Fearless Predictions for the 08-09 Season

My Predictions:

-Top 5 PP
-Top 10 PK

-Higgins nets 35+
-Kovalev and Tanguay break 75 points
-Koivu gets 50+ assists
-Latendresse nets 25+ goals
-AK and SK break 60 points
-Price top 5 goalie in terms of SV% and Shutouts
-Guy Carbonneau wins Jack Adams
-Komisarek leads league in hits and blocked shots
-Valentenko makes the team as 7th D
-Habs sweep TOR, NYI, and NJ series
-Habs make it to the Stanley Cup Finals
-Dandenault gets traded before training camp
-Sundin signs 1 year deal
-Begin gets traded before season starts
-Stewart makes roster, alternating on the third line with Latendresse and the fourth line with Laraque
My projected lines:
Tanguay Sundin Kovalev
Kostitsyn Plekanec Kostitsyn
Higgins Koivu Latendresse
Laraque Lapierre Kostopoulos
Chipchura (Lapierre)
Stewart (Latendresse, Laraque)
Markov Komisarek
Hamrlik O’Byrne
Gorges Bouillon
Valentenko (Bouillon)
My projected Eastern Conference standings:
1. NY Rangers
2. Montreal
3. Washington
4. Pittsburgh
5. Philadelphia
6. Boston
7. New Jersey
8. Tampa Bay
9. Ottawa
10. Buffalo
11. Carolina
12. Florida
13. Toronto
14. Atlanta
15. NY Islanders

34 Responses to Fearless Predictions for the 08-09 Season

  1. pezzz says:

    total useless article. I mean come on….are we gonna see total crap like this until the season starts?? HTR can do better than this….please…..

  2. Rico420 says:

    According  to the Hockey News no Hab will crack 70 points this year – but Tanguay leads the way with 67.

    And a bunch of 50 point scorers – I can't see kovy taking a big nose dive but I don't think he's gonna produce like he did last season it is hard to tell though.

  3. LeafsNation91 says:

    The Habs will not sweep Toronto, the past few years have shown no matter how injury depleted or bad the Maple Leafs are, they always play surprisingly really well against Montreal. And its been a tough task for the Habs to get points aginst the Leafs.

  4. ICELIZARD says:

    Here is a prediction for you:
    The Habs will acquire Nylander from Washington for a 2nd round draft pick, and will probably throw in Dandeneault or Begin to close the deal.

    The way I see it, Sundin will either choose to retire or play with Toronto.  Thus, the Habs will require a big top two centre.  I initially suggested Lang from Chicago but I also think Nylander will be a good plan "B".  Plus, the Caps owe us for practically giving Huet to them at the dealine.

  5. Kramer says:

    For the Leafs to win the Stanley cup, they gotta make big moves right now.  What are they waiting for?  Do something already.

    In other news did everybody catch the Olympics earlier?  One of the weight lifters farted in the middle of his lift!!!!

  6. PuckNuts says:

    Either make predictions or huff gas, not both.

  7. Habfan17 says:

    I don't know if you could call them fearless! Gainey already has said that Chipchura is his 4th centre and the job is his to lose. From the write ups on Valentenko, he would have to completely blow training camp, not to make it! The Habs have made a big point of saying that he is the most NHL ready of the Bulldogs. Gainey is probably waiting until training camp to see who is ready to step up, if anyone, then he will decide what to do with Dandenault, Boullion, and whether or not to re-sign Brisbois

    After what Nylander and his agent did to the Oilers and the fact he didn't play very well in Washington, I highly doubt that Gainey would take a chance on him. Integrity is very important to him, and the Nylander camp did not show any in dealing with the Oilers.

    As far as predicting how many points the players will get, let's just say that first the players have to deal with teams being ready for them this year. Last year, they did better than anyone predicted they would! This year, teams will not be surprised. That means added pressure! Now to see who rises to the occasion.

    I think your post could be labelled as homerism! It is one thing to like your team, and another to say that they will be fantastic. Nothing wrong with being optimistic, but let's also be realistic. Carbo will only be considered for the Jack Adams if he can duplicate his achievements of last season and prove, with the added presuure that last season was not a fluke! Otherwise, forget it. A competative season will be expected and an average finish will not do it!

