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20 questions: PHT predictions for the 2013 NHL season

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.

source: Getty Images

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?

JB: Dany Heatley. Has been skating with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise, two pretty good line-mates.

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.

JY: Matt Duchene. He’ll come flying out of Joe Sacco’s doghouse (to be replaced by Ryan O’Reilly.)

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.

MH: Pekka Rinne. Lost his second-best defenseman (Ryan Suter) and trusty backup (Anders Lindback).

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.

7. Who will finish with more points – Sidney Crosby or Claude Giroux?

JB: Crosby

MH: Giroux

RD: Crosby

JY: Crosby

JOB: Crosby

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.

  1. ibieiniid - Jan 18, 2013 at 7:28 AM

    Joe Yerdon: “Claude Giroux will score most points, yet Sidney Crosby will win the trophy for most points.”

    way to cover both bases.

    • missthemexpos - Jan 18, 2013 at 8:44 AM

      Hey Joe, ever thought of getting into politics?

      • ibieiniid - Jan 18, 2013 at 8:47 AM

        lol, or Hedge Fund managing?

    • steelpenbucs87 - Jan 18, 2013 at 9:02 AM

      Came here to make sure this was mentioned. Way to go Joe!

    • mahasw777 - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      You don’t understand NHL personal statistics. “Points” are a combination of goals and assists. “Goals” are just that – goals.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:52 AM

        Who will finish with more points – Sidney Crosby or Claude Giroux?
        JY: Giroux

        10. Who will win the Art Ross (most points)?
        JY: Sidney Crosby

        lol, i “don’t understand NHL personal statistics” he says. you don’t understand reading, my friend.

    • budvw14 - Jan 18, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      Hey numb nuts! You may want to re-read that! Yerdon picked Crosby to have more points than Giroux as he picked Crosby to win the Art Ross! He picked Giroux to win the Hart.

      • unclax41 - Jan 18, 2013 at 6:13 PM

        It was obviously edited after that was pointed out there boss

  2. spavs412 - Jan 18, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    I’m shocked more people don’t pick a healthy kris Letang for any D awards. He will assist on 75% of pittsburghs points

    • f2maestro - Jan 18, 2013 at 8:49 AM

      If Kris had a solid and consistant D partner, I could see Kris being on this list, however I do not believe that to be the case. Kris is a monster when you look at his speed, offensive vision and ability to recover if he makes a bad decision on the ice. From what I read, Kris will be on a line with (possibly) Depres who didn’t look to be 100% there in Wednesday’s scrimmage. With the Penguins D, I hope for the best and expect the worst.

      • steelpenbucs87 - Jan 18, 2013 at 9:05 AM

        I think he’ll play well with Niskanen… I don’t buy what Bylsma and company have been selling by putting Letang with the younger guys like Despres during training camp – he’s still too raw and needs to have some more time in the AHL being THE guy before he steps up to the bigs. My guess is the pairings mid February are:
        Letang-Niskanen
        Marting-Orpik
        Lovejoy-Engalland
        Bortuzzo-Despres (obviously one or both scratched on a day to day)

      • f2maestro - Jan 18, 2013 at 9:26 AM

        @steelpenbucs87 – I tend to agree with you that Despres will not be paired with Letang. Did you happen to watch the scrimmage on Weds? Despres looked lost and had 0 confidence, something the Pens do not need right now. I also agree that in a year or two Despres will be a top 4 defensemen, it’s just going to take time. Personally, I would prefer Letang to have a shutdown defender with him (like Orpik), but judging by what I can find (all speculation at this point) is that Letang will have the reigns pulled back and Bylsma will begin molding him into that shutdown D man. I’ll be holding my breathe on Saturday…

    • phillytommy - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      Soooooo since we are doing math, I figured I would throw some out here. If Letang assists on 75% of the Penguins goals (not points) in a regular season, lets say last year when they had 282, he would have had 211 assists. That’s a heck of a season genius. Based on that, he’ll average a little more than 2.5 assists per game this season, which would give him 120 assists in a a 48 game season. Shall I continue? I know. I know. You were being sarcastic. Epic Fail?

  3. themagicfanguy - Jan 18, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    Go bolts!

  4. nygdriveforfive - Jan 18, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    No love for Karlsson defending his Norris trophy? Seems like a lot of people are sleeping on the Sens.

    • youcallthathockeyblog - Jan 18, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      No chance. Teams know the book. All offense no D skill.

  5. cbghockeyvideos87 - Jan 18, 2013 at 8:51 AM

  6. rockthered1286 - Jan 18, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    “JOB: Braden Holtby. Danger of small sample sizes.”

