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NHL

2013-14 NHL Season Predictions: Will Chicago Blackhawks Repeat As Champs?

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Who Will Hoist Lord Stanley's Cup In 2014?

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Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Although it seems like it has been forever, the Stanley Cup Finals ended just 3 short months ago. That didn’t stop us from pulling our hair out waiting for the 2013-14 NHL season. Well it finally came last night and it did not fail to entertain us. A total of 26 goals were scored in the three games played last night. The Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets came away victorious while their respective counterparts, Washington Capitals, Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers were all unable to register points in the first tilt of the year.

Of course this was only three games and number one of 82 total that each of the six teams in action will play over the course of the season. Not every game will go see the amount of goals the three did last night; things will certainly differ.

As much as we would like to draw conclusions from the first slew of games, it is difficult to truly gauge how good or bad a team will be strictly from one game and a handful of preseason games. When it comes to predicting the NHL, all you can do is make educated guesses and hope you’re not too far off the mark. More often than not, though, your predictions get thrown out somewhere along the way and you forget you ever made them to begin with.

But that won’t stop me from still trying to correctly predict the major moments of the upcoming year.

Here are my predictions for the 2013-14 NHL season.

Martin Burns covers New York Rangers for Rant Sports. Follow him on twitter for all Rangers related news!

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Division Winners

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Atlantic Division - Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings will enter an Eastern Conference full of talented teams but they boast an impressive roster themselves. Expect them to have a very solid regular season.

Metropolitan Division - Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins may be the best team in all of hockey. There are a lot of good teams in the Metropolitan Division, but none are as elite as the Penguins.

Central Division - Chicago Blackhawks

The reigning Cup Champions will fly into the playoffs as a favorite to repeat.

Pacific Division - San Jose Sharks

Can the Sharks get over the hump this year? Winning their division would be a good start.

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Conference Champions

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Eastern Conference - Pittsburgh Penguins

The cream of the crop in the East, the Penguins wont disappoint their fans this year in the Conference Finals.

Western Conference - St. Louis Blues

After lofty expectations last season the Blues fell short of their goal and were ousted in the first round of the playoffs. This season will be different as they will go on to win the Western Conference.

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Stanley Cup Champions

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Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Blues

After a long wait, the Blues will have finally won a Stanley Cup. Captain David Backes, come get the Stanley Cup.

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Calder Trophy

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Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning

The 3rd overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Drouin may be in for a very successful rookie campaign, especially if he finds himself on the ice at the same time as Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.

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Vezina Trophy

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

Rinne has been a top 3 goaltender over the past several seasons yet has no hardware to prove it despite being a Vezina nominee twice. That will change this season.

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Norris Trophy

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Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

Doughty has the ability to put up big numbers offensively as well as be a stout crease clearing defenseman. One of the best in the game will take a major leap and get better this season.

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Jack Adams Award

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Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Eakins, Edmonton Oilers

The first year head coach of the Oilers, Eakins has inherited a team full of talent. All young players, Eakins has the opportunity to mold Edmonton into a playoff contender and I fully expect him to do so.

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Art Ross

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

If Crosby stays healthy he is certainly the top contender for the Art Ross trophy. Crosby will narrowly beat out Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin for the award.

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Hart Trophy

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

The best player in hockey will prove that he is just that once again this year, taking home the Hart Memorial Trophy for the second time in his career.