NHL Horoscopes Week 18: A Taurus finale and Cancer postseason

Well folks, this is where we end. The first season of NHL Horoscopes are coming to a close.

Right as Taurus season is about to transition into Gemini season, an absolutely wild time for the NHL playoffs to begin. Who knows what will happen? The energy isn’t going to stay consistent, that’s for sure.

The postseason will shift into Cancer at some point and will end with the first ever Cancer Stanley Cup Final, so that’ll be fun.

Here’s some final horoscopes for the postseason-bound clubs and the ones who won’t be back on the ice again in a competitive setting until *Virgo* season at the earliest. Best of luck!

Stat Leaders

Connor McDavid: 102 points, 69 assists (Capricorn)
Auston Matthews: 40 goals (Virgo)
Tom Wilson: 86 PIM (Aries)
Marc-Andre Fleury: .927 Save % (Taurus)

EAST DIVISION

• Boston Bruins: Highest concentration in Taurus

Taurus Brad Marchand is finishing another stellar season.

Horoscope: Maybe they peaked at the right time, maybe the playoffs aligning with their main sun sign is just a good sign.

Do: Taylor Hall Don’t: Step off the gas x2

• Buffalo Sabres: Highest concentration in Sagittarius

Scorpio Jack Eichel had some choice words at availability this week.

Horoscope: Welp. See you next season.

Do: Idk man the Jack Eichel stuff was rough Don’t: Idk where to begin

• Washington Capitals: Highest concentration in Taurus/Virgo

Virgo Alex Ovechkin is going to need a strong postseason.

Horoscope: Injuries and inconsistencies should be a concern.

Do: Prep for the Bruins Don’t: Dangerous hits maybe

• New York Rangers: Highest concentration in Aquarius

The Rangers were officially eliminated last week.

Horoscope: Well that’s one less Aquarius team.

Do: Offseason shuffle Don’t: Drama for like 5 minutes

• New York Islanders: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Taurus goalie Semyon Varlamov has been solid.

Horoscope: Do they have it in them to surge offensively in the postseason? They’ve done it before and now they have to again.

Do: Scoring Don’t: Overthink the Pens

• New Jersey Devils: Highest concentration in Scorpio/Sagittarius

The season is nearly over, mercifully.

Horoscope: It’s a limp to the finish line.

Do: Positive finish Don’t: Discourage young guys

• Philadelphia Flyers: Highest concentration in Taurus

Pisces Joel Farabee finished with 20 goals.

Horoscope: Can the Flyers assume Leo goalie Carter Hart is going to bounce back? That’s a huge key to the offseason.

Do: Joel Farabee future Don’t: Boring offseason

• Pittsburgh Penguins: Highest concentration in Leo/Taurus

Leo Sidney Crosby might not be a Hart candidate but he’s sure playing well.

Horoscope: Taurus season is always time to shine for the Penguins, we’ll see if they can keep it up during a Gemini sun, too.

Do: Offense Don’t: Forget Jarry could win the goalie scoring title

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CENTRAL DIVISION

• Detroit Red Wings: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Well at least there is Scorpio Filip Hronek.

Horoscope: Alright, we’re here. Step on the gas.

Do: Draft prep x2 Don’t: Rely on defensive scoring.

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

• Tampa Bay Lightning: Highest concentration in Gemini

Gemini Nikita Kucherov, soon.

Horoscope: Are the Lightning being kind of forgotten? Feels dangerous.

Do: Ignore the salary cap Don’t: Too much for Stamkos

• Florida Panthers: Highest concentration in Virgo

Leo Carter Verhaeghe is back.

Horoscope: Florida has been arguably the hottest team in the league heading into the playoffs. That’s good news since they have the Lightning in the First Round.

Do: Wins at homes Don’t: Overthinking

Carolina Hurricanes: Highest concentration in Cancer/Aries

Leo Sebastian Aho has stayed hot.

Horoscope: Are we ready to talk about the Hurricanes being the best team in the league?

Do: Stay surging Don’t: Too much

• Nashville Predators: Highest concentration in Gemini

Taurus goalie Juuse Saros deserves a ton of credit.

Horoscope: Which Predators are we going to see in the postseason? The ones who can go on an extended run or the ones who look severely overmatched?

Do: Juuse Saros Don’t: Gemini it up too bad

• Dallas Stars: Highest concentration in Gemini and Cancer

Aquarius Tyler Seguin‘s return was just a tad too late.

Horoscope: A season of what could have been and a season of what didn’t.

Do: Regroup x2 Don’t: Overanalyze

• Chicago Blackhawks: Heaviest concentration in Aries

Sagittarius Alex DeBrincat had a stellar season.

Horoscope: Perhaps there’s something to their future after all. They have to feel good about some of the young guys.

Do: Alex DeBrincat Don’t: Sit around

• Columbus Blue Jackets: Heaviest concentration in Cancer

Cancer coach John Tortorella is out.

Horoscope: How does the Tortorella era get remembered in Columbus? The bad stretches were bad but the last six years were by far the most competitive they have ever been.

Do: New coach new era Don’t: Stay stagnant on defense

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WEST DIVISION

• Minnesota Wild: Highest concentration in Virgo and Cancer

Taurus Kirill Kaprizov might be *the* guy to watch in the playoffs.

Horoscope: Is it even a hot take to say the Wild might be one of the scariest teams in the postseason?

Do: Home cooking Don’t: Get cocky with Vegas

• St. Louis Blues: Highest concentration in Cancer and Aries

Bleh.

Horoscope: Just not feeling it.

Do: Scoring Don’t: Get swept

[NHL Power Rankings: Hurricanes take top spot; Beware of Lightning]

• Arizona Coyotes: Highest concentration in Leo

Not a super exciting team and now a whimper into the offseason.

Horoscope: Arizona needs to find a way to insert any offense into their lineup. They need more than what they have.

Do: Movin’ on Don’t: Stand pat

• San Jose Sharks: Highest concentration in Aries

Well there is Scorpio Tomas Hertl.

Horoscope: It feels like this might be the Sharks for like, a while? Is there much evidence they’re going to contend again soon?

Do: Regroup for next season Don’t: Stagnation

• Vegas Golden Knights: Highest concentration in Leo

Capricorn Jonathan Marchessault needs to stay hot for the playoffs.

Horoscope: Playing with 15 skaters isn’t a recipe for winning eh? Bad luck finish.

Do: 18 skaters Don’t: Play Minnesota

• Anaheim Ducks: Heaviest concentration in Aquarius

Don’t cry because it’s over, cry because it happened.

Horoscope: Have to build around Cancer goalie John Gibson.

Do: Game plan Don’t: Bad contracts

• Los Angeles Kings: Highest concentration in Libra

We simply do not talk about Virgo Anze Kopitar enough.

Horoscope: Not sure what direction they go in but feels like some eras need to end.

Do: Goaltending Don’t: All old guys

• Colorado Avalanche: Highest concentration in Scorpio 

Sagittarius goalie Philipp Grubauer will be key in the postseason

Horoscope: The Avalanche control their own destiny, but do Scorpios really control anything in Taurus season.

Do: Goaltending Don’t: Lose to the Kings

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NORTH DIVISION

• Vancouver Canucks: Heaviest concentration in Cancer and Libra

Boy this is a tough one.

Horoscope: How do the Canucks get better in this cap situation? It might be a long offseason.

Do: Regroup Don’t: Ignore cap situation

• Calgary Flames: Heaviest concentration in Pisces

It’s too late to get hot, guys!

Horoscope: So close to a hot girl summer and yet so far. They’re actually playing well but aren’t heading to the postseason.

Do: Evaluate Don’t: Return the same team

Edmonton Oilers: Heaviest concentration in Cancer and Libra

Capricorn Connor McDavid hit 102 points, like come on.

