Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Punkari Brothers 2014/15 NHL Preview

LA Kings Cup Champs

(Lucas here. As you probably know, I’m much more of a college and junior hockey fan than of the NHL, so I wasn’t really planning about doing a season preview post. However, my brother and I were discussing our thoughts, and I decided to have him lead the way, while I make comments along the way.)

A new NHL season is upon us,, and while most Canadian people are foaming at the mouth over the new Rogers TV deal (which basically means more Canadian team being talked about more than the Coyotes) us people with actual sanity will give you a preview of the season. Keep in mind my knowledge of NHL teams is not that great compared to curling teams.

(He’s already insulting fans, we’re off to a great start. Oh by the way, the rosters we have are based upon what was on the EliteProspects site on the eve of the NHL season.)

Corey Perry

Anaheim Ducks

Last Season: First in Pacific Division (54-20-8) – Lost 4-3 to Los Angeles in West Semis

Forwards: Matt Beleskey, Andrew Cogliano, Emerson Etem, Ryan Getzlaf, Dany Heatley, Tim Jackman, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Maroon, Kyle Palmieri, Corey Perry, Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, Devante Smith-Pelly, Nate Thompson

Defencemen: Bryan Allen, Francois Beauchemin, Mark Fistric, Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Ben Lovejoy, Sheldon Souray, Clayton Stoner, Sami Vatanen

Goalies: Frederik Andersen, John Gibson

Prediction: Third in Pacific Division (While they have Kitchener Rangers god John Gibson in net, the core looks pretty good as well.)

Lucas Says: Second in Pacific Division (My boy Teemu is gone, so I’m upset about that, but this is still a pretty solid squad from top to bottom. The one question may be with the goaltending, but John Gibson is the man so I think they will be fine.)

Mike Smith

Arizona Coyotes

Last Season: Fourth in Pacific Division (37-30-15) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Mikkel Boedker, Kyle Chipchura, BJ Crombeen, Shane Doan, Martin Erat, Sam Gagner, Martin Hanzal, Justin Hodgman, Rob Klinkhammer, Lauri Korpikoski, Brandon McMillan, David Moss, Antoine Vermette, Joe Vitale

Defencemen: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Zbynek Michalek, Connor Murphy, David Schlemko, Michael Stone, Chris Summers, Keith Yandle

Goalies: Devan Dubnyk, Mike Smith

Prediction: Fourth in Pacific Division (A pretty decent looking lineup, though all of the pressure will probably be on Mike Smith. All Hail The Yotes!)

Lucas Says: Fifth in Pacific Division (The back end is really solid, but the forward core leaves quite a lot to be desired. That will probably end up being the difference as to if this team will make the playoffs or not.)

Zdeno Chara

Boston Bruins

Last Season: First in Atlantic Division (54-19-9) – Lost 4-3 to Montreal in East Semis

Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Gregory Campbell, Loui Eriksson, Matt Fraser, Chris Kelly, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Daniel Paille, Reilly Smith, Carl Soderberg, Ryan Spooner

Defencemen: Matt Bartkowski, Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Dennis Seidenberg

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg

Prediction: First in Atlantic Division (The forwards are nothing really to fear about, although it’s a decent group. However, Zdeno Chara is someone that should be feared.)

Lucas Says: First in Atlantic Division (The roster is more or less the same, well minus Ryan Spooner, but if it’s good enough already, why fix it?)

Rick Jaerrette

Buffalo Sabres

Last Season: Eighth in Atlantic Division (21-51-10) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Nicolas Deslauriers, Tyler Ennis, Brian Flynn, Marcus Foligno, Zemgus Girgensons, Brian Gionta, Cody Hodgson, Cody McCormick, Torrey Mitchell, Matt Moulson, Sam Reinhart, Drew Stafford, Chris Stewart

Defencemen: Andre Benoit, Josh Gorges, Jake McCabe, Andrej Meszaros, Tyler Myers, Mark Pysyk, Rasmus Ristolainen, Mike Weber

Goalies: Jhonas Enroth, Michal Neuvirth

Prediction: Seventh in Atlantic Division (The rebuild has officially begun for the Retro Sabres after they traded away Ryan Miller. It’s going to be quite awhile before we see this team in playoff contention.)

Lucas Says: Eighth in Atlantic Division (There’s a team worse than Buffalo in the division? That’s news to me. They have added some veteran forwards, but this will be another bad year as the Sabres look to get either McJesus or Eichel in the NHL draft.)