    Really now? even if this small sample size is primarily against playoff teams the past 2 years? Go watch Hotlby play before making an outlandish assessment. Kid has ice water in his veins. Nothing shakes him. AND he’s one of the few goalies that has remained active throughout the lockout (Hershey kept him busy). I have high hopes for this kid, ESPECIALLY with an improved Caps defense in 2013.

    • jpelle82 - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      2 things. first, the fact that oates says there is an active competition for the position tells me holtby isnt ready still and the fact that oates has also said holtby earned the game 1 start just because of last years playoffs run. secondly, the caps defensive improvements went out the door with dale hunter and since ovechkin is excited about his role again, i foresee a regression back to the caps of old under oates.

      • rockthered1286 - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        2011/12 GA/G
        Caps- 2.75
        Devils- 2.5

      • rockthered1286 - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        SA/G
        Caps-30.2
        Devils- 26.8

      • adlent - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        While I concede that a new system/more time in net could possibly cause Holtby to not look as good as he has in previous outings, I disagree that the fact that Oates says there is “active competition” means he isn’t ready. In reality, Oates said he will play whomever has the “hot hand” but that Holtby will probably start the season as the No. 1. Last season, Terry Murray of the Kings said something similar about Jonathan Quick and Bernier and it was pretty clear Quick was “ready.” This isn’t meant to compare the two and Quick definitely had much more ice time than Holtby has had.

        Still, between his limited NHL regular season and playoff time and his AHL time, Holtby seems to consistently put up good numbers. I feel pretty confident he will be a solid goalie this year.

  7. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Surprised nobody mentioned Mikael Granlund for the Calder Trophy. Playing on a line with Setoguchi and Cullen, he should put up a few points this year.

    • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 18, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Is this a joke? Seto and Cullen? BUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      Oh yes, that should set up Granlund for a big year.
      And this is nothing against the kid, but to name those 2 as some sorta reason why Granlund should catapult to the top is a massive joke.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        Granlund is starting out on the Wild’s second line. The only thing that is a joke, is your lack of hockey knowledge. Exactly how many rookies are going to be playing on any teams top line? If a rookie is starting on a teams top line, then clearly there is a huge depth issue on said team and won’t be good at all. Granlund is just as good of a player as any of those mentioned in the article. I wouldn’t surprise me if Granlund sees time on the power play with better players than Cullen and Setoguchi. Cullen did have 35 points last year on a team that had zero depth. Setoguchi did have 19 goals in a injury plagued season. I don’t believe I said he (Granlund) would win the Calder, but he should have at least been nominated. In case you haven’t seen, Granlund does have talent and has played against NHL players already.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        Granlund is a talented rookie
        The end

        Seto and Cullen add nothing because they are 3rd line talent

        If Cullen and Seto are both top 6 on your team, your team lacks scoring depth.

        But ya, Im the one lacking, or maybe Im just not a hometown fan boy that you are….

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        What are you Wild fans going to do and say when a team with a weak 2nd line like that and a team with Dany Heatley still on the first doesn’t make the playoffs?

        Because they are not making the playoffs and if they do it will be as the 7th or 8th seed just squeezing in.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of goaltending. You know the goaltending that has won an Olympic medal and was an All-Star. They may have signed a defenseman that is an all-star and has an Olympic silver medal and played well without Shea Weber in those Olympics, probably the best defenseman on team USA. Tom Gilbert is a solid 2nd line defenseman as well. They also have a hight touted prospect on defense that will be playing within the next week or two. Defense is still a concern, but the depth is already better than last year. Their top line of Heatley, Koivu, and Parise is a good 1st line. What signing Parise does is actually put players on their correct lines unlike last year when role players were asked to do more than they could.

        They now have forwards in Houston they can call up when injuries do happen, where the depth won’t be such a drastic drop off. Don’t forget before Koivu, Setoguchi, and Bouchard were hurt, the Wild did have the best record in the NHL at the time in mid December.

  8. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 18, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Well it’s confirmed, Boroughs hasn’t a clue, I had my suspicions at along

  9. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 18, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Cory Conacher as Calder winner?
    Another joke, my god

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      Some say he’s the next St. Louis

  10. gbar22 - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    I can’t wait for the season to begin and for the devils to make all these silly analyst look bad yet again as they’re done every other year they have been predicted to fall.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      You can’t argue losing Parise doesn’t hurt. You need Kovalchuk to have a big year, Elias to have a big year, Zajac to return completely to his old self, and Clarkson to catch lightning in a bottle again. Plus Brodeur, 40, has to keep defying time. By the way, Brodeur had almost identical stats (31W 2.41 GAA .908Sv%) as Bryz (33w, 2.48GAA, .909sv%) last season. And Henrique has to somehow fill Parise’s shoes. That’s a lot to hope for. I think the Devils are a bubble team, 7th or 8th at best.

