The New York Islanders reached the playoffs in just three of the nine seasons that John Tavares spent with the team. But in his inaugural campaign with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tavares will lead the Original Six club to its first Stanley Cup championship in more than 50 years, according to EA Sports’ simulation of the 2018-19 NHL season in NHL 19.
It would be a bitter pill for Isles fans, who are already salty about Tavares’ departure; the five-time All-Star center signed with his hometown Maple Leafs in the offseason for $77 million over seven years. It would also be tough for the San Jose Sharks, who offered Tavares a richer deal but were spurned: In NHL 19’s version of the upcoming season, it is the Sharks who lose to the Leafs in the Stanley Cup Final, after making it all the way to Game 7. To add salt to the wound, Tavares takes home the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.
P.K. Subban will not be the victim of a curse for appearing on the NHL 19 cover: He and the Nashville Predators will end up going down in the Western Conference Final to Erik Karlsson and the Sharks, according to NHL 19. Karlsson won’t be the only new face to make a difference in the 2018-19 season: Rasmus Dahlin, whom the Buffalo Sabres selected with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, will win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie — and his performance will help bring the Sabres back to the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.
Of course, all of the above is just as likely to play out in the real-life 2018-19 season as your own prediction; it’s just what the AI powering EA Sports’ NHL series happened to spit out on this particular spin of the random number generator. But as a new NHL season arrives, hope springs eternal for fans of all 31 teams — including the Maple Leafs, who last won the Stanley Cup in 1967. Regardless of whether they manage to pull it off in 2019, you can try to make it happen yourself in NHL 19, which is now available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For more, you can read our review and check out the full details on EA Sports’ season simulation.