As we begin the lockout shortened 2013 season, here are some predictions for the Eastern Conference and Western Conference standings, Playoff teams, Award winners, and Stanley Cup Champions.
* Division winners
*Pittsburgh Penguins – Most Complete Team in the NHL.
*Washington Capitals – Holtby becomes the goalie the Caps have been waiting for.
*Boston Bruins – Rask becomes a top 5 goalie in the league.
New York Rangers – Second most complete team. Play in the same division as the most complete team.
Philadelphia Flyers – The Schenn brothers pay off for the Flyers.
New Jersey Devils – Loss of Parise isn’t as devastating as most people think.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Stamkos gets his team into the playoffs.
Buffalo Sabres – Ryan Miller becomes the Ryan Miller of 2010.
Carolina Hurricanes – Shortened season hurts Canes with new superstars they brought in.
New York Islanders – Up and coming team, still a year away though.
Montreal Canadiens – P.K. Subban situation unclear and so are the Canadiens.
Florida Panthers – Can’t copy the success they had last year.
Winnipeg Jets – Kane puts up numbers but no one else follows suit.
Ottawa Senators – Just not enough talent to make a real playoff push.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Not quite sure what direction they’re going in now that they’ve fired Burke.
*Los Angeles Kings – Build off their Stanley Cup win and have a better regular season.
*Vancouver Canucks – Sedin twins do what Sedin twins do… put up points.
*St. LouisBlues – Strong defense and Halak carry this team through season and playoffs.
Chicago Black Hawks – Kane puts up the numbers we’re use to seeing.
Nashville Predators – Rinne becomes a household name and really puts the team on his back.
San Jose Sharks – Defense becomes the backbone of Sharks with their aging stars putting up less points.
Detroit Red Wings – Datsyuk and Zetterberg keep the Red Wings in contention throughout the year.
Edmonton Oilers – All the young talent pays off and they make some noise in the playoffs.
Phoenix Coyotes – Mike Smith cant do it by himself and Doan shows his age.
Minnesota Wild – Same problem as Carolina; No time to get their superstars accustomed to the system.
Colorado Avalanche – Duchene tries to do it all but cant get enough support from others.
Dallas Stars – Lehtonen finishes in the top 5 for the Vezina but doesn’t get enough wins.
Calgary Flames – Iginla keeps putting up numbers as one of the greats of the game.
Anaheim Ducks – Hiller shows that last year is the goalie he’ll always be…. good, not great.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Losing Nash hurts for now but give them a couple years and they will be in playoff contention.
STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS
St. Louis Blues over New York Rangers in seven.
Hart Trophy: Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
(Most Valuable Player in the regular season)
Art Ross: Stamkos – Lightning
(player who leads the League in scoring)
Norris Trophy: Alex Pietrangelo – St. Louis Blues
Vezina Trophy: Jonathan Quick – Los Angeles Kings
Calder Trophy: Justin Schultz – Edmonton Oilers
(Rookie of the Year)
Jack Adams Trophy: Ken Hitchcock – St. Louis Blues
Jerry Elsing – Speaking of the Devils Contributor