Fearless NHL Predictions
As the puck finally drops on a new NHL season, Zoomer sports makes its fearless predictions on how the Canadian teams will fare.
With the painfully boring and patently ridiculous hockey lockout now happily a thing of the past, the NHL’s compressed regular season will finally get underway this Saturday.
Because teams have only a week’s worth of training camp under their belts, there are too many unanswered questions to make anything resembling an expert prognostication of how the season will unfold. But, hey, we’ll try it anyway. Here’s our look at how the 2013 NHL season could unfold for the seven Canadian teams.
The team surprised everyone last year by making the playoffs and taking the highly favoured New York Rangers to seven games. Despite that success, it’s still a flawed squad that relies too heavily on the 40-year-old legs of Daniel Alfredsson.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs got their season off to a typically bizarre start by firing Brian Burke, their cantankerous general manager. If his replacement Dave Nonis doesn’t sign a quality goalie, their almost decade-long playoff drought will continue.
Yet another Canadian team that failed to make the postseason last year, Calgary coach Bob Hartley is praying that aging stars – forward Jarome Iginla, 35, and goalie Mikka Kiprusoff, 36 – have enough gas in the tank for a post-season run.
Outlook: Too many veterans and not enough young talent will keep the Flames out of the postseason. Will it be fan-favourite Jarome Iginla’s final hurrah with the team? Management is so sick of hearing that question that they’ve stopped answering it.
This young team is brimming with superb young talent – older Oiler fans must be getting giddy remembering the last time this happened. However, the 2013 squad lacks a sturdy defence corps and goaltending remains a huge question mark.
After a couple of long playoff runs, the Canucks flamed out badly last year against eventual Stanley Cup champions, L.A. Kings. General Manager Mike Gillis’ ridiculous trade demands for his expensive and expendable goalie Roberto Luongo have fans questioning his sanity.