I was on the Warroom on XM 204 yesterday to chat with them about NHL predictions for the upcoming season (and to plug this very site). 3 simple questions were asked. Here are their picks, along with mine:
1. Which team will win the 2009-10 Stanley Cup?
2. Which player will win the 2009-10 Hart Trophy?
3. Give us one wacky and/or out-on-a limb prediction.
Peter Berce - Sharks, Joe Thornton, Mike Keenan hired by an NHL team
Mick Kern - Hurricanes, Evgeni Malkin, Lightning make the playoffs
Mike Ross - Flyers, Alex Ovechkin, Balsille buys an NHL team
As for my picks…
Stanley Cup Winner
Trying to predict a Cup winner in October is a total guessing game, but there are clearly a handful of teams that have a strong shot at it this season. In the East, it's Pittsburgh, Washington and Philly. All 3 of those teams have incredible strength up front and boast a superstar defenseman. However, of the 3, the Penguins are the only one with a clear-cut, top-notch #1 goaltender. In the West, there are really 4 teams that have a strong shot at making it: Chicago, Detroit, Calgary, and San Jose. Of those, particularly with the addition of Heatley's standard 50 goals, the Sharks are the best bet. Overall, it's just not wise to bet against the East keeping the Cup, and the favorite has to be Pittsburgh.
It seems like Ovechkin is the voter favorite, despite my belief that Malkin earned every bit of that trophy over the last two years. However, based on last year's playoff performance, and assuming he can stay healthy, I'm going with Crosby this time around. It's about a 90% chance that one of those 3 will get it, but I like Sid this season to win the scoring title and the MVP.
Out on a Limb Prediction
Of the predictions being thrown around everywhere, the one I find most inexplicable is how high most experts are on Vancouver this season. I just don't see it. I'm picking them to fall from grace and miss the playoffs altogether. They'll miss Ohlund on defense more than most think. Their schedule this season is brutal, as they have to work around the Olympic break with an insane month-long road trip. Aside from Luongo and the Sedins, what on earth is there to be excited about here? Flames may be the only team from that division to make the playoffs this year.