Each year I write out 10 fearless forecasts (some crazier than others). Last September was no different (check my list for 2010-11 out here). I was right in a few cases, I was close in a few cases, and I was completely off base in a few as well. How did you do with your preseason predictions (preferably those that were a bit out there)? The ball for 2011-12 is already rolling over on the hockey forum.
2011-12 Fearless Forecasts (feel free to post your lists below – actually more than that, you are ENCOURAGED to post your 10 in the comments section below).
10. Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk combine for over 100 points
Why? Two young stud defensemen playing with a group of terrific young forwards. This team is on the cusp.
9. Jaromir Jagr leads the Flyers in goal scoring
Why? The mullet is back, baby. Jagr is slower than Dave Andreychuk at this point in his career, but he'll see lots of time on the power play with Claude Giroux. I could score 15-20 goals playing with Giroux (not really, but it helps for my comparison).
8. Dion Phaneuf leads NHL defensemen in goal scoring
Why? I saw something in him after the Kaberle trade that reminded me of the trigger happy smashmouth defenseman from Calgary.
7. Carey Price wins the Hart and Vezina trophies
Why? He's a stud, and the Habs are going to do everything they can to compliment his game.
6. Corey Perry scores less than 40 goals
Why? Career year won't be repeated, don't see Visnovsky having another elite season. Hiller is a question mark until he suits up for a game, too. Lots of pressure on Perry to carry the team once again.
5. Parise and Weber are both traded at some point before the 2012 trade deadline
Why? The Devils need to start building for the future, and Parise's looming free agency is a scary proposition. The Predators have one more year with Weber (he's restricted next summer), but Suter/Rinne need new contracts in 2012. Am I advocating a trade involving these two players? It sure would make sense, wouldn't it?
4. St. Louis wins the Central Division
Why? Great team. Chicago made some interesting moves but it isn't a sure thing they'll be better. Columbus got better up front but they still have a below average goaltender. Detroit finds ways to win, but their core is aging. Nashville always hangs around there, but lots of question marks regarding their three best players.
3. Keith Ballard finishes with more points than Christian Ehrhoff
Why? This one is a bit of a reach - Ballard was awful for most of last season. However, if he sticks with the Sedins at even strength and on the power play, he'll see a lot of second assists. Ehrhoff sees a downgrade in talent in Buffalo regardless of who he lines up with.
2. Matt Gilroy scores 20 goals for the Lightning.
Why? Tampa Bay desperately needs an offensive puck-rushing defenseman. Bergeron can't play defense at all, and he's a liablity at the best of times. Gilroy could surprise.
1. Claude Giroux wins the Art Ross Trophy
Why? He'll see a huge increase in both even strength ice time, quality of linemates, and power play ice time. He's one of the most naturally gifted forwards in the game. And he's a personal favorite of mine.
Let's hear 'em!