Thursday, September 27, 2007

Grier's 2007-08 Predictions

Here is how I see the season shaping up - division by divison.

ATLANTIC
1) Pittsburgh Penguins - I like what this team has done in the offseason. Surrounding Crosby and Malkin with the necessary veteran talent while keeping their core intact. Staal can only improve on his effort last year. They are going to be fun to watch for several years.

2) Philadelphia Flyers - I think this team added the vital pieces needed to revive a dormant franchise. Mixed with some of their already good young talent, the Flyers should have a resurgence this season. Unlike Mike, I think Biron could surprise.

3) New York Rangers - I'm not buying it. I think the Rangers made some big mistakes adding too many big dogs and alienating their role players. Will Drury, Gomez, Avery, Shanny and Jagr play nice together? I think this dressing room could implode and Jagr might be skating for a different team in March.

4) New Jersey Devils - They won't suck. With Brodeur in net, they have a chance to win every night, but letting Gomez and Rafalski walk and replacing them with Zubrus and Visnievski isn't gonna cut it. They miss the playoffs this year.

5) New York Islanders - Goon Central. Team will hate to play them and fans will hate to watch them. You can't polish a turd.

NORTHEAST
1) Ottawa Senators - Agreed. This team is poised for another run at the Cup. Ongoing contract issues with pending free agents could be a motivator or a distraction. Goaltending situaiton should be solved after Gerber is dealt soon - his value will never get much higher.

2) Toronto Maple Leafs - I think the Leafs have improved and are poised to be a serious threat this season. They can score with the best of them and adding Blake is a big bonus. Toskala will compensate for McCabe and Kaberle offensive tendencies.

3) Buffalo Sabres - They are going to miss Briere and Drury more than they think. A poor start leads to morale falling. They make the playoffs late.

4) Montreal Canadiens - Not sure what is happening here. Same old, same old. They need a big move and lack the pieces to make it.

5) Boston Bruins - Maybe some baby steps of improvement but they have no blueline to speak of besides Chara. Manny Fernandez sucks, by the way.

SOUTHEAST
1) Washington Capitals - That's right. I said it. The Caps are the cream of this rancid division. They will benefit from a weak schedule and a solid second year from Semin and Backstrom. Adding Tom Poti and Nylander will push this team over the hump. Kolzig has a big year before he goes UFA.

2) Tampa Bay - No goaltending. That simple enough for you?

3) Florida - This team works hard and has some good young talent. Vokoun can shut down anyone on any night - so they could sneak up on some people. They will hang around the playoffs and crap out at the end.

4) Carolina - Old, old, old. This team is the NHL's version of the San Francisco Giants. Rumor has them willing to part with Cole - are they high?

5) Atlanta Thrashers - This teams window has come and gone and now they have to blow it up. Hossa is trade bait and will be skating in a different uni by March (maybe in Teal....?)

NORTHWEST

1) Calgary - They will find themselves at the top of the leagues toughest division. Their mix of toughness and goaltending is a tough match up. Only question could be lack of scoring.

2) Colorado - Smyth works his magic in Denver. I think Sakic will be rejuvinated and this team is going to be a giant pain in the ass to play. Don't forget they also have King Shutdown, Scotty Hannan. I feel like hating the Avs again.

3) Vancouver - Injuries are already killing this team and I just have a hunch it will continue for the rest of the season.

4) Minnesota - I don't see them taking the "next step" as everyone says. When has Gaborik been healthy for an entire season? Is Backstrom really the real deal? I think this team middles around again and maybe gets a late playoff seed. I'm not buying what Minnesota is selling.

5) Edmonton - Sheldon Souray can blow me. He'll wish he signed with the Sharks by December.

PACIFIC
1) San Jose Sharks - This is not a homer pick, believe it or not. They are the real deal and are one veteran defensemen away from dominating the West. Nabby's health is also a minor concern because the net is thin after him...

2) Anahiem Ducks - I don't even think this is going to be close. The Ducks finish ten points behind the Sharks. They are going to miss Neidermeyer and Selanne big time and Bertuzzi either gets hurt early or sucks often.

3) LA Kings - I don't think they are going to be as bad as others think. The Kings will be difficult to play and are deep on the blueline. Goaltending is a serious issue but I see them adding Gerber any day now.

4) Dallas - This is the year this team fades away. Like New Jersey, the old guard has to die sometime. Bye Bye Dallas, we hardly knew you.

5) Phoenix - If the Sharks lose one game to Phoenix, I will shoot myself.

CENTRAL
1) Detroit - I want to play in the Central! Rafalski is an improvement over Schneider and they kept their core together. Hasek's health always a question.

2) St. Louis - I know Mikey likes the Preds and Blackhawks, but I see St. Louis as a bottom playoff team this year. Some dangerous veterans, solid D and a decent goalie could help them prey upon a weak division.

3) Nashville - Depressions set in when this team realizes their best forward is Jason Arnott. They need to deal one of their bluechip defensemen for some scoring help.

4) Chicago - There is finally hope in Chicago that the team has a glimmer of future. Young players will cause some excitement but in the end, the vets they have (Lang, Samsanov) are terrible and won't provide any leadership to help this club make the push.

5) Columbus - A wispy fart better than Phoenix. This team also has no direction. They have cap room after Foote and Federov leave next year, but no one will come. Barren wasteland.

I am calling a Sharks/Maple Leafs final. Nabby vs. Toskala. Oh the Drama!

7 comments:

Earl Sleek said...

Poor, poor Carolina.

Cup champions one year, to also-rans the next, and now they fell off the NHL map!

Mike said...

Phoenix - If the Sharks lose one game to Phoenix, I will shoot myself.

Good hyperbole, but you know it will happen. Probably when Auld is in goal and Doan, Ballard, and Jovo are all hurt too, just to rub salt in it.

Mike said...

Poor, poor Carolina.

Cup champions one year, to also-rans the next, and now they fell off the NHL map!


Thank God for the 'edit' button. I just tacked 'em on at the end anyway. Nothing to see here.

Jeremy said...

If I interpret your Western rankings correctly, you're thinking 4 playoff teams out of the Northwest? With the Ducks and Blues the non-division winners joining the party. The Northwest is going to have to feast on all other teams for that to happen. And if that's the case, any of those teams will feast on the Sharks come playoff time.

Can'tStoptheGrier said...

I'm so controveresial...Mike is jealous that I got two comments and he only got one.

You interpret my picks correctly...almost. I said the bottom seeds will come between Minnesota, St. Louis and LA. I agree, it will be tough for four Northwest teams to make it. We will see...

Can'tStoptheGrier said...

P.S. - Pittsburgh, Rangers, Islanders and New Jersey all made the playoffs last year - so four playoff teams from one division isn't as impossible as it seems...

Jeremy said...

True. But I don't think the Oilers will be as bad as the Flyers were last year. And the Central won't be as bad as the Southeast was last year, either. Those four teams benefitted from those two factors.