30 Bold Predictions For 2013 NHL Season
30 Bold Predictions For 2013 NHL Season
It seemed like we waited forever for the NHL to resume.
That wait ended a little over two weeks ago.
Now the masses are clamoring for predictions, right?
And making such bold prognostications is challenging to say the least considering the lockout-shortened NHL season is filled with so many uncertainties thanks to a 48-game regular season.
Will the Los Angeles Kings repeat as Stanley Cup Champions?
Will Patrick Kane's Chicago Blackhawks continue their red-hot play all the way to a Stanley Cup championship?
Will the Pittsburgh Penguins be as good as expected?
Will Sidney Crosby win the Ross Trophy?
Will Henrik Lundqvist win his second straight Vezina Trophy?
Opinions on the aforementioned questions and many others are certainly starting to be formed.
So without further ado we unveil our 30 Bold Predictions For The 2013 NHL Season!
No. 30 Nashville Won't Get Its Monies Worth Out Of Weber
The Predators opted to match the Flyers offer sheet of 14 years at $110 million to keep defenseman Shea Weber.
The problem in investing all the money in him is he simply won't be worth all that coin.
Nashville will find out that Weber isn't the same player without Ryan Suter and shouldn't be surprised if it doesn't make the playoffs this season.
No. 29 Boston's Lucic Will Lead League In Penalty Minutes
The Bruins Milan Lucic ranked 12th in penalty minutes last season with 135 and he has spent 17 minutes in the penalty box in four games this season.
It will be tough for Lucic to catch San Jose's Ryane Clowe, but don't count No. 17 out.
No. 28 Tampa Bay Will Advance To The Eastern Conference Finals
If you're looking for a Cinderella in the Eastern Conference look no further than the Lightening.
Stars like Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St Louis will make Tampa Bay's disappointing 2011-12 season a distant memory.
The Lightening's 4-1 start this year is a sign of things to come.
No. 27 Rangers' Nash Won't Be As Productive As He Was Last Year
The New York Rangers and their fans are expecting a big year from winger Rick Nash. After all, they traded three players and a first-round draft pick for him.
Unfortunately Nash will disappoint those in the Big Apple as he won't provide the kind of offensive firepower people think he should.
Last year he finished with 30 goals and 29 assists as his 59 points were in the top 60 in the league in points.
This year Nash scored five points (one goal and four assists) in the first five games.
No. 26 St. Louis' Tarasenko Will Win The Calder Memorial Trophy
Vladimir Tarasenko will be named the NHL's rookie of the year.
The Russian forward is off to a sizzling start.
He scored four goals in his first four games and now through six games has eight points.
No. 25 Toronto Maple Leafs Will Make The Playoffs
The wait will be over for Toronto fans as the Maple Leafs will make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
This is a proud organization, having won 13 Stanley Cup championships, second only to Montreal's 24. Toronto hasn't won a Cup since 1967 and won't this season, but the Leafs will not only be the talk of the town, but the talk of Canada when they're one of the eight teams in the Eastern Conference to qualify for the playoffs.
Just imagine the atmosphere at the Air Canada Centre if Toronto is in the postseason. It will be electric to say the least.
No. 24 Detroit Red Wings Won't Make The Playoffs
It's hard to fathom the playoffs without the Red Wings, but expect Detroit to be absent from the postseason, which will snap its streak of 21 straight playoff appearances (1991-2012) - the longest current streak of postseason appearances in all of North American professional sports.
Detroit just isn't the same team without star defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom or winger Tomas Holstrom.
No. 23 Buffalo's Hodgson's Scoring Pace Will Increase
Cody Hodgson is now a top line center and is enjoying his time in Upstate New York as the Sabres are a great fit for him.
The former Vancouver Canuck had 41 points last year on 19 goals and 22 assists.
He has three goals in Buffalo's first five games this season.
No. 22 Edmonton Oilers Will Make The Playoffs
Edmonton has missed the playoffs in each of the last six seasons, but the Oilers have too much talent to be absent from the postseason this year.
