NHL Predictions 2009-2010

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to take the ‘horrible prognostication’ tag out for a spin, so, with the NHL season starting up here’s my preseason take on how the conferences are going to shape up.

First, I’d like to say that I made a point of choosing three teams from each conference that weren’t in the playoffs last year, who will make the leap this year.  It may affect the accuracy of this exercise, but it’s a lot more fun than keeping the same teams in the top 8.

First up, the Eastern Conference.  I honestly don’t follow these teams hardly at all, so I’ve got very little on which to base these predicitons.

DIVISION CHAMPS –

1. Washington Capitals – Very good team in a bad division = lots of points
2. NY Rangers – Gaborik plays 75 games, scores 45 goals, Rangers cruise
3. Boston Bruins – I really wanted to pick someone else in this division, but who?

PLAYOFF TEAMS –

4. Philadelphia Flyers – solid team, why not #4?
5. Buffalo Sabres – a little too high?  this is a nod to my Buffalo friend, you’re welcome Tom!
6. Pittsburgh Penguins – two very long seasons tire this team out – they will still be a threat for sure
7. Toronto Maple Leafs – surprising team #1, possibly still a year away, but I say this year yields some playoff experience
8. Atlanta Thrashers – surprising team #2, start printing the playoff tickets now.
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OUTSIDE LOOKING IN –

9. NJ Devils – if true, probably the biggest surprise of them all
10. Montreal Canadiens – they blew up the whole team, who knows what will happen?
11. Carolina Hurricanes – not quite going to make it this year
12. Florida Panthers – some backsliding from last year’s near miss
13. NY Islanders – anything above last place would be an achievement
14. Ottawa Senators – not good
15. Tampa Bay Lightning – bad, bad, bad

Now the Western Conference.

DIVISION WINNERS –

1. San Jose Sharks – they’re good, and no one else in their division should challenge them for the top spot
2. Detroit Red Wings – in my book, it’s their division until someone takes it from them
3. Edmonton Oilers – Vancouver is the safe pick here, but that would be the same three winners as last season.

PLAYOFF TEAMS –

4. Chicago Blackhawks – they could certainly make a run at the Wings
5. St. Louis Blues – I like this team, they’ll be very good
6. LA Kings – lots of young talent turning the corner this year
7. Vancouver Canucks – what happens if Luongo doesn’t play all season?
8. Minnesota Wild – homerism?  guilty as charged.
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OUTSIDE LOOKING IN –

9. Calgary Flames – very easily could be a playoff team
10. Columbus Blue Jackets – they are middle of the road, could be in or out
11. Dallas Stars – backward sliding, could be worse than this
12. Anaheim Ducks – probably not this bad, but I can dream
13. Nashville Predators – really tough division for these guys
14. Phoenix Coyotes – it’s a circus and I can’t imagine them succeeding in that environment
15. Colorado Avalanche – bad, bad, bad

You want a Stanley Cup prediction, too? All right –

Washington over St. Louis in 6 games

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