  8. Habfan17 says:

    I don't think Gainey would be intersted in Nylander. First of all, Gainey values integrity and the Nylander camp did not show any in their dealings with the Oilers. Then there is the fact that he did not have a great year and was injured early on.

    You are right in a way that the Caps should thank Mtl, but in the end, they didn't want to give Huet the money he wanted, so he took more to sign in Chicago while the caps were busy talking to Theodore. Some articles said the caps went for Theodore because Huet signed with Chicago. It was the other way around, Huet signed with the Blackhawks becuase the Caps put him on hold while they spoke with Theodore!

    The Caps and Habs have a history of dealing and Gainey respects McPhee becuse he keeps things to himself until the trade is complete. he doesn't blab to the press or let anything leak!

    I personally wouldn't want Nylander, too risky, not enough return on investment, too much money!!

  9. Habfan17 says:

    Predictions, b the Hoackey news or anyone else are just that. The majority of the time, they are about 10% accurate! If you look at the predictions of the final standings for last year, and the actual final standings, you will see. As far as players, the same holds true. The one thing the staff at the hockey news excels at, is predicting the draft rankings and where the guys will be drafted. The first round is always very close!

  10. Habfan17 says:

    I agree with you that this is pretty much just a fluff piece. There really isn't much to discuss! I don't think we should discount what someone else finds intersting. This is an open forum to discuss all things hockey. When there is little going on, you need to think of something to write about!

    Having said that, I have posted a couple of articles that I thought,should have and would have garnered more insightful responses, but did not get enough in my mind.

    It seems that no one goes back to an article once another one is posted, and sometimes the new one is posted the same day, or the next. For me, that is disappointing! It is also clear that some of the people who respond to the articles, didn't really read them. Their anwsers have little, or nothing to do with the post.

    You and I have had some great discussions and it has been fun!

  11. Milohabs says:

    I agree with some, but not all predictions. Latendresse will only score big if he's playing with top guys. With limited minutes on 3rd & 4th line duties, he'll net 10+.

    I like that you have Ottawa out of the playoffs, this is VERY possible, and many people call me crazy. They do not have the depth they did a few years back. The loss of Corvo & redden is HUGE HUGE HUGE. any team would kill to have those 2 guys. goaltending is still an issue with gerber being average at best.

    If they have a serious injury to any of their top 3 guys, it's good night Ottawa. Too many other teams will be too competative for Ottawa to lose any ground. Also, chances are they will not start off 10- 0 again this year.

  12. pezzz says:

    lol I agree with you I shouldn’t shot an article I don’t find interesting down. But with this one….it was tough lol. There’s absolutely no research or effort in writing

    – blablabla

    – blblabla

    – blablabla

    with imaginative stats and cie. But you’re right, some people might find it interesting.

    I agree with you that people don’t pay enough attention to articles down the page or posted a few days before. Usually, there’s 60 comments for the Leafs and Habs article, but no comments at all for others. I read a super interesting article about the Panthers a few weeks ago (and it wasn’t talking about Bouwmeester :)), but no one was commenting or even reading it…..so there was no chat at all. I think the article ended with 6 comments. So we can’t really discuss the topic when no one’s reading it. But anyways….this is still a Leafs and Habs’ forum, so I bet I’m the odd man out there lol.

    Looking forward to the next chat with you about the #4 Habs’ d-man! 😉

  13. ICELIZARD says:

    I can't say that I agree with your assessement… Nylander had a bad year in 2007-08, mostly due to injuries and playing on a very young team.  If you look at his previous 2 seasons with the Rangers, his stats were very good:
    2005-06, 81 games played, 23 goals, 56 assists, 79pts, +31
    2006-07, 79 games played, 26 goals, 57 assists, 83pts, +12
    He was the glue that kept Jagr and Straka together and productive.  In fact, Jagr was struggling last year without Nylander.

