Part 1: Pens Over/Unders
Part 2: Pacific Division Best Case / Worst Case
Best Case: Corey Crawford is really that good, it's Stan Bowman (not Ray Shero) who is the boldest and craftiest GM of the salary cap era, and this is definitively the Toews/Kane (not Crosby/Malkin) decade. 3 Cups in 5 years.
|You don't want this. We don't want this.|
Prediction: We spend a lot of time pining for yet also dreading a dream Finals matchup between the Hawks and Pens.
The rest of the Central after the jump...
Best Case: A stable of talented young forwards overcomes one of the league's weaker D corps, and the Avs sneak into the playoffs in their first season under Coach Patrick Roy.
Worst Case: Roy turns heel on the young Avs, assaulting his own players on the bench during the second period of a game in Vancouver.
Prediction: A year away talent-wise, and a boom-or-bust coach.
Best Case: New GM Jim Nill turns Dallas into Detroit South. Tyler Seguin is a star.
Worst Case: Seguin live tweets an early season cocaine and hooker binge. Jim Nill retweets him, adding, "Hahahaha!"
Prediction: This team should be fun to watch, but, given the Stars' top defense pairing is Sergei Gonchar and Alex Goligoski, they'll be even more fun to play against.
Best Case: This division is as weak as it looks on paper.
Worst Case: Big ticket players Zach Parise and Dany Heatley again underperform their contracts.
Prediction: Matt Cooke scores 18 goals, and the Wild grab a low playoff seed.
Best Case: Newcomers Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones are among the Preds' top 5 players. Back in the playoffs with legitimate scoring line of Forsberg, Legwand and Stalberg.
Worst Case: Pekka Rinne isn't completely healthy. Neither is Barry Trotz's neck.
Prediction: They're just kinda there.
St. Louis Blues
Best Case: Brendan Morrow gives the Blues 82 games of what he gave the Pens for 10 games. Brian Elliott posts a sub 2.00 GAA for the first 30 games of the season and the Blues trade Jaroslav Halak to the Pens.
Worst Case: Loaded up front, but without any true game breaker, the Blues run into the Hawks or the Kings in the Western Conference playoffs and play a 7 game series where every game goes into overtime and they lose in triple OT in Game 7.
Prediction: The Blues run into the Hawks or the Kings in the Western Conference playoffs and play a 7 game series where every game goes into overtime and they lose in triple OT in Game 7.
Best Case: They get 75% of the available points at home, and take advantage of a weak division plus a 7% better chance of making the playoffs out West to sniff around the second wild card spot. Only 3 Penguins record hat tricks against Ondrej Pavelec in the two games they play against each other this season.
Worst Case: They're out of the playoff picture and find someone to take a trade deadline flyer on UFA-to-be Olli Jokinen. Or is that best case?
|No, Ray! Noooooooo!!!!|
Final prediction, with the bottom 4 teams probably separated by no more than 6 points:
1. St. Louis