Johnny Hockey

Calgary Flames

Last Season: Sixth in Pacific Division (35-40-7) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Mikael Backlund, Brandon Bollig, Lance Bouma, Paul Byron, Joe Colborne, Johnny Gaudreau, Curtis Glencross, Jiri Hudler, David Jones, Brian McGrattan, Sean Monahan, Mason Raymond, Devin Setoguchi, Matt Stajan

Defencemen: TJ Brodie, Raphael Diaz, Deryk Engelland, Mark Giordano, Corey Potter, Kris Russell, Ladislav Smid, Dennis Wideman

Goalies: Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo

Prediction: Sixth in Pacific Division (Good luck trying to clean up the mess Jay Feaster left behind.)

Lucas Says: Sixth in Pacific Division (I don’t like the defensive depth one bit, but the young forward core is pretty solid, especially with my boy Johnny Hockey. Expect this season to be similar to last year.)

Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Carolina Hurricanes

Last Season: Seventh in Metropolitan Division (36-35-11) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Patrick Dwyer, Nathan Gerbe, Elias Lindholm, Brad Malone, Jay McClement, Riley Nash, Alexander Semin, Jeff Skinner, Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Chris Terry, Jiri Tlusty

Defencemen: Brett Bellemore, Justin Faulk, Tim Gleason, Ron Hainsey, Jay Harrison, John-Michael Liles, Ryan Murphy, Andrej Sekera

Goalies: Anton Khudobin, Cam Ward

Prediction: Sixth in Metropolitan Division (Although they have former Kitchener Rangers Jeff Skinner and Ryan Murphy, things to be progressing very slowly in terms of a rebuild.)

Lucas Says: Eighth in Metropolitan Division (Jeff Skinner and Jordan Staal both have long-term injuries, and the Cam Ward trade rumours continue. That’s not a good sign.)

Patrick Kane

Chicago Blackhawks

Last Season: Third in Central Division (46-21-15) – Lost 4-3 to Los Angeles in West Finals

Forwards: Bryan Bickell, Daniel Carcillo, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Marcus Kruger, Jeremy Morin, Brad Richards, Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Andrew Shaw, Ben Smith, Jonathan Toews, Kris Versteeg

Defencemen: Kyle Cumiskey, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Duncan Keith, Johnny Oduya, Michal Rozsival, David Rundblad, Brent Seabrook

Goalies: Corey Crawford, Antti Raanta

Prediction: First in Central Division (After a tough exit last year, Chicago looks primed for another Cup run or two with what they have on the roster.)

Lucas Says: First in Central Division (Like Brett says, the Blackhawks are once again favourites to win the Stanley Cup, and are probably the class of the Western Conference. Mind you, the Kings might have something to say about that.)

Patrick Roy

Colorado Avalanche

Last Season: First in Central Division (52-22-8) – Lost 4-3 to Minnesota in West Quarters

Forwards: Patrick Bordeleau, Daniel Briere, Marc-Andre Cliche, Matt Duchene , Jarome Iginla, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Jamie McGinn, Cody McLeod, John Mitchell, Ryan O’Reilly, Maxime Talbot, Alex Tanguay, Jesse Winchester

Defencemen: Tyson Barrie, Nate Guenin, Jan Hejda, Nick Holden, Erik Johnson, Zach Redmond, Brad Stuart, Ryan Wilson

Goalies: Reto Berra, Semyon Varlamov

Prediction: Third in Central Division (It’s going to be interesting to see if this Colorado team can repeat last year’s great regular season form in Patrick Roy’s second year of coaching. Usually, that does not happen.)

Lucas Says: Third in Central Division (This is the popular pick for a team that will have a massive regression, but given the talented young forwards they have, and mad man Patrick Roy at coach, I still think they will make the playoffs.)


Columbus Blue Jackets

Last Season: Fourth in Metropolitan Division (43-32-7) – First Wild Card – Lost 4-2 to Pittsburgh in East Quarters

Forwards: Artem Anisimov, Cam Atkinson, Jared Boll, Matt Calvert, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Brian Gibbons, Scott Hartnell, Nathan Horton, Boone Jenner, Ryan Johansen, Mark Letestu, Jack Skille, Corey Tropp

Defencemen: Tim Erixon, Jack Johnson, Ryan Murray, Dalton Prout, David Savard, Fedor Tyutin, James Wisniewski

Goalies: Sergei Bobrovsky, Curtis McElhinney

Prediction: Fourth in Metropolitan Division (All of the pressure will be on BOBROVSKY! to improve on the Blue Jackets’ near upset of Pittsburgh last year.)

