I’ve been right (okay, CLOSE) over the past 6 years (I missed last year by ONE spot).
I almost want to say that this is the year the Kings are devastated by injury (Remember how we were going to the cup finals with Allison, Deadmarsh and Palffy?). If Quick is hurt, we’re doomed. If Doughty and/or Mitchell is hurt (and he WILL get hurt) we’re up shits creek without a paddle. Williams has been (gulp) healthy the past few seasons, I don’t expect a three-peat. The Kings haven’t been able to score when healthy, imagine how bad it will be when they don’t have their lineup intact?
I know, I know, doom and gloom Barry. Well, folks. There’s a REASON I never call for the Kings to win their division (or conference). There’s a REASON I never have the Kings finishing higher than 5th.
I’m always right.
Granted, with two teams OUT of the conference (especially Detroit) it will make it that much easier to make the playoffs.
But will they?
Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver join the Pacific division and although I don’t see Vancouver dominating like they have in the past (when they had Colorado, Calgary and Edmonton to beat up on) I don’t expect them to win the division either.
I expect San Jose to win the division.
Meaning the Kings will be battling it out with everyone else for a playoff spot.
The Kings finished 2nd in the division last season behind the Ducks (ugh), just 2 points ahead of San Jose thanks to a last game win BUT were just two losses away from not making the playoffs at all!
St Louis is my frontrunner to win the conference.
Here’s how I see things:
1) ST LOUIS – They have THREE solid goaltenders. They added Derek Roy and Magnus Pajaarvi and have a whole season of Jay Bouwmeester and for me their defense is the best in the league.
2) San Jose – This Has to be their year. They didn’t fire their coach (again), Jumbo Joe, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle are ALL free agents after the season so all THREE are playing for contracts. They came CLOSE against the Kings and a healthy Martin Havlat puts them over the top.
3) Chicago – How many games did they not lose in a row? Okay, so there MAY be some SC hangover, but not much. They have Jamie Kompon! They lost Bolland (overrated) Stalberg (disappointing) and Emery (bench warmer) so it isn’t like the last time they won the cup where everyone was fleeing like roaches after the light was turned on. They’re primed for a solid season. Just like the Kings LAST year after bringing everyone back.
4) Minnesota – I love their youth. Nino Neiterreiter, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker. They added depth on the blueline with Blum and Ballard and if Dany Heatley is healthy, this team is going to score goals. They will be the “surprise” of the NHL this season.
5) Vancouver – Just because they have a new coach doesn’t mean they’re going to start sucking. Once the defenders start blocking shots the way Tortorella’s Rangers did, Roberto Luongo is going to look like the 2nd coming of Dominik Hasek. Plus they have Brad Richardson. And stupid fans who paint their faces.
6) Nashville – They were devastated by injury last season and were STILL competitive. They have, arguably, one of the top 3 coaches in the league, a great goaltender and great defense, and who doesn’t just LOVE country music!
7) Kings -They’ll do what they always do. Tease us with a 4th place finish and then choke like your Vegas hooker down the stretch and play .500 the last 8 or 10 games. WHY SHOULD THIS YEAR BE ANY DIFFERENT?
8) Edmonton – they’ll start slow, but much like Washington last year, they’ll come on strong in the end and secure that last playoff spot. They’re just too fricken talented. Adding David Perron and Andrew Ference were huge additions and getting Grebeshkov back also helps. Nail does in HIS 2nd season what Stamkos and Tavares did in theirs. Look out.
9) Dallas – Honestly, I thought they would suck. But Lindy Ruff is a good coach and despite Tyler Seguin acting like Jesse Pinkman off the ice, he’s still loaded with talent. In the end, they won’t have enough, but I think they surprise some people, myself included.
10) Ducks – No.
11) Phoenix – I love Dave Tippet, and he knows how to get the most out of his players, but what players does he have? Doan is older than dirt, and Mike Ribiero doesn’t care.
12) Winnipeg – Adding Devin Setogucci helps but they lost Burmistrov, Antropov, and Hainseypov. Sorry, but this team is a mess.
13) Colorado – I don’t care if Patty Roy is their coach. Unless they’re playing the Kings every day, they’re gonna get rolled over. Too many rookies (with a lot of talent) and absolutely no defense.
14) Calgary – please.
Instead of drafting Tyler Myers or (gulp) Erik Karlsson the Kings traded two 1st round picks to move up to grab Colten Teubert who signed with the Iserlohn Roosters of the DEL this week.
If Jeff Schultz does report to Manchester they’ll have 9 D-men (although Des has been playing LW)
Look what former King Alexi Ponikarovsky did to his own teammate Ilya Kovalchuk! He’s out 4-6 weeks!