With the 2008/2009 NHL hockey season upon us with the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins preparing to take to the ice in Europe I figured it was about time to make my relatively crude predictions for the upcoming season!
Last year I had some misses (Canadiens missing the playoffs) and some hits (Capitals winning the SE) so we'll see how it goes this time around! Nothing too fancy just my division listings and conference standings. Enjoy!
Montreal-Seems to be the safe bet, I don't think Ottawa can put together a season good enough to win the division.
Ottawa-Will be much better than the last half of last year but not nearly as good as the first quarter of last year.
Buffalo-Vanek will earn his big money and Miller will be Miller.
Boston-Not sure that Ryder will do much but Bergeron's return will give a boost.
Toronto-What can I say that hasn't already been said a thousand times?
Pittsburgh-They'll take a step back but still win the division with Crosby healthy all year.
NY Rangers-People are underestimating the supporting cast around Gomez, Drury and Lundqvist (although they should've avoided Redden).
Philadelphia-One of the deepest teams up front, not so much on the blueline. Biron backstops them into the postseason.
New Jersey-Brodeur will try his darndest to get them in the playoffs again, Rolston will help the offense greatly but it won’t be enough.
NY Islanders-Vote me off...
Florida-What is this? A crazy what is he smoking pick again for the SE? The Cats have one of the steadiest bluelines and goalies in the Conference. The offense will do enough to get them by.
Washington-It'll be a close fight for the division but AO can't overcome Theodore's iffy tending.
Carolina-Injury bug has already bitten; Pitkanen and Corvo has #1 and #3? No thanks.
Tampa Bay-Doesn't matter if you can score 6 goals a game if your defense if giving up 7.
Atlanta-If Kovalchuk got out of this city he could be putting up 60 goals a year. Beyond him there is no one.
Calgary-Addition of Cammalleri will spark the offense and Kipper returns to form.
Minnesota-Offense is never the driving force of success for the Wild. Goaltending and D get them here.
Edmonton-Defense won't be the driving force of success for the Oil. Goaltending and D drops them here.
Vancouver-Luongo is the be all and end all of the Canucks. But he can't do it alone.
Colorado-Raycroft and Budaj will not allow the Avs to succeed in this division.
Detroit-No real surprise here. Although they will drop-off a bit due to the dreaded Cup hangover.
Columbus-Surprise here! I just keep rooting for this franchise and I liked their additions in the off-season. Hitchcock will get them into the playoffs with the trap.
Chicago-The kids are alright but the loss of Lang hurts their offensive depth and Havlat is only good for 30 games or so.
Nashville-They won't be able to fill the net enough to compete in the conference. Plus the going with the flash in the pan goalie hasn't been successful in the past. Right Chris Mason?
St Louis-The rebuilding continues expect to see Boyes drop back from his 43 goals but Backes to go up from his 13 goals. Also watch for Oshie and Berglund to make an impact.
San Jose-The Sharks additions along the blueline will have them in front of the league by the end of the year.
Dallas-Say what you want about him but Avery is good for 15-20 goals and gets the other team's top guys off their game. Expect 30 goals from Brad Richards.
Anaheim-Only a year removed from the Cup and the Ducks will be fighting against the cap as much as they will be fighting other teams for a playoff spot.
Phoenix-This team is scary good. In a year or two. Expect Mueller and Hanzal to sophomore slump but Turris to challenge for the Calder.
Los Angeles-This team is also scary good...but again in about two years. Once Bernier is ready the Kings will be a powerhouse. Kopitar should get MVP consideration.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Montreal Canadiens
3. Florida Panthers
4. New York Rangers
5. Philadelphia Flyers
6. Ottawa Senators
7. Washington Capitals
8. Buffalo Sabres
9. New Jersey Devils
10. Boston Bruins
11. Carolina Hurricanes
12. Tampa Bay Lightning
13. Atlanta Thrashers
14. Toronto Maple Leafs
15. New York Islanders
1. San Jose Sharks
2. Detroit RedWings
3. Calgary Flames
4. Dallas Stars
5. Minnesota Wild
6. Anaheim Ducks
7. Edmonton Oilers
8. Columbus Blue Jackets
9. Vancouver Canucks
10. Chicago Blackhawks
11. Nashville Predators
12. Phoenix Coyotes
13. Colorado Avalanche
14. St. Louis Blues
15. Los Angeles Kings