The Vancouver Canucks and the Washington Capitals are going to meet up at the Stanley Cup Finals. The NHL will need more red light bulbs as scoring will be up. The Dallas Stars and the Anaheim Ducks will see increased production from their top line. Roberto Luongo and Alexander Ovechkin lead the NHL this season. These are just a few predictions for the 2010-11 season.
Here are the other predictions for the upcoming NHL season from Fantasy Hockey Coach.
10. Stars Align for James Neal and Loui Eriksson:
James Neal is training this off-season with Gary Roberts and we all know how that impacted Steven Stamkos last season. Don’t expect a 50-goal season from Neal just yet but he will definitely score 40-plus goals this year. Loui Eriksson has quietly improved over each of the last three seasons and watch for him to continue this trend, as he and Neal both will score 40-plus goals and 80-plus points.
9. Zenon Konopka: This goon can score:
Zenon Konopka led the NHL in penalty minutes last year and will defend his title again this year; however Konopka will display his scoring touch with the Islanders. The Isles don’t have a lot of scorers so if Konopka can replicate what he did in the AHL he could easily pot 10 goals this season. In five AHL seasons Konopka never scored less then 17 goals and scored 20 or more twice.
8. The return of “Alex the Great”
Ovechkin failed to defend the “Rocket” Richard trophy last year and hasn’t won the Art Ross Trophy in two seasons but that will change this year as Ovechkin plays a more controlled game and wins both trophies. Ovechkin will once again score 60-plus goals.
7. Finally, this is the year for the Canucks and Capitals!
Fans in Vancouver and Washington have been disappointed year after year with early exits from the Stanley Cup playoffs. At the start of each season Canucks and Capital fans get all giddy thinking that this is finally the year, well it is finally here. The Canucks are going to win the Presidents Trophy this year as they are in the weakest division in the NHL (think Detroit back a few years ago). The Stanley Cup finals will showcase the Canucks against the Capitals, however Canada will have to wait another year for the Cup as the Capitals win in six.
6. Anaheim Duck: The Flying V.
The not so “Mighty” Ducks will struggle this year without Scott Niedermayer but they do have one of the best lines in the NHL. The line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan combine for a high scoring, gritty first line. With the distraction of the Olympics gone these three Olympians can focus on their NHL season and it will be career years for all three. If he can stay healthy Getzlaf will break the 100-point mark this year.
5. The NHL in 4-D (Mike Green, Shea Weber, Drew Doughty and Anton Babchuk):
We all know about the goal scoring ability of Mike Green, Shea Weber and Drew Doughty but how many people remember Anton Babchuk and what he did in the NHL. Before Babchuk jumped to the KHL last season he scored 16 goals in 72 games in the 2008-09 season. All four of these defensemen will score 20 or more goals this season.
4. NHL going to need more red light bulbs:
The NHL is slowing moving out of the defensive/trapping era and back into a more exciting, offensive era as seen in the 1980’s. Seven players scored 40 or more goals last year, and that number will more then double this season as we could see close to 20 players scoring 40 or more goals. Veterans like Jarome Iginla and Eric Staal return to form, Daniel Sedin will finally score 40 while young stars like Eirksson, Neal, Phil Kessel, Anze Kopitar, John Tavares, Nicklas Backstrom will all reach the 40 goal plateau.
3. Great save Roberto Luongo:
Now before you say this is a homer pick lets look at the situation that Roberto Luongo and the Canucks are in.Vancouver has finally hired a full-time goalie coach this will make a huge difference, as Luongo will be held more accountable and get more attention from the coaching staff. The Canucks are in the weakest division so that means more games against weaker opponents. The ‘Nucks also brought in Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard to give the Canucks one of the deepest top-six blue lines in the league. All this adds up to a career year for Luongo who will lead the NHL in wins and shutouts.
2. And the Calder Trophy goes to P.K. Subban:
Subban came into a pressure filled situation last year during the Stanley Cup playoffs and shined. Most nights Subban was the Canadiens best defenseman, scoring eight points in 14 playoff games. Subban is an explosive, offensive defenseman who can carry the puck end to end to bring fans out of their seats. Subban will score 45+ points and win the Calder Trophy.
1. Eight Players hit the century mark.
Not since the 1995-96 season has the NHL seen this many players score 100-plus points. Last year only four players (Sedin, Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Nicklas Backstrom) scored 100-plus points. This season four more players will join those guys to give us eight players who score 100 or more points. Getzlaf, Stamkos and Daniel Sedin and will break this mark for the first time in their careers, while Evgeni Malkin makes a return to the century total in 2010-11.