It’s finally here. Game 1 of the 2009-10 season and I’m going to say it. The Canucks are overrated. Not that I don’t think they have a good team, but this is getting ridiculous. On TSN’s preview show last night Ray Ferraro and Pierre McGwire picked them to go to the Stanley Cup Finals. TSN has ranked them as 6th best in the league. Not to be outdone, Sportsnet has them ranked 6th also. The Province is calling this edition of the Canucks the best ever. I like the moves that Gillis has made, and this is a playoff team, but what really has changed from a year ago? From my view, they’ve switched Ohlund, Vaananen, Sundin and Pyatt for Ehrhoff, Schneider, Samuelsson and Shirokov. An improvement, sure, but not drastic changes.
For me, the biggest improvement will come with a healthy full season from Luongo. Can we expect young players like Wellwood, Raymond, Bernier and Edler to improve? Sure. But can we expect the same kind of dream seasons from Kesler, Burrows and Mitchell? Who knows.
The Canucks are a very good team, but lets not get too excited here. They’ve improved slightly from last season.
So with that said, here are Canuckz.com’s official predictions for the upcoming season!
1. San Jose: Don’t believe all the negative publicity. The top regular season team from a year ago got better with the addition of Heatley.
2. Detroit: They won’t be as good losing Hossa and Hudler, but they had a great season last year despite terrible goaltending from Osgood. They’ll be a force once again.
3. Vancouver: They’ll need to fight off Calgary for top spot in the division
4. Anaheim: Lost Pronger, but they have arguably the best group of top 6 forwards in the NHL.
5. Chicago: Good young team, but Huet in goal and missing Hossa to start the season will hurt.
6. St Louis: Young team caught fire in the second half of last season, that should carry-over to this year.
7. Calgary: Coaching better with Sutter, defence better with Bouwmeester, but losing Cammalleri and an improved conference will hurt.
8. Edmonton: New coach, better goal-tending and improved young players will sneak the Oilers into the playoffs this season.
9. Columbus: Hard playing in a tough division.
10. Los Angeles: Improved sure, but still question marks on defence and in goal.
11. Dallas: Having Morrow back will help, but their defence is in shambles.
12. Minnesota: No Gaborik, no Lemaire, no playoffs.
13. Nashville: Team always defies logic and plays well… until this year.
14. Phoenix: Too many distractions, too little talent.
15. Colorado: Life after Joe will be tough.
1. Washington: A full year with Varlamov and a talented/motivated lineup.
2. Boston: Lost Kessel, but other youngsters like Lucic, Wheeler and Krejci will pick up the slack.
3. Pittsburgh: Stanley Cup hangover will get them off to a slow start until they pick it up.
4. Philadelphia: Can Emery and Boucher hold up in goal? They’ll be average but adding Pronger will help.
5. New Jersey: A healthy Brodeur and Jacques Lemaire means they’ll be competitive.
6. Carolina: Basically the same team that caught fire in the second half of last season.
7. Buffalo: A healthy Ryan Miller and a weak division will be the recipe for a return to the playoffs.
8. Ottawa: Head coach Cory Clouston will get the Sens to over-achieve.
9. Montreal: Not enough secondary scoring.
10. NY Rangers: Tough division, can Gaborik stay healthy?
11. Tampa Bay: Can’t be as bad as last season, can they?
12. Florida: No Jay-Bo, honeymoon with their coach is over too.
13. Toronto: Not enough scoring from this truculent bunch.
14. Atlanta: Still too many questions in goal.
15. NY Islanders: A glorified AHL team, who knew making your backup goalie your new GM would be a bad idea?