Lucas Says: Fourth in Metropolitan Division (They got the Ryan Johansen contract situation solved just before the season, and with the roster being the same as it was a year ago, I expect another similar showing for the Jackets, as they aren’t quite at the same level yet as the other top teams in the East.)

Kari Lehtonen

Dallas Stars

Last Season: Fifth in Central Division (40-31-11) – Second Wild Card – Lost 4-2 to Anaheim in West Quarters

Forwards: Jamie Benn, Erik Cole, Cody Eakin, Patrick Eaves, Vernon Fiddler, Ryan Garbutt, Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Valeri Nichushkin, Rich Peverley, Antoine Roussel, Colton Sceviour, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza

Defencemen: Jordie Benn, Kevin Connauton, Trevor Daley, Brenden Dillon, Alex Goligoski, Sergei Gonchar, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak

Goalies: Kari Lehtonen, Anders Lindback

Prediction: Sixth in Central Divsion (After making a surprise playoff appearance last year, and adding Jason Spezza in the off-season, things look to be on the up and up.)

Lucas Says: Fifth in Central Division (With Spezza and Hemsky both joining Dallas, the Stars forward core is going to be a tons of fun. However, given the strength of the Central Division, they will be in a fight to make the playoffs.)

NHL: Winter Classic-Toronto Maple Leafs at Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings

Last Season: Fourth in Atlantic Division (39-28-15) – Second Wild Card – Lost 4-1 to Boston in East Quarters

Forwards: Justin Abdelkader, Joakim Andersson, Daniel Cleary, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Luke Glendening, Darren Helm, Tomas Jurco, Drew Miller, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Stephen Weiss, Henrik Zetterberg

Defencemen: Danny DeKeyser, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl, Niklas Kronwall, Brian Lashoff, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith

Goalies: Jonas Gustavsson, Jimmy Howard

Prediction: Fourth in Atlantic Division (Ho hum, probably another playoff appearance is upcoming. However, the defence does leave something to be desired.)

Lucas Says: Fourth in Atlantic Division (If the Red Wings were in the West, I don’t think I would have the making the post-season. But since the East isn’t as strong, the playoff streak will continue for another year.)

Taylor Hall

Edmonton Oilers

Last Season: Seventh in Pacific Division (29-44-9) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Will Acton, Mark Arcobello, Leon Draisaitl, Jordan Eberle, Luke Gazdic, Boyd Gordon, Taylor Hall, Matt Hendricks, Jesse Joensuu, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, David Perron, Benoit Pouliot, Teddy Purcell, Nail Yakupov

Defencemen: Mark Fayne, Andrew Ference, Brad Hunt, Oscar Klefbom, Nikita Nikitin, Darnell Nurse, Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz

Goalies: Viktor Fasth, Ben Scrivens

Prediction: Fifth in Pacific Division (Will this finally be the year the Oilers get their heads out of their butts and start winning? I doubt it with only a few good players. At least getting rid of Devan Dubnyk was a good start.)

Lucas Says: Seventh in Pacific Division (Oh Edmonton, how did it all go wrong, wait don’t tell me as that will be a great pick. I don’t expect things to be getting better for the Oilers after not seeing a playoff push since the rebuild began in 2010, so I am convinced nothing new will happen in 2014-15, well other than a fire sale.)

LeBrongo Twitter

Florida Panthers

Last Season: Seventh in Atlantic Division (29-45-8) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Aleksander Barkov, Sean Bergenheim, Nick Bjugstad, David Bolland, Brad Boyes, Tomas Fleischmann, Jimmy Hayes, Jonathan Huberdeau, Jussi Jokinen, Tomas Kopecky, Derek MacKenzie, Brandon Pirri, Shawn Thornton, Scottie Upshall

Defencemen: Brian Campbell, Aaron Ekblad, Erik Gudbranson, Dmitry Kulikov, Willie Mitchell, Dylan Olsen, Colby Robak

Goalies: Roberto Luongo, Al Montoya

Prediction: Sixth in Atlantic Division (As Roberto Luongo’s career comes full circle, he does have a challenge ahead of him. But hey, at least as he has an okay team to work with as Florida tries to build off of a playoff appearance from a couple of years ago.)

Lucas Says: Seventh in Atlantic Division (In the Hockey News season preview, they have the Panthers making the playoffs, which I think is slightly insane. Sure they have a ton of young talent, but Nick Bjugstad led the team in scoring with 38 points last year. Unless someone goes off big time, I just don’t see this team in the playoffs.)

