Jan 18, 2013, 7:00 AM EDT
We’ve already made our Stanley Cup picks. Now here are 20 more predictions from the PHT staff. You never know — a few of them may be correct.
1. Which team will win the Presidents’ Trophy (first overall in the regular season)?
Jason Brough: Boston Bruins. A bunch of B’s were playing in Europe, making a fast start likely.
Mike Halford: New York Rangers. Who should’ve won it last year, but lost three of four to finish the season.
Ryan Dadoun: Boston Bruins. A strong team in a weak division.
Joe Yerdon: Boston Bruins. Good team, bad division.
James O’Brien: Vancouver Canucks. They’ll feast on the Northwest yet again.
2. Which team will finish last overall?
JB: New York Islanders. Glaring weaknesses in all areas.
MH: Columbus Blue Jackets. The Central Division is loaded; they’re going to get slaughtered.
RD: Columbus Blue Jackets. I hate being predictable, but I can’t think of anyone even remotely close to CBJ.
JY: New York Islanders. The rest of their division is a meat grinder and they’re ridiculously young.
JOB: Columbus Blue Jackets. On paper, it doesn’t get much worse.
3. Which team will be the most pleasantly surprising?
JB: Columbus Blue Jackets. Not saying they’ll make the playoffs, but they’ll be better than most of my colleagues think.
MH: Montreal Canadiens. Had quite a few guys playing in Europe, and Andrei Markov is healthy now.
RD: Nashville Predators. Their young defensemen will step up without Ryan Suter.
JY: Buffalo Sabres. Ryan Miller is fresh and Mikhail Grigorenko could be a stud.
JOB: San Jose Sharks. Lowered expectations, but still dangerous.
4. Which team will be the most disappointing?
JB: Detroit Red Wings. Like their general manager, I wouldn’t be shocked if they missed the playoffs.
MH: Florida Panthers. Primed for a letdown after winning the first Southeast Division banner in franchise history.
RD: New Jersey Devils. They lost Parise and I’m not confident in their aging goaltenders, especially after a long break.
JY: Minnesota Wild. Not because they’ll be bad; the bar is just set too high right now.
JOB: Edmonton Oilers. Lots of hype, but can’t keep the puck out of their net.
5. Which player will be the most pleasantly surprising?
MH: Semyon Varlamov. Finished last season strong and posted great numbers in the KHL.
RD: James Reimer. If given a chance, he’ll bounce back nicely.
JOB: Cam Ward. Thanks to Kirk Muller’s system and improved goal support.
6. Which player will be the most disappointing?
JB: Jaromir Jagr. Still don’t know why he picked Dallas. Except I guess for the $4.5 million they gave him.
RD: Ilya Bryzgalov. But I’m sure he’ll continue to give the Daily Show/Colbert Report a run for their money.
JY: Ryan Suter. Expectations are too high given his supporting cast.
JOB: Braden Holtby. Danger of small sample sizes.
8. Will Ilya Bryzgalov be Philadelphia’s starting goalie for the first game of the playoffs?
JB: Yes, and it won’t even be a debate.
MH: Yes, but I could see Michael Leighton getting some action.
RD: Yes, but not because he’ll be great.
JY: Excepting injury, yes, he’ll be the man.
JOB: Yes, but a putrid defense won’t help him silence critics.
9. Who will win the Hart Trophy (most valuable)?
JB: Sidney Crosby
MH: Claude Giroux
RD: Sidney Crosby
JY: Claude Giroux
JOB: Evgeni Malkin
10. Who will win the Art Ross (most points)?
JB: Sidney Crosby
MH: Claude Giroux
RD: Sidney Crosby
JY: Sidney Crosby
JOB: Evgeni Malkin
11. Who will win the Rocket Richard (most goals)?
JB: Steven Stamkos
MH: Steven Stamkos
RD: Rick Nash
JY: Steven Stamkos
JOB: Steven Stamkos
12. Who will win the Vezina (best goalie)?
JB: Jonathan Quick
MH: Tuukka Rask
RD: Henrik Lundqvist
JY: Henrik Lundqvist
JOB: Henrik Lundqvist
13. Who will win the Norris (best defenseman)?
JB: Zdeno Chara
MH: Alex Pietrangelo
RD: Alex Pietrangelo
JY: Shea Weber
JOB: Drew Doughty
14. Who will win the Calder (top rookie)?
JB: Justin Schultz (Edmonton)
MH: Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida)
RD: Nail Yakupov (Edmonton)
JY: Cory Conacher (Tampa Bay)
JOB: Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis)
15. Who will win the Jack Adams (top coach)?
JB: Adam Oates (Washington)
MH: Kirk Muller (Carolina)
RD: Barry Trotz (Nashville)
JY: John Tortorella (New York Rangers)
JOB: Barry Trotz (Nashville)
16. Who will be the first coach fired?
JB: Todd McLellan (San Jose)
MH: Joel Quenneville (Chicago)
RD: Mike Yeo (Minnesota)
JY: Joe Sacco (Colorado)
JOB: Jack Capuano (New York Islanders)
17. Of last year’s 16 playoff teams, which one is most likely to miss the postseason?
JB: Florida Panthers. Weren’t very good to begin with, plus lost defenseman Jason Garrison.
MH: Florida Panthers. Injuries and departures will get them off to a slow start, and they won’t recover.
RD: New Jersey Devils. Tough division, no Parise, old goalies.
JY: New Jersey Devils. Brodeur will do his best, but yikes to scoring depth.
JOB: Ottawa Senators. Will regress after overachieving last season.
18. Of last year’s 14 non-playoff teams, which one is most likely to make the postseason?
JB: Buffalo Sabres. Panicked with high expectations last season. No shortage of talent. Tougher now too.
MH: Montreal Canadiens. Michel Therrien has a history of turning bad teams into playoff teams.
RD: Colorado Avalanche. Semyon Varlamov looked good in the KHL, and Matt Duchene should bounce back.
JY: Carolina Hurricanes. East is open enough to make it happen.
JOB: Tampa Bay Lightning. They might even win the Southeast.
19. Will the Minnesota Wild make the playoffs?
JB: Yes. Better roster, worsening competition in West.
MH: Yes. I even think they’ll win the Northwest Division.
RD: No, they’ll fall just short. Next season though…
JY: They’ll just miss out. Next year though? It’s on.
JOB: No, the West is too deep and they’re still too shallow.
20. Will the Toronto Maple Leafs make the playoffs?
JB: No. They’re not very good, and the East has too many strong teams.
MH: No. They’ll finish dead last in the Northeast.
RD: Yes, thanks to stronger goaltending from Reimer.
JY: No, but hey, maybe they can make a run at the top pick in the draft.
JOB: No. Not a good team.
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