Most web sites do a NHL predictions page. But most of those predictions are safe. They don’t really take a chance.
Want some boldness? Read my predictions on the upcoming NHL season below.
1. There will be five players that crack the 50-goal barrier, the most since the 2005-06 campaign. My guess on the players would be Steven Stamkos, Corey Perry, Alexander Ovechkin, Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek (with Ilya Kovalchuk and Rick Nash coming close, and possibly Sidney Crosby, depending on how much time he misses).
2. Surprise good team of the year: Colorado Avalanche. They may not make the playoffs, but they’ll come close.
3. Surprise bad team of the year: Philadelphia Flyers. They’ll struggle for much of the year.
4. Don’t expect much out of the Bruins. A lot of teams in the East got better this past summer, and the Bruins will have a bit of a Stanley Cup hangover. They’ll still make the playoffs, but they’ll struggle.
5. Alexander Semin will be traded in a move designed to shake up the Capitals before the playoffs.
6. Daniel Alfredsson will be traded to the Red Wings to give him one last shot at the Stanley Cup before he retires.
7. Shane Doan will be traded to Winnipeg.
8. There will be at least two 20-game suspensions, as players don’t seem to understand the new headshot rule.
9. No player on the Habs will get 70 points.
10. On the wrong end of a few blowouts, and with a few scrapers on the team, the Senators will lead the league in fights.
11. Three Canadian teams will make the playoffs: The Canadiens, the Leafs and the Canucks.
12. Simon Gagne finds a way to stay healthy, score 30 goals and net 70 points.
13. Dany Heatley will demand a trade, and will end up in Winnipeg.
14. Surprise player of the year will be Bryan Little.
15. The Islanders make a big trade for a goalie.
16. The Calgary Flames will finish last in the West.
17. All three Calder finalists from last season — Jeff Skinner, Logan Couture and Michael Grabner — have a sophomore slump.
18. Brad Richards does what most big-money free agents in New York do: he has a subpar season, finishing with 60 points.
19. One thing that bothers me about all these expert sites making predictions is they’re scared to take a chance to deviate from the norm. Really, you’re picking Steven Stamkos to win the Rocket Richard trophy? And Shea Weber to win the Norris? Wow, what a gutsy prediction. Blech. The following are my dark horse predictions for each of the trophies:
Rocket Richard: Zach Parise
20. Hart: Jarome Iginla
21. Art Ross: Ryan Getzlaf
22. Selke: Tomas Plekanec
23. Norris: Dan Boyle
24. Calder: Luke Adam
25. The Devils will win the Stanley Cup, with Martin Brodeur retiring shortly thereafter.