Tag Archives: Nashville Predators

5 Teams to Watch This NHL Season

With the NHL season kicking off on Wednesday the sports world is finally at its peak again. The NFL, NHL, MLB, and NCAAF are all playing and the NBA is not stealing all the talking points on ESPN, but that’s a topic for a different day.

We all know what teams are usually good, Blackhawks, Kings, Capitals, and Penguins, but there is about to be a major shift in hockey supremacy in the next few years, I can guarantee it. But what 5 teams might we see getting better? Well I have a list of 5 teams I want everyone to watch out for this year, and all the years to follow because they have some interesting talent to recon with.

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5. Buffalo Sabres: Jack Eichel is sidelined with an ankle injury to start the season, but he was very productive last season and I expect him to take even more strides forward this year assuming he can stay healthy. Some key acquisitions made this offseason were Kyle Okposo and Dmitry Kulikov, I see them having immediate impacts on this team. Evander Kane and I have this unspoken beef because I hate him and I think he is wasting his talent by acting like a punk. If Kane can adjust his attitude the sky could be the limit for this kid. Sam Reinhart, Ryan O’Reilly, and Tyler Ennis all have great upside as well. I don’t think Buffalo is a playoff team just yet due to the lack of defense and goaltending, but the offense has potential to be lethal and I think they will be a fun team to watch.

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4. Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews, Auston Matthews, Auston Matthews, and hmmmm Auston Matthews. That’s 4 times you read that because that’s how many goals he had in his NHL debut. The Leafs won the lottery with Matthews and he is going to lead this team back to the playoffs soon. Leo Komarov, Willie Nylander, and Nazem Kadri are his help on this squad. I see so much star potential in Nylander, I can easily see him and Matthews being a Jonathan Toews/Patrick Kane soon. Love Toronto claiming Seth Griffith off waivers from my Bruins, good work Don, really loved that move.

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3. Calgary Flames: Johnny Gaudreau resigned for 6 years and even more importantly, maybe, they signed Brian Elliot in the offseason to solidify their goaltending. I think Calgary is going to turn it around fast and squeak out 3rd place in the Pacific this season and get back into the playoffs. TJ Brodie, Mark Giordano, and Dougie Hamilton is a great unit on the back end. Sean Monahan is another young talent that I look for to make a leap this year and help carry the Flames to a great season. The youth of this team is amazing, because they all have so much experience as well, Sam Bennett and Micheal Ferland are two other players to keep our eyes on as the Flames make a run at the playoffs.

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2. Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid finally has his own team. The Oilers named him the captain and they shipped out two form number 1 overall picks this offseason in Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov. This means the Oilers now only have two former number 1 overall picks in McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. But the Oilers got better this offseason by adding defenseman Adam Larsson in the Taylor Hall trade, and signing free agent Milan Lucic. I think Lucic and McDavid and be an incredible duo in the NHL, as Lucic has experience playing with fast skaters and scorers like David Krejci and Nathan Horton. Jordan Eberle needs to be great for this team to thrive. Edmonton cannot rely solely on McDavid to bring them to the top, but he sure will try. Leon Draisaitl is another name to watch as Edmonton will finally start to claw its way out of the gutter this season and be playing meaningful games come February.

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1. Nashville Predators: The Nashville Predators are going to win the Stanley Cup in 2017. Who wouldn’t love to see that anyways? The Predators have never even made it to a conference final, but this is their year. Trading for PK Subban in the offseason was a massive move and a great one for the Preds. They also appointed Mike Fisher as captain and he has exceptional leadership qualities. The defense on this team is deep and loaded with offensive talent. Of course, Subban, but Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Anthony Bitetto, Mattias Ekholm, and Yannick Weber make up what I believe to be the best defensive unit in the league. Oh and Pekka Rinne is still the goalie down in honky tonk, so watch out. Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, James Neal, and on and on this team is incredibly deep, which is why I have them as the number 1 team to watch this season and the future Stanley Cup Champions.

 

 

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Central Division All-Time Greatest Rosters

The third installment of the greatest all-time NHL rosters for all 30 franchises is finally taking us out west. The Central Division has seen only 3 of its 7 franchises win Stanley Cups before, but could any of these teams’ all-time teams win a cup? Let’s head to Middle America, and Canada, and see the rosters for the 7 Central Division franchises.