    As per Nylander's agent having suspect dealings with the Oilers, who are we to say what happend behind closed doors?  Maybe Lowe was being too aggressive and rubbed somebody the wrong way… Remember, that was the year Lowe had immense pressure on him to land a solid player or two via UFA or RFA (offer sheet).  In fact, he ended up being obliged to overpay for Souray and giving that ridiculous contract to D. Penner.  Not to mention the offer sheet to Vanek (7 Mil per year!!!).  Anyhow, Gainey doesn't need to negotiate with Nylander's agent since as far as I know, he is still under contract.  Thus, all his dealings will be done with McPhee, whom Gainey respects.  And if we only keep Nylander for one or two years, that's good enough for me… By then, our rookies should be ready to step it up (Maxwell, White, etc.).

    With the Habs, Nylander can potentially play with AK27 (similar style to Jagr) and AK46 (similar style to Straka). 

    As per the initial post… Well, their wasn't much thought put into it… I think that Monkey on TSN could have made the same (if not better) predictions! 

  14. Plekanec says:

      I love what you said about Nylander! Plus the only time he produce was when he was playing with stacked teams, in the playoffs he just vanishes and his best day are long gone! Let's not start picking up NHLs garbage, the habs are just getting over "Cap Killers" like Theodore, Samsonov ect. and got rid of players who are NOW way overpaid Huet, Ryder and Streit, too bad Gainey couldn't trade Streit and Ryder at last years deadline. The only players "I" think have little to  no use for the habs or might be a little overpaid are Dandenault, Begin and Bouillon who although is a great 5th d-man!

      I also don't see Sundin Joining the habs since the little $$$ the Habs have is locked-up for players we have to sign to extensions.

  15. lafleur10 says:

    hey plekanec i agree nylander is a waste of time and money! if we lose out on sundin and gainey has to make a deal then go for marleau and leave nylander rot in washington!plus as you correctly stated i would rather use thta money on komisarek,higgins,tanguay and kovalev!

  16. HABSSTAR says:

    Ah yes!  The #4 D-man spot!  Also known as the most important position in Hockey!  LOL!

  17. rx79msg says:

    Flyers 5th in the eastern conference? Looks like someones alittle sore from last seasons loss lol.

  18. habsrock99 says:

    That statement works both ways. Both teams play their very best against each other(no matter how good one is and how bad the other is) and it seems only Habs and Leaf fans can acknowledge this and appreciate it.

    I remember last year people were saying the Habs should dominate the Leafs in their last 3 or 4 meetings but we(Habs fans) knew better and knew the Leafs step it up against us and make it difficult.

  19. Habfan17 says:

    Thanks! Begin may in fact be an odd man out this season. I am sure he is feeling the pressure to keep his job! There is really nothing wrong with Boullion, he has been a steady 5th d-man. I just feel, if Mtl has the opportunity to insert a player as capable as Boullion, with the addedd bonus of some size, then they need to do it. They did struggle against the fore check of Philly's in the play offs.Valntenko and O'Byrne could change that dynamic in a big way if they progress this season.

  20. Habfan17 says:

    The money would be better spent re-signing the players you mentioned. I will reserve judgement on Kovalev until I see which player shows up this year. Mtl caught a lot of teams by surprise last season, now they will be watched more closely and they will need to play harder to score.

    For me, Marleau is also in the Nylander category. He makes too much coin and has never raised his level of play, especially in the play offs. For the money he makes, he needs to be an impact player. He doesn't make the players around him better and I think his salary and the fact that he doesn't play at a higher level would hurt the chemistry of the team. When you see a guy making more money than you and not putting more into it come play offs, and you do, it will have a negative impact! It would also drive players salaries higher during re-negoatiation if they play better than him and if they get more points. They will have a comparable on their own team for their agents to leverage!

  21. Habfan17 says:

    You make some valid points, but I still say he and his agent shafted the Oilers. Lowe may have had the balls to sign restricted free agents to offer sheets, which is perfecty legal, but he has a solid reputation as being fair and ethical and negotiating in good faith. Maybe he dod overpay, but that isn't completely his fault. In Souray's case, it was the free agent bidding war, and someone was going to throw that money at him any way. With Penner, it was more of a gamble, but players with his package don't come around often, so he Lowe went for it. The one who made a ridiculous offer was Burke, giving Bertuzzie $4 million/year for 2 years. Now cutting him lose. Obviously a loyalty contract for Bertuzzi.  I didn't hear other GM's rag on Burke for that, although they certainly had reason!!

