Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jackson's 09-10 NHL Season Predictions

Well, here we go. The first puck drop is in less than two hours. I'm going to go ahead and start off with the Eastern Conference because that seems to be what everyone does...

Eastern Conference

1. Pittsburgh Penguins - The in-state rivalry between the Flyers will be intense, but when the dust settles the already proven Penguins line up will come out on top.

2. Boston Bruins - The Bruins bring a stacked line up to the table and will snatch up points in their relatively easy division.

3. Carolina Hurricanes - Probably the biggest dark horse in the league, the Hurricanes are going to give the Caps a run for their money for division dominance.

4. Philadelphia Flyers - Coming in at a close second for the Atlantic Division Title, the Flyers bring a lot more grit to the table this year, but it still won't be enough to stop Pittsburgh.

5. New Jersey Devils - Coming off a strong year, losing several players, the Devils are bound for a drop in points. Nevertheless, they will snag a playoff spot.

6. Washington Capitals - Goaltending is a big question mark for the Caps. With the death of Jose Theodore's two month old son and the question of consistency from the average American girl hating Varlamov, this will definitely make or break the Caps.

7. Montreal Canadiens - The rejuvenated Habs will come through again in the regular season for a high-seed playoff position.

8. New York Rangers - The Rangers will ease into the 8th seed with a few teams nipping at their feet.

9. Toronto Maple Leafs - Toronto has added more pieces to the puzzle with Kessel and company coming to town, but it still won't be enough for that first playoff push.

10. Ottawa Senators - I don't see Cheechoo returning to his past form in Ottawa. With that and their goaltending, they'll be hitting up the golf course sooner than they'd like.

11. Tampa Bay Lightning - They have an offense to be reckoned with, but the problem lies behind the offense, the defense and goaltending. That will hurt this team this year enough for them to miss the playoffs, yet again.

12. Florida Panthers - A young team like this needs a veteran presence in their locker room, something this team doesn't have. Thomas Vokoun will take the reigns this year for what should be a full season of play as the number one.

13. Buffalo Sabres - Injury has plagued this team in the past couple years and I can't really see them being up any farther.

14. Atlanta Thrashers - I can't see this team stepping up and doing something big. Just another low draft pick season for these guys.

15. New York Islanders - This team has owned the cellar in the past season and they will do the same again this year.

Western Conference

1. Detroit Red Wings - The loss of some key depth players will hurt them, but not enough to knock them off their high horse.

2. Anaheim Ducks - This team is loaded with veteran players who have been there before. Anaheim is looking at an awesome season. (I was in denial for a while about Anaheim being the dominant force in the Pacific Division, but I finally accepted what has happened.)

3. Vancouver Canucks - This team comes into this season with an even scarier lineup than they had last year. Luongo MUST stay healthy for the sake of the team.

4. Chicago Blackhawks - This team has all the pieces of the puzzle for a good playoff run, yet again, but they still won't be enough to overcome Detroit for that spot at the top of the Central.

5. San Jose Sharks - I think the Sharks lost more than they gained this off-season and that will show in the standings.

6. Calgary Flames - Calgary might have the best defense in the west, nay, the league, but the offense is rather dry. Work horse Miikka Kiprusoff will probably play a butt-load of games again this year and continue to do well.

7. St. Louis Blues - If Chris Mason can play consistently well like he did the better half of last season, this team will have success.

8. Nashville Predators - Bleh, call me biased, but I've watched this team all training camp and pre-season and we got what it takes to make it to the playoffs this year. The goaltending tandem will be one of the best in the league and the return of Steve Sullivan should pave way to more offense.

9. Columbus Blue Jackets - I see this team fall off the wagon from last year. I'm predicting Steve Mason to have a sophmore slump as many young goaltenders seem to do.

10. Minnesota Wild - Goaltending here will see a bit of a drop off and that's really all that kept them in the race last year.

11. Dallas Stars - Obviously, not having the Sean Avery distraction the first half of the year will let this team get off to a better start. I'm expecting Turco to do well in his contract year and that will be the backbone of the squad.

12. Los Angeles Kings - Improving from last season, this team will be fighting all season long for a high-seeded position. It'll be tight pointage all the way up to the 12th-13th-ish spots.

13. Edmonton Oilers - I know I gave my father a hard time about putting Edmonton at 13th, but I realized as it came down to it...I would have to do it also. So there, I said it. I was wrong, you were right. It all comes down to Khabibulin net for this club.

14. Phoenix Coyotes - Phoenix is just happy they still have a team, I'm sure. They really just don't have anything on that team that screams out at me.

15. Colorado Avalanche - They are in rebuilding mode, nothing more is expected of them.


In the East finals, Philadelphia will beat Carolina and in the West, Anaheim will defeat Vancouver.

In the Stanley Cup Finals, Anaheim will rule over the Flyers. Call it Western Conference bias, but that's how I roll.

Jackson Oakes for PredsOnThe Glass

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