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"Aarif Deen - DailyNHLGrind"
MI • United States • 24 Years Old • Male
I apologize for the late submission of part 4. I've been having trouble on this website getting this uploaded. Finally got it to work. Thanks for reading!

For everything hockey - 24/7 news updates, scores, humour, blogs, and everything else in between, please follow me on twitter at https://twitter.com/DailyNHLGrind.

15. Los Angeles:
Ladies and gentleman, your 2012 Stanley Cup Champions! Last summer, I expected the Kings to be a force and book their ticket to the Finals. But I expected them to lose to the Philadelphia Flyers. Well, the Devils eliminated the Flyers, and the Kings beat out the Devils to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history in front of a star-studded crowd at the Staples Center. Dustin Brown and Jonathon Quick have become household names in the NHL and the LA Kings will enter the 2013 season with practically the same exact lineup, including a healthy Simon Gagne who was on the ice for the last few games of the playoffs last year.

Unlike past champions who are ultimately fatigued after a long, tiring, and injury-filled run for the Cup, the Kings were able to breeze through the playoffs going 16-4, without much drama coming in the way either. I mean nothing as much as a simple Radulov/Kostitsyn-like late night party. And with Carter and Richards supposedly crazy partiers, it comes as a bit of a “surprise.” (Sense the sarcasm people).

The Kings are stacked from top to bottom. Any team that has Richards and Carter as their secondary scoring is a Cup contending team. Look for the Kings to take a shot at repeating. Because if anyone in recent history has the skill and the will to do it, it’s them.
Verdict? Playoff bound.

14. Montreal Canadiens:
Their offseason will be NOWHERE near complete until Subban is under contract. Those talks seem to be going a bit sour. But so were Doughty’s last year. So I don’t doubt that Subban will be donning the bleu, blanc, et rouge when the season kicks off, whenever that may be. The Canadiens went through a major makeover in management, completely cleaning house when their season came to an end. They hired Marc Bergevin as their GM.

The last-place Canadiens will be looking to jump into the playoffs in the East this year with a squad that has inserted a lot of passion and fight into their lineup. Colby Armstrong, Brandon Prust, and Francis Boullion will all help the Canadiens be a meaner team to play against. Andrei Markov supposedly has a clean bill of health, and Michel Therrien is ready for the challenge of once again dealing with the harshest (to say the least) fan base in all of North American sports. Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole, and David Desharnais will be relied on for a lot more of what they brought offensively last year. But they’ll need help from the supporting cast of Gionta, Plekanec, Bourque, and (dare I say it) Scott Gomez as well if they plan on making it to the playoffs. Get Subban under contract, and get ready to kick off the season.
Verdict? Playoff hopeful.

13. Colorado Avalanche:

The Avalanche, who have been known for their young talent learned this year that their youngsters are a lot better than they, or anyone else expected. Gabriel Landeskog was a man on a mission this past season. Only 19, he looked like a veteran out there from day one. The Calder trophy winner also brought out the best from third-year centerman Ryan O’Reilly. Ryan had just 52 points in his first two seasons, but broke out for 55 this past year. If he Duchene, and Stastny could all have good seasons at once, the Avs will be a force to be reckoned with.

Add that to former first overall pick Erik Johnson—who many are being very impatient with—running the blueline. But fact of the matter is, not every young blueliner can pull a Drew Doughty. In fact, Johnson seems to be following in the exact same footsteps as Duncan Keith. Who as you may recall, won the Norris trophy just three seasons ago. The Avs also, for the first time since Patrick Roy hung up the skates, have a #1 goaltender who will be a around for a long, long time in Semyon Varlamov.

This summer, the Avalanche lost Peter Mueller, but replaced him with late bloomer PA Parenteau who was third in points amongst UFA’s this summer behind only Zach Parise, and the wizard Ray Whitney. The late-season additions of McGinn and Downie will thrive with the young Avalanche playing a full season with the group. The Avs will have to battle, and battle hard if they expect to make the playoffs this year. But whether they do or not, everyone needs to take notice of this young team. Because not too long from now, the Avalanche are gonna be one of the best teams in the Western Conference.
Verdict? Playoff hopeful.

12. Winnipeg Jets:
The new Winnipeg Jets inaugural season was an experience that was enjoyed by everyone involved. From management, to players, to the 15,004 faithful fans that were there to cheer the MTS Centre roof right off the building 41 different times. With that first season under their belts, it’s now time for the Jets to look at taking a step into the postseason. They’ve locked up Pavelec long-term and are close to locking up Evander Kane as well.

Surprise centerman Kyle Wellwood was brought back for another year, and will be joined by good friend Alexei Ponikarovsky who is fresh off a Stanley Cup run with the Devils. Veteran Olli Jokinen, and Cuban-American goaltender Al Montoya were added to the roster as well. The Jets will need plenty of luck on their side to make the playoffs this year, but they surely aren’t too far off from battling for one of those 8 spots.
Verdict? Playoff hopeful.

11. Pittsburgh Penguins:
During the weeks leading up to July 1st, Ray Shero was doing everything possible to make way for Parise, Suter, or both. When the duo signed in Minnesota, he tried to bring in Semin, but he ended up in Carolina. After striking out on those three, Shero is now left with a few question marks as well as dealing with an angered fan base. But even though Jordan Staal was traded (albeit for a HUGE package), Penguins fans should have nothing to worry about. Not only do they hold the MVP winning Evgeni Malkin, but he’s about to be joined by the face of the league, Canada’s hero, Sidney fricken Crosby for a full season again. Oh and I heard that Sutter kid they acquired from Carolina is pretty damn good too.

Pittsburgh is probably in need of one more solid piece on the blueline, but I wouldn’t look too much into it. Their D is solid, and if Letang also can play a full year, no doubt in my mind, they’ll be amongst the leaders in goals against by seasons end. Flower will be held in check this season with Tomas Vokoun (wearing the freakishly odd #92) sniffing down his neck. As long as their core stays intact, the Pens will always be considered Stanley Cup favourites. This upcoming season is certainly no different.
Verdict? Playoff bound.


For everything hockey - 24/7 news updates, scores, humour, blogs, and everything else in between, please follow me on twitter at https://twitter.com/DailyNHLGrind.
Filed Under:   Offseason   Jets   Avs   Habs   Pens   Kings  
August 16, 2012 6:06 PM ET | Delete
So a team that does nothing to improve their club in the offseason gets a ranking of 15? Or are the playoffs considered the offseason?
August 16, 2012 7:36 PM ET | Delete
August 18, 2012 10:37 AM ET | Delete
Pens fanbase isn't really that angry... the contracts parise and suter signed are awful and Shero wouldn't give semin close to the amount he wanted (thank goodness). We trust Shero and are sure that if needed the deadline will provide us any fillers we need
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