Re: 2012-13 Surprises
posted at 8/1/2012 1:47 AM EDT
In Response to Re: 2012-13 Surprises
[QUOTE]Can't really call them surprises if you predict them, but you can talk about things where there are reasons to expect one outcome (Rangers are better with Nash) but reality thwarts that expectation (Rangers miss the playoffs with Nash). There also probably needs to be some thinking about why the surprise could happen - otherwise you might write "Lindsay Lohan wins Art Ross Trophy" because hey, that would be a surprise. Here are five things that I think would be surprises if they did happen: Columbus makes the playoffs . The BJs were much better under Richards than Arniel at the end of last year - still horrible, but they got better results (11-25-5 under Arniel and 18-21-2 under Richards). They have a new emphasis on physical players with decent skill (Foligno, Dubinsky, Umberger) in their top six forwards, plus they have a full year of Jack Johnson, Wizniewski, and maybe Ryan Murray - that's a significant talent upgrade on the back end. Big "if" is in goal - if Mason regains his Calder form or if WhatAboutBobrowsky plays up to his best games in Philly, they could surprise. Phoenix is the team that would likely fall out of the top 8. Maybe SJ. Minnesota trades Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu . After huge investments in big ticket FAs, Minnesota moves money around to address the huge talent gap between Suter and the rest of their blueline. If they try to open up to take advantage of the skills of Parise, Heatley and Koivu, that terrible D will get exposed and Backstrom will get hung. I think they try, fail, and start looking at what's wrong. Brodin and Dumba are top notch prospects, but I doubt they help Minnesota this year, and even if they do, the Wild need more than a couple of D upgrades. These moves, likely made closer to the deadline, either give the Wild a D upgrade directly or the flexibility to pursue D in other deals. Leafs renew Brian Burke for 5 years . Admit it. You'd be surprised. But Burke is a big talker who can spin where they are now as the result of clearing the legacy of mismanagement - and that they simply need a goalie. He is great at maintaining the appearance of importance
, which placates the Leaf media-base. And turnover hasn't kept the Laffs from floundering. Nail Yakupov leads the league in scoring (the Ontario Hockey League, that is) . Unlike the last few years, the Oil actually have the talented warm bodies to fill most of the top six forward spots (RNH, Hall, Eberle, Gagner, Hemsky, Smyth or Jones). They also need to show progress. They may choose not to keep their latest #1 overall on the roster unless he blows the doors off one of those other players. Jonathan Toews wins the Hart Trophy . Everyone agrees Captain Serious is a great player, but he doesn't get mentioned as a Hart candidate very often because his numbers usually put him in a hole relative to the top scorers in the game - he's a point/game scorer who gets roughly equal numbers of goals and assists. Hart winners are usually about 25% above that level, or they get gaudy goal numbers (50+ for sure). Last year, though, Toews was unconscious for about a month before injuries derailed him. He ended up just under the point/game mark (on pace for 40 goals) with an almost 60% faceoff winning percentage. His shooting % was almost 16%, and his 85:25 takeaway vs. giveaway ratio is better than the NHL's best thief (Datsyuk was 97:40). He has a long history of playing big in big moments, and if Chicago wins the Central despite another down year from Kane, Keith, and Crawford, it will seem as though it was Toews was the most valuable player in the league. (I look at Toews and see what Bergeron would have been if he hadn't had a catastrophic concussion).
Posted by Bookboy007[/QUOTE]
Ain't that the truth.