September 05, 2009

Early Predictions for the Upcoming 2009-2010 NHL Season! : The Annual SportsFilter "It's to Early" National Hockey League Predictions. We've missed a few years but what the hey there's nothing like reaching back for Old Traditions and making them live again! Once again we've got a ton to talk about with the upcoming Winter Olympics and a crazy amount of Off Season movements and various other Hockey Happenings. So go ahead ponder and pontificate, give it your best and remember "Hockey is for Everyone". (am I the only one that finds this disturbing?)

posted by skydivedad to navel gazing at 12:17 PM - 13 comments

Training Camps are opening soon and the annual Red Wings Rookies and Prospects Tournament is underway in Travis City Michigan. The 09/10 NHL Season is almost upon us! What follows are my predictions for the 29/30 Team NHL. (Who knows about the Coyotes fate?)

NHL Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division:
1. New Jersey Devils
2. Philadelphia Flyers
3. New York Rangers
4. Pittsburgh Penguins
5. New York Islanders

NorthEast Division:
1. Boston Bruins
2. Buffalo Sabres
3. Ottawa Senators
4. Montreal Canadians
5. Toronto Maple Leafs

SouthEast Division
1. Washington Capitals
2. Carolina Hurricanes
3. Florida Panthers
4. Atlanta Thrashers
5. Tampa Bay Lighting

NHL Western Conference

Central Division
1. Detroit Red Wings
2. Chicago BlackHawks
3. St Louis Blues
4. Columbus Blue Jackets
5. Nashville Predators

NorthWest Division
1. Vancover Canucks
2. Minnesota Wild
3. Calgary Flames
4. Edmonton Oilers
5. Colorado Avalanche

Pacific Division
1. San Jose Sharks
2. Dallas Stars
3. Anaheim Ducks
4. Los Angeles Kings
5. Phoenix/Hamliton Coyotes

Eastern Conference Champions
Washington Capitals

Western Conference Champions
Chicago BlackHawks

Stanley Cup Champions
Chicago BlackHawks

I can finally have a little hope about the Chicago BlackHawks. Isn't that what early predictions are all about! Actually I think the Best Team in Hockey going into the season is the Boston Squad but they always find a way to blow it just like those Squads they put out in San Jose. Other than the Bruins not coming out of the East last year my biggest disappointment in 2008 was the complete collapse of the Montreal Canadians.

posted by skydivedad at 12:44 PM on September 05, 2009

Pretty much what skydivedad says, but put Toronto ahead of both Ottawa and Montreal in the Northeast, and exchange the positions of Pittsburgh and Rangers in the Atlantic. There are a number of question marks with Boston going into this season, particularly on defense. Ference and Hunwick will be coming back from injury, but both will probably be OK. Chara, for all his skills, sometimes has a problem moving the puck in the defensive zone. Adding Derek Morris alongside him could be of material help. Up front Bruins will be pretty close to what they were last year. About the only major change is the addition of Steve Begin from Montreal, who will take over the hard-nose 4th line center duties in lieu of Stephan Yelle. Here also there are some returns from injury, notably David Krecji and Marco Sturm. The biggest question is the fate of Phil Kessel, whose salary demands would put Boston in cap trouble. Kessel too is returning from an injury that will keep him out of action until December at the earliest. If he is traded or remains unsigned, you might have a problem replacing 30 goals. There is some feeling, though not publicly stated, that Kessel is not the best of 2-way players and tends to have few friends in the locker room. Stay tuned on this one, as there might be some trade action here.