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1. Chicago Blackhawks:

Forwards

Bobby Hull-Stan Mikita-Steve Larmer

Denis Savard-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane

Dennis Hull-Jeremy Roenick-Tony Amonte

Patrick Sharp-Pit Martin-Bill Mosienko

Defense

Chris Chelios-Duncan Keith

Douglas Wilson-Robert Murray

Brent Seabrook-Moose Vasko

Goalie

Tony Esposito

Are you surprised at how good this team is? If you answered yes to this question then you do not know hockey and I hate you. Chicago has become the powerhouse of the NHL in the last 7 years, and I see no reason why that will change in the next 7 years. So when your second line has Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on it, that means you have an incredible team, and that’s exactly what we have with the Blackhawks all-time greatest roster. The first and second lines are basically interchangeable, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita are household NHL names of the past, and Kane, Toews, and Denis Savard is one of the scariest lines in an NHL all-time greatest season. Jeremey Roenick is on the third line, this offense is pretty stacked with endless talent. Defense is no different. Chris Chelios and Duncan Keith will hold the fort down real tight for the Hawks on the back end. Keith, a former Conn Smythe winner, will add some offensive flare as well. Best part of this roster, there is a guy named Moose on it, unreal. Tony Esposito has over 400 career wins for the Blackhawks, so don’t even argue with this decision. I thought slightly about Ed Belfour and Corey Crawford, but they don’t even come close to comparing to Esposito. I have one of those Tony Esposito action figures above my bed, and he protects me at night, so I have faith he can protect the Hawks net in an all-time greatest season.

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2. Colorado Avalanche:

Forwards

Michel Goulet-Joe Sakic-Milan Hejduk

Alex Tanguay-Peter Forsberg-Dale Hunter

Anton Stastny-Peter Stastny-Paul Stastny

Valeri Kamensky-Matt Duchene-Gabriel Landeskog

Defense

Ray Bourque-Adam Foote

John Michael Liles-Rob Blake

Sandis Ozolinsh-Erik Johnson

Goalie

Patrick Roy

The Colorado Avalanche franchise is the only franchise in all professional sports to win a championship in its first season after a relocation. The Avs won the 1996 Stanley Cup Final in their first season after moving from Quebec. They were known then as the Quebec Nordiques for those of you who are new to the beautiful sport of ice hockey. This team is a sneaky very good I think. The top line is the top line for a reason. Joe Sakic is a hall of famer who could play hockey with the absolute best of them. The second and third lines are basically even when it comes to skill. The third line is a Stastny trio of Anton, Peter, and Paul, and they are all deserving of being on this team. Who wouldn’t want to see the three of them all together on a line? Crazy people, that’s who. Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog are both young studs of the NHL right now, and they have potential to be superstars, and maybe even hall of famers themselves when it’s all said and done. Why didn’t I have Nathan MacKinnon on this roster? Well I think he is still too unproven. If we do this again in 5 years he might be the center if the third line. Ray Bourque may have only played one full season in Colorado, but he was the heart and soul of them winning the 2001 Stanley Cup in the final game of Bourques illustrious career. With goalie there was zero contest, Patrick Roy is the goalie for the Avs all-time roster. I know there is some serious hostilities between Roy and The Avalanche right now, but that does not change what he did for them on the ice. He lead the Avs to their 2 Stanley Cups, and kept them a powerhouse team from 1995-2003. This Colorado franchise will definitely compete for a playoff spot, maybe even more?

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3. Dallas Stars:

Forwards

Brian Bellows-Mike Modano-Dino Ciccarelli

Brendan Morrow-Neal Broten-Dave Gagner

Jamie Benn-Bobby Smith-Jere Lehtinen

Joe Nieuwendyk-Timothy Young-Bill Goldsworthy

Defense

Sergei Zubov-Darryl Sydor

Craig Hartsburg-Brad Maxwell

Derian Hatcher-Trevor Daley

Goalie

Marty Turco

The Dallas Stars, formerly known as the Minnesota North Stars, won their only Stanley Cup in franchise history in 2000 over the Buffalo Sabres. That team was led by American born centerman Mike Modano. Mike Modano will be called on to lead this all-time greatest team as well. Modano, the highest scoring American in NHL history with 1,359 points has a solid supporting cast around him with Brain Bellows and Dino Ciccarelli on his wings. Some other notable names on the offense are Neal Broten, Jaime Benn, and Joe Nieuwendyk. Jaime Benn has turned himself into a superstar in the NHL over the last few seasons, and look for that to continue, Should Benn continue to produce at the rate he is over the next few seasons he will see himself as the left winger next to Modano someday. Defense is a slight concern for me. I don’t believe that Sergei Zubov and Darryl Sydor are worthy enough as compared to some of the other defensive units we have seen so far on this list. But nonetheless, they are the two best Dallas has to offer. The Stars will have to rely on the franchise’s all-time wins leader to keep the puck out of the net. Marty Turco was an absolute stud in the mid-2000s, and if he should play to his best abilities than the Stars all-time team should be alright in an all-time greatest season.

