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2015-2016 Predictions

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  • 2015-2016 Predictions

    Looking at the moves that have been made so far, in terms of NHL-ready talent, no team is more improved than Buffalo. Losing essentially only Zadorov (again in terms of current NHL talent), the Sabres added O'Reilly, McGinn, Legwand and Lehner through trades and then made what I thought was a really savvy signing of Carlo Colaiacovo. To top it off, they've got Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart likely joining the team. Carolina and Edmonton should also easily dare better than they did last season, and Calgary's built on a great season with an impressive offseason thus far. Detroit will likely keep their Playoff streak alive with their free agent additions of Mike Green and Brad Richards - and having Anthony Mantha knocking on the door isn't going to hurt at all either. Dylan Larkin is going to be making a case for himself soon too, and Teemu Pulkkinen and Xavier Ouellet figure to be mainstays with the big club. The Red Wings also haven't lost any significant assets thus far through the off-season.

    As far as which team got worse by the largest margin, I'd have to give that "honour" to Boston. The losses of Lucic, Sorderberg, and Hamilton have not been replaced - the Bruins likely will miss the Playoffs again next season.

    Anyways, here are my (very rough) predictions so far:

    1 Rangers
    2 Tampa Bay
    3 Montreal
    4 Washington
    5 Detroit
    6 Islanders
    7 Ottawa
    8 Pittsburgh
    ---
    9 Florida
    10 Boston
    11 Philadelphia
    12 Columbus
    13 Carolina
    14 Buffalo
    15 New Jersey
    16 Toronto

    1 Anaheim
    2 St. Louis
    3 Nashville
    4 Vancouver
    5 Chicago
    6 Calgary
    7 Winnipeg
    8 Minnesota
    ---
    9 Colorado
    10 Los Angeles
    11 San Jose
    12 Edmonton
    13 Dallas
    14 Arizona

  • #2
    Yeah I think I'd agree with you for the most part. My predictions will be pretty similar. I'll go with:

    East

    1. Tampa Bay
    2. Islanders
    3. Detroit
    4. Montreal
    5. Rangers
    6. Ottawa
    7. Pittsburgh
    8. Washington
    9. Florida
    10. Columbus
    11. Philadelphia
    12. Boston
    13. Carolina
    14. Buffalo
    15. Toronto
    16. New Jersey

    West

    1. Anaheim
    2. Nashville
    3. St. Louis
    4. Calgary
    5. Winnipeg
    6. Chicago
    7. Minnesota
    8. L.A.
    9. Dallas
    10. San Jose
    11. Edmonton
    12. Vancouver
    13. Colorado
    14. Arizona

    And for the awards:

    Art Ross: John Tavares
    Hart: John Tavares
    Rocket: Steven Stamkos
    Norris: Shea Weber
    Vezina: Carey Price
    Selke: Ryan Kesler
    Calder: Connor McDavid
    Jack Adams: Jack Capuano

    Comment


    • #3
      Interesting choices. I noticed with Josh's list, he had the exact same teams making the playoffs as last year, while Matches had one change (LA for Vancouver).

      I'm really bad at these so I won't make a full list. I think LA will be in the playoffs for sure, and probably finish 5th or 6th this year. I also think Columbus has a great shot at making it and perhaps even taking Ottawa out of the mix. The Sens are a pretty big wildcard to me ... they could finish 4th or 10th. Hammond is a big "if", even if he's not our starter.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm reserving the right to revise my predictions until the start of the season.

        I think with the additions of Nichushkin and Sharp to the forward corps, a tandem of Niemi and Lehtonen in goal, and a solidified back end, now with a couple of right shots in Demers and Klingberg (who could have an enormous season), it is going to be very hard to keep Dallas out of the playoffs. I wouldn't write off San Jose either.

        Vancouver lost some really good players over the last two years, the core is aging, and the prospects and young players are a couple years away. I'd be very surprised if the Canucks make it in this year.

        And in the East, the addition of Saad will be huge for Columbus, plus a healthy Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky down the middle will make the loss of Anisimov irrelevant. The Jackets will be heavily in the playoff hunt. And Florida will make a radical leap forward based simply on the development of their plethora of top young talent.