Having not earned a playoff berth since 2005-06, with players like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the Oilers should be a mainstay in the postseason for years to come.
No. 21 Kings Will Be In Bottom 7 Of Western Conference Standings
Not only with the Los Angeles Kings not repeat as Stanley Cup champions, but they won't even make the playoffs.
Last season the Kings became the first No. 8 seed in NHL history to win the Cup.
In an unprecedented move, the organization brought back its entire lineup to defend its title.
That move will backfire as LA is off to a rocky start at 1-2-1, which is a sign of things to come.
No. 20 Staal Brothers Will Outscore Sedins
This won't be easy as Henrik and Daniel Sedin led the Canucks in scoring last year with 81 and 67 points, respectively.
But this year will be different for the Stalls, who should really excel now that they're reunited.
So far the Staals have eight points in four games and the Sedins have 10 in five contests.
No. 19 Montreal's Subban Will Be Traded
P.K. Subban continues to hold out as the restricted free agent, seeks a new deal from the Habs.
Montreal has offered Subban a two-year deal worth $2.2 million this year and $2.9 million in 2014. However, he wants a long-term deal that will keep him with the Canadians for at least five years.
Don't be surprised if the defenseman ends up playing somewhere else.
No. 18 Vancouver's Luongo Won't Be Traded
Forget that Vancouver's GM says Roberto Luongo's contract won't stop him from being traded.
The fact is it will.
Who wants an aging goaltender who has 10 years left on his 12-year $64-million contract?
Not many. That's why you don't see suitors lining up at the door to obtain Luongo's services.
No. 17 Ottawa's Karlsson Will Win Second Consecutive Norris Trophy
Last season Karlsson became the youngest Norris winner since Boston's Bobby Orr, who won the honor eight straight times (1968-75).
No. 16 Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf Or Corey Perry Will Get Traded
Expect some sort of exodus from Anaheim this season.
Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf will be unrestricted free agents this summer. There are concerns about the Ducks' ability to sign the duo and their willingness to remain in Anaheim.
Bobby Ryan is from New Jersey and has let it be known he wants to return to the East Coast.
Don't be surprised at all to see one or more of Anaheim's stars leave this season.
Keep in mind the NHL trade deadline is April 3.
No. 15 San Jose Will Win Pacific Division
Led by Patrick Marleau, who is on an unbelievable scoring pace with 13 points in the Sharks' first five games, including five goals, the Sharks will be the team to beat in the Pacific Division and don't be surprised if they're in the Stanley Cup finals.
San Jose is off to a terrific start being one of only two undefeated teams left and with Marleau playing out of his mind and goalie Antti Niemi playing the way he is, anything is possible for this club.
No. 14 Flyers Start Getting Monies Worth Out Of Bryzgalov
Philadelphia invested a ton of money in goalie Ilya Bryzgalov - a nine-year, $51 million contract to be exact.
Last year that move looked like it was a colossal disaster when he went 5-6-1 in the playoffs with a 3.46 goals against average.
This year though Bryzgalov is showing signs early that he could be the goaltender that he was in Phoenix when he went 36-20-20 with a goals against average of 2.48 in 2010-11.
If Bryzgalov's goals against average stays in the neighborhood of 2.21 where it currently stands, look for him to have a very good year.
No. 13 Vancouver Will Disappoint Again
It seems like every NHL season the Canucks are projected to either win the Stanley Cup or at the very least get to the finals. This year is no exception.
And once again this year how the Canucks end the season will leave people scratching their heads in British Columbia.
Last season Vancouver lost in the first round of the playoffs and look for the Canucks to once again lay an egg in the 2013 postseason with a first-round exit.
This is a team that isn't getting any younger and it's learning that it misses Ryan Kesler, who is out indefinitely after having offseason surgeries on his shoulder and wrist, big time.
No. 12 Canucks' Vigneault Will Get Fired
Vancouver's Alain Vigneault took plenty of heat last year after his team's quick exit from the playoffs.
