With the pre-season festivities winding down, it’s time to provide you all with the most accurate division standings predictions you’ll ever have the pleasure of reading in your entire life. Well, until next season’s edition anyway, because I’ll only get better and better as time goes on. But wait you say, I thought you had already achieved perfection in every sense of the word? Yes, technically this is true, but as the limits of my power know no bounds, I’m forced to redefine perfection with each passing moment.
Anyway, I’ll do these one division at a time for the next three days (check back for the Pacific later today). First I’ll provide a few quick jot note style predictions for each team in the division and then end off with the expected end of season standings for said division. Let’s begin!
- Viktor Fasth will eventually become the starting goaltender for the Ducks, maybe as early as December, but more likely just after the Olympic break when Jonas Hiller burns out from having been forced to stop so many pucks for Switzerland.
- Sami Vatanen will work his way onto the top power play unit before being demoted unjustifiably with the return of Sheldon Souray.
- Teemu Selanne will be Temmu Selanne, aka awesome.
- Dustin Penner will be Dustin Penner, aka awful.
- Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will be great, but not $16.875 million great.
- Every single goaltender that suits up for the Flames this year will have a goals against average over 3.00 and a save percentage under 90%.
- Jay Feaster will be fired (finally!) and replaced by Brian Burke before Christmas.
- Bob Hartley will also be fired, but probably not until the end of the season.
- Dennis Wideman will lead the team in points while also sporting a +/- of -20 at best.
- Both Mike Cammalleri and Lee Stempniak will be injured right around the trade deadline, preventing the Flames from getting any halfway decent picks for the 2014 Entry Draft.
- Taylor Hall is going to dominate, putting up at least 35 goals and close to 90 points.
- Nail Yakupov will be right behind Hall with 30+ goals himself, but will be lucky to break 60 points.
- The Oilers defense and goaltending will be moderately better this season, but still no where near good enough to get them into the playoffs.
- That being said, they’ll make a late season push due to the majority of their star players not participating in the Olympics (think fresh!).
- Edmonton will finally pull the trigger on a trade to acquire a top pair defenseman or starting goaltender. One or the other, not both.
Los Angeles Kings
- The Kings are going to steamroll the Pacific in the early going. Unfortunately they’re sending a heck of a lot of players to the Olympics and will start to wear down heading into the playoffs.
- Jonathan Quick will be lights out as he attempts to prove he should be the starting goaltender for the Americans in Sochi.
- Tyler Toffoli will move into the top six by December and make a late season push for a rookie of the year nomination.
- Slava Voynov will continue to outproduce Drew Doughty on the score sheet, but not by much. Both will be exceptional this season.
- Anze Kopitar will finally achieve a point per game season. Exactly.
- Fans will actually show up at a slightly better rate this season, but still not nearly enough considering the Coyotes will actually be pretty good this year.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson will finally receive league wide recognition as he leads all Western Conference defensemen in points.
- Mikkel Boedker will finally have his breakout season due to skating alongside a capable center (Mike Ribeiro) for the first time in his career.
- Mike Smith will be better than last year, but still not as good as 2011/12 nor good enough to justify that contract.
- Radim Vrbata will be one of the league’s hottest commodities come the trade deadline, but Phoenix will decide not to move him.
San Jose Sharks
- For the first time since 2005/06, someone not named Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau will lead the Sharks in points. Yes, obviously I mean Logan Couture.
- Speaking of Thornton and Marleau, one of them will be traded at the deadline. Maybe both.
- Antti Niemi will once again be one of the league’s best goaltenders, but with that atrocious defense in front of him, he’ll need to be.
- San Jose will trade for a defenseman at some point, they just have to.
- Todd McLellan will get the axe mid-season.
- Roberto Luongo will be awesome in every way.
- The Sedins will be better than expected with John Tortorella as head coach, but only because he’ll be playing the Ryan Kesler line just as much as their line, if not more.
- David Booth is going to have a surprisingly good season, assuming he stays healthy. 20+ goals for the first time as a Canuck.
- Dan Hamhuis will continue to be the team’s best defenseman despite never getting the recognition.
- The Zack Kassian/Cody Hodgson trade will continue to look worse for Vancouver.
Final Standings Prediction
- Los Angeles Kings
- Phoenix Coyotes
- Vancouver Canucks
- Anaheim Ducks
- San Jose Sharks
- Edmonton Oilers
- Calgary Flames