        Just not sure who to take out in either conference. Minnesota is sitting on Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter and Marco Scandella all primed for big breakouts. Add that to the already solid core of veterans and the Wild could and should become a serious contender this year. Same goes for Detroit in the East with Mrazek, Tatar, Nyquist, DeKeyser, etc.

        I don't have the same reservations about the Sens that you have Alfie. People keep saying things like "the Sens can't be as bad as they were the first half or as good as they were the second half", as if this was a case of randomness or inconsistencies or for certain parts of the year they were good and other parts they were bad. No, this was a case of young players developing, hence they started the year poorly and became a top team as the season progressed.

        Zibanejad, Ceci, Wiercioch, Stone, Hoffman, Pageau. The basic, obvious theory of sophomore slumps is that it is tied to increased difficulty of playing situations. This means things like zone starts, quality of competition, and things that don't exactly show up on the stats sheet, like in some cases opposing coaches focusing more efforts on strategizing to shut down that player (Stone will be facing this especially).

        But with the incredible depth we now have throughout the lineup, teams won't be able to focus on defending any one or two lines, meaning nobody is going to be forced into matchups they're not ready for on a regular basis. So I expect there to be no sophomore jinxes or major setbacks from anyone (a leveling out from Hoffman and/or Stone perhaps, but no setbacks). So yes, I expect the Sens to be a playoff team for sure, and if some of those young players continue to develop, this could be a very serious contender starting this season.
        Last edited by matchesmalone; 07-26-2015, 03:54 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'll definitely be revising mine before the season starts as well.

          Comment


          • #6
            My updated rankings:

            1 Rangers
            2 Montral
            3 Tampa Bay
            4 Washington
            5 NY Islanders
            6 Detroit
            7 Ottawa
            8 Pittsburgh

            9 Florida
            10 Buffalo
            11 Boston
            12 Columbus
            13 Philadelphia
            14 Carolina
            15 New Jersey
            16 Toronto

            1 Anaheim
            2 St. Louis
            3 Chicago
            4 Nashville
            5 Calgary
            6 Minnesota
            7 Winnipeg
            8 Vancouver

            9 Colorado
            10 Los Angeles
            11 Dallas
            12 Edmonton
            13 San Jose
            14 Arizona

            Stanley Cup - Anaheim
            Last Place - Arizona

            Comment


            • #7
              Slight revisions to my predictions. One thing I've noticed lately is what a young man's game it is, in the sense that we've seen top teams like Boston, LA and San Jose faulter recently because they didn't have an influx of youth to bolster the core as they lost players to aging or salary cap. There is so much parity now days, and every team is constantly improving through input and development of young players, so if even a top team goes a couple years with status quo, they will quickly find themselves on the outside looking in unless they, too, bring in and develop young players to supplement the youth (another god damn amazing thing about Detroit: not only have they been the best-structured and organized franchise consistently fir the past two decades, but they refuse to sit and be satisfied with just that, they continue growing and adapting to an ever-changing league). With that in mind, I've decided L.A.'s rough year last year was more than just a Cup hangover or down year etc. Also Chicago, New York, while still playoff teams, have lost key pieces and I now believe will take further steps back than I previously predicted.

              And in the case of Calgary, I got a little excited about the new additions, and forgot the fact that all indications from analytics point to a fallback for the Flames. That said, a healthy Giordano plus the new additions will prevent that fallback from being all the way out of the playoffs.

              East

              1. Tampa Bay
              2. Islanders
              3. Detroit
              4. Ottawa
              5. Montreal
              6. Pittsburgh
              7. New York
              8. Washington
              9. Florida
              10. Columbus
              11. Philadelphia
              12. Boston
              13. Buffalo
              14. Toronto
              15. Carolina
              16. New Jersey

              West

              1. Anaheim
              2. St. Louis
              3. Nashville
              4. Winnipeg
              5. Minnesota
              6. Dallas
              7. Calgary
              8. Chicago
              9. L.A.
              10. San Jose
              11. Edmonton
              12. Colorado
              13. Vancouver
              14. Arizona

              And for the awards:

              Art Ross: Tyler Seguin
              Hart: John Tavares
              Rocket: Steven Stamkos
              Norris: Erik Karlsson
              Vezina: Carey Price
              Selke: Ryan Kesler
              Calder: Connor McDavid
              Jack Adams: Jack Capuano

              Comment


              • #8
                My Standings Projections...