Jonathan Quick

Los Angeles Kings

Last Season: Third in Pacific Division (46-28-8) – 2013-14 Stanley Cup Champions

Forwards: Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Kyle Clifford, Marian Gaborik, Dwight King, Anze Kopitar, Trevor Lewis, Jordan Nolan, Tanner Pearson, Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll, Tyler Toffoli, Justin Williams

Defencemen: Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, Alec Martinez, Brayden McNabb, Jake Muzzin, Robyn Regehr, Slava Voynov

Goalies: Martin Jones, Jonathan Quick

Prediction: First in Pacific Division (After a hard fought Cup victory last year, they have the target on their back, but they have been through this before so don’t be surprised if they win again.)

Lucas Says: First in Pacific Division (Yet another team that didn’t switch anything up after their success. If ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and the Kings will more than likely be in the Western Conference final mix once again.)

Niklas Backstrom

Minnesota Wild

Last Season: Fourth in Central Division (43-27-12) – First Wild Card – Lost 4-2 to Chicago in West Semis

Forwards: Cody Almond, Kyle Brodziak, Ryan Carter, Matt Cooke, Charlie Coyle, Justin Fontaine, Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, Mikko Koivu, Nino Niederreiter, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, Jason Zucker

Defencemen: Keith Ballard, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, Christian Folin, Nate Prosser, Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Suter

Goalies: Niklas Backstrom, Josh Harding, Darcy Kuemper

Prediction: Fourth in Central Division (A great looking forward core, but not so much on defence. They may have to depend on Niklas Backstrom, if he starts, for some wins.)

Lucas Says: Fourth in Central Division (When I told Brett that the Wild would be starting with Darcy Kuemper in goal for this season, he asked me if the team was drunk. At any rate, the Wild are a super solid team from front to back, and should easily make the post-season.)

Carey Price

Montreal Canadiens

Last Season: Third in Atlantic Division (46-28-8) – Lost 4-2 to NY Rangers in East Finals

Forwards: Michael Bournival, Rene Bourque, David Desharnais, Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Manny Malhotra, Travis Moen, Max Pacioretty, PA Parenteau, Tomas Plekanec, Brandon Prust, Jiri Sekac, Dale Weise

Defencemen: Nathan Beaulieu, Alexei Emelin, Tom Gilbert, Andrei Markov, PK Subban, Jarred Tinordi, Mike Weaver

Goalies: Carey Price, Dustin Tokarski

Prediction: Second in Atlantic Division (Canadiens fans have to thank Dustin Tokarski for keeping them in the Eastern Conference Finals. Now it’s up to Carey Price to return the favour and bring them a step or two further.)

Lucas Says: Third in Atlantic Division (Do I think the Habs are going to return to the Eastern Finals? Not really, but they are easily the top Canadian team to be a threat to win the Stanley Cup this season.)

Mustard Preds

Nashville Predators

Last Season: Sixth in Central Division (38-32-12) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Taylor Beck, Gabriel Bourque, Richard Clune, Matt Cullen, Mike Fisher, Filip Forsberg, Paul Gaustad, Calle Jarnkrok, Olli Jokinen, James Neal, Eric Nystrom, Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy, Craig Smith, Viktor Stalberg, Colin Wilson

Defencemen: Victor Bartley, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Seth Jones, Roman Josi, Anton Volchenkov, Shea Weber

Goalies: Carter Hutton, Pekka Rinne

Prediction: Fifth in Central Division (The Nashville Way from the early years is gone now, and its time for a new direction, and perhaps a return to the playoffs.)

Lucas Says: Sixth in Central Division (The defence is stellar, but the forwards don’t really match up with the rest of the Western Conference, at least not yet.)

Martin Brodeur

New Jersey Devils

Last Season: Sixth in Metropolitan Division (35-29-18) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Damien Brunner, Mike Cammalleri, Ryane Clowe, Patrik Elias, Stephen Gionta, Martin Havlat, Adam Henrique, Jaromir Jagr, Jacob Josefson, Tuomo Ruutu, Michael Ryder, Jordin Tootoo, Travis Zajac, Dainius Zubrus

Defencemen: Eric Gelinas, Andy Greene, Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill, Bryce Salvador, Marek Zidlicky

Goalies: Scott Clemmensen, Cory Schneider

Prediction: Seventh in Metropolitan Division (The Martin Brodeur era is officially over now. The current forwards are good, but the defence? Yeesh.)

Lucas Says: Sixth in Metropolitan Division (Overall, this isn’t a terrible team, though the defence like Brett says is a bit of an issue. But if the forwards start off well, this might be a Wild Card team.)

