Just before the 2015-16 NHL season got underway, I made some outrageous predictions. I thought it would be fun to look back and see how I'm doing on them.
- Erik Karlsson will be the first defenceman since Bobby Orr to win the Art Ross Trophy. There's no way EK can make up a 19-point gap over the last 20 games of the season. That being said, he's still on pace to be the first defenceman to finish top-five in scoring since Paul Coffey in 1985-86, so that's pretty good.
- Craig Anderson finished top-five in Vezina voting. This won't happen, I promise you. Andy is having a pretty good season, especially considering he'll be 35 in the spring. After all, he's faced the most shots in the league (an 87-shot lead over second-place Corey Crawford) and has still managed a respectable-but-not-great .917 save percentage. His biggest problem here is the quality of netminding we're seeing this year: Braden Holtby, Roberto Luongo, and Cory Schneider are all putting up incredible seasons. Crawford is having the best season of his career. Petr Mrazek, Henrik Lundqvist, and Ben Bishop have all been impressive. Andy won't get a single Vezina vote, but that's just because so many goalies are having prominent seasons.
- Nikita Kucherov will score more points than Vladimir Tarasenko. The score is currently 54-49 in favour of Tarasenko, but Tarasenko has also played three more games. As the Lightning push down the stretch, there's an outside chance I could be right here.
- The Florida Panthers will finish top-three in the Atlantic Division. This team currently has a five-point lead atop the division. It would take a historic Canadiens-esque drop-off for them to fall from those heights now.
- Both Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi are Stars for training camp next season. This one's hard to read from here. Barring a complete shock, they will both be Stars until the summer. If either one could be traded, it would likely be around the draft, or maybe to a team that misses out when free agency opens. But if you're a team looking for goalie help at the deadline, wouldn't you rather go for pending UFAs Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller, or James Reimer to see if it works out? With a name like Frederik Andersen reportedly available, or even Jimmy Howard, I have a hard time seeing a team drop assets to acquire a 32-year-old Lehtenon with two more seasons of a $5.9M cap hit. And considering Niemi has started about 10 more games, I doubt the team trades him. This looks to be Jim Nill's biggest conundrum moving forward.
- Nail Yakupov gets 60 points. He has 15 points in 40 games. Moving right along...
- Carl Hagelin outscores Corey Perry. Perry has 41 points; Hagelin has 20. Hey, remember that thing I said about Florida being top-three in the Atlantic?
- The Avalanche trade Matt Duchene. TSN's Insiders did say phone calls were made about Duchene, including one to Ottawa, but in the end it looks like he'll be an Av for the foreseeable future. I'll give myself half a point for this one.
- The Senators have eight 20-goal scorers. The team currently has three, with only Zack Smith looking like he could be the fourth. Kyle Turris would need an explosion like the start of his season to get there. I was way off on this one.
- Karlsson finally gets a hat-trick. There's still time! And think how much it'd help his Art Ross bid!
- An ugly loss to the Canucks last night [Silver Seven, Rank the Performances, SensChirp]
- Meanwhile, the B-Sens lost to the Marlies in a Wednesday matinée game [Silver Seven]
- Callum's Five Thoughts, including a fun poll asking if you'd prefer Valeri Nichushkin or Jonathan Drouin [Silver Seven]
- Trevor looks at the likelihood of trading Patrick Wiercioch [Silver Seven]
- Could Wiercioch be the centrepiece in a trade for Nichushkin? [Silver Seven]
- Murray had some comments about the trade deadlien [SensChirp, 6th Sens]
- Andrew takes a great look back through the history of tanking, pt. 1 [WTYKY]
- Somehow I missed this article from two weeks ago, in which Rob Feature creates a hilariously dark dystopian future of the Sens [Bonk's Mullet]
- The Senators really need to make the most of this stretch of "soft" games against non-playoff teams [Ottawa Citizen]
- Oh, and Jared Cowen was placed on waivers [Twitter]
- A look at what it would take to get Nichushkin from the Stars' point of view [Defending Big D]
- Losing to the Leafs last night means the Hurricanes should probably sell [TSS]
- Andrew Ladd was traded to the Blackhawks yesterday. Most 'Hawks fans aren't too happy, because the trade involved mortgaging the future without upgrading the D [Second City Hockey]
- The stats back up something we all know: refs try to balance powerplay opportunities in a game [TSN]
- Make sure to keep following the SB Nation NHL trade rumour tracker [SB Nation]