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NHL Team Quick Hits | October
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Hello there Islanders Hockey Blog readers, Eric here. Hopefully by now you’ve all gotten a chance to watch my division preview videos as well as my playoff and Stanley Cup winner prediction video that I posted on the site a couple weeks ago. But today it is time for my first written piece encompassing the entire NHL. With the start of the season right around the corner, every team is 0-0-0 and has hopes of making the playoffs and winning it all. Today I’m going to give you quick hits for all 30 teams, listing three things: Why a team could win the Stanley Cup this year, why a team won’t win it this year and my prediction for their season. I’ll list the teams by conference and alphabetically, so let’s get started.

Eastern Conference

Atlanta Thrashers

Why They’ll Win-The addition of four Cup winning Blackhawks lead a young team into the postseason and use their experience to win games.

Why They Won’t-The Mason/Pavelec goaltending duo disappoints and there isn’t enough offense to make up for it.

My Prediction-13th in the conference, out of playoffs.

Boston Bruins

Why They’ll Win-A horrific ending to last year’s postseason motivates them to get further and Tuukka Rask gets even better.

Why They Won’t-Missing Marc Savard leaves too big a hole down the middle and the offensive struggles.

My Prediction-3rd in conference, eliminated in second round of playoffs.

Buffalo Sabres

Why They’ll Win-The team overcomes its primarily small forwards and lack of star power thanks to endless game breaking performances by Ryan Miller.

Why They Won’t-Miller becomes rundown from having to win every game alone and the forwards get pushed around.

My Prediction-6th in conference, eliminated in first round of playoffs.

Carolina Hurricanes

Why They’ll Win-Cam Ward has a career year and health remains with the team throughout the entire season.

Why They Won’t-A lack of offensive fire power puts too much pressure on an average defensive corp.

My Prediction-11th in conference, out of playoffs.

Florida Panthers

Why They’ll Win-The other 29 NHL franchises all fold mid-season.

Why They Won’t-Losing has become a tradition in South Florida the team wishes to uphold.

My Prediction-15th in conference, out of playoffs.

Montreal Canadiens

Why They’ll Win-Using the experience gained in last postseason the team has the drive to go further.

Why They Won’t-Carey Price continues to disappoint at the NHL level and for another year fails to become the goaltender everyone thought he could be.

My Prediction-10th in conference, out of playoffs.

New Jersey Devils

Why They’ll Win-A revamped defense and the first offensive heavy squad for over a decade overpower teams at both ends of the ice.

Why They Won’t-Martin Brodeur doesn’t have enough left in the tank to win 16 playoff games.

My Prediction-4th in conference, eliminated in first round of playoffs.

New York Islanders

Why They’ll Win-The team pretends to be Chicago and Pittsburgh of one and two years ago and uses youthful players with nothing to lose to go all the way.

Why They Won’t-Rick DiPietro doesn’t get healthy and the team experiences another year of growing pains.

My Prediction-14th in conference, out of playoffs.

New York Rangers

Why They’ll Win-Henrik Lundqvist and a roster filled with tons of offensive talent learns how to score consistently.

Why They Won’t-A primarily young defense puts the team in too many bad situations and lets in too many goals.

My Prediction-8th in conference, eliminated in first round of playoffs.

Ottawa Senators

Why They’ll Win-Veteran leadership helps the team pull out wins in tight games.

Why They Won’t-The duo of Leclaire and Elliot doesn’t perform well enough.

My Prediction-9th in conference, out of playoffs.

Philadelphia Flyers

Why They’ll Win-One of the best defenses in the NHL limits shots and the offense clicks on a regular basis.

Why They Won’t-A goaltending duo of journeyman backups doesn’t have the magic it did last year.

My Prediction-5th in conference, eliminated in second round of playoffs.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Why They’ll Win-An extended off-season gives players a much needed break and the team returns to it’s form of two and three years ago.

Why They Won’t-A lack of depth on the wings makes it too easy to focus on shutting down the team’s trio of excellent centers.

My Prediction-2nd in conference, wins Stanley Cup.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Why They’ll Win-They outscore opponents on a nightly basis.

Why They Won’t-Goaltending disappoints and Lecavalier and/or St. Louis start to decline as they age.

