, Buffalo Sabres

This year, Tage Thompson is my dark horse pick for the Rocket Richard Trophy. I think he’s overdue to post a ton of goals, and the Buffalo Sabres are overdue for a breakthrough as a team. Tage Thompson is ready to shoot into superstardom, and a surge in goals could net him a Rocket Richard Trophy this season. However, with tough competition with Auston Matthews, David Pastrnak, and Connor McDavid, Thompson could come close but not close enough to win the trophy.

Previous Winner: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Mark Messier Leadership Award – John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs

This definitely deserves to become a reality, in my opinion. John Tavares has been more than just a leader for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tavares has worked himself into a role with the most demanding organization to play that may never be replicated. A Stanley Cup dG.M.ught that is nearing 60 years, if that comes to an end this year, Tavares would be one of the many people recognized in a E.J.dership role for that win.

Previous Winner: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award – Brad Treliving, Toronto Maple Leafs

Brad Treliving accepted the job as General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs just before the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. The additions he made are far better than most people have realized up until this point. The team is heading into a big year with a lot of changes, and Brad Treliving is at the front of a lot of the changes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brad Treliving has earned himself a GM of the Year Award with his new team.

Previous Winner: Jim Nill, Dallas Stars

E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence – Mack Celebrini, Boston University (NCAA)

For the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence, I think it is standard to say the player who is most likely to become the first overall pick in their draft class will most likely win the award. Mack Celebrini is my pick to win the E.J McGuire Award of Excellence this year.

Previous Winner: Connor Bedard, Chicago Blackhawks

Team Awards & Standing Predictions

Stanley Cup – Toronto Maple Leafs

Call me crazy for this one, my argument is solely that the Toronto Maple Leafs beat their playoff struggles of not being to make it out of the first round. Now, the task for the team is to continue winning in the post-season and go the distance for the first time since 1967. This is going to be a different year for the Toronto Maple Leafs, they’ve hired a new general manager who has made some solid acquisitions. Most notably, Auston Matthews will walk into the 2023-24 season with a contract extension in place. Now the team can focus on the task of competing for a Stanley Cup this year.

Previous Winner: Vegas Golden Knights

Prince of Wales Trophy – Toronto Maple Leafs

I won’t go into depth on this one, but I do think if the Toronto Maple Leafs can get past the second round this year, they will not be stopped. The Maple Leafs have the depth and the strength in the team to get it done, they just need to overcome the mental side of winning in the playoffs.

Previous Winner: Florida Panthers

Clarence S. Campbell Bowl – Vegas Golden Knights

Here’s a run that I can see happening, the Vegas Golden Knights have gone on some incredible runs throughout their short history. However, I think the Vegas Golden Knights will fall short in the 2024 Stanley Cup Finals. While they do have a ton of promise and room for contention, I don’t see Vegas going back-to-back like the Tampa Bay Lightning did.

Previous Winner: Vegas Golden Knights

Presidents’ Trophy – New Jersey Devils

For me, it was either the New Jersey Devils or the Carolina Hurricanes being the President’s Trophy winner this season. While I don’t see the Devils breaking records, I do see them taking home a President’s Trophy win. They’ve built their team nicely and are ready to breakthrough into a top contending team.

Previous Winner: Boston Bruins

Eastern Conference Predictions

I’m not going to go super in-depth into this, but I do see Buffalo finally breaking into a playoff spot. They’ve built a strong team and are due to overcome years of disappointment and heartbreak. I can see Boston barely sneaking into a playoff spot due to Tampa being unable to stabilize their goaltending with Vasilevskiy being out long-term. As for the Metro, I don’t see it being a division where there’s much fighting for a playoff spot. Maybe the Penguins and Islanders will battle it out for the final playoff spot, but that’s about it.

Atlantic Division

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs (y)
  2. Florida Panthers (x)
  3. Buffalo Sabres (x)
  4. Boston Bruins (x)
  5. Tampa Bay Lightning (e)
  6. Ottawa Senators (e)
  7. Detroit Red Wings (e)
  8. Montreal Canadiens (e)

Metropolitan Division

  1. New Jersey Devils (p)
  2. Carolina Hurricanes (x)
  3. New York Rangers (x)
  4. Pittsburgh Penguins (x)
  5. New York Islanders (e)
  6. Columbus Blue Jackets (e)
  7. Washington Capitals (e)
  8. Philadelphia Flyers (e)

Western Conference Predictions

The western conference is at a point where there isn’t much to predict. There are competitive teams and bottom teams, it’s fairly easy to figure out who will be placed where and I don’t think there will be many suprises.

Central Division

  1. Dallas Stars (y)
  2. Colorado Avalanche (x)
  3. Winnipeg Jets (x)
  4. Nashville Predators (x)
  5. Arizona Coyotes (e)
  6. Minnesota Wild (e)
  7. St. Louis Blues (e)
  8. Chicago Blackhawks (e)

Pacific Division

  1. Edmonton Oilers (z)
  2. Los Angeles Kings (x)
  3. Vegas Golden Knights (x)
  4. Calgary Flames (x)
  5. Vancouver Canucks (e)
  6. Seattle Kraken (e)
  7. Anaheim Ducks (e)
  8. San Jose Sharks (e)

Playoff Key

p – President’s Trophy
y – Clinched Division
z – Clinched Conference
x – Clinched Playoff Spot
e – Eliminated

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

4 thoughts on “Predictions For The 2023-24 NHL Season

  1. I got news for new the Maple Laughs will continue the trend of no Stanley Cups which means well over 20,000 days and 57 years.

  2. Keep an eye on Nashville.
    Really. At the end of last season, not only did newbies from the Milwaukee farm come up and keep the “left for dead” Predators in the playoff hunt far too long, those youngsters skipped right over the, “I can’t believe I am up here,” phase and played in the, “Yup, this feels right,” confidence stage.
    Colorado takes the division but the Predators make Dallas blink and Winnipeg topples to fourth.

  3. I wouldn’t totally count the Lightning out. They will struggle without Vasy but if their defense can prevent enough shots against they should be able to hang around long enough to stay in/around the playoff picture. Once Vasy returns anything is possible.

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