Wednesday October 8, 2008 4:58 pm
2008 NHL Post-Season Predictions
Get ready, because here come Ice Hype’s own 2008/2009 NHL season predictions! Which teams will wind up making the post-season? Which team will be the unexpected bust? Which team will win the Stanley Cup? Read my predictions on all of these subjects inside!
Biggest Bust: Colorado Avalanche
Losing Jose Theodore to the Washington Capitals wasn’t a good start to the Avalanche season. The Avalanche will now have to rely on Peter Budaj as a starting goalie next season. The 26 year old Budaj will be starting for the first time in his NHL career, with Andrew Raycroft backing him up. The team will also be missing key offensive figure Peter Forsberg for much of the season, as he’s currently out with a foot injury. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Colorado finished fourth in their division during pre-season play.
Biggest Surprise: Los Angeles Kings
Having recently resigned Patrick O’Sullivan to a three year contract, it isn’t too difficult to envision the LA Kings having a bounce-back 2008-2009 season. The Kings will also have Kyle Calder, Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll, and Alexander Frolov as offensive weapons. The goal tending duties will be split by Jason LaBarbera and Erik Ersberg. Not a great tandem, but one that will be passable if the Kings defense holds up.
Winner of Atlantic Division: New Jersey Devils
The Devs should have an excellent shot at success in 2008/2009. Martin Brodeur is always one of the league’s best goalies, Brian Gionta should have another 20+ goal season, and Zach Parise will continue to develop into one of the game’s bright young stars. All of these ingredients could lead to a division title for New Jersey next season.
Winner of Northeast Division: Montreal Canadiens
I really like the Canadiens this year. A first line of Alex Tanguay, Saku Koivu and Alexei Kovalev has superb offensive potential. I also see big things for Carey Price; this could be the season where he busts out as one of the league’s top goalies.
Winner of Southeast Division: Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina shouldn’t have too much trouble overtaking the Ottawa Senators for the division title in 2008/2009; if Eric Staal remains healthy, he’ll give the Hurricanes more than their fair share of production.
Winner of Central Division: Detroit Red Wings
You heard it here first: The reigning Stanley Cup champions will win their division next season!
Winner of Northwest Division: Minnesota Wild
I like the Wild because of their above average defense. Brent Burns, Marek Zidlicky and Nick Schultz are all aggressive, talented defenseman. Marc-Andre Bergeron is an underrated member of the team; he can contribute on offense as well as defense for this Minnesota team (why did the Islanders have to trade Andre-Bergeron?!).
Winner of Pacific Division: Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks should have a very good season. Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Hiller forms perhaps NHL’s best goaltending tandem. Having Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, and Chris Kunitz on offense couldn’t hurt either.
Stanley Cup Prediction: Montreal Canadiens over Anaheim Ducks
Indeed, the Canadiens (in my opinion) will be your 2008/2009 Stanley Cup champions. They are not weak in a single area of their game, and I think that Carey Price’s work in front of the net will land this team a championship.
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