                EASTERN CONFERENCE
                TEAM GP WINS LOSSES OTL PTS
                1 NEW YORK RANGERS 82 51 22 9 111
                2 NEW YORK ISLANDERS 82 51 24 7 109
                3 MONTREAL CANADIENS 82 50 24 8 108
                4 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 82 49 24 9 107
                5 WASHINGTON CAPITALS 82 49 25 8 106
                6 DETROIT RED WINGS 82 40 28 14 94
                7 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS 82 49 26 7 105
                8 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS 82 43 27 12 98
                9 OTTAWA SENATORS 82 40 32 10 90
                10 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 82 39 32 11 89
                11 FLORIDA PANTHERS 82 39 36 7 85
                12 BOSTON BRUINS 82 36 33 13 85
                13 NEW JERSEY DEVILS 82 29 35 18 76
                14 BUFFALO SABRES 82 35 42 5 75
                15 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 82 31 39 12 74
                16 CAROLINA HURRICANES 82 27 45 10 64
                WESTERN CONFERENCE
                TEAM GP WINS LOSSES OTL PTS
                1 ANAHEIM DUCKS 82 54 19 9 117
                2 ST. LOUIS BLUES 82 52 22 8 112
                3 NASHVILLE PREDATORS 82 48 24 10 106
                4 LOS ANGELES KINGS 82 43 24 15 101
                5 MINNESOTA WILD 82 46 28 8 100
                6 CALGARY FLAMES 82 44 27 11 99
                7 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 82 43 26 13 99
                8 COLORADO AVALANCHE 82 44 28 10 98
                9 DALLAS STARS 82 44 30 8 96
                10 SAN JOSE SHARKS 82 44 30 8 96
                11 EDMONTON OILERS 82 40 34 8 88
                12 WINNIPEG JETS 82 35 37 10 80
                13 VANCOUVER CANUCKS 82 29 40 13 71
                14 ARIZONA COYOTES 82 21 50 11 53
                I'm expecting another super tight race in the Western Conference going right down to the wire whereas the East will have a bit more separation.

                Comment


                • #9
                  My bold prediction for the year: Detroit wins the Cup.

                  Nyquist and Tatar have only just scratched the surface so far. Some people want to compare them to Datsyuk and Zetterberg - I wouldn't do that; Zetterberg and Datsyuk are special, unique players - but Nyquist and Tatar will be elite in their own ways. Neither has the stick skills of Datsyuk or can dominate board battles like Zetterberg, but Tatar has an elite shot and abilty to find openings, and Nyquist has a skating ability that Datsyuk or Zetterberg never had. But the younger duo are learning from the older how to be more complete, two way players. Nyquist and Tatar are primed for enormous breakouts this year.

                  Their center depth is tremendous, which is huge come playoffs when faceoffs are ever-important. Brad Richards just wins whereever he goes, and although his role will be relatively small this time, as it was in Chicago last year, he'll be able to contribute in a third line role and help the second PP unit, not to mention the obvious factors of experience, leadership and clutch performance. Riley Sheahan is ready for a breakout now in his third year. Obviously nothing like Tatar or Nyquist, but the former first rounder will firmly establish himself as a second line center good for at least 40 points.

                  Yes, some of the key players are getting old, but for starters, the Wings won't have to rely on them as much this year just to make the playoffs, so I think any sort of minor injury to the veterans will result in them sitting out to stay rested for the playoffs. Datsyuk, for one, is such a cerebral player, he's the type who will be able to remain effective even once the body doesn't quite move the way it used to. And Kronwall will have a lighter workload with the addition of Green and the emergence of DeKeyser.

                  Speaking of Green, they now finally have a right-shooting defenseman. And not just any right shot, a former 30 goal-scorer. Obviously he's not the same player he was then, but he's been healthy the past couple years, and established himself as a better two-way defender than he had been. If he can continue to stay healthy he could really blossom in Detroit and that powerplay will be juggernaut-esque.

