In lieu of a lengthy analysis this week, I chose to post up a few thoughts (quick hits, if you will) of mine on the day that the puck FINALLY drops on the 2009-10 season!
Look for Nashville’s top line of Sullivan-Arnott-Dumont to return to their glory days. The three complement each other very well. All could hit 70 points.
Marco Sturm and Milan Lucic are two to watch. Hell, a plastic cone would get 20 goals playing with Marc Savard.
I have a hunch that Marty St. Louis is an angry man with the mess that Tampa was last season. Couple that with the incentive of donning the Maple Leaf in February… expect Marty to return to 90 points.
Don’t you just love the fantasy previews on TV? Sportsnet made some bold moves, predicting 9/10 of the top 10 in scoring last year to be there again. Way to go guys!
What’s with the conservative estimates for Tavares? He may not be a great skater or Bryan Trottier version 2.0 (neither is/was Jonathan Toews, for that matter), but he is flat out disgusting from the blue line in. Tavares will hit 30 goals easy.
Speaking of Toews, while he gets all the glory of being the two-way stud in Chicago, the title should go to Dave Bolland. Toews averaged nearly three minutes MORE per game of power play time compared to Bolland, and nearly two minutes LESS on the penalty kill. They saw IDENTICAL five on five minutes. Toews was markedly better on the draw, but Bolland is flying way under the radar.
Over-under on games Gaborik plays? I think he should be off-limits for me to draft or analyze. I am always thinking/hoping that THIS IS HIS YEAR! I’ll stand by my claim – Gaborik hits 60 goals if he ever plays over 75 games. Too bad the odds of that happening are worse than Andrew Raycroft starting for Canada in 2010.
Is it just me or is the Sabres roster very blah? I don’t see much/any of an identity there.
A little early… but who cares. Canada at the World Juniors… how about a top line of Cody Hodgson centering Nazem Kadri and Jordan Eberle?
Atlanta has a very under-the-radar team right now. Great talent, great role players, solid defense. Too bad they are relying on an overrated rookie and a washed up vet. Kari Lehtonen is about as dependable as a 20-year-old Ford.
Brad Richards makes $700,000 less than both Crosby and Malkin. So you can have Richards and Colton Orr, or you can take Sid and keep the $200,000 extra.
Mike Knuble could hit 40 goals. He is the ultimate garbage goal scorer. On a team with shooters like Ovechkin, Semin, and Green, you can expect a lot of loose pucks around the crease.
Brad Boyes will score 50 goals in a season very, very soon.
Nik Khabibulin needs to convince himself this is a contract year.
Jon Quick is the most underrated goalie in hockey. LA is very improved as well.
Imagine this scenario: Leafs somehow fall to last place in the league, and Boston selects Taylor Hall with the draft pick. There should be a firm rule in hockey for all GM’s to follow. THOU SHALL NOT TRADE MY 1ST ROUND PICK IF THOU EXPECTS TO BE A BOTTOM 10 TEAM. And that rule can be added on. In addition, THOU SHALL NEVER TRADE A FIRST ROUND PICK MORE THAN A YEAR AWAY (unless thou believes they are doing so to acquire the missing piece, aka Pronger/Flyers).
Teams I like this year: Vancouver, Chicago, Anaheim, Atlanta, and Philadelphia (in no order). Luongo could hit 50 wins and 15 shutouts. Optimistic? Probably. Homer-istic? You bet.