Horoscope: The Oilers will avoid the Leafs until the second round, so at least that is good news.

Do: Rely on top guys Don’t: Overhype

• Winnipeg Jets: Heaviest concentration in Aries

Not great vibes.

Horoscope: Boy it doesn’t feel great for the Jets right now, does it?

Do: Connor Hellebuyck Don’t: Not help Connor Hellebuyck

• Ottawa Senators: Heaviest concentration in Pisces

Ottawa didn’t even have that bad of a season.

Horoscope: Hear me out, competitive Ottawa Senators next season?

Do: Take the good vibes Don’t: Stand pat with cap space

• Montreal Canadiens: Heaviest concentration in Leo and Taurus

Taurus Josh Anderson has slowed down considerably.

Horoscope: Montreal can finish in third and end up with an Oilers matchup instead of the Leafs.

Do: Cole Caufield goals Don’t: Lose bad games

• Toronto Maple Leafs: Heaviest concentration in Gemini

Virgo Auston Matthews keeps on scoring.

Horoscope: What does a successful playoff run look like for the Leafs? Feels like there’s a lot of pressure there.

Do: Auston Matthews lol Don’t: Leafs

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

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    Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

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    TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

    The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

    “Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

    The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

    Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.

    Back with Wild, Fleury welcomes big workload as clear No. 1

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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — With his ever-present smile, tireless approach and long list of accomplishments in the net, Marc-Andre Fleury has always embraced a heavy workload.

    The Minnesota Wild sure haven’t shied away from leaning hard on their new – and 37-year-old – goalie. After arriving in a deadline-day trade in March and re-signing with the Wild in July, the guy everyone calls “Flower” is still fully abloom as he begins his 19th season in the NHL.

    “They say, `You play,’ I play, unless maybe I’m hurt or something,” Fleury said. “But other than that, I like playing.”

    Wild general manager Bill Guerin initially planned to bring back both Fleury and Cam Talbot, who made the All-Star team and went 13-0-3 in his last 16 regular season starts before being benched in favor of Fleury for the first-round playoff series against St. Louis. The Wild lost in six games, after Talbot got the cold start in the elimination game and gave up four goals on 26 shots.

    Guerin changed his mind, though, after signing Fleury to a two-year, $7 million contract. Realizing Talbot’s frustration from the lack of postseason action, he didn’t want to risk any tension or discontent. Talbot was traded to Ottawa for Filip Gustavsson, who will be the No. 2 goalie while top prospect Jesper Wallstedt gets more development in the AHL.

    Gustavsson has only 23 career regular-season starts, nearly 200 fewer than Talbot, so it’s a good bet that Fleury will get the majority of the games.

    “I was ready to share the load with him, but things didn’t work out and happy to be having the chance to play maybe a bit more. It’s fun to play. It’s more fun than sitting on the bench,” said Fleury, who went 28-23-5 in 56 combined starts for Chicago and Minnesota last season with a 2.90 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.

    The Wild reconvened for training camp last week, beginning their quest to recapture the mojo they enjoyed last season while setting franchise records for points (113), wins (53) and goals (305). The only team that finished ahead of them in the Western Conference was Colorado, which went on to win the Stanley Cup, but they never met the Avs in the playoffs because the Blues got to them first.

    There’s a strong chemistry in place, at least, to build upon.

    “We still have a lot of guys here who were here last year. We’re just trying to make it even better, just trying to listen to everybody,” center Joel Eriksson Ek said. “We want to set a standard and a way for how hard this team’s going to work.”

    The Wild start the regular season by hosting the New York Rangers on Oct. 13.

    COMINGS AND GOINGS

    The most significant roster move of the summer amongst the skaters was the inevitable salary-cap-driven trade of second-leading scorer Kevin Fiala to Los Angeles. Fiala had a career-high 33 goals and 52 assists last season. Guerin otherwise dabbled mostly in two-way contracts in free agency for depth. Former Anaheim center Sam Steel signed with Minnesota last month, one day after defenseman Dimitry Kulikov was dealt to the Ducks.