New York Islanders v Pittsburgh Penguins

New York Islanders

Last Season: Eighth in Metropolitan Division (34-37-11) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Josh Bailey, Eric Boulton, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Cory Conacher, Michael Grabner, Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin, Matt Martin, Colin McDonald, Brock Nelson, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, Ryan Strome, John Tavares

Defencemen: Johnny Boychuk, Matt Carkner, Calvin De Haan, Travis Hamonic, Thomas Hickey, Nick Leddy, Brian Strait, Lubomir Visnovsky

Goalies: Jaroslav Halak, Chad Johnson

Prediction: Eighth in Metropolitan Division (Bleepin’ Isles. Enough said. Although having Jaroslav Halak now in goal is a nice addition.)

Lucas Says: Seventh in Metropolitan Division (Since the Isles traded away their first round pick for 2015 to the Sabres, they had to strength their roster to avoid giving away the chance of getting McJesus or Eichel. Have they done enough? It looks like it on paper, but given this team’s recent history, I’m not that convinced.)

Henrik Lundqvist

New York Rangers

Last Season: Second in Metropolitan Division (45-31-6) – Lost 4-1 to Los Angeles in Stanley Cup Finals

Forwards: Derick Brassard, Anthony Duclair, Jesper Fast, Tanner Glass, Carl Hagelin, Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, Ryan Malone, JT Miller, Dominic Moore, Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, Lee Stempniak, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello

Defencemen: Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, Matt Hunwick, Kevin Klein, Ryan McDonagh, John Moore, Marc Staal

Goalies: Henrik Lundqvist, Cam Talbot

Prediction: Second in Metropolitan Division (After losing the Stanley Cup final, the Rangers made some moves in the off-season. However, losing Brad Richards doesn’t help matters if they look to return to the final.)

Lucas Says: Second in Metropolitan Division (The defence has been strengthened slightly, but are they going to get back to the Cup final? Well given that it was a surprise that they made it to the dance a year ago, I don’t think they will repeat as Eastern Conference champions. However, the Rangers will probably make it to Round 2, unless they go up against a really strong opponent.)

Ottawa Mascot

Ottawa Senators

Last Season: Fifth in Atlantic Division (37-31-14) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Alex Chiasson, Erik Condra, Colin Greening, Mike Hoffman, Curtis Lazar, David Legwand, Clarke MacArthur, Milan Michalek, Chris Neil, Bobby Ryan, Zack Smith, Mark Stone, Kyle Turris, Mika Zibanejad

Defencemen: Mark Borowiecki, Cody Ceci, Jared Cowen, Eric Gryba, Erik Karlsson, Marc Methot, Chris Phillips, Patrick Wiercioch

Goalies: Craig Anderson, Robin Lehner

Prediction: Eighth in Atlantic Division (The rebuilding process has begun after losing Jason Spezza, so if your looking for good tickets, come to a Senators game.)

Lucas Says: Sixth in Atlantic Division (I’m not sure why my brother thinks Ottawa will be terrible. Sure Jason Spezza is gone, but you still have Bobby Ryan,  Erik Karlsson, and my boy Robin Lehner around. They aren’t a playoff team, but they are far stronger than Florida and Buffalo.)

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers

Last Season: Third in Metropolitan Division (42-30-10) – Lost 4-3 to NY Rangers in East Quarters

Forwards: Jason Akeson, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Blair Jones, Vincent Lecavalier, Michael Raffl, Matt Read, Zac Rinaldo, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, RJ Umberger, Jakub Voracek, Ryan White

Defencemen: Braydon Coburn, Michael Del Zotto, Nicklas Grossmann, Andrew MacDonald, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Mark Streit, Kimmo Timonen

Goalies: Ray Emery, Steve Mason

Prediction: Third in Metropolitan Division (The Flyers look very solid all around, but the pressure is going to be on the goalies to get the job done.)

Lucas Says: Third in Metropolitan Division (Provided the Flyers don’t get off to a bad start, and Claude Giroux doesn’t wait until the second half to get going, they should be in the playoffs. Like Brett though, I’m not convinced on Steve Mason given his hot mess of a time during the latter parts of his tenure in Columbus.)

Geno Malkin

Pittsburgh Penguins

Last Season: First in Metropolitan Division (51-24-7) – Lost 4-3 to NY Rangers in East Semis

Forwards: Craig Adams, Beau Bennett, Blake Comeau, Sidney Crosby, Steve Downie, Pascal Dupuis, Marcel Goc, Patric Hornqvist, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, Nick Spaling, Brandon Sutter

Defencemen: Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Christian Ehrhoff, Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Paul Martin, Rob Scuderi

Goalies: Marc-Andre Fleury, Thomas Greiss

Prediction: First in Metropolitan Division (New Coach Mike Johnston inherits the same team as before, but can he lead them another Stanley Cup like Dan Bylsma in 2009? An improved performance from Marc-Andre Fleury would help with that.)

