Sunday, January 13, 2013

30 Expectations for the 2013 season

1. At least one postseason "lock" (Chicago, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Jose, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, Boston) will miss the playoffs.

2. Evgeni Malkin will not be a Hart finalist. Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby will be.

3. Dan Bylsma starts Tomas Vokoun at least 25 times between the regular season and playoffs, helping the Penguins to win the President's Trophy.

4. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both finish over a point-per-game and Braden Holtby wins the starting goalie job as the Capitals win the Southeast, which is the East's best division.

5. None of the mainstream rookies (Jonathan Huberdeau, Nail Yakupov, Vladimir Tarasenko, Mikael Granlund, Justin Schultz) win the Calder Trophy.

6. Taylor Hall finally gains recognition as the true face of the Oilers, supplanting Jordan Eberle.

7. Brian Burke gets another GM gig before the draft.

8. Steven Stamkos scores goals at a slower rate, but drastically increases his assist totals as Tampa Bay makes the playoffs. Guy Boucher gets a Jack Adams nod.

9. Alexander Semin scores at a 30-per-82 rate as Carolina makes the playoffs, falling just short of the division title.

10. Nathan MacKinnon goes first overall, Seth Jones second, and Jonathan Drouin third.

11. Victor Hedman, Cam Fowler, John Carlson, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson emerge as top-fifteen defensemen. Matt Carle continues to go unnoticed as a major catalyst for his D partner. Drew Doughty is a Norris finalist and the Orr comparisons resurface.

12. Mike Ribeiro will end up a power play specialist.

13. A Toronto writer prematurely claims Nonis' tenure as GM is even worse than Burke's.

14. St. Louis will give up many more goals but also score many more. Los Angeles will score more while allowing around the same amount. Pittsburgh and Washington will score much more while giving up many fewer.

15. Ilya Bryzgalov will be blamed for the Flyers' woes even though he has a solid bounce-back season. The Flyers' D corps will get off scot-free.

16. While Tuukka Rask has an awesome season, Tim Thomas retires.

17. Adam Oates doesn't improve the Capitals' power play very much. (Both the Tampa Bay and New Jersey power plays got worse by shots after Oates than they were before. Both were pretty bad before, anyway, so I think it's plausible those Oates-coached power plays just got lucky, and he got the credit.)

18. The Rangers appear to underachieve while Columbus improves a whole lot. (Rick Nash will have to compete with Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards for prime ice time and doesn't help the Rangers generate possession like Dubinsky and Anisimov can. Erixon is a top defensive prospect who can help the Jackets immediately.)

19. Phoenix has a very tough year as Mike Smith returns to mediocrity and it continues to have trouble scoring goals.

20. Dallas' offseason makeover is a huge success. Taking Ray Whitney from Phoenix, adding Jaromir Jagr from Philadelphia, trading for Derek Roy, and Jamie Benn

21. Edmonton trades Ales Hemsky to a numbers-savvy team (think Pittsburgh, Chicago, Vancouver, or Tampa Bay). (Pittsburgh makes sense to me, as a team with plenty of maturing D prospects.)

22. Marc-Andre Fleury is shaky in the playoffs again.

23. Roberto Luongo will stay with Vancouver.

24. The whole "Ye" thing for Russian names does not catch on (i.e. Yevgeni, not Evgeni).

25. I write here more than I do for the Spectator.

26. No defensemen hits a point-per-game, although a few hit 40 points.

27. Mike Ribeiro ends up playing with Ovechkin at even strength.

28. Ross-Crosby, Richard-Stamkos, Hart-Stamkos, Selke-Bergeron, Norris-Pietrangelo, Vezina-Quick, Adams-Bylsma, Calder-Grigorenko.

29. Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington, New York Rangers, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Ottawa || Winnipeg, Florida, Buffalo, New Jersey, Toronto, Montreal, New York Islanders; Vancouver, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Jose, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota || Colorado, Calgary, Phoenix, Anaheim, Nashville, Edmonton, Columbus.

30. The Capitals will not win the Stanley Cup.

1 comment:

  1. Comments on predictions:

    1) For the "locks" to make the playoffs that miss, Pittsburgh won't be one of the misses.

    2) Fleury being shaky in playoffs would likely preclude Pitt from winning Cup.

    3) Doubt Item 23 will come to pass

    Anyway, very well written piece, whether or not the predictions come to pass