    Nylander did do well with the Rangers and particularly with Jagr and Straka. The injuries could be a warning and I still say, at his salary and also with what we would have to give up in a trade, I don't think at this point in his career he is worth it! His salary would cause Gainey problems when he has to resign players. What do you think Kovalev will say if he has another good year and does better than Nylander? It could force Gainey to trade Kovalev or another player he would rather hang on to! He doesn't bring enough to the table to take that chance!

  22. Habfan17 says:

    I doubt that Ottawa will fail to make the plyoffs. I do agree that if Alfredson goes down with an injury for too long, they will suffer. They have proven over and over again that they don't have the character to win when he is out. Losing Heatley also hurts them, but when Spezza is out, they do better. Some say other players pick up the slack, I think it has more to do with chemistry. As much as the team says that there aren't problems in the dressing room, I think some players have a problem with the media going to him all the time. He never says anything useful and in a lot of ways, hasn't paid his dues. I think if they could get a true starting goalie for him they should trade him. The goalie would do more for them than he does. It's nice to score points during the regular season, but goaltending wins in the playoffs!

    It will hurt a bit losing Redden, but he was no where near as effective as he was playing with Chara. I think Corvo had more value than he got credit for in Ottawa. I don't think they used him properly, they just kept going to the same guys they were used to going with and didn't give him a fair chance.

  23. Habfan17 says:

    I hear that Mtl has convinced Ray Bourque to come out of retirement L.O.L !! Seriously, I haven't changed my opinion, I still don't think they need to make a move yet! Rhett Warner is available right now, he has cleared waivers, any interest? I do like that Mtl signed Webber. His stats are very good, he may move past Carle as the next possible offensive d-man.

  24. HABSSTAR says:

    Perhaps the Panthers need to move to either Toronto or Montreal…..

  25. ICELIZARD says:

    I agree 100% that Lowe is much more respected around the NHL than that cowboy Burke… That was never my argument.  I'm a manager myself and I know that negotiations can sometimes get very intense, even nasty…  But, at the end of the day, it's nothing personal, just business.  You have to have thick skin to be a winner in business, which I'm sure Lowe does.  And again, we don't know what happend behind the scenes, thus, everything is just speculative.  

    As per your statement that Nylander doesn't bring enough to the table to justify his salary… I guess the real question is what exactly are the Habs looking for?  As far as I know (which Gainey himself expressed on several occasions), the Habs are seeking a big centre (preferably with a right hand shot) that can play on the top two offensive lines.  Does Nylander fit that description… Yes!  Moreover, I believe Nylander's salary is just over 5 mil per year… If centres like Briere & Gomez got 10mil last year, I think 5+ mil for Nylander is below market value…   With the numbers he puts up, he should have a 7-8mil salary!  These days, 4mil will get you players like Ryder & Streit (to put things into perspective)!!!  Below 4mil will get you unproven players that may or may not be stars; 5-7mil should get you a solid player (such as Nylander, Lang, Marleau, ect.); 7+mil should land you a superstar. 

    As a side not, Hossa was labeled a "soft" player whom dissapeared during the playoffs, when it counted the most.  Well, Hossa proved last year that when surrounded with the proper team and system, he is very leathal.  In fact, he was (along with Crosby) the best player on the Penguins during the playoffs. 

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not comparing Nylander's talent to Hossa.  However, I am saying that with the right teamates and system, Nylander has been and could still be very productive. 

