|My 2010-11 Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings|
The Capitals and Devils are head and shoulders above the rest. The Penguins added some nice pieces to their blueline but forcing Sidney Crosby to spend another season playing with Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz on his wings should be against league policy. If Philly can acquire a proven goaltender like Tim Thomas or Tomas Vokoun; they should be recognized as legit contenders as well.
2. New Jersey
8. Tampa Bay
1. New Jersey- Will the $100-million man show up in the postseason this time around?
2. Pittsburgh- Will the additions of Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek to the blueline be enough to help M.A. Fleury get his game back on track?
3. Philadelphia- Can a combination of Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher lead this team again?
4. New York Rangers- Can the Rangers get enough secondary scoring behind Marian Gaborik and Alexander Frolov to compete in the Atlantic?
5. New York Islanders- Will the injuries to Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo end the Isles season before it even began?
1. Boston- Will a happy Nathan Horton carry the offensive load with Marc Savard on the shelf?
2. Ottawa- Can the Senators solve their goaltending issues before it’s too late?
3. Buffalo- Will the loss of Toni Lydman and Henrik Tillander be too much for the Sabres defense to overcome?
4. Montreal- Is Carey Price the franchise goaltender that fans anointed him three seasons ago?
5. Toronto- Can the NHL’s most expensive defense corps chip in enough offensively to make up for their lack of talent upfront?
1. Washington- Can the Caps learn to play some defense?
2. Tampa Bay- Will the addition of Simon Gagne rejuvinate captain Vincent Lecavalier?
3. Carolina- Can Eric Staal and Cam Ward carry a team of youngsters?
4. Atlanta- Will all the former Blackhawks teach this young team how to win?
5. Florida- Can David Booth stay healthy long enough to carry this team offensively?
The Red Wings have a third-line of Hudler-Modano-Cleary; that could be a first-line on alot of NHL teams. The Canucks addition of gritty veterans like Raffi Torres and Manny Malhotra should help their team in the postseason. The Sharks lost Blake and Nabokov and I'm not sold on a Niemi/Nittymaki tandem in goal. The Blackhawks core of Toews, Kane, Sharp, Keith, and Seabrook remained intact but it cost them alot of their key secondary contributors.
3. San Jose
5. Los Angeles
1. Detroit- Will the extra-time off help veterans Datsyuk, Lidstrom, and Zetterberg carry this team to another Cup?
2. Chicago- Will the loss of some key role players be too much for the reigning Cup champions?
3. St. Louis- Can their core of Oshie, Perron, Berglund, and Johnson take their games to the next level now that they’ve got Halak in goal?
4. Columbus- Can Steve Mason return to his Calder Trophy form?
5. Nashville- Will Shea Weber and Ryan Suter be able to get this team out of the first round?
1. Vancouver- Is Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard that much of an upgrade over Willie Mitchell and Sami Salo?
2. Colorado- Will Craig Anderson prove that last year wasn’t a fluke?
3. Edmonton- Will a combination of the Kids: Eberle, Hall, and Pajaarvi and healthy seasons from veterans Hemsky and Khabilbulin make this team the ultimate sleeper?
4. Calgary- Can Jokinen and Tanguay help Jarome Iginla regain his form as one of the league’s top power forwards?
5. Minnesota- Can Niklas Backstrom and the Wild D adjust their game to the Wild’s new attacking style?
1. San Jose- Is a Niemi/Nittymaki combo an upgrade over Evgeni Nabokov?
2. Los Angeles- Can the Kings get enough scoring to be legitimate contenders?
3. Phoenix- Can the Ilya Bryzgalov and the Yotes prove that last season wasn’t a fluke?
4. Anaheim- Can the Ducks defensive corps survive with the loss of Scott Niedermayer?
5. Dallas- Will Kari Lehtonen put everything together and stay healthy for all 82 games?
In the Eastern Conference Finals...I've got the Washington Capitals defeating the New Jersey Devils in Seven.
Ovechkin finally gets to the Cup Finals. Ovie & Semin outperform Kovalchuk and Parise. Varlamov proves to everyone that he's the real deal.
In the Western Conference Finals..I've got the Detroit Red Wings defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Six.
The Red Wings offensive fire power is too much for Vancouver. Jimmy Howard outperforms Bobby Lu and Niklas Lidstrom proves that he's still got plenty left in the tank shutting down the Sedin twins.
In the Stanley Cup Finals...I've got the Red Wings defeating the Capitals in Six.
The two-way play of Zetterberg and Datsyuk dominate Backstrom, Ovechkin, and Semin. The Wings get plenty of secondary help from Filppula, Hudler, Holmstrom, and Modano. The veteran Wings overwhelm the Capitals and take the Cup easily.