My Prediction-7th in conference, eliminated in first round of playoffs.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Why They’ll Win-A strong defense and goaltending duo make it difficult for teams to score goals.

Why They Won’t-The offense doesn’t show up and the strong backend of the team is thus compromised.

My Prediction-12th in conference, out of playoffs.

Washington Capitals

Why They’ll Win-No one can shutdown Ovechkin, the offense and the power play.

Why They Won’t-The young defense and goaltending don’t support the offense.

My Prediction-1st in conference, eliminated in third round of playoffs

Western Conference

Anaheim Ducks

Why They’ll Win-Offense and goaltending carry the team each game.

Why They Won’t-They can’t overcome the loss of Pronger and Niedermayer the last two years on defense.

My Prediction-11th in conference, out of playoffs.

Calgary Flames

Why They’ll Win-Kiprusoff and a strong defense shutdown other teams.

Why They Won’t-What didn’t work the first time around doesn’t work again the second time.

My Prediction-9th in conference, out of playoffs.

Chicago Blackhawks

Why They’ll Win-A great core of offense and defense plus experience from last year’s title run powers the team to a second straight title.

Why They Won’t-Too many losses because of the salary cap prove to be too much to overcome.

My Prediction-3rd in conference, eliminated in second round of playoffs.

Colorado Avalanche

Why They’ll Win-Their young players mature even more beyond that of last year.

Why They Won’t-A still young team doesn’t have the postseason experience to hang with the talented conference.

My Prediction-8th in conference, eliminated in first round of playoffs.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Why They’ll Win-Steve Mason remembers how to win every game in a shutout.

Why They Won’t-A weakness down the middle of the offense makes it difficult to score goals on a regular basis.

My Prediction-14th in conference, out of playoffs.

Dallas Stars

Why They’ll Win-Lehtonen finally lives up to expectations and the entire roster has career years.

Why They Won’t-The team shows too often that they’re a franchise in transition.

My Prediction-13th in conference, out of playoffs.

Detroit Red Wings

Why They’ll Win-Experience and the realization that the window of opportunity is slowly closing drives the team to it’s second title in four years.

Why They Won’t-Howard falters and age finally catches up to the team.

My Prediction-5th in conference, eliminated in first round of playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers

Why They’ll Win-The mantra “will over skill” drives a young core every night.

Why They Won’t-Questions in goal don’t help to support a young team.

My Prediction-15th in conference, out of playoffs.

Los Angeles Kings

Why They’ll Win-The team improves upon last year and continues to meld into a strong group of players.

Why They Won’t-The young goaltending duo can’t stand up against more experienced teams in crunch time.

My Prediction-4th in conference, eliminated in second round of playoffs.

Minnesota Wild

Why They’ll Win-The second year in a new offensive system starts to yield results.

Why They Won’t-The offense doesn’t find its rhythm and Backstrom isn’t enough to overcome the lack of scoring.

My Prediction-12th in conference, out of playoffs.

Nashville Predators

Why They’ll Win-Rinne has a Vezina year in net and the team does what it always does by winning more games with less budget.

Why They Won’t-Inconsistency hurts the team.

My Prediction-10th in conference, out of playoffs.

Phoenix Coyotes

Why They’ll Win-They continue to have an “us against the world” attitude and have a drive to improve upon the accomplishments of last year.

Why They Won’t-Last year turns out to be an aberration and the team begins to falter as most had expected.

My Prediction-6th in conference, eliminated in first round of playoffs.

San Jose Sharks

Why They’ll Win-Getting to the Conference Finals last year proved to the players they can get out of the first two rounds and Antti Niemi’s quest to prove his worth drives the team.

Why They Won’t-The team falls into old habits and again forgets how to get it down come April and May.

My Prediction-1st in conference, lose in Stanley Cup Finals.

St. Louis Blues

Why They’ll Win-They remain healthy and the yet untapped talent of their youngsters finally comes to fruition.

Why They Won’t-Too many young players underachieve for another year and hold the team back.

My Prediction-7th in conference, eliminated in first round of playoffs.

Vancouver Canucks

Why They’ll Win-One of the best goalies in the best combined with great depth on both offense and defense make this an all-around team with a drive to go the distance.

Why They Won’t-Luongo continues to falter come postseason and the penalty kill hangs the team out to dry.

My Prediction-2nd in conference, eliminated in third round of playoffs.