DobberHockey Experts Panel – NHL Playoffs 2019 – First Round

by Ian Gooding on April 9, 2019
  • The Dobotomy
  • DobberHockey Experts Panel – NHL Playoffs 2019 – First Round

Hey folks, we're back for another year of calling the winners for each round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. Each year, the members of the DobberHockey Panel (made up of Dobber Hockey writers) make calls on each series result as well as individual results. As a group, though, the Panel’s consensus picks are very good. After nine years of doing this, the Panel’s record is 89-45.


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In today's Round 1 installment: On top of the predicted winners for the initial round of play, our panel went a little beyond with early prognostications on the Stanley Cup Final matchup, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, the postseason's top 5 scorers, and, of course, this year's Stanley Cup champion.


Here are the Round 1 matchups:

Eastern Conference

Tampa Bay Lightning (A1) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (WC2)

Boston Bruins (A2) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (A3)

Washington Capitals* (M1) vs Carolina Hurricanes (WC1)

New York Islanders (M2) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (M3)

Western Conference

Nashville Predators (C1) vs Dallas Stars (WC2)

Winnipeg Jets (C2) vs St. Louis Blues (C3)

Calgary Flames (P1) vs Colorado Avalanche (WC1)

San Jose Sharks (P2) vs Vegas Golden Knights (P3)

* Defending Stanley Cup champion

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About the panel's picks:

President’s Trophy winner Tampa Bay is the overwhelming favorite to win the Stanley Cup, which is also reflected in the Stanley Cup odds. Art Ross Trophy winner and possible Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov is the clear favorite to win the Conn Smythe. That would all make perfect sense, except there has only been one Stanley Cup champion among the past 10 President Trophy winners. We challenge you to come up with a better pick than Tampa Bay right now, though.

Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Brayden Point were the easy choices as the top three playoff scorers, with Kucherov on top. After that, there are no clear favorites. The inclusion of Brad Marchand as a top-5 playoff scorer suggested that if one team is to eliminate Tampa Bay, it will be Boston in the second round.

How about the most likely upset? The panel was nearly split on the Washington-Carolina series, which should make Carolina a popular first-round upset choice. The panel showed very little love for the defending Stanley Cup champions overall, as no one had picked them to return to the Stanley Cup Final, let alone repeat as champions.

Yes points-wise, this wouldn’t be the largest upset if the majority picked Carolina. Only five points separated the Capitals and Hurricanes, but San Jose finished eight points ahead of Vegas. Not only was Vegas considered the favorite in its series, but the Golden Knights also received the most votes to make it out of the West and return to the Stanley Cup Final.

Here are our full results, with the consensus picks in the final box of the table below.

Agree? Disagree? Comments?


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About the panel:

Dobber launched this website in 2005 after he was the fantasy hockey columnist for The Hockey News website, The Fantasy Sports Network, and a contributor to The Forecaster. DobberHockey has since grown into the Dobber Sports Network and has work can be found across the Internet, including on Sportsnet.

Ian Gooding is the managing editor of DobberHockey and a regular writer on the daily Ramblings beat. He has also contributed to many other sites, including Sportsnet, Today’s Slapshot, Kukla’s Korner, and

Mike Clifford is an associate editor of DobberHockey and contributor for Rotowire and other fantasy hockey ventures.

Cam Robinson is the managing editor at DobberProspects and, along with Ian Gooding and Mike Clifford, collaborates to Daily Ramblings. He is a regular guest on Vancouver sports talk radio.

Mario Prata is the manager of special projects and marketing for Dobber Sports. He is also a co-founder of the famous The Sports Forecaster magazine.

Eric Daoust manages our valued Frozen Pool section.

Tom Collins writes the weekly Top 10 column that can be found here every Monday.

Rick Roos authors the weekly Roos Let Loose column every Wednesday. He is the former Cage Match writer for Dobber Hockey.

Adam Daly-Frey checks out what's coming down the pipe with the Looking Ahead column every Friday.

Alex MacLean authors the salary cap column Capped, which can be found here every Thursday.

Brennan DeSouza writes the weekly line combinations column every Tuesday, and gives us the latest injury information every Wednesday.

Brayden Olafson pens the weekly prospect column The Journey that can be found here every Saturday. He has also contributed to Dobber Prospects.

Grant Campbell writes the Frozen Pool Forensics column on Fridays.

Cam Metz pens the Eastern Edge column that is published on Tuesdays.

Chris Kane writes the weekly Wild West column every Monday.

Flip Livingstone is our Saturday game picks author. He is a former NHL writer for theScore with past experience at such outlets as Postmedia, Hockey Night in Canada, and the CBC.

Michael Zacour is our Geek of the Week author and a regular contributor on the Forum.

Enjoy the playoffs, folks!