Angus is back with his preseason 'Fearless Forecasts'
It has become somewhat of an annual tradition at DobberHockey – my 10 Fearless Forecasts. What a fearless forecast is – a prediction of sorts, but one that is a bit “out there.” Predicting Sidney Crosby to win the Art Ross isn’t a Fearless Forecast. Predicting Ryan Getzlaf to win the Art Ross, however, is. (Although that isn’t one of my 10.)
Check out the 10 Fearless Forecasts from the 2011-12 season. I was close in some instances, and way off in others. And to go back a year further, here are my lists from 2009-10 2010-11 (please ignore the 10th prediction on this list…).
Feel free to add your own bold predictions below my list in the comments section.
10. Jarome Iginla is traded
The Calgary Flames are going nowhere fast. Iginla has been their Captain and star player for a long time, but both sides would benefit from an amicable breakup. The Flames would be able to bring in some young assets through a trade, and Iginla would get another shot at the Stanley Cup. Iginla is a free agent next summer to boot.
9. Vladimir Tarasenko leads the Blues in scoring
Tarasenko has used the extra few months of development time during the lockout to hone his two-way game even more. The 21-year-old has been playing in the second best league on the planet since he was 17. The Blues plan to start him off on a line with Andy MacDonald and Alex Steen. Their forward group is deep and balanced, and Tarasenko has as good a shot as any forward to lead the team in goals and assists.
8. Columbus makes the playoffs
I really like the mix of players that GM Scott Howson has assembled in Columbus. Having a goaltender other than Steve Mason is already an upgrade, although it remains to be seen how Sergei Bobrovsky fares as a starting goaltender. Columbus isn’t going to be an easy team to play against – they have grit and toughness in spades, at both forward (Derek Dorsett, Jared Boll, RJ Umberger, Brandon Dubinsky, and Nick Foligno), and on defense (Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski), and they have a promising young forward ready to break out (Cam Atkinson).
7. Mike Green leads NHL defensemen in scoring
I think Adam Oates is going to have a significant impact in Washington, especially from an offensive standpoint. Green has been miscast over the past few years, and Oates will figure out a way to get the most out of his star defenseman. Additionally, Dennis Wideman is gone from Washington, and he “stole” a lot of Green’s PP minutes.
6. Jakub Silfverberg leads rookies in scoring
Like Tarasenko, Silfverberg has been playing against men for a few years now. His transition to North America has been seamless, and he has been lining up with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek at camp.
5. Alex Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals
See my thoughts on Mike Green. Call it the Adam Oates effect.
Voracek is a tremendous playmaker, and he is going to flourish alongside Claude Giroux. Ribeiro will center one of the top two lines in Washington, and many think he may end up alongside Ovechkin (which would bump Backstrom down to anchor a second scoring unit).
3. The Carolina Hurricanes win the Presidents’ Trophy
A good goalie, a solid defense (Joe Corvo notwithstanding), and a balance and upgraded forward group – Carolina’s recipe for success this season. The key will be the play of the young players – are Zach Boychuk and Drayson Bowman ready to prove they belong? Can Justin Faulk repeat his impressive rookie performance from last year?
2. Three Canadian teams qualify for the postseason
Only two Canadian team made the postseason in 2011-12 (Vancouver and Ottawa, apologies to Senators fans with forgetting this). I see two more teams from north of the border joining the Canucks this season – Toronto (assuming they acquire Luongo), and Winnipeg (assuming Ondrej Pavelec finds some consistency in his game). I like Edmonton a lot, but wonder about their defensive depth.
1. Semyon Varlamov is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy
Colorado is really going to miss center Ryan O’Reilly, who is currently holding out for a new contract. That being said, Varlamov is ready to take control of the team. The talented young netminder was the best goalie in Russia during the lockout, finding the consistency to match his impressive athleticism. Expect big things in 2012-13.