If the Canucks repeat that performance, Vigneault will get a pink slip prior to the Stanley Cup finals.
No. 11 Tampa Bay's Stamkos Will Win Hart Trophy
Steven Stamkos will be named MVP this season after leading the NHL with 60 goals last season.
Stamkos has started the season among the top five in points with 10 in five games and will have another banner year.
No. 10 Dallas' Lehtonen Will Be Better This Year
Goalie Kari Lehtonen won 33 games last season and had a 2.33 goals against average.
This season he's off to a 2-0-1 start and has a GAA of 2.23.
If Lehtonen continues playing at such a level, the Stars will be a very tough out in the playoffs, especially since their offense is improved with Ray Whitney, Derek Roy and Jaromir Jagr on board.
No. 9 Alex Ovechkin Won't Finish In The Top 10 In Scoring
Last season Alex Ovechkin had his worst year in the NHL as the Washington Capital scored 65 points (38 goals and 27 assists).In five games this season he has just one goal and one assist.
No. 8 Edmonton's Eberle Will Win The Ross Trophy
Jordan Eberle for the Oilers will lead the NHL in scoring at the end of the regular season.
Last season the winger had 76 points in 78 games, including 34 goals and 42 assists.
He has five points in four games this season.
No. 7 Bruins Won't Miss Tim Thomas Because Of Tuukka Rask
Tuukka Rask will make Boston Bruins' fans not miss Tim Thomas one iota.
Rask will now shine in the spotlight between the pipes after being one of the NHL's premier backups.
No. 6 Parise, Suter Will Put Wild On Map In Year One
Minnesota took a big gamble in signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in the offseason and that investment will pay off in a big way in 2013.
Parise has nine points in the first five games, which is the best start ever for a player in franchise history.
Suter is also making his presence felt as he leads the team in blocked shots and ice time.
With Parise and Suter playing this way, it's a safe bet to expect the Wild to make the playoffs thanks to their high-priced stars.
No. 5 Devils' Brodeur Will Win The Vezina Trophy
The future Hall of Fame goalie will be named the best at his position.
Martin Brodeur, who has won the honor on four previous occasions, is off to another really good start as he has a 1.69 goals against average in four games this season.
If Brodeur continues to play like that, maybe the Devils won't miss Zach Parise as people think.
So far so good, as New Jersey is off to a 3-0-1 start.
No. 4 Flyers' Giroux Won't Stay Healthy
No player in the NHL has more pressure on them than Philadelphia's Claude Giroux.
With Scott Hartnell now out 4-8 weeks with a broken foot, the weight on Giroux's shoulders got even heavier.
You really have to question Giroux's durability because you know he'll think he has to carry the team and might put himself in vulnerable situations as a result.
No. 3 Pittsburgh's Crosby Will Play All 48 Games
In each of the past two seasons, Penguins' star Sidney Crosby has been sidelined due to injuries, but expect him to be healthy this season.
That's great news for a team that could ride Crosby to another Stanley Cup championship.
Don't be surprised either if Sid The Kid leads the NHL in goals and points.
No. 2 Chicago's Hossa Will Win The Conn Smythe Trophy
Chicago Blackhawks' winger Marian Hossa is showing just how valuable he is off to a great start this season, scoring eight points (five goals and three assists) in the first six games.
If Hossa, whose 2011-12 season was ended in the playoffs on a vicious hit by Phoenix's Raffi Torres, plays the rest of the season like he has the first two weeks, he'll lead the Blackhawks on another deep postseason run.
Expect Hossa to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the MVP during the playoffs.
No. 1 Chicago Blackhawks Will Win The Stanley Cup
At 6-0, Chicago is off to its best start in franchise history and has those in the Windy City thinking Stanley Cup.
If captain Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks' other stars stay healthy and they get solid goaltending from Corey Crawford, there's no reason to think this team shouldn't win its second Cup in the last four years.
Doug Griffiths is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association. Doug is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths and Facebook.