I was going to say that the reason I cited skydivedad's picks was because I was too lazy to type a whole list. Well, I've just about blown that excuse. I'll conclude by saying that Boston will make it to the Stanley Cup finals, but only after an emotional and bitter 7-game series with Washington, with the 7th game being decided by a "homer" call against the Caps that results in a Boston power play goal. They will face a surprising Vancouver team, and despite Milan Lucic shining in the games in his hometown, will fall in 6.

posted by Howard_T at 03:29 PM on September 05, 2009

Chicago Blackhawks to win it all? Please explain.

posted by billsaysthis at 04:35 PM on September 05, 2009

There are a number of question marks with Boston going into this season, particularly on defense.Howard_T Chicago Blackhawks to win it all? Please explain.billsaysthis

Boston acquisition of Derek Morris more than makes up any defensive loss from the departures of Aaron Ward and Steve Montador. Morris also takes some of the pressure off Zdeno Chara to push the puck harder up ice this will allow him to sharpen his already dominating defensive presence in the other 2 zones. Having Ference and Hunwick back just adds some Blueline Depth. Anyone still questioning Tim Thomas just need to look at his 2008 performance.

Out West certainly San Jose is a heavy favorite to go to the finals but they've yet to advance past the quarter finals until they've done so I'll continue to pick against them. Chicago's acquistion of Hossa makes their front line (Hossa, Toews and Kane) best in conference hands down (maybe even best in league) it's not as if they didn't get to the conference finals in 2008.

I'm also of the opinion the move to add John Madden will be the most highly regarded off season move any team has made this summer, even ahead of Philly's addition of Chris Pronger, Centermen John Madden is widely acknowledged as one of the best defenders in the league, mostly neutralizing the loss of Havlat by way of a drastically improved defensive line. Kane in particular should advance considerably, his legal troubles behind him and three hard-fought playoff series under his belt. These aren't your Daddy's BlackHawks that deserved league wide disdain, they're a real threat to win the Cup. They've got arguably one of the deepest Bluelines in the league and can hurt you offensively with three potent lines and from anywhere on the ice at any time. Besides they've got a Bowman behind the scenes.

Detroit is completely distracted with 10 potential players suiting up for the Olympics as well as Head Coach Babcock along with GM Kenny Holland and Steve Yzerman. They're not going to replace the scoring lost when Mikael Samuelsson, Jiri Hudler and Marian Hossa all start the season elsewhere. Todd Bertuzzi and Jason Williams certainly won't. When you win by controlling the puck and keeping games close losing that offensive is really gonna hurt. I was going to put them 2nd in the Central but until they've been dethroned I'll keep them there, just remember the last time they had 10 players in the Olympics (Turin Italy) they were an early out in the playoffs at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers. All The Best Paul

posted by skydivedad at 05:45 PM on September 05, 2009

Doesn't seem to be a lot of interest in the up coming NHL Season around here. Oh well, I tried. Seems we probably won't be reviving the Puckathon this year.

Howard_T The Kessel epic in Boston seems to have gained some substance today for a trade to Toronto as the BlackHawks and Maple Leafs swap draft picks. Toronto reacquires a 2nd round 2010 pick for a 2nd and 3rd in 2011. They'll need that 2010 pick for a trade with Boston for young Mr. Kessel.

posted by skydivedad at 04:48 PM on September 07, 2009

It might be because of labor day weekend skydivedad. I'm sure a lot of people are traveling. Of course, I could be wrong.

posted by justgary at 05:40 PM on September 07, 2009

I'm reading the thread. I'm just not really big on making predictions. OK, I'll do one: I predict that the Hurricanes sneak into the top eight at the end of the season.

That's all I can do. Sorry.

One thing that I've learned about this place: though not many post, many do lurk and they love fantasy sports. Bring on the puckathon 'cause they'll show up for that.

posted by NoMich at 06:19 PM on September 07, 2009

The scuttlebutt in the Boston papers is that Kessel is looking for about $4.5M per year. Since he is a restricted free agent, Boston would have the right to match, but probably won't. If Toronto makes him that level of offer, they would give up a #1, 2, and 3 pick in the next draft. That might explain the swap with the Blackhawks, since Toronto didn't have one of the required picks (I don't recall whether it was the 2 or the 3). Note that if the offer is in the $6M range, the compensation turns into 3 (I think) #1s. It may all be moot, because Peter Chiarelli, Bruins GM, is said to be trying to move him out of the conference for a roster player and picks.

I don't think I ever played in the puckathon, but since retirement, I have the time to carefully make my picks and blow all of you out of the water.

posted by Howard_T at 06:52 PM on September 07, 2009

Seems we probably won't be reviving the Puckathon this year.

