Making predictions is a dangerous endeavor, as they very rarely pan out, and more often than not do little but make the writer look like a fool. But since it is the time of season for starting over, I'm taking the liberty of looking back on my mistakes and resolving to make them right as we start the new year. I'm dragging out my pre-season predictions to see which ones are worth gloating over (if any) and which ones need a few modifications for the new year.
Presidents Trophy: Vancouver Canucks
Weak division. Solid team.
No reason to back off this one. With the recent stretch of hotness, the Canucks find themselves alone atop the NHL standings.
Stanley Cup Winner: Pittsburgh Penguins
Nice new banner to hang in that shiny new arena.
So far, I'm smelling like roses...
Runner Up: LA Kings
Drew Daughty fever. Catch it now.
On a roll… no backing down from the Kings pick either.
Hart Trophy, Art Ross & Rocket Richard: Steven Stamkos
Forget Ovechkin, Crosby and Sedin. Stamkos is the man. I'm calling a hat trick of trophies.
All was going great with this prediction before "the streak" began. I still see Stamkos walking away with the Rocket, and I'm saying he'll be in the running for the other two. Crosby has yet to see his annual injury bug show up...
Conn Smythe: Sidney Crosby
He'll be lifting the trophies that matters most next spring.
Standing pat here.
Vezina Trophy: Ryan Miller
Looking for a repeat here, but should have plenty of competition.
So Miller is most likely out of the running already. I'll take my mulligan and pick Tim Thomas to get his second.
Norris Trophy: Drew Daughty
Daughty Fever. Catch it now!
Unfortunately, Drew did catch the fever and missed a handful of games. Coupling that with scoreless streaks of 6 and 10 games, he would have to go on a crazy tear to get back into consideration this season. I still see him finishing in the top 10 for defensemen, but given the chance would revise my pick to see Nicklas Lidstrom claim his 7th trophy.
Calder Trophy: P.K. Subban
Something to cheer about in Montreal.
The field for the Calder is wide-open right now. Couture, Skinner, Eberle, Bobrovsky, Crawford, Carlson… any one of these guys could ultimately claim the prize. So for now, I'm sticking with Subban to make a run at it in the 2nd half of the season.
And finally, now that we're through the mundane, here are 10 other predictions, sure to come true in 2010-11:
1. The Sutters will be out in Calgary by Christmas
Off by 3 days...
2. John Tavares will lead the Islanders in scoring by no less than 40 points.
What I meant to say is that nobody but Tavares would actually hit 40 points this season.
3. Nathan Horton scores 40 goals. No other Bruin tops 25.
How about 30? Stand by the 2nd half, though Lucic may get there.
4. Michael Neuvirth and Jonathan Bernier finish the season with 30+ wins each.
Neuvirth may get there yet. Bernier clearly fell short.
5. The Senators will make a deal for a new starting goalie in time for the playoffs. Let's say… Kiprusoff or Vokoun.
With Elliot clearly struggling and Leclaire incapable of staying healthy, this seems more likely than ever, assuming they're still in playoff contention at that point.
6. After being relegated to the press box in December, Mike Modano retires during the Winter Classic.
First half right (though not for the reasons I thought). Still don't see the Wings having much of a role for him going forward when he gets healthy. Just move the date forward to June.
7. No player over the age of 30 will finish in the top 10 of scorers this season.
Darn you, Martin St. Louis!
8. Kari Lehtonen has a healthy season and plays 60 games.
Healthy is a relative term, really. Still has a shot at 60 games.
9. Corey Crawford earns the starting job in Chicago heading into the playoffs.
Ahhhh… I think I got one right.
10. NHL announces in February that the Florida Panthers will be moving to Quebec.
Anybody want to bet against it? Though February is probably a bit premature.
On the Mark…
Here are a few players that seem to be panning out as predicted to start the year:
- Matt Duchesne - "Expect him to be better in his second season ... 70 points are not out of the question"
- Claude Giroux - "Giroux is clearly ready for a breakout season in the 70 point territory"
- Loui Eriksson - "Eriksson is quickly becoming the top offensive threat in Dallas… 30-35 goals "
- Dustin Byfuglien - "It's a no-brainer that he should top his career high of 36 points"
- Tobias Enstrom - "Plan on a 55 point season "
- Michal Neuvirth - "At some point, he'll get a good run going this year "
- Marc-Andre Fleury - " It all adds up to a potentially hot season for Fleury in terms of fantasy numbers"
- James Neal - "Could finish in the top 30 this season in terms of total fantasy points"
- Kris Letang - " this could be the breakout season for Letang"
Missing the Mark…
And here are a few that I need to pretend didn't happen:
- Brad Richards - "He'll surely be drafted way too high by someone else"
- Sergei Gonchar - "I'd still take a chance on him in Round 2"
- Shea Weber - "20 goals should be a given this season in Nashville"
- Martin Brodeur - "Brodeur will be Brodeur once again in 2010. Rank him as high as you please"
- Erik Johnson - "Look for a big breakout year from Johnson in the 50+ point range."
- Tuukka Rask - "he has apparently dethroned Tim Thomas for good"