  26. lafleur10 says:

    well bro i really don't think you have to worry about kovalev1 he's motivated and will continue on from last year plus this is his contract year so expect a season much like last year1 as for marleau i think he would help us tremendously and would be the #1 center we are looking for up until thi season if you go back and look at marleaus' playoff numbers you'll find them intriguing! he has put up better numbers than thornton! i would place him above nylander! also just think what marleau could do if he had kovalev and tanguay on his wings! i think marleau is amore viaable option for us than nylander. howver he has a n.t.c. that kicked in,in july so he can't be traded but that is the type of player we need1  but i will throw out a couple of names i think you'll see usgo after(i think gainey will land one of them) bouwmeester and gaborik these are 2 guys that will end up being trade at some point during the season and gainey will definatly be talking to risebrough and martin about these guys! in a perfect world you'd like to see us with both guys but that won't happen! but if you asked me which one i'd perfer i'd say gaborik  for obviuos reasons! with us he's be the superstar that everybody projected him to be because he wouldn't have to play in a defence first system that restricts and holds him back,with us he could play that offensive game and free whheel that he like plus he skates like the wind1 andwith him and kovalev what a tandem they'd be! kovalev would be the best player gaborik ever played with!sorry about the long post reply my fellow habs bro! iit is awsome to chat about our habs with you!

  27. Habfan17 says:

    We all have our opinions, but at 36 come Oct, he would be a 1 year deal at best! I like the potential of Sundin who plays tough and has size. Nylander at 6"1" 195lbs is not really considered big and I don't think he plays big which is more important. He seems to put up good numbers during the regular season and the playoffs, but there must be a reason he has been traded 5 times and then signed twice as a free agent. If he was that good, teams would have held on to him. He was never traded for top talent either. Unless you consider Andrei Nazarov, Reid Simpson, or Bryan Muir top shelf talent. These were players from different trades. The only trade that saw significant talent move was the first when Hartford dealt him to to Calgary, but that was a multi player deal with other solid players.
    Anyway, you are right, we don't know what went on behind closed doors and I too am a manager and have negotiated many a deal. Knowing Lowe's Reputation, I rather doubt that he would have thought that they had a deal unless they had agreed, and he doesn't usually air dirty laundry in public. Look how long it took him to finally say something about the Burke situation. You and I are speculating, but that whole situation smells bad. Agents have a track record of playing on the edge and a verbal agreement means nothing to some of them. It is a new world compared to when I negoatiated. When people gave their word, they stood by it!

  28. Habfan17 says:

    Marleau may have posted better numbers than Thornton, but that only means that they have both underachieved. There is a reason that Marleau keeps getting mentioned in trade rumours, and it isn't his for his intensity. He does not rank with the top players he doesn't elevate his play in key games or in the playoffs. He also doesn't make players around him better. That plus his salary are what has kept him in San Jose! Not a lack of trying by the Sharks. Good thing he now has a no-trade clause, for what it is worth ( See The Leafs).

    Gaborik would be an intriguing pick up, but costly! If he could stay healthy he would be fun to watch in the system Mtl plays. Bowmeester hasn't lived up to his billing and if you look at his points last season, was dead even with Hamrlik when you factor in the plus minus! Hamrlik brings experience and is key in the mentoring provess for the young guys. Bowmeester does not bring that element. He would also cost too much in a trade, and could still walk after this season.

    Kostitsyn, Plekanec, Kovalev
    Tanguay, Koivu, Gaborik
    Latendresse, Lapierre, Kostitsyn
    Kotsopoulus, Chipchura, Laraque

    I figure Higgins, Boullion, and Fischer would have gone to the Wild in the trade, along with a draft pick.

  29. ICELIZARD says:

    Amen to that!

    A young/big centre I really would love to land with the Habs is Jordan Staal.  Curretly centering the Pens 3rd line, he has the potential of becoming a star in the near future.  In 2006-07, he had a fantastic rookie season with 29 goals.  Last year, however, he suffered the softmore jinx and had poor offensive numbers, but still did very well defensively (including winning the majority of his faceoffs).

    As we all know, the Pens already have 2 superstar centers (Crosby & Malkin) and could do without Staal.  In the other hand, the Habs have a surplus of d-men, which the Pens lack… 

    Players I would dangle to acquire J. Staal are:
    Defense: Georges, O'Byrne, Valentenko, Fisher, Subban
    Offense: Higgins, Latendresse, D'Agostini, Maxwell

    As you can see, it's a mix of established players and prospects…  I guess it really depends what the needs of the Penguins are… Let's assume the Pens want Higgins & Fisher for J. Staal, would you go for that trade?  We have good depth at LW and desperately require a big centre… It would make 100% sense for the Habs…

  30. Habfan17 says:

    I would trade for Staal, good choice! But, I don't know that I would give up the equivalent of 2 first round picks for him. I wouldn't include O'Byrne, Subban, or Valentenko.