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4. St. Louis Blues:

Forwards

Brian Sutter-Bernard Federko-Brett Hull

Keith Tkachuk-Garry Unger-Pavol Demitra

Alex Steen-Vladimir Tarasenko-David Backes

TJ Oshie-Pierre Turgeon-Red Berenson

Defense

Al Macinnis-Chris Pronger

Rob Ramage-Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk

Goalie

Curtis Joseph

Here is a very interesting team if you ask me. The St. Louis Blues came into the NHL during the first expansion in 1967, and they have yet to win a Stanley Cup. I have absolutely zero feelings towards the Blues, they could win a cup and I wouldn’t be happy nor upset, they have always just blended in for me. But I do think that their all-time roster has a chance to do some damage. Brett Hull is probably the greatest Blue there has ever been, so look for Hull to be the captain of this team. He will lead the offense along with Brian Sutter on the top line. Keith Tkachuk is another great player to watch as well. Tkachuk will play big time power play minutes on this team and definitely be a big time contributor to the offense. The thir line is made up of a bunch of current, or very recent Blues players. David Backes is shipping up to Boston this season to hopefully help turn the big bad Bruins ship around, but he is definetly deserving of a spot on the St. Louis all-time roster. The defense on this team is incredibly solid as well. Al Macinnis and Chris Pronger are a great first defensive unit to have on any team. The other two lines are highlighted by current Blues point men Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk. CuJo, of Curtis Joseph is the second all-time wins leader in The Lou, but he is by far the greatest goalie the Blue have ever had. Give CuJo one more year in St. Louis and he has the all-time wins record for them in the bag.

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5. Nashville Predators:

Forwards

Steve Sullivan-David Legwand-Martin Erat

Scott Walker-Jason Arnott-JP Dumont

Paul Kariya-Cliff Ronning-Patric Hornqvist

Colin Wilson-Greg Johnson-Mike Fisher

Defense

Shea Weber-PK Subban

Kimmo Timonen-Roman Josi

Ryan Suter-Ryan Ellis

Goalie

Pekka Rinne

Let’s clear the air before we get started here, I LOVE the Nashville Predators. The Boston Bruins will always be my main chick, but I am very open about the Preds being my side piece. With that said, this team isn’t looking too good, offensively. David Legwand was the best forward that the Predators ever had, but he cannot compare at all to some of the other first line centers we’ve seen on this list. Now right to defense, and that top pair of Shea Weber and PK Subban. PK hasn’t a damn shift for the Predators yet, but he is in his prime, and coming from the Canadiens for who other than… Shea Weber. Weber is by far the best defenseman the Predators have ever had, but look for PK Subban to try an dethrone him in the coming years as he leads the Predators to their first Stanley Cup. The defense on this team is great if you ask me, they are a solid unit that can lock down the points and score goals when need be. Also, when Pekka Rinne is between the pipes, you have a shot in any game. Pekka Rinne is a Finnish Phenom who is going to someday lead my Preds to the Holy Grail of hockey. As for the way the Predators will fair in an all-time greatest season, well they need some work. They can compete and drop a few upsets here and there, but they aren’t going too far, that’s a guarantee.

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6. Minnesota Wild:

Forwards

Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Marian Gaborik

Andrew Brunette-Pierre Marc Bouchard-Jason Pominville

Kyle Brodziak-Wes Walz-Brian Rolston

Mikael Granlund-Charlie Coyle-Pascal Dupuis

Defense

Ryan Suter-Filip Kuba

Brent Burns-Jared Spurgeon

Nick Schultz-Marek Zidlicky

Goalie

Niklas Backstrom

Uh oh. This is a team in for a long season in an all-time greatest roster season. It’s not the players fault either, there are some really good players on this list like Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, and NiK Backstrom, but the Wild haven’t been around since as long as I’ve been alive. Hockey returned to Minnesota in 2000 after the North Stars headed south for Dallas, but the Wild have been pretty irrelevant for the most part of their existence. They have never made it to a Conference Finals and have only made the playoffs a handful of times, and the majority of those trips have been recent. Brian Rolston, Charlie Coyle, and Nick Schultz are all very good players, but they should never appear on an all-time greatest team. This team would honestly struggle in the NHL right now with this roster. Marian Gaborik was pretty solid for a few seasons but he can’t compete against Joe Sakic, Mike Modano, and Bobby Hull. The hardest decision for this team was goalie. I wanted nothing more than to put Manny Fernandez in net for the Wild, but after looking at the stats and what each goalie has accomplished for the Wild the choice became more clear, Niklas Backstrom was the guy. He leads the franchise in wins all-time, but I guarantee he will be passed by Devan Dubnyk someday. So for now the Wilds all-time greatest team is a cellar dweller in an all-time greatest roster season.

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7. Winnipeg Jets:

Forwards

Vyacheslav Kozlov-Bryan Little-Ilya Kovalchuk

Andrew Ladd-Marc Savard-Blake Wheeler

Dany Heatley-Nik Antropov-Marian Hossa

Evander Kane-Patrik Stepan-Jim Slater

Defense

Dustin Byfuglien-Zach Bogosian

Toby Enstrom-Ron Hainsey

Jacob Trouba-Yannick Trembley

Goalie

Ondrej Pavelec

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