2020 NHL postseason: Picks for qualification round, Stanley Cup


After months of a pandemic-induced pause, the NHL returns in earnest on Saturday. Players will hit the ice again as the NHL’s return-to-play plan hits Phase 4 and the postseason begins.

Unlike the traditional playoff format, the league is running a 24-team tournament, with 12 teams from each conference playing in fan-less arenas in Toronto (for the East) and Edmonton (for the West). The top four teams in each conference are in the round of 16, and seeds 5 through 12 will square off to see who will take the next step toward immortality.

We gathered our panel of NHL experts to make their picks on each qualification round series, along with how they foresee the round-robin teams finishing.

More: Check out the full NHL postseason schedule here.

Jump to:
East round-robin | PIT-MTL
West round-robin | EDM-CHI

Eastern Conference

Sean Allen: Lightning, Capitals, Bruins, Flyers
Ben Arledge: Lightning, Bruins, Capitals, Flyers

Pierre Becquey: Bruins, Lightning, Capitals, Flyers
John Buccigross: Lightning, Bruins, Capitals, Flyers
Sach Chandan: Lightning, Bruins, Capitals, Flyers
Linda Cohn: Lightning, Capitals, Bruins, Flyers
Aimee Crawford: Lightning, Bruins, Capitals, Flyers
Dimitri Filipovic: Bruins, Lightning, Capitals, Flyers
Emily Kaplan: Bruins, Capitals, Lightning, Flyers
Tim Kavanagh: Lightning, Flyers, Bruins, Capitals
Don La Greca: Bruins, Capitals, Lightning, Flyers
Vince Masi: Capitals, Flyers, Bruins, Lightning
Victoria Matiash: Lightning, Bruins, Capitals, Flyers
Arda Ocal: Bruins, Lightning, Capitals, Flyers
Greg Wyshynski: Bruins, Lightning, Flyers, Capitals

Sean Allen: Penguins in 4
Ben Arledge: Penguins in 4
Pierre Becquey: Penguins in 4
John Buccigross: Penguins in 5
Sach Chandan: Canadiens in 5
Linda Cohn: Penguins in 4
Aimee Crawford: Penguins in 3
Dimitri Filipovic: Penguins in 4
Emily Kaplan: Penguins in 4
Tim Kavanagh: Penguins in 3
Don La Greca: Penguins in 4
Vince Masi: Penguins in 4
Victoria Matiash: Penguins in 5
Arda Ocal: Penguins in 3
Greg Wyshynski: Penguins in 3

Top pick: Penguins (14).

Sean Allen: Rangers in 4
Ben Arledge: Rangers in 5

Pierre Becquey: Hurricanes in 5
John Buccigross: Rangers in 5
Sach Chandan: Hurricanes in 4
Linda Cohn: Rangers in 4
Aimee Crawford: Rangers in 5
Dimitri Filipovic: Hurricanes in 5
Emily Kaplan: Rangers in 5
Tim Kavanagh: Hurricanes in 4
Don La Greca: Rangers in 5
Vince Masi: Hurricanes in 5
Victoria Matiash: Rangers in 4
Arda Ocal: Rangers in 5
Greg Wyshynski: Hurricanes in 4

Top pick: Rangers (9).

Sean Allen: Panthers in 4
Ben Arledge: Islanders in 4
Pierre Becquey: Panthers in 5
John Buccigross: Islanders in 5
Sach Chandan: Panthers in 4
Linda Cohn: Islanders in 5
Aimee Crawford: Islanders in 5
Dimitri Filipovic: Islanders in 4
Emily Kaplan: Islanders in 5
Tim Kavanagh: Islanders in 3
Don La Greca: Islanders in 4
Vince Masi: Islanders in 5
Victoria Matiash: Panthers in 4
Arda Ocal: Islanders in 4
Greg Wyshynski: Islanders in 4

Top pick: Islanders (11).

Sean Allen: Maple Leafs in 3
Ben Arledge: Maple Leafs in 5
Pierre Becquey: Maple Leafs in 4
John Buccigross: Blue Jackets in 5
Sach Chandan: Maple Leafs in 3
Linda Cohn: Blue Jackets in 5
Aimee Crawford: Maple Leafs in 4
Dimitri Filipovic: Maple Leafs in 5
Emily Kaplan: Maple Leafs in 5
Tim Kavanagh: Maple Leafs in 4
Don La Greca: Maple Leafs in 4
Vince Masi: Blue Jackets in 5
Victoria Matiash: Maple Leafs in 5
Arda Ocal: Maple Leafs in 4
Greg Wyshynski: Maple Leafs in 4

Top pick: Maple Leafs (12).