Lucas Says: First in Metropolitan Division (The forward core has been strengthened quite a bit, and the defence seems solid after they drafted a bunch in recent years. Marc-Andre Fleury needs to be on the top of his game, but overall, this team should make the conference finals with ease. Otherwise, we may see a massive roster shakeup.)

Sharks Collapse

San Jose Sharks

Last Season: Second in Pacific Division (51-22-9) – Lost 4-3 to Los Angeles in West Quarters

Forwards: Mike Brown, Adam Burish, Logan Couture, Andrew Desjardins, Tomas Hertl, Tyler Kennedy, Patrick Marleau, Matt Nieto, Joe Pavelski, John Scott, James Sheppard, Joe Thornton, Raffi Torres, Tommy Wingels

Defencemen: Justin Braun, Brent Burns, Jason Demers, Taylor Fedun, Scott Hannan, Matt Irwin, Mirco Mueller, Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Goalies: Antti Niemi, Alex Stalock

Prediction: Second in Pacific Division (What is it going to take to get the Sharks to the Stanley Cup final like people have been predicting for the last few years? It beats me, but they better do it soon.)

Lucas Says: Third in Pacific Division (Given the disastrous 3-0 collapse to the Kings, I was expecting the Sharks to make some changes, but they elected to stick with the Status Quo. They should make the playoffs, but the Cup champions window has passed them by.)

Brian Elliott

St. Louis Blues

Last Season: Second in Central Division (52-23-7) – Lost 4-2 to Chicago in West Quarters

Forwards: David Backes, Patrik Berglund, Maxim Lapierre, Jori Lehtera, Joakim Lindstrom, TJ Oshie, Steve Ott, Magnus Paajarvi, Chris Porter , Ryan Reaves, Jaden Schwartz, Paul Stastny, Alex Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko

Defencemen: Jay Bouwmeester, Ian Cole, Carl Gunnarsson, Barret Jackman, Jordan Leopold, Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk

Goalies: Jake Allen, Brian Elliott

Prediction: Second in Central Division (After Brian Elliott had a great showing last year, can he perhaps get them a little bit further in the playoffs as the starter?)

Lucas Says: Second in Central Division (I have a feeling that this might be the new San Jose, as they will probably do well over the next few regular seasons, but fade in the playoffs. I hope to be proven wrong.)

Steven Stamkos

Tampa Bay Lightning

Last Season: Second in Atlantic Division (46-27-9) – Lost 4-0 to Montreal in East Quarters

Forwards: Brian Boyle, JT Brown, Ryan Callahan, Brett Connolly, Jonathan Drouin, Valtteri Filppula, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, Brenden Morrow, Ondrej Palat, Richard Panik, Steven Stamkos

Defencemen: Mark Barberio, Eric Brewer, Matt Carle, Jason Garrison, Radko Gudas, Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman, Andrej Sustr

Goalies: Ben Bishop, Evgeni Nabokov

Prediction: Third in Atlantic Division (Steven Stamkos is basically God, but perhaps some help in net can propel them forward.)

Lucas Says: Second in Atlantic Division (You have the best pure goal-scorer in the game in Steven Stamkos, a young rookie that destroyed the QMJHL in Jonathan Drouin, and possibly the most underrated defender in the NHL in Victor Hedman. The future is very bright for the Bolts.)

Toronto Maple Leafs fans wear paper bags over their heads as they watch Maple Leafs lose to Philadelphia Flyers during their NHL game in Toronto

Toronto Maple Leafs

Last Season: Sixth in Atlantic Division (38-36-8) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Troy Bodie, David Booth, Tyler Bozak, David Clarkson, Matt Frattin, Peter Holland, Nazem Kadri, Phil Kessel, Leo Komarov, Brandon Kozun, Josh Leivo, Joffrey Lupul, Mike Santorelli, James Van Riemsdyk, Daniel Winnik

Defencemen: Cody Franson, Jake Gardiner, Stuart Percy, Dion Phaneuf, Roman Polak, Morgan Rielly, Stephane Robidas

Goalies: Jonathan Bernier, James Reimer

Prediction: Fifth in Atlantic Division (When your ranked as the worst professional team by ESPN, you know you suck. Good work MLSE.)

