Hey everyone, after reading the Silver Nuggets article on "Expectations for Erik Karlsson" earlier, my mind went instantly into "poolie" mode. For the purposes of the poll in the article, I voted that EK would get 70 points this season, barring any other freak accidents or health problems. The question then became "well, what about the rest of the team?" Will Spezza get back into the top five in league scoring? How will Bobby Ryan do playing on his wing after being in the shadows of Getzlaf, Perry, and Selanne?
After giving it some thought, and taking into account numerous factors (likely ice time, past point production, possible potential, personal expectations, etc) I've come up with the following table of the top 10 (well, 11 I guess since 2 players tied, but whatever) scorers on the team. Now, I would love it if any or all players passed my expectations, but I feel these are fair predictions heading into this season (barring an unthinkable injury plague like the one we had last year- hopefully we don't see anything like that again for more than a decade):
Name/Goals (G)/Assists (A)/Total Points (P)
- Jason Spezza- 30G, 50A, 80P
- Bobby Ryan- 40G, 35A, 75P
- Erik Karlsson- 20G, 50A, 70P
- Kyle Turris/Milan Michalek- 25G, 35A, 60P each
- Clarke MacArthur- 20G, 30A, 50P
- Mika Zibanejad- 20G, 25A, 45P
- Patrick Wiercioch- 10G, 30A, 40P
- Colin Greening- 15G, 20A, 35P
- J.G. Pageau- 15G, 15A, 30P
- Cory Conacher- 10G, 20A, 30P
I stopped at this point, because unless you're in a pool that has 50 rounds or a keeper pool, you're not likely to be taking players below the 30 point range. Some other things I think I should mention that affected my predictions:
- I assumed that with Gonchar gone, and nobody aside from Corvo signed on the defensive front so far, that Wiercioch will be the #2 powerplay defenseman behind EK. After playing sheltered minutes last year, and signing a new contract, it will be interesting to see both how he is used, and how he reacts. If he doesn't play well, Corvo could jump into the top 10 with more PP time.
- A lot of these players have upside and could get more points than I predicted, but after the scoring drought last year, I felt it better to guess on the conservative side.
- After his playoff performance last year, I assumed that Pageau will make the team as the 4th line centre, and will play with Colin Greening. Sorry Jim O'Brien, me thinks you may not be around much longer...
- Conacher is the mystery piece who I'm totally unsure of. I assumed that Conacher would be playing on the 4th line alongside Pageau and Greening, as putting him beside Smith and Neil didn't seem to make sense to me chemistry wise- two grinders and a small speedster seems weird to me compared to having a defensive type like Condra there. I also assumed he would be pushed out of the top 6 by Zibanejad. However there is a good chance Condra/Conacher could be flipped around for all I know!
- I assumed that the kids in the AHL will impress in training camp, but still require a bit of seasoning in the minors before making the jump to the big club.
I'd love to hear others thoughts on this- agree or flame away, and post your own predictions! Getting anxious for pool draft day to see who I end up with....cheers!