Predlines Predictions For The 2014-15 Season


The NHL season starts today with the Maple Leafs taking on the Canadiens followed by Flyers-Bruins, Canucks-Flames and then the Sharks take on the Kings. The Predators season starts tomorrow as they host the Ottawa Senators at 7:00 p.m. CT.

With the season finally here, we here at Predlines have come up with some questions regarding the Predators and some predictions for the upcoming NHL season.

Who will record the most points this season for the Predators?

Cutler Klein: “The Real Deal” James Neal will live up to his name this season, and rekindle his chemistry with Mike Ribeiro. He’ll notch 30+ goals and give Nashville offensive production unmatched since the days of Kariya and Forsberg.`

Daniel Lavender: James Neal should be the man leading the way for the Preds this season. Hopefully his transition from team-to-team goes better than his initial run with the Penguins after his trade from the Stars: 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) in 20 games. I expect a return to Dallas numbers without the high powered Pittsburgh centers feeding him the puck: 50+ points… 20+ goals.

Mark Harris: The popular choice here is definitely James Neal. I hope he plays to his expectations, but I am going to go with Craig Smith on this one. I think he’ll record 30 goals this season and surpass the 60 point mark.

Will Pekka Rinne return to Vezina Trophy finalist form after returning from a shortened 2013-14 campaign?

Cutler: Rinne will return to Vezina form this season and reclaim his spot as one of the league’s best goaltenders. That is only because he should stay healthy. He will likely finish with 40 wins.

Daniel: I would really love to think that Pekka Rinne can get right back at top three for Vezina status this season. That said, it’s still unpredictable as to what the Preds will be like this season and what Rinne’s work load might be as a result of it. My guess: 55+ games in net  with somewhere around a 0.908 SV% on the season.

Mark: Rinne has looked 100% healthy throughout training camp and the preseason and I expect him to get a very heavy workload this season; somewhere around 65 starts. With that being said I think he will be a top goalie in the league, and definitely be in consideration to be a finalist for the Vezina.

Does Shea Weber reach the 60 pt total mark for the first time in his career?

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Cutler: Captain Weber will not reach the 60-point mark, but frankly, he won’t need to. Last year, he was an offensive leader on the team. Peter Laviolette’s new system and the new offensive talent will pick up the slack from Weber this season.

Daniel: Shea Weber should have won the Norris last season and I think he will this year. The defense is getting better around him and I think a higher tempo offensive style from Laviolette can make for better numbers this season to last for Weber; reaching a point total just under 60 points.

Mark: I think Weber has reached a boiling point in terms of not winning the Norris Trophy, with that being said I think Weber has the best season of his NHL career in the points category by hitting the 60 point mark right on the dot and ultimately leading to a Norris Trophy.

Over/Under of 188 total points scored by Ribeiro, Neal, Jokinen, Roy this season. Why? (all four combined had a total of 188 points last year)

Cutler: Over. Neal will put up the most out of the four big new players. Ribeiro won’t match his early career production, but he’ll certainly step it up from last year. Roy and Jokinen will both put up decent numbers as well, rekindling their careers. It won’t be too much more than 188, but it will certainly be more.

Daniel: I do not feel as if that will be done. Even in an injury dented year James Neal contributed to nearly a third of that group’s points total and I don’t think he’ll be on that level this season while transitioning to a new organization. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that group punch around the 160 points combined clip, but you’d have to hope that Ribeiro and Jokinen don’t hit any walls this season.

Mark: I think three of the four players listed have very good years. If all four have good years, David Poile looks like the best GM in the NHL. I think the point total for the combined players will be right around the same number as last year. I think they’ll record 186-194 total points.

Your favorite Predators storyline/thing you are most intrigued to watch/develop as the Predators season starts?

Cutler: How will the young guys fit in? The Predators have a wealth of young talent in Milwaukee that could be called up at any time. Last season, we saw a few players get some call-ups. What will that look like this year? The NHL roster is jam-packed, so it may be tough to fit younger players in. If few youngsters crack the roster this year, what will happen beyond this year?

Daniel: Filip Forsberg and Taylor Beck starting with the Predators is what intrigues me the most. With Laviolette in charge are they finally going to be afforded the chance to play in situations that maximize their playing strengths? It looks as if that might finally be the case.

Mark: What the heck are we going to get from Filip Forsberg this season? He looks bigger, stronger, and more confident. I think he starts the season in a top-six role, quite possibly on the top-line if preseason was a preview of anything. Will he burst onto the scene, or struggle and find himself back in Milwaukee by Christmas? I think and hope that he will be a top-six guy for the entire season.

Predators predicted record.

Cutler: 43-32-7

Daniel: 39-35-8

Mark: 44-33-5

How will teams finish this season, top-three plus wild card teams?

Cutler: (Eastern Conference) Atlantic – 1. Boston 2. Lightning 3. Canadiens. Metropolitan – 1. Penguins 2. Rangers 3. Islanders. Wild Card Teams – 1. Red Wings 2. Maple Leafs.

(Western Conference) Central: 1. Blackhawks 2. Blues 3. Stars. Pacific – 1. Ducks 2. Kings 3. Sharks. Wild Card Teams – 1. Avalanche 2. Oilers

Daniel: (Eastern Conference) Atlantic – 1. Bruins 2. Lightning 3. Red Wings. Metropolitan – 1. Penguins 2. Rangers 3. Blue Jackets. Wild Card Teams – 1. Islanders 2. Canadiens.

(Western Conference) Central – 1. Blackhawks 2. Blues 3. Stars. Pacific – 1. Ducks 2. Kings 3. Sharks. Wild Card Teams – 1. Wild 2. Avalanche

Mark: (Eastern Conference) Atlantic – 1. Canadiens 2. Lightning 3. Bruins. Metropolitan – 1. Penguins 2. Blue Jackets 3. Islanders. Wild Card Teams – 1. Maple Leafs 2. Capitals

(Western Conference) Central – 1. Blues 2. Blackhawks 3. Stars. Pacific – 1. Ducks 2. Sharks 3. Kings. Wild Card Teams – 1. Avalanche 2. Predators

Who goes to the cup, who wins?

Cutler: Tampa Bay Lightning beat the St Louis Blues in seven games.

Daniel: Chicago Blackhawks against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both teams are stacked but in two different ways. Blackhawks have been there. Lightning are younger and just sort of getting there. I think it’ll end up being the Blackhawks in 7 games with some kid named Toews picking up the Conn Smythe.

Mark: Brace yourselves, here comes a shocking pick; the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup next season. They beat the Canadiens in five games.

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