Lucas Says: Fifth in Atlantic Division (I think the Leafs are somewhere in between the bright start of last year and the hot mess they were in the last couple of months. They have some talent, but just aren’t in the mix to be in the upper levels of the Eastern Conference. Plus, I’m still mad that they hired Kyle Dubas away from the Soo Greyhounds.)

Vancouver Riot

Vancouver Canucks

Last Season: Fifth in Pacific Division (36-35-11) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Nick Bonino, Alex Burrows, Derek Dorsett, Jannik Hansen, Chris Higgins, Zack Kassian, Shawn Matthias, Brad Richardson, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Tom Sestito, Radim Vrbata

Defencemen: Kevin Bieksa, Frank Corrado, Alex Edler, Dan Hamhuis, Luca Sbisa, Ryan Stanton, Chris Tanev, Yannick Weber

Goalies: Eddie Lack, Ryan Miller

Prediction: Seventh in Pacific Division (Okay the Sedins are there, and they got Ryan Miller. But god, that defence makes you want to throw up, and the forwards aren’t much better. My pick for the worst team in the league.)

Lucas Says: Fourth in Pacific Division (Brett’s theory that the Canucks are going to be worse team in the league is going to be a barrel of laughs all winter. There is still a major transition process taking place here, but any team with the Sedins and Ryan Miller is in no way going to be worse than Buffalo.)

Alex Ovechkin

Washington Capitals

Last Season: Fifth in Metropolitan Division (38-30-14) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle, Troy Brouwer, Chris Brown, Andre Burakovsky, Jason Chimera, Eric Fehr, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Brooks Laich, Michael Latta, Liam O’Brien, Alex Ovechkin, Aaron Volpatti, Joel Ward, Tom Wilson

Defencemen: Karl Alzner, John Carlson, John Erskine, Mike Green, Jack Hillen, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, Brooks Orpik, Nate Schmidt

Goalies: Braden Holtby, Justin Peters

Prediction: Fifth in Metropolitan Division (Alex Ovechkin can only do so much without good help, and the Capitals goaltending may not be the solution with that.)

Lucas Says: Fifth in Metropolitan Division (High powered foreign forwards working in a Barry Trotz coached system? I don’t think this is going to end well kids.)

Ondrej Pavelec

Winnipeg Jets

Last Season: Seventh in Central Division (37-35-10) – Missed Playoffs

Forwards: Dustin Byfuglien, Patrice Cormier. Michael Frolik, TJ Galiardi, Matt Halischuk, Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Adam Lowry, Anthony Peluso, Mathieu Perreault, Mark Scheifele, Jim Slater, Chris Thorburn, Blake Wheeler

Defencemen: Zach Bogosian, Grant Clitsome, Tobias Enstrom , Adam Pardy, Paul Postma, Mark Stuart, Jacob Trouba

Goalies: Michael Hutchinson, Ondrej Pavelec

Prediction: Seventh in Central Division (The Jets have not made many moves to improve since the move from Atlanta, so for now they will keep their Thrashers In Disguise nickname, which means another year without making the playoffs.)

Lucas Says: Seventh in Central Division (If the Jets were in the Eastern Conference, this might be a playoff contender. But since they are in the best division in the entire NHL, they are going to be eaten alive by much stronger opponents.)


NHL Standings (Brett’s are on the Left/Lucas’s are on the Right)

Atlantic Division

  1. Boston Bruins/Boston Bruins
  2. Montreal Canadiens/Tampa Bay Lightning
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning/Montreal Canadiens
  4. Detroit Red Wings (Wild Card #1)/Detroit Red Wings (Wild Card #1)
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs/Toronto Maple Leafs
  6. Florida Panthers/Ottawa Senators
  7. Buffalo Sabres/Florida Panthers
  8. Ottawa Senators/Buffalo Sabres

Metropolitan Division

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins/Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. New York Rangers/New York Rangers
  3. Philadelphia Flyers/Philadelphia Flyers
  4. Columbus Blue Jackets (Wild Card #2)/Columbus Blue Jackets (Wild Card #2)
  5. Washington Capitals/Washington Capitals
  6. Carolina Hurricanes/New Jersey Devils
  7. New Jersey Devils/New York Islanders
  8. New York Islanders/Carolina Hurricanes

Pacific Division

  1. Los Angeles Kings/Los Angeles Kings
  2. San Jose Sharks/Anaheim Ducks
  3. Anaheim Ducks/San Jose Sharks
  4. Arizona Coyotes (Wild Card #2)/Vancouver Canucks
  5. Edmonton Oilers/Arizona Coyotes
  6. Calgary Flames/Calgary Flames
  7. Vancouver Canucks/Edmonton Oilers

Central Division

  1. Chicago Blackhawks/Chicago Blackhawks
  2. St. Louis Blues/St. Louis Blues
  3. Colorado Avalanche/Colorado Avalanche
  4. Minnesota Wild (Wild Card #1)/Minnesota Wild (Wild Card #1)
  5. Nashville Predators/Dallas Stars (Wild Card #2)
  6. Dallas Stars/Nashville Predators
  7. Winnipeg Jets/Winnipeg Jets

Willie Desjardins

First Coach Fired: Willie Desjardins (Simply because he’s in charge of a Canadian team that I think will struggle big time.)