    MORE POWER

    The Wild were done in during the playoffs by abysmal special teams. They went just 4 for 24 on the power play against the Blues, and head coach Dean Evason had the team working on that on the first day on the ice. The penalty kill that lagged last season was a focus of the second practice.

    “It has to get better, no question,” Evason said.

    BLUE LINE SHUFFLE

    Captain Jared Spurgeon has been placed with Jonas Brodin on the first pair on defense, and Jake Middleton has joined Matt Dumba on the second unit. Dumba and Brodin are close friends who’ve been paired together for several seasons.

    “Dumbs is a shooter too,” said Middleton, who re-signed for three years and $7.35 million. “It’s pretty exciting. I can get some cookies passing him the puck. That’d be a big plus. I think it’ll work well. He loves hitting guys too. He plays a gritty game as well so I think we’ll be a good combo.”

    UP FRONT

    With Jordan Greenway recovering from offseason surgeries, Tyson Jost will get the first chance to skate with Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno. The departure of Fiala has opened at least one spot for a rookie to make the team, with 2020 first-round draft pick Marco Rossi in line for it.

    ON THE SLATE

    This is the first time in eight years the Wild will play their regular-season opener at home. After three more games at Xcel Energy Center, they don’t hit the road until a five-game trip that starts Oct. 22 at Boston. The Wild have a season-long nine-game homestand from Feb. 9-21.

    Stars expect to open camp without unsigned scorer Jason Robertson

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    FRISCO, Texas — Young 40-goal scorer Jason Robertson is expected to miss the start of training camp for the Dallas Stars because the team and the restricted free agent haven’t agreed on a new contract.

    General manager Jim Nill said there’s been steady, ongoing negotiations over the last couple of weeks with Robertson and his representatives. Nill wouldn’t say what has kept the two sides from reaching a deal, adding there have been “very good discussions.”

    The Stars, with new coach Pete DeBoer, open camp Thursday in Cedar Park, Texas, at the home of their AHL team. They have three days of work there before returning to North Texas for their exhibition opener at home on Monday night. They open the regular season Oct. 13 at Nashville.

    “I think he’s disappointed he’s not at camp, we are too,” Nill said before the team departed for the Austin area. “I think it’s very important for a younger player and as you mentioned, the (new) coaching staff. … We do have some time on our side, but we wish he gets here as soon as he can.”

    Robertson had a base salary of $750,000 last season, the end of a $2.775 million, three-year contract. He still has five more years before he has the opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent.

    The left wing turned 23 soon after the end of last season, when he had 41 goals and 38 assists for 79 points in his 74 games. Robertson joined Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Modano, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin as the only 40-goal scorers since the franchise moved to Dallas in 1993.

    A second-round draft pick by the Stars in 2017, Robertson has 125 points (58 goals, 67 assists) in his 128 NHL games. He had one goal and three assists in his first postseason action last season, when Dallas lost its first-round playoff series in seven games against Calgary.

    DeBoer said he looks forward to coaching Robertson, but that the forward’s absence won’t change his plans for camp.

    “It doesn’t impact what I’m doing,” DeBoer said. “Listen, I laid awake at night with the excitement of coaching Jason Robertson, 40-plus goals, but he’s not here. So, you know, until he gets here, I can’t spend any energy on that.”

    Nill said the Stars are open to a long-term extension or a bridge contract for Robertson, who was part of the team’s top line last season with veteran Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz. They combined for 232 points, the second-most in franchise history for a trio.

    “We’re open to anything. But other than that … I’m not going to negotiate through the media,” Nill said. “As I said, we’ve had good conversations. We’ll see where it goes.”

    Training camps open around NHL after another short offseason

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    Training camps open around the NHL after another short offseason, a third in a row squeezed by the pandemic. That doesn’t bother Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon one bit.

