KnucklePuck: 10 Facts and 10 Bold Predictions For the NHL in 2026-27
Well, dear readers, today I'll answer all of those questions and more. I've got 10 facts alongside 10 bold predictions about the 2026-27 season, when Kovalchuk's deal finally expires.
Fact: Chris Chelios will be 65 years old.
Bold Prediction: He will still be playing professional hockey somewhere.
Fact: Rick DiPietro's 15-year deal, the previous record contract, will have expired six years earlier after the 2020-21 season.
Bold Prediction: Islanders owner Charles Wang will figure out a way to keep DiPietro, now age 45, on the payroll.
Fact: The NHL has been trying to find ways to increase scoring.
Bold Prediction: After a 20-year hiatus this campaign will start once again when a hard-fought, low-scoring Game 7 of the 2026-27 Stanley Cup Final ends with a 30-27 score. Commissioner Gary Bettman tells the media after the game that fans deserve to see "at least 75 goals per game combined."
Fact: The NHL currently uses a shootout format to determine a winner in regular season games and a lot of hockey fans gripe about it.
Bold Prediction: The NHL will continue to use a shootout format to determine a winner in regular season games and a lot of hockey fans will gripe about it.
Fact: The Toronto Maple Leafs haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1967.
Bold Prediction: Nevermind. This one would be too mean.
Fact: Taylor Hall will be 35 years old (doesn't that really put this 17-year deal into perspective?).
Bold Prediction: He will still have this goofy smile.
Fact: Fans outside of Pittsburgh love to hate Sidney Crosby.
Bold Prediction: In June, 2027, the Penguins will draft Sidney Crosby Jr. and fans outside of Pittsburgh will love him. The Pensblog will have a photoshop expo.
Fact: Canada currently has six NHL teams.
Bold Prediction: After adding teams in Winnipeg, Hamilton and Quebec City, TSN will air a nine-part series titled, Why Not Canada? addressing the heated debate about how Canada can add a 10th team.
Fact: Darryl Sutter is currently the general manager of the Calgary Flames and recently signed Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen, two players previously booted out of town.
Bold Prediction: Sutter will have traded and re-signed Jokinen twice, Mike Keenan once and Jarome Iginla five times before his reign in Calgary comes to an end.
Fact: Ilya Kovalchuk's 17-year deal will expire after the 2026-27 season.
Bold Prediction: He will return home to Russia to finish out his career playing in the KHL, a new division in the NHL's Eastern Conference.