  11. nvillano - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    ^ agreed on the Devils point but I can’t wait for the Wild to not live up to expectations more

    http://sportsenvy.blogspot.com/2013/01/hockey-is-back-northwest-division.html

  12. gbar22 - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Also to previous poster there is nothing wrong with just squeezing into the playoffs. Just have to get there and anything can happen.

  13. gbar22 - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Would also like to point out in regards to the devils I have read over the past decade almost every year analyst predict them to fall out after losing players this happened after Gomez and Gionta left before them when Neidermeyer left before him when Stevens retired etc the devils continued to make the playoffs win divisions and contend every single year but one season when they had the terrible start with john maclean as coach but over the second half were one of the best teams record wise and followed that up with last season 102 pts and a trip to the finals. For nearly 20 years everyone likes to write them off and they continue to thrive. They survived the losses of neidermeyer and Stevens arguably much much better players than Parise ever and certainly more impactful. People get to caught up in free agents and over glorify them in every sport Unless you’re getting a Lebron or Crosby where the hype is more than just hype. If wild fans are thinking Parise will come in and be year in year out top ten league scorer and put up 90-100pts you are mistaken. That is not what he is or has been in the past. He’s not giroux Crosby Malkin ect. In Fact I insist after watching him day in and day out there will be more than a few calling it a terrible contract.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      And what has been the constant through those 20 years? Martin Brodeur, obviously. As I pointed out above he has to keep defying time. But there’s definitely signs he’s slowing down, as his regular season stats were almost identical to Bryzgalovs. Before the Stanley Cup run there were clear signs of decline in Brodeurs game (last few seasons), and it’s more likely he continues that trend than puts up another stellar campaign.

  14. joeyashwi - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    The Wild had the best record in the league last season until they were ravaged by injuries. We added Parise, Suter, Granlund, and a healthy Bouchard and Koivu. Our second line may not look great on paper but will surprise. Our third line is one of the best in the league and our goaltending is superb. Hate all you want but Minny will make the playoffs this season and contend for the cup within two years. There is tons of talent coming up in the minors and should be NHL ready sooner than later. Maybe I’m a bit of a homer but my first point stands, they were the BEST team in the league when they were healthy and that was with a new system being implemented.

  15. lonespeed - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Carolina Hurricanes are a forgotten team. They will be much better this year. I would predict a top-4 seed in the playoffs.

    • rockthered1286 - Jan 18, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      You forgot about Semin. Automatic loss of 5 games due to stupid penalties in the last 3 minutes of close games, and another 5 when he suddenly gets cold after scoring 6 goals in 3 games.

  16. bcisleman - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    JB, JY: Here’s a clue….Isles finished last overall in 2009 and haven’t come close to doing so since. They are a MUCH better team than in 2009 and, in case you haven’t noticed, they have been supplementing their squad with veterans via FA and waivers recently. I can see you not predicting them for the playoffs, but predicting a last place overall finish just makes you look silly and clueless.

  17. stakex - Jan 18, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Crosby for heart? There is a VERY strong debate that hes not even the best player in a Pens jersey right now. Not to mention, despite a lot of 2nd assists last year that infalted his point totals, he was never quite 100% at any point last year. Throw in yet another layoff right when he was starting to get back into it, and hes lucky if hes in the top 5 this year. All that is IF he can manage to not get hurt again.

    I think its far more likely Malkin is the MVP, and if not him Stamkos.

    • basedrum777 - Jan 22, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      I don’t disagree that Malkin has a better setup and should be better to start with his tearing up Russia but I don’t think its wise to bet against superior talent. 99% of the time it delivers. I agree with you but SC should be right there. Looking at the first few games (and their history) that team is going to score…

  18. hatchseven - Jan 19, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Most disappointing:
    JB: Detroit Red Wings. Like their general manager, I wouldn’t be shocked if they missed the playoffs.

    This is probably the most asinine statement I’ve seen. 21 strait years in the playoffs without a top 10 draft pick since 1991.
    I bet the celebration article is already written if the Wings do miss the playoffs.
    Keep on hatin Jason.

  19. lrg51 - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    What’s that smell??!!!

    Oh… Its the Flyers. They stink!!

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