Saturday, October 8, 2011
HOCKEY: NHL Predictions 2011-2012
The 2011-2012 NHL Season is upon us, and here are my predictions for the final standings. For teams that did not make the playoffs last year, I have included a short explanation of why I think they will make the cut this year. Likewise, for teams that were in the playoffs last year but that I have predicted will miss the cut this year, I have included an explanation of why I think that will be.
8. Maple Leafs: They have a strong defense and I think James Reimer will be the answer in net. They went out and got some offense in the form of Matthew Lombardi, Tim Connolly, and John-Michael Liles. I expect Grabovski and Kulemin will repeat last year's success (both were right up against the 60-point mark).
9. Canadiens: The East is on the rise and somebody's going to be left behind. Admittedly the 7-10 spots in the East are very difficult to predict -- this pick is more of a reflection of my belief in the eight teams above than a disparagement of the Habs.
5. Red Wings
8. Blue Jackets: They have shown flashes of brilliance the past two years, and I am betting that this is the year they will develop some consistency. Scott Arniel is finally going to be able to play the type of uptempo, offensive hockey he wants to. I think the new additions will excel, and I think Steve Mason will return to the form of his rookie year.
14. Coyotes: They lost Bryzgalov, and their division includes two of the most improved teams in San Jose and Los Angeles. You know things are bad when they are expecting a breakout year from Kyle Turris.