Well it’s finally here. The NHL season is upon and everyone else is making predictions, so I’ll have a go and see what happens.
Eastern Conference Standings:
- New York Rangers
- Boston Bruins
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Ottawa Senators
- Buffalo Sabres
- New Jersey Devils
- Washington Capitals
- Florida Panthers
- New York Islanders
- Montreal Canadiens
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Winnipeg Jets
I’ll give you some background on my picks. I picked the Rangers to win the Atlantic because I think when you match them up with the Penguins they have better goaltending, better defense, and the Rick Nash trade helps bridge the gap a bit between the two offenses. I think the Devils miss out on the playoffs by a couple points just because they lost arguably their best player, their goalies are one year closer to collapsing, and their defense didn’t improve and got older.
I think the Hurricanes snag the southeast division based on their new acquisitions in Staal and Semin, and the goaltending of Cam Ward. The Capitals are changing their franchise a bit on the fly and have a new coach and much different philosophy than Dale Hunter so I don’t think they make it.
Sabres and Lightning I like to make the playoffs because their system is intact from last year and they both have improved in areas that need improving.
Once again the Senators will be the only Canadian team to represent the Eastern Conference in the playoffs. They gave the Rangers a good run for their money last year, and I think they take a step forward this year.
Western Conference Standings:
- Vancouver Canucks
- Los Angeles Kings
- St. Louis Blues
- Chicago Blackhawks
- San Jose Sharks
- Nashville Predators
- Minnesota Wild
- Detroit Red Wings
- Anaheim Ducks
- Colorado Avalanche
- Edmonton Oilers
- Dallas Stars
- Phoenix Coyotes
- Calgary Flames
- Columbus Blue Jackets
I actually think the Wild are better than the Predators and maybe even Sharks, but due to their ridiculous travel schedule, I think they suffer in the standings a bit.
The Red Wings got significantly worse this year. No more Nick Lidstrom sadly. I’m going to miss seeing him play. However, I do think the Wings somehow claw themselves into a playoff spot. I just can’t picture them missing the playoffs. Well maybe because in my lifetime the never actually missed the playoffs.
It was hard for me to take Anaheim out of a playoff spot just because I think they’ll improve. I really think it will come down to the wire for them if they do make or miss the playoffs.
I think the Blues win the central division this year. Last year they played great under Hitchcock and I only see improvement going forward, especially with Vladimir Tarasenko on board.
If the Blue Jackets make the playoffs the Rick Nash trade for them wasn’t horrible. In fact they did very well. Except I don’t see that happening.
Jarome Iginla is traded to make a run for the Stanley Cup like Ray Bourque.
The Oilers make the playoffs on the play of their young talent.
Roberto Luongo is finally traded. I don’t see the Canucks buying him out in the summer just because they won’t find someone stupid enough to give up a lot for him. I think they cave in and trade him for much cheaper than advertised. They’re not dealing from strength.
Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney combine for 75 points in this shortened season.
Alex Galchenkyuk makes the Canadiens opening night roster.
The Rangers beat the Flyers another 5 times this year. The Rangers have beaten the Flyers 8 straight times dating back to the 2010-11 season. Need to keep the streak alive.
Calder: Vladimir Tarasenko
Vezina: I don’t want to jinx Lundqvist, so I’m going with Jonathan Quick.
Jack Adams: Kirk Muller
Art Ross: Evgeni Malkin
Rocket Richard: Steven Stamkos
Norris Trophy: I want to say Shea Weber but I think losing Ryan Suter hurts a lot. I’ll say Drew Doughty. I think he gets his game back on track with that Stanley Cup win and his contract negotiations and such done with a year ago.
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