    Staal is valuable, but as you mentioned, they are well stacked at centre and they will probably lose him in the future due to the salary cap. Pittsburgh could probably use more depth on defence. As good a centre as Staal is, Higgins straight up would be fair. Having said that, Pittsburgh may need some extra incentive and since most teams would over pay, I would offer, Gorges, Fischer and Boullion for Staal and a 2nd round pick. This way, Pittsburgh has some experience in 2 roster players, one young and one with a couple of years and very dependable. Then they get the high level prospect for the future. Mtl gets a big centre, who may only be a 2nd line player, but as you say, does very well on face-offs. and a pick who may or may not pan out. Since the Penguins should do very well again this season, the pick would be around th 55th spot.

    One trade I consider would be Fischer, Gorges, Emelin and D'Agostino to Chicago for Havlat, Seabrook, and a 4th round pick. Chicago has lot's of big right wingers in their system and only 1 top ten prospect on defence.
    I read that since they did well without Havlat, they would move him to add more depth to support their young guns! Most important, they aren't in the same division as Mtl. If Chicago wanted 2 roster defencemen, then I would add either Dandenault or Boullion. They may like Dandenault since he can play forward too. If Mtl were to add one of those players, then I would upgrade the draft pick to the 3rd round. Havlat had his shoulder surgically repaired finally, so he should be good to go. He would be great onthe 2nd line with Koivu and Tanguay. That would give Mtl Kovalev, Havlat, and S.Kostitsyn on the right side with Kotsopoulus or possibly Wyman on the 4th line. I would move Higgins back to vetre, his natural position on the 3rd line. Then I would trade Begin to make room up font. Lapierre could play right wing on the 4th line if Wyman isn't ready. Eventually havlat would replace Kovalev on the 1st line and everyone would shift up. Brisbois could always be resigned to fill the 7th spot on D.

    What do you think?

    A.Kostitsyn, Plekanec, Kovalev
    Tanguay, Koivu, Havlat
    Latendresse, Higgins, S. Kostitsyn
    Laraque/Stewart, Chipchura, Kotsopulos/Lapierre

    Markov, Komisarek
    Hamrlik, Seabrook
    Boullion, O'Byrne

  31. lafleur10 says:

    if we did go after bouwmeester before the deal was complted i think you'd see bob try and work out a contract extension or a new deal with bouwmeester much like he did with hossa before the deal fell through!bouwmeester's point total might have been the same as hamrlik's last season but if you bring him in on your team with the talent he'd have to work with i  think you'd see him post better numbers! and it would allow us to properly develop one of the kids (i.e. macdonagh,valantenko,carle weber,o'byrne) and not rush them into the #4 spot and add all this unadded pressure for one of them to step into that role bouwmeester would provide that ! plus with him and markov on p.p. it would be dynamic. gaborik i agree with your assesment as to what we'd have to give up,however i think before bob commits to give up higgins he'd need gaboriks name on a new contract! but yes i definately could see fischer as part of the deal being a  minnesota kid! i think bouillon would be the through in!

  32. Habfan17 says:

    Good points! Time will tell if Bob will do anything or wait until the trade deadline

  33. ICELIZARD says:

    I think we should contact Bob Gainey and have him hire us as "executive consultants of hockey personnel"!! 

    You bring up some good points and I for one would love to land an exciting player like Havlat.  I'm not sure, however, that Chicago would give up Seabrook for Georges/Emelin… Doesn't make much sense unless Seabrook wants out of Chicago for some odd reason…

    What ever happend to the Marleau to Mtl rumours…  I'm sure it will get an E3 as soon as the season starts!

  34. Habfan17 says:

    I am not a Marleau fan, he has never elevated his game in important matches or the playoffs. For the money he makes, he needs to be an impact player, and if he was, the Sharks would not consider trading him. There is a reason his name keeps coming up!

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