Neal

 

A few weeks ago I posted this topic in the Dobber Hockey forums. I rang off 10 bold predictions (fearless forecasts, if you will) for the upcoming season and asked forum members to do the same. I promised to give a free fantasy team audit to anyone who ended up with more correct predictions than me at the end of the season (provided they were not predicting things like Sidney Crosby breaking 90 points). The predictions ranged from conservative and cautious to extremely unlikely (and in some cases laughable, which was appreciated by all). I have had my list posted for over a week now, but without any justification or reasoning as to why I made those predictions. I’ll now dive into further detail.

 

10. Vesa Toskala is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy

Why? The Leafs have a deep, mobile, and talented defensive group. Toskala is a great goalie. Last season, he played over a month with a nagging hip injury, and the Leafs weren’t exactly world-beaters in the defensive zone. He also has a competent backup to spell him off now in Jonas Gustavsson.

Why not? The Leafs are going to struggle to score goals in a big way. Gustavsson may steal the starting gig.

 

9. James Neal outscores Brenden Morrow

Why? Neal is bigger than Morrow, faster, and has the upside to be a similar offensive player.

Why not? Dallas wants to keep Morrow with Mike Ribeiro. Whoever plays with Ribeiro will score 10-20 more points than if they play with Brad Richards or Mike Modano. Jamie Benn may steal a top-six spot out of camp from Neal.

 

8. Sam Gagner and Patrick O’Sullivan are first and second in scoring for the Oilers

Why? The Oilers have a coach in Pat Quinn who has recently proven to be very successful with young players. Gagner is undersized but very talented offensively (much more so than Shawn Horcoff). O’Sullivan is extremely talented and will be one of the go-to guys on the Edmonton power play.

Why not? Ales Hemsky finally realizes the meaning of the word ‘consistency.’

 

7. Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry combine for 100 goals

Why? Both are big, fast, and extremely talented. And they will be lining up with Getzlaf, the best forward in the NHL not named Crosby, Ovechkin, or Malkin.

Why not? 50 goals each is a pretty lofty target.

 

6. Marian Gaborik plays over 75 games and scores over 50 goals

Why? No real reason here.

Why not? He’s Gaborik. Already tweaked the groin on day one of camp. Can I get a mulligan here? How about 75 games over the course of his contract?

 

5. Atlanta has the best powerplay in the league but fails to make the playoffs because Kari Lehtonen gets hurt

Why? A solid power play unit adds an immovable force down low (Antropov), as well as a bomb from the point (Kubina). Also, you may have heard of this Kovalchuk guy, he sounds pretty good.

Why not? Just depends on how other teams do on the power play. Thrashers have a solid team but consistent goaltending is needed to go anywhere (unless you are Detroit).

 

4. Toronto wins the Northeast Division

Why? The Leafs are an improved group on defense, lots of question marks with other teams in the division.

Why not? Weak forward group, Boston is still very strong.

 

3. Dany Heatley scores 60 and wins the Hart (made this one BEFORE the trade).

Why? I made this prediction before he got traded. Spezza and Thornton are both capable of getting him to 60 goals.

Why not? Hart may be tough to win; especially with the crap he pulled this off-season. Hitting the 60-goal mark is within reason, though.

 

2. Crosby and Ovechkin are shut out of every major award/

Why? Other great players step up.

Why not? Crosby and Ovechkin are the two most popular and (arguably) talented players in the entire league.

 

1. Detroit misses the postseason

Why? The Wings lost a lot of offense (Hudler, Samuelsson, Hossa), and have replaced them with spare parts (Bertuzzi, Eaves, Williams). Lidstrom is getting up there in years, and Osgood is no spring chicken either.

Why not? It’s Detroit.

 


Write comment
Comments (12)add comment

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... of course the Detroit one is insane - it is the top on a list of bold (ie baseless/stupid, whatever you want to call it) predictions.
September 16, 2009
Votes: +0

Mabus said:

mabus
... Yea, it's probably been more than 90%, but that year with Gilmour stings enough to counter a few of the bad years. Yea, I'm talking about that year where our (Calgary) GM traded one of our best players to Toronto for 10 cents on the dollar, then went to Toronto to be their GM. Like everyone in Calgary needed another reason to hate the Leafs. Taking Burke as well - gravy baby - gravy. I can't wait to cheer for Hamilton.
September 16, 2009
Votes: +0

Heaton said:

Heaton
... The Detroit one is insane, the Wings had more than enough offense without adding players. They have more than enough in all areas now.
September 16, 2009
Votes: +0

Atomic Wedgy said:

Atomic Wedgy
... If the Leafs win their division scoring an average of a goal a game, I'll eat my hat!
September 16, 2009
Votes: +1

SM said:

PrairieDog
... That Neal prediction has me a little worried - I just traded him and Smyth for Derek Roy (needed a C desperately)...hopefully Morrow stays healthy all year and Neal has a sophomore slump to make me feel good about it!
September 16, 2009
Votes: -1

Dave Parker said:

hockeyislife
... really, none of these things is that outlandish(ok, Toronto winning the Northeast is a big stretch..).

If any of them do, we can all say we read it here in the preseason...
September 16, 2009
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Crazy like Kris Versteeg getting a Calder nomination, Kozlov getting 76 points, Green getting 30 goals, Kane getting arrested for punching a cab driver and Jokinen bombing in PHO before getting traded?

Those would be fearless forecasts from a year ago that would have been laughed at.
September 16, 2009
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Mabus - only 90%? For me, that bet's been pure gold! hahahaha
September 16, 2009
Votes: +0

Larry said:

Rollie1967
Neal vs Morrow If Morrow stays healthy, Neal wont outscore him....this year. Playing with the suddenly average Richards vs the creative Ribeiro doesnt help. (what was montreal thinking!)
September 16, 2009
Votes: +1

Ya right said:

bletchley
... Interesting, but too bad you'll be 0/10 on these predictions.

Sure it's fun to read, but ridiculous...all of them are.
September 16, 2009
Votes: -1

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... Not a Leafs fan. And yes, I heard Wilson's comments yesterday about Toskala, I think he is just testing/pushing him. He wasn't exactly warm and fuzzy with Nabokov either.
September 16, 2009
Votes: +1

Mabus said:

mabus
... Love the post. Are you a Toronto fan by any chance though? I have a prediction - Toronto sucks this year. Again. It's a bet that's paid off 90% of the time over my lifetime. I need to go with the odds here. Man is Wilson hard on Toskala though. I'd be seriously concerned as a Toskala owner about losing 30 or more starts to Gustavsson.
September 16, 2009
Votes: +0
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy