Next week some time I’ll be doing my predictions for the Eastern and Western Conference final standings, and undoubtedly nailing 100% of my predictions as I usually do. Like last year, when I had Ottawa finishing last in the East, and the Islanders finishing ahead of the Rangers and Devils. (The picks weren’t all that bad, though those two were admittedly awful. I had Florida in playoffs at least! Check ‘em out if you like: East, 2012. West, 2012. )
Anyway, it’s not time for that yet. What it is time for, is some “prop”-style prognostication. Here are a handful of things I see happening this year, and why.
Tyler Seguin challenges Steven Stamkos for the Rocket Richard
In the early days of Tyler Seguin in the NHL, you could see the potential. He wasn’t quite strong enough, wasn’t quite fast enough, and didn’t quite shoot it hard enough…but it was pretty clearly there. Then we saw him explode in a playoff game with speed we hadn’t seen before. We saw him start scoring on the strength of his shot. But mostly, we saw that he was going to be a guy who met his (high) expectations.
Last year, during only his sophomore season, he led the bruins in points, coming a single frustrating goal of cracking Plateau 30, and was only a few points shy of 70. This season, his third one, it seemed he was poised for a holy-shit-lookout type year.
But as you know, the whole lockout thing happened. Boo. So he took his talents to Switzerland to stay in shape, and looked absolutely terrifying, even when stacked up against his fellow NHLers that made the trip to play in the National League A.
At one point after the 20-game mark he was averaging a goal a game, eventually leaving the league after 29 games having scored 25 goals. It’s his time, and the confidence gained from pouring them in over in Switzerland will only do him good. Read the rest of this entry »