2010-2011 NHL Season: 10 Bold Predictions!

Aaron Brouwer@brouwerfhcContributor IIOctober 19, 2010

2010-2011 NHL Season: 10 Bold Predictions!

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 16: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins hits Scott Hartnell #19 of the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on October 16, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals are going to meet up at the Stanley Cup Finals.  The NHL will need more red light bulbs as scoring will be up.  Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks will see increased production from their top line.  Roberto Luongo and Alexander Ovechkin lead the NHL this season.  Here are 10 predictions for the upcoming NHL season from Fantasy Hockey Coach.

10. Stars Align for James Neal and Loui Eriksson in Dallas.

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    DALLAS - FEBRUARY 03:  (L-R) Matt Niskanen #5, Loui Eriksson #21 and James Neal #18 of the Dallas Stars celebrate a goal against the Calgary Flames in the second period at the American Airlines Center on February 3, 2009 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronal
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    James Neal is training this off-season with Gary Roberts and we all know how that impacted Steven Stamkos last season.  Don’t expect a 50-goal season from Neal just yet but he will definitely score 40+ goals this year.  Loui Eriksson has quietly improved over each of the last 3 seasons and watch for him to continue this trend, as he and Neal both will score 40+ goals and 80+ points.

9. Zenon Konopka: This Goon Can Score.

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    UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 09:  Zenon Konopka #28 of the New York Islanders checks a Dallas Star in a game at the Nassau Coliseum on October 9, 2010 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Zenon Konopka led the NHL in PIMs last year and will defend his title again this year; however Konopka will display his scoring touch with the Islanders.  New York doesn’t have a lot of scorers so if Konopka can replicate what he did in the AHL he could easily pot 10 goals this season.  In 5 AHL seasons Konopka never scored less then 17 goals and scored 20 or more twice.

8. The Return of 'Alex the Gr8' Ovechkin.

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    WASHINGTON - MARCH 30:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals shoots the puck against the Ottawa Senators at the Verizon Center on March 30, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Ovechkin failed to defend the “Rocket” Richard trophy last year and hasn’t won the Art Ross Trophy in 2 seasons but that will change this year as Ovechkin plays a more controlled game and wins both trophies.  Ovechkin will once again score 60+ goals. 

7. Finally This Is the Year for the Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals!

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    DALLAS - JANUARY 23:  Eastern Conference All-Star Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals scores a goal against Western Conference All-Star goaltender Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks during the 'Shootout' in the 2007 NHL All-Star Skills Gam
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Vancouver and Washington fans have been disappointed year after year with early exits from the Stanley Cup playoffs.  At the start of each season Canuck and Capital fans get all giddy thinking that this is finally the year, well it is finally here.  The Canucks are going to win the Presidents Trophy this year as they are in the weakest division in the NHL (think Detroit back a few years ago).  The Stanley Cup finals will showcase the Canucks against the Capitals, however Canada will have to wait another year for the Cup as the Capitals win in 6.

6. Anaheim Duck: The Flying V.

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    DETROIT - MAY 14: Bobby Ryan #9 of the Anaheim Ducks celebrates his third period goal with Corey Perry #10 and Ryan Getzlaf #15 while playing the Detroit Red Wings in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The not so “Mighty” Ducks will struggle this year without Scott Niedermayer but they do have one of the best lines in the NHL.  The line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan combine for a high scoring, gritty 1st line.  With the distraction of the Olympics gone these three Olympians can focus on their NHL season and it will be career years for all three.  If he can stay healthy Getzlaf will break the 100-point mark this year.

5. The NHL in 4-D (Mike Green, Shea Weber, Drew Doughty & Anton Babchuk).

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    BOSTON - MAY 03:  Anton Babchuk #33 of the Carolina Hurricanes takes a shot in the second period against the Boston Bruins during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 3, 2009 at the TD Banknorth Garden
    Elsa/Getty Images

    We all know about the goal scoring ability of Mike Green, Shea Weber and Drew Doughty but how many people remember Anton Babchuk and what he did in the NHL.  Before Babchuk jumped to the KHL last season he scored 16 goals in 72 games in the 2008-2009 season.  All 4 of these defensemen will score 20 or more goals this season.

4. NHL Going to Need More Red Light Bulbs.

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    TORONTO - NOVEMBER 21:  Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs shoots past John Erskine #4 of the Washington Capitals during game action November 21, 2009 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    The NHL is slowing moving out of the defensive/trapping era and back into a more exciting, offensive era like the 80’s.  Last season 7 players scored 40 or more goals well this year that number will more then double as we could see close to 20 players scoring 40 or more goals.  Veterans like Jarome Iginla and Eric Staal return to form, Daniel Sedin will finally score 40 while young stars like Kopitar, Tavares, Backstrom, Eriksson, Neal and Kessel all reach the 40 goal plateau.

3. Great Save Roberto Luongo.

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 23: Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks reaches out to make a glove save during the third period of NHL action against the Chicago Blackhawks on January 23, 2010 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Colum
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Now before you say this is a homer pick lets look at the situation that Roberto Luongo and the Canucks are in.  Vancouver has finally hired a full-time goalie coach this will make a huge difference, as Luongo will be held more accountable and get more attention from the coaching staff.  The Canucks are in the weakest division so that means more games against weaker opponents.  Vancouver also brought in Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard to give the Canucks one of the deepest top 6 in the league.  All this adds up to a career year for Luongo who will lead the NHL in wins and shutouts.

2. And the Calder Trophy Goes to P.K. Subban.

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    TORONTO, CANADA - OCTOBER 07: P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens carries the puck during a regular season NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre October 7, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Imag
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    Subban came into a pressure filled situation last year during the Stanley Cup playoffs and shined.  Most nights Subban was the Canadiens best defenseman, scoring 8 points in 14 playoff games.  Subban is an explosive, offensive defenseman who can carry the puck end to end to bring fans out of their seats.  Subban will score 45+ points and win the Calder Trophy.

1. 8 Players Hit the Century Mark-Crosby, Ovechkin, Sedin, Backstrom, Malkin.

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    WASHINGTON - MAY 13:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals and Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins shake hands after Pittsburgh's 6-2 victory in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinal  Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Veri
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Not since the 1995-1996 season has the NHL seen this many players score 100+ points.  Last year only 4 players (Henrik Sedin, Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Nicklas Backstrom) score 100+ points.  This season 4 more players will join those guys to give us 8 players who score 100 or more points.  Daniel Sedin, Ryan Getzlaf and Steven Stamkos will break this mark for the first time in their careers while Evgeni Malkin makes a return to the century total.