2009-10 NHL Preview: Northwest Division
Predictions For The 2009-10 NHL Season
Total Pro Sports – It has been exactly three months and 19 days since Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins raised the Stanley Cup in Joe Louis Arena to conclude the 2008-09 NHL season. Tonight a whole new season begins and that means many new story lines as every team begins at square one with all of them looking for a shot at glory.
It can be tough to predict the outcome of a season before any meaningful games have been played, but we here at TPS are about to proceed down this road regardless. Here is the way we see the season shaping up with predictions on the final standings from both conferences, the Stanley Cup finalist and winner, and who will be taking home the individual hardware.
Let’s first take a look at the top NHL moments of the 2008-09 season.
But first, just a quick rundown:
Expect this year to be tight as usual, but the top two teams closing out last season remain the top two going in this season. The Wings have lost the likes of Marian Hossa, Jiri Hudler and Mikael Samuelsson, but they do have prospects like Jonathan Ericsson, Darren Helm and Ville Leino ready to step right in and fill those vacancies, not to mention the addition of Todd Bertuzzi.
The Pens also lost some key members of their cup winning team like Rob Scuderi, Hal Gill, Petr Sykora and Miroslav Satan, but they too will have little to worry about with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, Sergei Gonchar and Marc-Andre Fleury still along for the ride.
Although these teams are expected to once again be the cream of the crop, there is no shortage of contenders looking to rise above. The San Jose Sharks acquired sniper Dany Heatley to skate along side Joe Thornton, reestablishing themselves as a threat in the West, and the Calgary Flames beefed up their blueline with the addition of Jay Bouwmeester to go along with Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr.
In the East you know that the Caps, Bruins and Canes will all be looking for another shot at the Penguins after exiting last year’s playoffs earlier than they would have liked. The Flyers are also looking for revenge and picked up Chris Pronger to help assure they get just that.
With all this being said, here is how we see things shaping up.
Projected Conference Standings:
1. Philadelphia Flyers *
2. Washington Capitals *
3. Boston Bruins *
4. Pittsburgh Penguins
5. New Jersey Devils
6. Montreal Canadiens
7. Carolina Hurricanes
8. Atlanta Thrashers
9. Ottawa Senators
10. Buffalo Sabres
11. Tampa Bay Lightning
12. Toronto Maple Leafs
13. New York Rangers
14. Florida Panthers
15. New York Islanders
1. San Jose Sharks *
2. Detroit Red Wings *
3. Vancouver Canucks *
4. Calgary Flames
5. Chicago Blackhawks
6. St. Louis Blues
7. Anaheim Ducks
8. Los Angeles Kings
9. Edmonton Oilers
10. Columbus Blue Jackets
11. Phoenix Coyotes
12. Minnesota Wild
13. Dallas Stars
14. Nashville Predators
15. Colorado Avalanche
*denotes division winners
Stanley Cup Finals Prediction: After losing to Sidney Crosby and Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics, Ovechkin will get his revenge in the playoffs by leading the Caps past the Pens in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. They will meet the Red Winds there, who will be making yet another appearance. In the end, it will be the Wings once again hoisting the Stanley Cup after giving it to the Pens on a one year loan.
Red Wings over Caps in 6
Hart Trophy (MVP): Alexander Ovechkin, WSH
Art Ross (Most Points): Alexander Ovechkin, WSH
Rockey Richard Trophy (Most Goals): Alexander Ovechkin, WSH
Norris Trophy (Best Defense): Chris Pronger, PHI
Jack Adams (Best Coach): Todd McLellan, SJ
Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie): Roberto Luongo, VAN
Calder Trophy (Best Rookie): Simeon Varlamov, WSH
And to get us going into the new season, here is a look at last season’s top 10 moments.