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Photo Credit: Geoff Burke / USA TODAY Sports

TLN Roundtable: Bold Predictions

We’re feeling like some hot takes at the TLN office, so it’s time to let them loose.

With the NHL season just around the corner, we asked our writers for their bold predictions for this upcoming season. Most are about the Leafs, but a couple are about the league as a whole.

What’s your bold prediction heading into the season?

Jon Steitzer

North Korea will be invaded.

It will postpone the Olympics for a year.

The NHL will go.

Sam Blazer

One or more of the big three will get injured, and the season with so much hype will have to pump the brakes a bit. The Leafs will still make the playoffs, and they will put up a fight, but Stanley Cup talk is too much.

Scott Maxwell

My bold prediction this season is that Matthews will see a decrease in production. Not to say that he won’t improve, but I think it will more come from his defensive ability. I don’t see Matthews scoring 70+ in his sophomore year, but I think he’ll have a 30 goal, 35 assist season (or something in that range), and become a much better two-way forward.

Brayden Engel

My bold prediction is this season will surpass the hype, like last year’s did. Everything good that everyone expects to happen will in fact happen, and the Leafs will be awarded two Stanley Cups as a result.

Ryan Fancey

My bold prediction is Nylander is top five in points league-wide. Which isn’t even bold really.

Ian Tulloch

Zach Hyman will score 20 goals this season. I’ll take a moment to let you spit out your drink…great, now let my explain why this crazy assertion might not be so crazy. Hyman generated a ton of chances last year. Based on shot location data, we would’ve expected Hyman to score about 13 even strength goals last year based on the shots he was generating (link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10kUcyJiLHNUvh7a6oMnlhGopSlQjJ8Zs0xfgvbXp7e0/edit#gid=457552015). He only scored 6. Keep in mind that this model takes shooter history into account – it’s not expecting him to go bar down from the top of the circle.

Nazem Kadri had a similar issue in 2015-2016. He was expected to score significantly more goals than he actually did, but ran into a horrible stretch of shooting luck. The next year, his Sh% bounced back and he went on to score over 30 goals. Now, I’m not suggesting that Hyman’s going to do the same thing, but the logic is similar. If his shooting luck regresses to the mean, and he’s able to generate the same chances he did last year (which is likely if he’s playing on a line with Matthews and Nylander), I think it’s fair to anticipate him scoring 13 even strength goals. Throw in 3 on the penalty kill, which is entirely reasonable, and you only need 4 more goals to get to 20. If Hyman gets any extended period of time as the net-front presence on the Leafs’ PP (which was 2nd in the year last year), I think he can hit 4 no problem. Is this a likely scenario? Absolutely not, but it’s within the realm of possibility.

Zach Hyman, 20-goal scorer. You heard it here first.

  • Matmarwill

    Here’s some predictions:

    a) matthews: ppg
    b) marner: fifty points (injury?)
    c) kadri: sixty points
    d) nylander: 70 pts
    e) andersen: 2.45 gaa, 923 sv%, 35 wins
    f) big mac: ten wins
    g) rosen: 3 pair lhd
    h) polak: conditioning pto on marlies, then 4th pairing d with maricin
    i) brown: 4th line rw
    j) kappy + sosh: injury callups
    k) dermot + borgman: injury callups

  • jbrough7

    I had that thought also that Hyman would score twenty or close to it. Geez, that Matthews line was damn good in the playoffs so maybe Hyman SHOULD be there. He did get some important points so maybe he has turned a corner offensively.

  • leafdreamer

    I lové Zach Hyman. I wish someone would write an article about how good his Corsi is so that the rest of the sheep can start liking him too. Nice beginning Ian!

  • FlareKnight

    The only problem with the idea that Hyman will score 20 is….ability. I just don’t think Hyman has the physical ability to shoot well enough for 20 goals in the NHL. Even if he stays attached to Matthews for his career. If he can crack the 10 mark that will be nice.

    With Kadri, it’s not like didn’t know he could score. Since he made the team on a regular basis he’s kept it around 20, being a bit above and below that mark until last year.