BT's 10 Bold 2010-11 NHL Predictions: The Anaheim Ducks
For the past two years I've been doing team-by-team previews here on Bleacher Report. That means, for every day of September (and a few of August or October) I'm running out a look at a team's goaltending, defense and forwards, while scraping together a prediction of where they'll finish in the division.
Unfortunately this year that's become increasingly difficult and, lacking the time to do those 30 previews (Maybe if I learned to cook faster I'd have more time: It currently takes me 45 minutes to make a peanut butter and jam sandwich), I've settled on this instead: 10 Bold (or Not So Bold) predictions for each team.
So with that, let's start things off at the top of the alphabet with the Anaheim Ducks!
Side note: The other great thing about these is that I don't have to figure out an order. The team previews were always done by division, but now I can be like everyone else and go alphabetically! Who says thinking for yourself is where it's at?
1. Bobby Ryan re-signs, but only scores 27 goals.
There's little doubt that Ryan will re-sign because even he wants to, and he's been a goal-scoring machine in his two full seasons, there's always a risk of a down season.
2. Teemu Selanne scores at least 30 for the first time in three seasons
The last time Selanne scored at least 30 was 2006-07 when he scored 48. He also scored 40 the year before, but try this on for size: Outside of those two 40-goal rebirth years, Selanne's last 30-goal season was 33 in 2000-01 with the (Mighty) Ducks and San Jose Sharks. He's scored 27 each of the past two seasons.
3. Joffrey Lupul will score 15 goals.
Ok so this isn't that bold of a prediction seeing as he had ten goals in 23 games last year before a herniated disc ended his season, but keep in mind an infection is going to delay his return to the NHL. Past opening night, no one really knows when Lupul will be back on the ice, but when he gets there, he'll score 15 goals. Unless he plays something ridiculous like nine games. Then he'll score 12.
4. Lubomir Visnovsky plays 75 games.
He nearly hit the milestone, playing in 73 last year with Edmonton and Anaheim, and while he's not made of glass, he's had a few injury shortened seasons. Expect him to play lots, with big minutes on the power play, in Anaheim this year.
5. George Parros' mustache eats Michael Jordan's.
Also, Parros will reclaim the NHL's heavyweight title and lead the league in fights. Both of these things are likely however.
6a) Danny Syvret makes the team.
6b) Danny Syvret scores 25 (NHL) points.
After a 57-point season (08-09) there's not much for the 25-year old to accomplish at the AHL level so now's the time for him to prove he can stick for 82 games at the NHL level.
7. Matt Beleskey and Dan Sexton combine for 60 points.
They nearly scored a combined 40 last year, falling three points short. Added in to this is that Sexton (9g/10as) will have more goals than assists. Last year, Beleskey (11g/7as) had more.
8. Jonas HIller wins 35 games for the Ducks.
Did you know that Hiller has never done that before? He's won 10, 23, and 30 games, but never 35. Now that he's the man in Anaheim, he'll have to shoulder the load. The Ducks will hope that he doesn't strain a shoulder doing that, as Curtis McElhinney has yet to prove himself a capable long-term injury replacement in the NHL.
9. Despite Hiller's efforts, Anaheim finishes third in the division and three points out of the playoffs.
They have the offensive potency to make the playoffs, but the defense needs to step up. Keep in mind two 40-win teams missed the playoffs in the West last year and two the year before that. Having a 35-win goalie doesn't guarantee anything.
10. Peter Holland gets the "Hey look at me, I'm an NHL'er" package (eight games and a re-assignment).
Holland re-energized himself with a strong second-half in the OHL last year with the Guelph Storm and, with a strong camp (or a few injuries), he may force the Ducks' hand to take a peak at what they've got in last year's first rounder for a few games.
The Stretch: Wild Wing and the gang return for more 90's Cartoon madness, only this time they fight evil mascots from around the league.
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