    For one of hockey’s best players and his teammates, it’s already time to get back on the ice and defend their Stanley Cup title, less than three months since they knocked off the back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

    “I still feel like I just was playing,” MacKinnon said. “I took two weeks off, and then I started skating again. It’s just fun. I enjoy it, and I like the short summer. It feels like the season’s just kind of rolling over again.”

    The NHL rolls into fall coming off an entertaining playoffs and final with the chance to finally get back on a normal schedule. That means full camps for teams that got new coaches and the benefits of a regular routine.

    That means a mere 88 days between Game 6 of the final and the first-on ice practice sessions.

    “We’re kind of used to it now,” Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy said after he and the Lightning lost in the final for the first time in three consecutive trips. “It’s a little harder, of course, because you don’t have that much time to rest. It’s basically a few weeks and you have to get back at it. But, yeah, I can’t complain. You want your summers to be short every year.”

    It was a little longer for Connor McDavid and the Oilers after losing to Colorado in the West final. Despite the lack of downtime, McDavid “wouldn’t trade that in for anything” and aims to make it even further since Edmonton shored up its goaltending situation by adding Jack Campbell.

    A few spins of the goalie carousel ended with the Avalanche acquiring Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers and Cup winner Darcy Kuemper landing with Washington. Joining new teammates, many of whom hoisted the Cup in 2018, Kuemper is not worried about less time off.

    “It was definitely a very unique summer,” Kuemper said. “With how short it was, you start getting back into the gym and you’re kind of a little bit worried that your training’s going to be so short. But you kind of felt like you weren’t getting back into shape. You were already there.”

    NEW COACHES

    The Oilers are one of several teams settling in for training camp under a new coach. Jay Woodcroft took over as interim coach in February but has the full-time job now.

    “Looking forward to a camp with him,” McDavid said. “He did a great job coming in during the middle of the season, but it’s never easy on a coach, for sure. I’m sure there’s things that he wanted to touch on that you wasn’t able to kind of in the middle of the year, so he’ll be able to to touch on all of it this year.”

    The same goes for Bruce Boudreau in Vancouver, 11 months since being put in charge of the Canucks. Philadelphia’s John Tortorella, Boston’s Jim Montgomery, Vegas’ Bruce Cassidy, Dallas’ Peter DeBoer, Florida’s Paul Maurice, Chicago’s Luke Richardson, Detroit’s Derek Lalonde and the New York Islanders’ Lane Lambert are all starting the job fresh.

    CAMP TRYOUTS

    Roughly 40 players are attending a camp on a professional tryout agreement with the chance to earn a contract for the season. James Neal has that opportunity with the Blue Jackets, and Derek Stepan returned to Carolina to seek a job with the Hurricanes.

    The most intriguing situation involves 37-year-old center Eric Staal, who agreed to the tryout with Florida the same time brother Marc signed a one-year contract. Younger brother Jordan was with Eric and Marc on the 18th green at Pebble Beach to witness the occasion.

    “They’re both just super pumped, as was I,” said Jordan Staal, who is the captain of the Hurricanes. “Eric is excited about the opportunity and Marc, as well. Really cool. Really cool thing.”

    EARLY START

    Before the puck drops on the NHL season in North America on Oct. 11, the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks play twice in Prague on Oct. 7 and 8. And those are not exhibitions.

    “We still play two important games,” said Sharks forward Tomas Hertl, who is a native of Prague. “It’s not just preseason where you coming here to warm up.”

    Colorado and Columbus will also play two games in Tampere, Finland, on Nov. 4-5 as part of the NHL’s Global Series.

    And just as the league gets used to a regular schedule, work is ongoing between the league and NHL Players’ Association to stage a World Cup of Hockey in February 2024, which is popular among players even if it knocks the calendar off kilter again.

    “I think they missed out on a huge, huge portion of the international game that’s really going to be missed,” McDavid said. “We need to figure out a way to get an international tournament in as quickly as possible.”