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Lori’s 2024 New Year predictions


By Lori Bennett National Sports Columnist For the first column of 2024 we’ll take a break from our typical flow. It’s the time of year when we reflect on what’s happened in the past 12 months and consider what might lie before us in the year ahead. It’s fitting that we do the same for our favourite teams. Here are 24 sports predictions for 2024.

  1. Two Team Canada teammates – Owen Beck and Fraser Minten – will lead Canada to a third consecutive IIHF World Junior Gold Medal before parting ways to eventually join opposite sides of the old school rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.

  2. Another Habs prospect, Jacob Fowler, will win the starter’s net for the United States and turn heads as the tournament’s top goaltender. In fact, this tournament will be a showcase for Canadiens’ prospects as rearguard Lane Hutson will be the talk of the tournament.

  3. A draft-eligible player will unexpectedly emerge as a legitimate top three pick for the 2024 draft and have draft gurus adjusting their draft boards by the end of the tournament. At least one player currently ranked in the top five on most draft boards will have a poor tournament and sink like a stone in the rankings.

  4. The Los Angeles Kings will be the first team in 2024 to make a deal for a goalie, and they will acquire Jake Allen from the Montreal Canadiens.

  5. The Dallas Cowboys will be Super Bowl Champions for the first time since the invention of Tickle Me Elmo. Dak Prescott will deliver a true MVP performance to upset the highly favoured Baltimore Ravens.

  6. The Toronto Blue Jays will make a blockbuster trade that sees a fan favourite leave town, and then they will add an under-the-radar free agent signing before the winter is done that will prove highly valuable for the Blue Birds. Spring training will reveal a new and improved roster that will try to take the Jays to the #NextLevel.

  7. The Toronto Raptors will re-sign Pascal Siakam in advance of finally becoming sellers at the NBA trade deadline. Siakam will be part of a sign and trade, and the Raptors will fetch a solid return to support their retool. O.G. Anunoby will also be dealt.

  8. The Toronto Maple Leafs will get ahead of the NHL trade deadline rush and acquire Chris Tanev from the Calgary Flames. Cap constraints will prevent them from landing any further significant reinforcements for the playoffs, but they will re-sign Tanev in the offseason.

  9. The Winnipeg Jets will get stronger as their season progresses, forcing GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s hand as the trade deadline approaches. They will make a deadline deal that strengthens the team for years to come.

  10. The Vancouver Canucks will be both buyers and sellers at the trade deadline and will be the Canadian team that goes deepest in the playoffs.

  11. The Calgary Flames will be a bubble team leading up to the trade deadline, and this will limit GM Craig Conroy’s comfort level with selling hard. Despite this, the Flames will be among the most active teams at the deadline, acquiring primarily young assets and setting them up for a quick retool.

  12. One of those assets will be obtained from the Colorado Avalanche who will acquire unrestricted free agent Elias Lindholm in the weeks leading up to the deadline.

  13. Ken Holland will make minimal changes between now and the trade deadline and the Edmonton Oilers will fall short of the playoffs, raising real questions about the future of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the orange and blue.

  14. The Montreal Canadiens will continue to be a playoff bubble team leading up to the trade deadline, but this will not prevent GM Kent Hughes from making significant moves. Hughes will be a major player, dealing several veterans, and will also add in the process by fetching a good young player in one of the returns.

  15. The Leafs will suffer another second-round exit from the playoffs and will go out quietly while Ryan Reaves sees his role reduced through the postseason and will finally be a healthy scratch for the elimination game.

  16. Corey Perry will hoist the Stanley Cup as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, who will win it all again after a one-year hiatus.

  17. The Leafs will trade William Nylander prior to the opening of free agency. Having retained him for the playoffs, but being unable to meet his contract demands following a career year, GM Brad Treliving will trade his signing rights. The team that acquires him will also be unable to sign him and Nylander will test free agency.

  18. The Montreal Canadiens will not win the draft lottery but will package picks with a young defender to move up in the draft. They will add an NHL-ready asset and will also win the Nylander sweepstakes. The rebuild in Montreal will officially be over for the 2024-25 season.

  19. Ken Holland will be removed as GM of the Edmonton Oilers before the lockers are cleared at season’s end. His replacement will play the easy layup of adding a decent goaltender and strengthening the defense, and the Oilers will become an actual Stanley Cup contender for the 2024-25 season.

  20. Alek Manoah will have a bounce back season and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will have a career year to shed the Wild Series curse and lead the Blue Jays to the American League Championship Series.

  21. The Los Angeles Dodgers will make it to the World Series but will ultimately lose to the Houston Astros.

  22. The Toronto Maple Leafs will have a weak start to the 2024-25 hockey season and Coach Sheldon Keefe will be removed as Head Coach. The Leafs will call upon a familiar face to get them back on track.

  23. The Montreal Alouettes will have a strong season and repeat as Grey Cup Champions.

  24. On New Year’s Eve 2024, all seven Canadian NHL teams will be in playoff position. I wouldn’t place any bets based on my word, but these are my predictions for the upcoming year in sports. I wish you a fun year of sports entertainment, and if I predicted anything good for your favourite team, I hope I’m right!

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