                  Mrazek is on the cusp of becoming an elite, or at least very good, starting goalie, and they have an experienced veteran who's been through it before in Jim Howard to back him up and act as mentor.

                  Babcock isn't there anymore, but some of the players have admitted things were growing stale and it was time for a change. Blashill has worked under and learned from Babcock, and won a Calder Cup with what is about to be the core of this team.

                  And that leads me to the main point: they've all been there and been through it and won. The veterans - Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Kronwall, Cleary, Helm, Brad Richards; and Abdelkader and Ericsson were at least there for the Wings second run to the finals. And the new wave, who now make up a significant chunk of the core - Nyquist, Tatar (who was playoff MVP), Sheahan, Mrazek, Pulkkinen, Glendening - were all important players for that Grand Rapids team that won a Calder Cup under Blashill.
                  Last edited by matchesmalone; 10-06-2015, 02:43 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wow, great post Matches. I hadn't really considered it much but after reading this post I feel like the Red Wings are definitely a cup contender out of the gate. It's certainly looking like they've got several more years of making the Playoffs ahead of them.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think they'll make the playoffs but won't contend, really.

                      Ultimately, my prediction is Anaheim vs. Washington in the Finals, but if the Habs can actually score some goals this year, then they're right in there.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I definitely see Anaheim going all the way this year. Kind of sucks though - usually I predict a team NO ONE is expecting to make it. Like when I predicted the Rangers to win and most didn't even have them in the Playoffs, but they made the SCF. Now this year I predicted Anaheim before all the usual suspects did the same, but like 90% of hockey fans are predicting Anaheim :/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yeah. Fuck picking the favorite. Every year I usually try to go off the board a little, but last year was just way too easy and too obvious. First time in my life (at least that I can recall) that I picked a team from pre-season, stuck with them all year through the start of the playoffs, and was right. I always thought that would be an awesome feeling, but I felt nothing.

                          As for Anaheim, they're not even the best team in the West. I think St. Louis is way better, and the addition of Brouwer will be huge come playoff time in that Western Conference. Plus just like Detroit with Nyquist and Tatar, St. Louis' best players are about to become their best players - everyone who thinks Schwartz and Tarasenko reached their peaks already last year, boy oh boy are you in for a surprise. Can't say Anaheim's best players, Getz and Perry, have room to grow, and their future best player, Gibson, will likely spend the full season in the AHL.

                          I would have picked the Blues to win the Cup, but this will be the first time they finally get over the hump and past those first two rounds, and experience is so important at that point, teams usually have to make it there once and get that experience before they win it all. Chicago from 2009 Western Finals before wimning the Cup in 2010. Pittsburgh in 2008 Finals before winning in 2009. Detroit had a few players left from 02, plus Western Finals in 2007 before winning in 2008. Anaheim had a bunch of players left from 03 when they won in 2007,plus their top players, Pronger and Niedermayer had plenty of experience. Carolina had been there in 02 before winning in 06... and that's just since the lockout. L.A. and Boston are notable exeptions, but they at least both had a number of very key players - Carter, Richards, Justin Williams, Willie Mitchell, Penner / Chara, Recchi, Kelly, Seidenberg - who had been through it before.

                          St. Louis doesn't really have any of that. So this will be their first taste, then maybe they win it all next year.

                          Anaheim has that experience, but they just won't be able to match St. Louis' skill if they meet in the WCF.

                          I've got Anaheim ahead in the regular season because I suspect Jake Allen will have some growing pains throughout his first full season as starter, but he'll be ready in time for the playoffs.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Due to steps back from L.A. and Chicago, and lack of that experience from three of the four best teams in the West - St. Louis, Nashville and Winnipeg - I suspect this will be the year the Cup goes back East. Detroit, Tampa, Pittsburgh and the Rangers all have very good teams and plenty of Final Four playoff hockey experience.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If I had to pick one team from each conference who were not in the conference finals last year, I would pick Montreal in the East and St. Louis in the West.

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