It's that time of year again where I throw out five predictions and probably get every single one of them wrong. This will be year three of these annual posts and my record is slowly getting better. In 2011-2012, I was 1/5, hitting on Tyler Seguin scoring 25+ goals. Last season, I'm going to say I was 2/5. Here were my predictions:
1. Tuukka Rask will win the Vezina Trophy
2. Boston doesn't win the Northeast Division
3. Tyler Seguin ends up Top 10 in goals scored in the NHL
4. Dougie Hamilton doesn't live up to his ridiculous expectations put on him by the fans
5. David Krejci gets traded
I was dead on with my second prediction as Montreal won the Northeast. Of course, I picked the Sabres to win it, but hey I was half right. I will also give myself credit for the Dougie Hamilton prediction because some of the shit coming off of Twitter and the media was fucking mind blowing. People were on their knees ready to annoint this kid the next Bobby Orr because of how he played in the OHL. In the end, he had himself a nice rookie season and is already making waves during training camp in a longer sophomore season. The question is if he can hold up.
The rest of them? Woof. While Tuukka Rask had a Vezina Trophy-like season, he wasn't even nominated for the award. What a joke. Tyler Seguin sucked more than Tammy Horton at a Tyler Seguin convention and David Krejci stuck his league leading 26 playoff points up my ass. Embarrassing.
After the jump, my 2013-2014 predictions…
1. The Boston Bruins Return To The Stanley Cup*
*Barring major injury of course
You can call this a homer pick if you want, but looking up and down the Eastern Conference, even with these new fucked up divisions, there isn't a team that got exponentially better than what Boston already had. Ottawa lost their aging, legless captain. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia would benefit from putting trash cans between the net than what they currently have. Some teams have defensive issues (Islanders, Ottawa, Buffalo) and some teams just plainly suck (Florida, Tampa, Carolina).
Boston's losses by trades or free agency have been plugged by trades or free agency. Nathan Horton was replaced by Jarome Iginla. Tyler Seguin by Loui Eriksson. Rich Peverley by Reilly Smith or Matt Fraser. Don't forget, the Bruins bread and butter – their defense – is more or less unchanged. In fact, the Bruins got deeper defensively when Torrey Krug and Matt Bartkowski proved that they can play at a high level in the playoffs.
I think that this team is prime for another Stanley Cup run. They have the pieces in place, a healthy mix of old and new and a core group that saw enough change to light a fire under the asses.
2. Loui Eriksson Does Not Score 25+ Goals This Season
I know this is going to be the prediction where a lot of people tell me how "fucking stupid I am" or how "I'm such a pessimist" but hear me out. I'm not saying that Loui Eriksson is a bad hockey player, I'm saying he won't score 25+ goals this season. I guess if we're going to get our balls dirty, let's get our balls dirty. Last season, Eriksson had 12 goals in 48 games – that's .25 goals per game. If we multiply 82 (a full season) by .25, we can average Eriksson to score 20.5 (so let's round up to 21) goals last season. That would give Eriksson his lowest career goal total. In fact, his goal totals have declined every year since 2008.
So every year Eriksson has scored less goals than his previous.
Am I to believe that with a better center and a better left winger on a better team that he's going to score less than 12 goals? Fuck no. Hell, I don't even think he scores less than 20, but you have to remember that Eriksson was also one of the few goal scorers that Dallas actually had. Think of it as the Nathan Horton Syndrome in Florida – a good player will usually have inflated numbers with a shittier team.
I'm well aware that Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand can make a player better, but they didn't really elevate the play of Tyler Seguin – did they? It's also easy to counter act this by saying that Seguin was really the problem because he was soft and not gritty enough for the Bruins. Either way, I don't see Eriksson putting up 25+ this year. He's in a much tougher division, in a brand new conference and has new linemates he needs to get acclimated to.
Hey, it happens, Jack.
3. David Krejci Will Finish The Year Top 10 Overall In Points In The NHL
Call it a hunch, but this is the year where David Krejci busts out of his regular season shell. When April rolls around, Krejci usually wakes up from his hibernation and goes on the lead the NHL in points. He did it in 2012-2013 and in 2010-2011 and I honestly think that he's poised to do it in the regular season this year.
Right off the bat, I love the upgrade from Nathan Horton to Jarome Iginla. Right away you're getting a healthier player (and it's still a discussion if Iggy's legs will be there all season). I know Iginla is older, but I still think he can play. I also think that Horton was overrated in Boston (shocker) and I revert to my Eriksson argument where a good player looks great on a horrible team. Horton was good in Boston, don't get me wrong, but he wasn't this unbelievable #1 winger everyone made him out to be.
The addition of Iginla gives the Bruins something they've lacked on the "first line" for awhile. A pure goal scorer. Is he older? Yup. Could his legs be dead? Maybe. There's a lot of questions but if Iginla is healthy and the player he has been before he was traded to Pittsburgh (where we all know Dan Bylsma used him incorrectly), Krejci will flourish.
I think we'll also see a more mature Milan Lucic. Lucic was obviously out of shape when last season came on. Maybe said it was because he had a little girl, but honestly, I think he was lazy. He didn't start skating until a few weeks before the season! It's like a chef having a kid and never cooking anything. His playoff was amazing and I think he realized that he needs to be in shape to perform – so he will be.
4. Brad Marchand Will Lead The Team In Goals Scored
Marchand led the team in scoring last season (18 goals) and was a goal away from doing the same thing in 2011-2012 (28 to Seguin's 29). Much like Krejci, this could be theyear that Brad Marchand "breaks out" and goes 30+. Unlike Eriksson, Marchand playing with Bergeron has elevated his game and the chemistry the two of them have could be very important in taking his game even further.
I also think we lose "Brad Marchand the pest" this year. Can Marchand continue to be a pain in the ass to other teams? Yup. He proved that against the Penguins when he lured Matt Cooke into a faux-scuffle and then blew past him to score in Game 2 of the Finals.
I believe that the guy who would go out of his way to be a pest and get caught up in the bullshit will be gone. I can't tell you why I feel this way, but I do. I think he takes a more mature look at his game and changes (most of) his shitty ways.
5. Tyler Segun Scores 40+ Goals This Year.
Bank on it.