NHL in 2008-2009: 31 Surefire Predictions

Eric RenkemaCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2008

Well, it's the quiet (ish) time of the NHL calendar again.  The time between free agent frenzy and training camp.  So, in my boredom I came up with 31 predictions for the 2008-2009 NHL season.  There are 31 predictions—one prediction per team and one general prediction. I hope you enjoy.

Anaheim—Brian Burke will still flap his gums and be upset about something.

Atlanta—Don Waddell will be the first GM fired.

Boston—The Bruins will surprise no one this year, but they will still make the playoffs.

Buffalo—They will make every effort to re-sign Ryan Miller to a long-term contract—and will be successful.

Calgary—As much as it pains me to say this, Todd Bertuzzi will have a comeback year.  

Carolina—Sergei Samsonov will continue to play as well as he did after his trade to the Hurricanes.

Chicago—Either Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews will have a sophomore slump.  I am thinking it is Kane.

Colorado—The Avalanche will regret letting Jose Theodore go and will not make the playoffs.

Columbus—Rich Nash will be sick of being the lone star there and will demand a trade or walk away via free agency.

Dallas—The Stars will regret letting both Antti Miettinen and Niklas Hagman go.

Detroit—The Red Wings will not repeat as Stanley Cup champions, but they will take the eventual champions to seven games in the Western Conference championship.

Edmonton—The Oilers will challenge Nashville for the final playoff spot...and will make it because of the young guns and their recent trade pick ups.

Florida—The Panthers will regret signing Olesz to that contract.

Los Angeles—The Kings will have the fewest goals for AND most goals against in the Western Conference.

Minnesota—The Wild will finally remove the defensive chains from Marian Gaborik. Look out, NHL (if he stays healthy).

Montreal—Les Canadiens will lose in the Stanley Cup Final on their 100th anniversary.  Look out, City of Montreal...and the police cars.

Nashville—The Predators will have more action off the ice than on it.

New Jersey—The Devils will learn from their mistakes and rest Martin Brodeur by playing him in one less game than last year.

New York Islanders—They will be in the running for Tavares or Hedman.

New York Rangers—They will miss Sean Avery more than Jaromir Jagr.

Ottawa—The Senators will make the playoffs, but falter due to a lack of secondary scoring.

Philadelphia—The Flyers will enjoy a healthy Simon Gagne.

Phoenix—Kyle Turris will be in the running for the Calder Trophy.

Pittsburgh—Marc-Andre Fleury will continue to prove he was worthy of being drafted first overall in 2003.

St. Louis—Steve Mason will out-duel Manny Legace and will be the new No. 1 goalie in a Blues uniform.

San Jose—This (honest) will be the year that the Stanley Cup will be swimming with the Sharks.

Tampa Bay—The Lightning will handily win the Southeast division and their first round series, but that is as far as they go.

Toronto—The Maple Leafs will be coached out of chance for Tavares or Hedman.  Of course it'll be the coaching—look at their team!

Vancouver—Alain Vigneault will be the first coach fired.

Washington—Mike Green will prove to be a one-year wonder.

BONUS (tie breaking) PREDICTION—Mats Sundin will pull a Teemu Selanne or Scott Niedermaryer and not sign until part way through the 2008-2009 season.