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ESPN’s 2023-24 NHL Projections Raise Eyebrows Among Fans

ESPN’s release of its 2023-24 NHL Fantasy projections has sparked surprise and speculation among fans this week.

ESPN’s release of its 2023-24 NHL Fantasy projections has sparked surprise and speculation among fans this week. While projections often vary and generate debates, this year’s predictions have included several eyebrow-raising scenarios that have caught the attention of both hockey enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists alike.

Here are some of the most shocking predictions that have stirred discussions:

Brad Marchand’s Conservative Projection:

ESPN’s projection for Brad Marchand’s upcoming season has left many perplexed due to its cautious estimate. The network predicts that the Boston Bruins winger will tally only 46 points this season. This has to be one of the biggest surprises in a list of shocking projections.

Brad Marchand Boston Bruins NHL
Brad Marchand Boston Bruins NHL

The anticipation of significant lineup changes in the Boston Bruins has clearly influenced ESPN’s projection for the veteran forward. Specifically, the network is likely attributing his potential dip in production to the retirements of key linemates Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Still, predicting Marchand finishing the season with 46 points is a real slap in the face.

Mitch Marner Surpassing Auston Matthews:

ESPN’s projections foresee Mitch Marner outscoring superstar center Auston Matthews. Despite Matthews’ status as one of the league’s premier goal-scorers, Marner’s projected 102 points in 77 games edges out Matthews’ forecasted 99 points in 73 games. This prediction has ignited conversations given Matthews’ recent lucrative contract extension.

Are they suggesting that Matthews will rest on his laurels now that he’s got a big contract in the bag. Probably not, considering 99 points in still a ton of production. Instead, they must be thinking Marner will be motivated to outscore his buddy and earn himself the right to ask for the same if not more money than Matthews got on his recent extension.

Connor Bedard’s Lofty Rookie Prediction:

ESPN has embraced the buzz surrounding rookie sensation Connor Bedard by projecting an impressive 90 points in 82 games for his debut season. This projection, while ambitious, raises eyebrows as it implies Bedard will play every game in his rookie year—an expectation that adds pressure to an already significant milestone in his career.

ESPN clearly hasn’t listened to a lot of the talk in Chicago and around the NHL where the idea might be to temper expectations.

Evan Bouchard’s Limited Offensive Impact:

Despite being anticipated to see significant power-play time within the league’s top unit, ESPN’s projection for Evan Bouchard’s offensive contribution has puzzled fans. The network predicts a mere 11 goals and 37 assists for the defenseman, leaving many questioning the rationale behind the modest projection.

They are predicting only a four-point bump in power-play points, despite the fact Bouchard will start as the quarterback for the NHL’s best power play.

Optimistic Outlook for Juraj Slafkovsky:

ESPN’s prediction for Juraj Slafkovsky, who is returning from an injury, forecasts an impressive 22 goals and 55 points in 78 games. This optimistic outlook for Slafkovsky, who played only 39 games in the previous season, is met with curiosity and skepticism given the uncertainties associated with player comebacks.

You can check out their projections here. There are many more worth noting, such as Jonathan Huberdeau having another terrible season in Calgary, and Connor McDavid scoring less than last season.

ESPN’s bold predictions have ignited conversations across the hockey community, prompting debates about the rationale behind these projections and the factors influencing each player’s performance. While fantasy projections serve as speculative tools, they underscore the intrigue and anticipation that surround each upcoming NHL season. As fans eagerly await the unfolding of the 2023-24 season, these projections offer an engaging starting point for discussions about player potential and team dynamics.

Next: Ducharme Fires Back Against His ‘Bad’ Coaching of Canadiens’ Cole Caufield

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