Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008 NHL Playoff Predictions

2008 NHL Playoff Predictions: "As the NHL enters the midway point of the season it is time for us to decide which teams are contenders or just pretenders. Over the past few years, because the league instituted a salary-cap, teams are playing on a more level playing field and this season nearly every team has a shot. However, here are the top 10 contenders and why they're going to make it to the playoffs:

The Detroit Red Wings have no worries getting to the dance. Featuring the best offense in the game, led by Henrik Zetterberg, this team will ride its tremendous goaltending tandem, Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood, all the way to the playoffs.

The Ottawa Senators lost in the Stanley Cup finals last season and this year they picked up right where they left off. Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, and Jason Spezza lead the best offense in the Eastern Conference and Martin Gerber has outperformed his highest expectations.

The Vancouver Canucks playoff chances begin and end with Roberto Luongo. His strong play in net has made what would otherwise be an average team into a strong contender. The Sedin brothers lead this team offensively and should be able to cover up the absence of the injured Brendan Morrison.

The Minnesota Wild have Marian Gaborik who can bust out a 5-goal game if you fall asleep on him. They are strong in net with Niklas Backstrom and appear to have a solid backup in Josh Harding. They are going to need more from their wingers and hope defenseman Brent Burns keeps improving.

The New Jersey Devils still have Martin Brodeur and that is all that seems to matter. Free agency took some key players, but Zach Parise and their young defensemen have done a great job. The transition from a defensive to an offensive team appears to be working also.

The San Jose Sharks are getting phenomenal goaltending from Evgeni Nabokov and another strong season from Joe Thornton. They might be near the bottom of the league in scoring, but they have big strong defensemen and Sandis Ozolinsh is off the sauce.

The Dallas Stars look dangerous but have some tough competition in their division. Offensively they are led by Mike Ribeiro who is on his way toward 40 goals. Defensively they are strong with Sergei Zubov patrolling the ice and Marty Turco behind him in net.

The New York Rangers came into the season with high expectations. Injuries to Sean Avery continue to hold them back, but Henrik Lundqvist has held this team on his back with a Vezina-esque season. If Jaromir Jagr continues his down season, things could get rough for them down the stretch.

The Carolina Hurricanes had a disappointing season last year defending their Cup, but now they look as strong as they did in 2006. Their offense is clicking, but an injury to Justin Williams could set them back. Goaltender Cam Ward has been good, but needs to be better.

The Boston Bruins received a major setback this season when Patrice Bergeron was injured, but have over come his injury with strong goaltending. Their power-play is very strong, but imagine if you add Bergeron to that? Maybe this is the year Marc Savard will break 100 points?"

This article originally appeared in Vol. 1 Issue 1 of Trajan Magazine

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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