*Because of lockdown madness, the 2020-21 NHL season will have the four divisions playing against each other in their regions. This is a breakdown of my prediction for the Stanley Cup Playoff participants for the 2020-21 season. The top 4 teams from each division will play each other in the first two rounds. Then what would be the Conference Finals, the four remaining teams will be ranked 1-4 on their regular season point totals. The one-seed will play the fourth-seed and the second-seed will play the third-seed.
1. Philadelphia Flyers
Last year might not have ended the way they hoped, but they are far too talented to not make another run.
2. Boston Bruins
Their defense took a hit in free agency. Their depth on offense should help offset any issues on the blue line.
3. New York Islanders
The Barry Trotz system is working to near perfection on Long Island.
4. New York Rangers
This is their chance to show a quick turnaround in their rebuild to become contenders.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins
It would be shocking to see them miss the playoffs, but there are too many holes that could be hard to overcome down the stretch.
6. Washington Capitals
The cap crunch is coming and some players are starting to show their age on the ice.
7. Buffalo Sabres
If they weren’t playing in a stacked division like this one, they could be contending for a Wild Card spot.
8. New Jersey Devils
They fell flat on the ice last year and this season won’t be any better for them.
* – indicates new to team
+ – indicates injury
1. Oakland Athletics
They certainly have the most upside at numerous positions, but will it translate into good things in October?
2. Houston Astros
Their GM and Manager have both been fired from the sign stealing investigation. Can Dusty Baker keep them as contenders?
3. Los Angeles Angels
Bringing in Joe Maddon was the smart move and signing Anthony Rendon was nice, but their pitching staff is still suspect.
4. Texas Rangers
With the opening of a new ballpark who will be the player that takes this team to the next level?
5. Seattle Mariners
The direction is pretty straight forward, but when will they finally say it’s time to become contenders?
Player to Watch: OF Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels
Best Acquisition: 3B Anthony Rendon – Los Angeles Angels
New Kid on the Block: OF Jo Adell – Los Angeles Angels
1. Washington Capitals
With a few tweaks on defense this is still the best team in a stacked division.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins
Even without Phil Kessel, the Pens have plenty of scoring potential.
3. Carolina Hurricanes
Their playoff run last year wasn’t a fluke and they should be contenders again.
4. New Jersey Devils
A healthy Taylor Hall with their off-season additions has them primed for playoff contention.
5. New York Rangers
Their rebuild got a big boost with the signing of Artemi Panarin.
6. Philadelphia Flyers
They finally have a franchise netminder, but who will be the focal point on offense?
7. Columbus Blue Jackets
A lot of changes, but that doesn’t mean they won’t compete and surprise some.
8. New York Islanders
The only reason they’re at this spot is because so many other teams made improvements.
For the 90th year of the Midsummer Classic, baseball turns its sights to Progressive Field (formerly Jacobs Field or “The Jake”) in Cleveland, Ohio. The last time the mid-summer classic was played in Cleveland was in 1997. Now every year there is always a lot of discussion and some of it a little dated about how the teams are put together. No system will ever be perfect. Fans don’t always get it right and managers won’t either, nor the commissioner’s office. The fact that the players are able to vote for participants was a great choice and they know who is deserving. Regardless of who should or shouldn’t be in the game lets just accept that the best players will always be involved one way or another. Here are my all-stars keeping with the rules that every team be represented and a total of 32 players for each league.
AVG – Batting Average
ERA – Earned Run Average
HR – Home Runs
RBI – Runs Batted In
SV – Saves
BAA – Batting Average Against
WHIP – Walks/Hits Per Innings Pitched
K – Strikeouts
Stats are accurate as of July 5
* – asterisk indicates starter