Agree with NoMich, hockey is alive and in need of a Puckathon.

As far as the season is concerned, I'm hoping St. Louis continues where they left off last regular season. They had a second half record of 25-9-7 and were only stopped by Loungo's ridiculously good goal-tending in the first round. Finally, the Blues seem to have a solid 1-2 punch in net. Eric Johnson will return after his "golf cart accident" caused him to miss the entire last year. Along with youngsters Oshie, Bergland, Perron and Johnson, the Blues have five other prospects we could see this year: Alex Pietrangelo, Ian Cole, Lars Eller, Ben Bishop and Phillip McRae.

While it's been tough to be a Blues fan in recent years. The rebuilding process seems to have been very much a success and the results (6th seed in the West last year) are apparent. I hope to see it continue.

Mr. T, I'm sorry to tell you that you have no chance.

posted by BoKnows at 09:15 PM on September 07, 2009

Sorry, I always forget to check the LR on my way through the site, but I'm always up for getting bitch-slapped in some fantasy hockey...anyway, a few predictions...

- When hearing the phrase "Penguins' Superstar Sidney Crosby," millions of confused fans will wonder when Evgeny Malkin was traded...

- When Brodeur breaks Sawchuk's shutout record, the old guys at my barber shop will say he's not as good as Terry was, because Terry held the record for wins AND shutouts. When I remind them that Brodeur now holds both of those records, they'll say numbers don't mean anything across eras...

- Playing in his unprecedented 7th decade, Gordie Howe will suit up for the Sharks for a shift during their 1st round game against Columbus. Mr. Hockey will inadvertently tip the puck past Nabokov, sending the Sharks home for the summer...

- In Chicago's last game of the season, Marian Hossa's jersey will be accidentally lettered "Hoffa." The mistake won't be caught until after the game starts, and he'll play with the misspelling. He mysteriously disappears after the game, but no one notices until June...

- Gary Bettman will push to move the Maple Leafs to Seattle, and the Canadiens to Kansas City, cited a change of venue could spark a resurgence in the struggling franchises. "They need a new fan base," he's quoted as saying, "it's not like they're the Coyotes."

and finally...

- the Southeast region of Michigan will become deserted suddenly one night in April. Investigators will find only headless bodies strewn through houses and bars across the area. They attribute the deaths to everyone's head exploding simultaneously, after the NHL airs an ad showing Crosby struggling to get up on a bad knee last year side-by-side with shots of Yzerman from 2002...

posted by MeatSaber at 10:13 PM on September 07, 2009

MeatSaber Thats what I'm talking about. Hold on I'm wiping the Coke off my keyboard. As far as the season is concerned, I'm hoping St. Louis continues where they left off last regular season. BoKnows

I had a difficult time placing St Louis where I did in the Division. Truthfully it's a toss up between the Blues and Jackets in that spot. I'm having a difficult time thinking Chris Mason is the guy in the pipes that's going to advance this squad. I've seen plenty of him in the central and if I hear about his potential 1 more time I'll .... well Ty Conklin. Big questions at goalie as far as I can tell but I've heard many a Blues fan thinking Mason can stand on his head again all season.

The Blueline is potent with Eric Johnson returning and the progress made by Alex Pietrangelo. Stir in Carlo Colaiacovo and Roman Polak add a dash of Barret Jackman you get a power Blueline (even more so if Eric Brewer can return to form and get on the ice). Unfortunately for the Blues defense isn't played in a vacuum and when your front line guys Andy McDonald, Brad Boyes and David Backes go -36 like they did last season it's a potential playoff killer. I'd also be surprised if Patrik Berglund, and Dave Perron can repeat what they did last year. Lots of upside for this squad and lots of question marks as well.

