We have an annual tradition here at WIIM, one dating back several years. You see, we're into season preview/prediction time. You're no doubt already reading what other places have to say about what they think is going to happen this season. We're no different in thinking that we know everything.
Where we are different is in our willingness to put our reputation up and not only make our BOLD predictions, but later to proudly display them at the end of the season so everybody can see how gloriously right (or wrong) we can be with them all. Unlike some places on the internet, we don't try to bury our wrong predictions about the Oilers making the playoffs in hopes that people will forget about them. We'll proudly wear that as a monument to how hard hockey can be to predict.
Also, we like to make certain we revisit them because it's fun proving year after year that the commenters are better at this stuff than the writers are.
Here's how WIIM's BOLD Predictions work: We're separating out into three groups of three writers (with some chickens abstaining from the fun). Today, tomorrow, and the next day, we'll post our groups of five predictions, as well as our responses to those predictions. At the end of the season, we'll tally up the results and the winner (me) will get the bragging rights.
As a commenter, we'd like you to get involved as well. In any of our BOLD Predictions post, feel free to post your own. When it comes time to tally the scores, we'll make sure that the people who get shit right get the credit they deserve for their underappreciated genius.
Today we'll start off with the relatively new blood just to warm things up for us. First up, we've got Matt, Prashanth, and Caleb.
1. The Carolina Hurricanes make the playoffs this year
Matt: Carolina had decent underlying statistics last year, especially in the offensive end. I think this is definitely on to keep an eye on, but ultimately will call short.
Prashanth: I think Caleb's sentence got cut off. He meant qualify for the playoffs....in the ECHL
2. Tomas Jurco leads the team in even-strength goals.
Matt: I think he could lead the team in even-strength goal scoring rate, but I don't think he sees enough ice time to lead the team in the counting stat.
Prashanth: Unlikely considering he will inevitably end up on a line with Drew Miller and Luke Glendening - oh wait Babcock's gone. Maybe Caleb's got something here.
3. Jeff Blashill wins the Jack Adams
Matt: A Presidents' Trophy would likely have to accompany the award in order for this to come to fruition.
Prashanth: Sorry no, Blashill didn't take over a team that was atrocious the year before and is mediocre now which appears to be the criteria for winning the award
4. Detroit wins all 4 games against Toronto, leading into "Blashill has Babcock's number" becoming a sportswriter meme of some sort.
Matt: Vacuos media narratives drawn from four game sample sizes? Do you even bold, bro?
Prashanth: The young Jedi is strong with the force. I would love for this to be true.
5. The Red Wings knock the Lightning out of the playoffs.
Matt: It almost happened last year, and I think it could this year.
Prashanth: Well this has to be true since the Red Wings are winning the Stanley Cup and then Steve Yzerman comes back to our side and joins in the parade
1. Ken Holland senses the window is creeping shut; he's going for it, folks. Jimmy Howard is traded for a draft pick and a veteran backup. The ensuing salary cap relief is filled by a splashy deadline move. Somewhere, Mike Babcock weeps softly into his pillow.
Prashanth: The trade is followed by signing Dan Cleary to a 6-year, $37 million extension. I kid....I hope
Caleb: I'm sure Stamkos and Toronto's 4th line grinders that he'll play too much will be there to dry his tears.
2. The combination of an ascension of young talent and the steepening of his own decline lead Henrik Zetterberg to finish the season on the third line.
Prashanth: HIS BEARD IS GREATER THAN THAT OF ZEUS AND THIS IS BLASPHEMY (shhhh it's probably true)
Caleb: You may be right, but this is still heresy to say out loud.
3. Despite turning 26 and a scoring rate again buoyed by the power play, fans continue to believe Gustav Nyquist is a first line talent.
Prashanth: It worked for Tomas Holmstrom right?
Caleb: FIREEMOJI. More seriously, how are we supposed to judge this one? I basically agree with you, but still.
4. Tampa Bay loses in the second round. Steven Stamkos... bolts... to Toronto. I quit hockey.
Prashanth: I thought we were being bold? Is essentially every Canadian predicting this?
Caleb: SPOILERS: Tampa is still better than Toronto after this happens.
5. The St. Louis Blues reach the Stanley Cup Final. I mean, something that has literally never happened since conference play was established is as bold as it gets, amirite?
Prashanth: Wellllll the Blues actually reached the Cup Finals in 68, 69. and 70...but still bold nonetheless. Good ol' American hero T.J. Oshie turns out to be the player holding the Blues back
Caleb: Wings win game 7 by a Teemu Pulkkinen slapshot from the blue line.
1. Jimmy Howard wins 35+ games
Caleb: 35+ games of ping-pong. Not so hard now that Bertuzzi is gone.
Matt: Tonya Harding nods approvingly.
2. Tomas Tatar finishes in the top-10 in NHL scoring
Caleb: Ken Holland continues to condescendingly refer to him as a kid.
Matt: He can't achieve this if he plays 16 minutes a night, again. That said, I think Tomas Tatar is a fantastic, complete hockey player and needs to be given a leading role on this team.
3. Connor McDavid finishes with less than 50 points on the season
Caleb: Only because he repeatedly fakes groin injuries to not have to play in depressing games
Matt: Certainly possible given the drastic decline in scoring in recent years. I'll take the over out of curiosity.
4. Gustav Nyquist breaks Red Wings record for power play goals in a season
Caleb: You do realize the record is 21 right?
Matt: This is super BOLD. I already knocked Nyquist once in this post, so I'll just say that I disagree. Scoring power play goals is one of his best assets, though.
5. The Montreal Canadiens miss the playoffs this year
Caleb: Carey Price tells Therrien he is never playing another game for him, gets traded to Colorado
Matt: I was going to say this :(