It wasn’t easy, but I’ve done it!
I’m not talking about fasting on Yom Kippur, I’m talking about having watched a minimum of 1 period of every NHL team over the past 5 days. Traditionally, I’ve always preached the same message at the start of a season: give your team 10 games before you start planning a parade or planning a draft lottery party. With that, I caution readers to take this blog with a grain of salt, as I break down my first impression on all 30 teams.
Anaheim: This team is going to be dangerous once their first line gets going, because they have some very talented 3rd/4th line players like Cogliano and Smith-Pelly.
BOLD PREDICTION: Jonas Hiller will be in strong consideration for the Vezina
Boston: A good team, but they’re going to need to trade for an offensive defenseman at some point.
BOLD PREDICTION: Tyler Seguin will lead the team in points
Buffalo: A very well rounded team that looks like a lock to win the Northeast this season.
BOLD PREDICTION: A minimum of 6 players will score 20+ goals
Calgary: I don’t care that it’s 2 games; this team is terrible.
BOLD PREDICTION: Brent Sutter will be the first coach fired
Carolina: A fun team to watch, but not a playoff team because their depth up front is lacking.
BOLD PREDICTION: Jim Rutherford will make a significant trade by the end of November
Chicago: A big part of their success this year will be due to the emergence of Nick Leddy as a legitimate top 4 defenseman.
BOLD PREDICTION: The Hawks will finish first in the Central Division
Colorado: Not a bad team, but they are missing some punch on offense and some depth on defense.
BOLD PREDICTION: Paul Stastny will be traded at some point this season
Columbus: Their offseason moves were nice, but there are still major holes on defense and in goal that will keep them out of the playoffs.
BOLD PREDICTION: This will be Steve Mason’s last season in Columbus
Dallas: I would be shocked if this Stars team made the playoffs, although I am surprised that at this point Sheldon Souray looks like a NHL-caliber player.
BOLD PREDICTION: Pencil Jamie Benn in for 30 goals
Detroit: They look like the typical/classic Red Wings with their strong puck possession play and good defense.
BOLD PREDICTION: For the first time in his career, Johan Franzen will hit 60 points
Edmonton: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the real deal, and he will be spending the entire year in Edmonton.
BOLD PREDICTION: Oilers will miss the playoffs, but will finish top 10 in the conference
Florida: Everyone is quick to point to all the forward additions, but this team may have the most underrated group of defensemen in the NHL.
BOLD PREDICTION: Jacob Markstrom will start at least 30 games this year and will be their #1 goalie by the end of the season
Los Angeles: A very good team led by Anze Kopitar, who looks like he is on the verge of becoming one of the most dominant forwards in the league.
BOLD PREDICTION: They will lose in the first round of the playoffs again, and will then proceed to overhaul their defense in the offseason
Minnesota: It’s obvious that they are missing quite a few pieces, but they will probably have a decent record due to their weak division.
BOLD PREDICTION: By the end of the season, their “time on ice per game” leader on defense will be Marco Scandella
Montreal: As per usual, will either just make or just miss the playoffs.
BOLD PREDICTION: Max Pacioretty will lead the team in goals
Nashville: They’re not the most fun team to watch, but all they do is win.
BOLD PREDICTION: Jack Adams Trophy will go to Barry Trotz
New Jersey: The Devils are a much different (and better) team with the additions of Zach Parise (return from injury) and Adam Larsson (first round pick).
BOLD PREDICTION: New Jersey will miss the playoffs, mainly because of bad goaltending, and the end result will be Martin Brodeur retiring
New York Islanders: Al Montoya looks great, but they seriously need help on defense.
BOLD PREDICTION: He hasn’t scored yet, but John Tavares will come very close to 40 goals
New York Rangers: Even though they lost their first 2 games, this is a dangerous team that will make the playoffs.
BOLD PREDICTION: Lines change a lot, but I’ll go ahead and say that Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan will score more goals than Gaborik-Richards-Fedotenko/Wolski
Ottawa: The worst team in the East, by far.
BOLD PREDICTION: There will be plenty of Alfredsson/Spezza rumors, but the only big name to be traded out of Ottawa this year will be Milan Michalek
Philadelphia: The Flyers may not have the biggest names, but this is the team with the best depth in the league on defense and on their top 3 lines.
BOLD PREDICTION: Ilya Bryzgalov will win the Vezina trophy
Phoenix: The Ottawa Senators of the Western Conference.
BOLD PREDICTION: Will finish bottom 3 among NHL teams in goals for
Pittsburgh: The Pens have looked great, and that’s with Crosby and Orpik out.
BOLD PREDICTION: Assuming he plays 70+ games, Malkin will hit 100 points
San Jose: They overpaid, but people will soon understand why it was necessary for the Sharks to go out and acquire Brent Burns.
BOLD PREDICTION: Will represent the West in the Stanley Cup Final
St. Louis: Despite being in a tough division, the Blues will be the most improved team in the Western Conference and should be in the playoffs, come April.
BOLD PREDICTION: Alex Pietrangelo will finish top 5 in scoring among defensemen
Tampa Bay: Regarded as a well-coached team, the Lightning will be surprisingly inconsistent this year because of defense/goaltending, but will still manage to lock down a playoff spot.
BOLD PREDICTION: IF Brett Connolly stays with the Lightning past 9 games, he will be a leading candidate for the Calder Trophy.
Toronto: I thought it would be another bad year for Toronto, but they look better than I thought they would.
BOLD PREDICTION: When Brian Burke pulls off his yearly blockbuster trade, Nazem Kadri will be involved
Vancouver: Easily the best team in their division, and they are without Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond.
BOLD PREDICTION: In a surprise move, the Canucks will move Cody Hodgson from C to RW, and he will then proceed to become a permanent fixture in their top 6
Washington: This is the best Washington team in the “Ovechkin era”, hands down.
BOLD PREDICTION: Will represent the East in the Stanley Cup Final
Winnipeg: For the amount of money they spend on defensemen, they have the most overrated group of D in the NHL.
BOLD PREDICTION: Not only will they miss the playoffs, but they will be the worst team in their division.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.