Dallas Eakins

Lucas Says: Dallas Eakins (He’s looked like a man who was way in over his head throughout the 2013/14 season, and whatever momentum the club had has been flushed away. Things need to change in Edmonton and fast, otherwise guys like Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle will want out of town.)


Biggest Name Traded: The Sedin Twins (If the Canucks suck early on, I can see it happening.)

Nail Yakupov

Lucas Says: Nail Yakupov (You know what’s a terrible idea, making an exciting goal scoring Russian a solid two-way player. The former number one pick, who I have been a fan of since he started playing in Sarnia back in 2010, needs to find a new home and quickly.)

Steven Stamkos 2

Rocket Richard Trophy: Steven Stamkos (If you allow him to shoot from the left face-off circle, he’s going to score at will.)

Lucas Says: Steven Stamkos (It would be foolish to pick anyone else, unless Pavel Bure make a shock return.)

Sidney Crosby

Art Ross Trophy: Sidney Crosby (As long as he stays healthy, he should win it easily.)

Lucas Says: Sidney Crosby (With Mike Johnston becoming the new head coach, and a lot better depth at forward, it’s Crosby’s award to lose.)

Patrick Roy 2

Jack Adams Trophy: Patrick Roy (Most people don’t think Colorado will do as well as they did last year, but I think he will prove them wrong.)

Mike Babcock

Lucas Says: Mike Babcock (With almost all of my top teams basically being the same as a year ago, and because I doubt they will pick Mike Johnston, why not pick the man most consider the sharpest bench boss in the business.)

Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks - Game Seven

McDavid and Eichel Sweepstakes Winner: Vancouver Canucks (After the insanity of the goalie saga, the Canucks personnel will forget how to both play and win hockey games for a year. If they make the playoffs, I will eat my shoe.)

Winnipeg Jets

Lucas Says: Winnipeg Jets (Get ready to eat those Nikes there kid. I think Florida and Buffalo are worst teams overall, but playing in a super tough division has led me to pick the Jets. At least they get an elite prospect out of the deal.)

Anaheim Ducks v Phoenix Coyotes

Calder Trophy: John Gibson (After a decent showing in a pressure situation during the playoffs, he will rise up to the challenge with a good core ahead of him this year.)

Nashville at Tampa Bay

Lucas Says: Jonathan Drouin (Sure he will miss the start of the year because of an injury, but he basically destroyed the QMJHL last year in a half season for Halifax, so it’s hard to pick against him.)

Zdeno Chara Coke

Norris Trophy: Zdeno Chara (He destroys players and Coke bottle for breakfast.)

San Jose Sharks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Five

Lucas Says: Drew Doughty (How has he not won this award yet? Expect that to change this June.)

Henrik Lundqvist 2

Vezina Trophy: Henrik Lundqvist (The King will be up to his usual tricks in New York.)

Jonathan Quick 2

Lucas Says: Jonathan Quick (It’s really hard to go against a guy who just won the Stanley Cup yet again, plus I would look like a biased fan-boy by picking Marc-Andre Fleury.)

Steven Stamkos 3

Hart Trophy: Steven Stamkos (His scoring can perhaps carry the Bolts further into the playoffs than they have in the last couple of seasons.)

Sidney Crosby 2

Lucas Says: Sidney Crosby (I really wanted to pick John Tavares here, but since I don’t have the Islanders going far this year, I went with the boring old favourite.)

Penguins Hawks

Stanley Cup Champions: Pittsburgh Penguins over Chicago Blackhawks (The two top elite teams in the league will have seasons with no injuries or anything like that, which will lead to a showcase of pure skill in the finals.)

Chicago Boston

Lucas Says: Chicago Blackhawks over Boston Bruins (More than likely, the finals will end up being something like Tampa Bay versus Dallas, but for now I’ll go with a rematch of the 2013 championship series. If it’s as good as the six-game affair was two years ago, I’ll be quite fine with that.)