Western Conference

Sean Allen: Blues, Golden Knights, Avs, Stars
Ben Arledge: Golden Knights, Blues, Avs, Stars

Pierre Becquey: Avs, Blues, Golden Knights, Stars
John Buccigross: Blues, Avs, Stars, Golden Knights
Sach Chandan: Golden Knights, Blues, Avs, Stars
Linda Cohn: Golden Knights, Avs, Blues, Stars
Aimee Crawford: Blues, Avs, Golden Knights, Stars
Dimitri Filipovic: Avs, Blues, Golden Knights, Stars
Emily Kaplan: Avs, Blues, Golden Knights, Stars
Tim Kavanagh: Avs, Blues, Stars, Golden Knights
Don La Greca: Blues, Avs, Stars, Golden Knights
Vince Masi: Golden Knights, Avs, Blues, Stars
Victoria Matiash: Avs, Golden Knights, Blues, Stars
Arda Ocal: Avs, Blues, Golden Knights, Stars
Greg Wyshynski: Avs, Blues, Stars, Golden Knights

Sean Allen: Blackhawks in 5
Ben Arledge: Blackhawks in 5
Pierre Becquey: Oilers in 5
John Buccigross: Oilers in 4
Sach Chandan: Oilers in 3
Linda Cohn: Oilers in 4
Aimee Crawford: Oilers in 4
Dimitri Filipovic: Oilers in 4
Emily Kaplan: Oilers in 5
Tim Kavanagh: Blackhawks in 4
Don La Greca: Oilers in 5
Vince Masi: Oilers in 4
Victoria Matiash: Oilers in 4
Arda Ocal: Oilers in 5
Greg Wyshynski: Oilers in 4

Top pick: Oilers (12).

Sean Allen: Coyotes in 4
Ben Arledge: Predators in 4

Pierre Becquey: Predators in 4
John Buccigross: Predators in 4
Sach Chandan: Predators in 5
Linda Cohn: Predators in 5
Aimee Crawford: Predators in 3
Dimitri Filipovic: Coyotes in 5
Emily Kaplan: Predators in 5
Tim Kavanagh: Predators in 4
Don La Greca: Predators in 3
Vince Masi: Predators in 4
Victoria Matiash: Predators in 3
Arda Ocal: Coyotes in 5
Greg Wyshynski: Coyotes in 5

Top pick: Predators (11).

Sean Allen: Wild in 3
Ben Arledge: Canucks in 3
Pierre Becquey: Canucks in 4
John Buccigross: Canucks in 5
Sach Chandan: Canucks in 3
Linda Cohn: Canucks in 4
Aimee Crawford: Canucks in 5
Dimitri Filipovic: Canucks in 5
Emily Kaplan: Canucks in 4
Tim Kavanagh: Wild in 5
Don La Greca: Canucks in 4
Vince Masi: Canucks in 5
Victoria Matiash: Wild in 4
Arda Ocal: Canucks in 5
Greg Wyshynski: Canucks in 5

Top pick: Canucks (12).

Sean Allen: Jefs in 4
Ben Arledge: Jefs in 4
Pierre Becquey: Jets in 5
John Buccigross: Flames in 5
Sach Chandan: Jets in 5
Linda Cohn: Flames in 5
Aimee Crawford: Jets in 5
Dimitri Filipovic: Jets in 4
Emily Kaplan: Jets in 4
Tim Kavanagh: Flames in 4
Don La Greca: Jets in 5
Vince Masi: Jets in 5
Victoria Matiash: Jets in 4
Arda Ocal: Flames in 4
Greg Wyshynski: Flames in 4

Top pick: Jets (10).

Way-too-early Stanley Cup Final picks

Sean Allen: Lightning over Golden Knights
Ben Arledge: Lightning over Avs
Pierre Becquey: Penguins over Avs
John Buccigross: Lightning over Blues
Sach Chandan: Lightning over Stars
Linda Cohn: Lightning over Golden Knights
Aimee Crawford: Lightning over Avs
Dimitri Filipovic: Lightning over Golden Knights
Emily Kaplan: Penguins over Avalanche
Tim Kavanagh: Blues over Capitals
Don La Greca: Lightning over Blues
Vince Masi: Golden Knights over Flyers
Victoria Matiash: Lightning over Golden Knights
Arda Ocal: Avalanche over Bruins
Greg Wyshynski: Lightning over Golden Knights

Top pick: Lightning (10).

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