OK Howard_T your on but bring your A game because these are some really serious Fantasy Hockey Players. We play for keeps, winner take all. It was really a great league for several years I'd be thrilled to play a Puckathon once more having Championed the last season we played. Hopefully we can get all the former Champions back and everyone else that made this one of the most challenging leagues I've ever played in. Here's the hard part. I'd have a very difficult time commishing the league as Defending Champion. I'm going to set it up but I'm hoping someone can take over the Commish job. (Please anyone?) Here's the details, I'll also follow this up with a new Locker Room Post. Draft Day Saturday Sept. 26th 10AM EST! I'd prefer Friday Night the 25th at 6:30 PM EST. Let me know...

Same rules as last but like always we'll have rule discussions in the Locker Room thread. Straight Up Rotisserie Scoring, no gimmicks. Do your home work because I am.

Winner gets to Fly the Spofi Puckathon Banner for 2009!

League ID127713 Password= ripcord

We've room for 20 players so I'm expecting the likes of Grum, Weedy, The Good DrJE, Goddam, Bullpenpro, Skater umm Mr Frisby, NoMich, Qbert, spetzengle, willthrill, LeRoy, Fraze, Chico and anyone else who's ever played in this league to come out of the woodwork and all you other blokes to grab a squad as well because this is gonna be intense a No Holds Barred, play to dominate sort of adventure. Big shout out to Puckathon V!

posted by skydivedad at 12:14 AM on September 08, 2009

Atlantic Division:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins - I don't think there will be too much of a hangover
2. New Jersey Devils - new coach, new young faces, it will probably take a couple of months for the team to click. The only line that will probably stay intact is the Parise-Zajac-Langenbrunner line. Madden (the only real loss of the offseason) will be hard to replace. Good luck, Rod Pelly.
3. Philadelphia Flyers - I think they have the potential to win the division, but as always in Philly, it will come down to goaltending.
4. New York Rangers - How they got rid of the Gomez contract is beyond me. I was hoping to keep laughing at that for years to come.
5. New York Islanders - Tank for Tavares whoever next years top draft pick is!

NorthEast Division:
1. Boston Bruins - The sooner they get the Kessel thing straightened out, the better.
2. Buffalo Sabres - Only at 2nd because they are the best of the rest.
3. Montreal Canadians - Now with more less height! With Gionta and Chara now in the same division, it should make the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry more interesting.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs - still in rebuilding mode
5. Ottawa Senators - Oh how the mighty have fallen. The sooner they get rid of Heatly, the better. Now might be a good time to start rebuilding mode.

SouthEast Division
1. Carolina Hurricanes - Edge out the Caps because of better and more stable goaltending. Did you know, out of all the current NHL goaltenders, Cam Ward is the closest to being on pace to break Patrick Roy's Brodeur's records?
2. Washington Capitals - I'm not convinced Varlemov is the real deal.
3. Florida Panthers - The best of the rest
4. Tampa Bay Lighting - realized that while offense is great, you still need some semblance of a defense.
5. Atlanta Thrashers - If you are debating whether or not Rich Peverly is your #1 center, you are in trouble.

NHL Western Conference

Central Division (aka the new Atlantic)
1. Detroit Red Wings
2. Chicago BlackHawks
3. St Louis Blues
4. Nashville Predators
5. Columbus Blue Jackets

NorthWest Division
1. Vancover Canucks
2. Minnesota Wild
3. Calgary Flames
4. Edmonton Oilers
5. Colorado Avalanche

Pacific Division
1. San Jose Sharks
2. Anaheim Ducks
3. Los Angeles Kings
4. Dallas Stars
5. Phoenix Coyotes

posted by MrFrisby at 06:21 PM on September 08, 2009

Playoff teams:
1. Boston Bruins
2. Carolina Hurricanes
3. Pittsburgh Penguins
4. Washington Capitals
5. New Jersey Devils
6. Philadelphia Flyers
7. Buffalo Sabres
8. New York Rangers
Dark horse: Florida Panthers

1. Vancouver Canucks
2. San Jose Sharks
3. Detroit Red Wings
4. Chicago BlackHawks
5. Minnesota Wild
6. Anaheim Ducks
7. St Louis Blues
8. Calgary Flames
Dark horse: Dallas Stars

posted by MrFrisby at 06:33 PM on September 08, 2009

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