Saturday, October 2, 2010


Balls Brunswick after talking to SYP owner today...

The excellent website has been down for the last day or two due to heavy traffic. I don't mean to brag but the most popular feature on that site was the previews by yours truly. Kind of an epic feeling knowing we're doing something that a lot of people are checking out.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The most irritating thing in fantasy hockey...

Balls Brunswick at the height of the 1987 fantasy hockey season...
Since I've been hearing a lot about other people's fantasy hockey teams in the last few days and since I'm writing for a fantasy hockey website now... I thought I would bore you people with my fantasy hockey rosters. I'll update my progress through the season just so you can see if my opinions have any credence.

In the second year of my main Keeper league which is a 12 team H2H league...

Team Dollar Balls Brunswick

C - Anze Kopitar
C - John Tavares
C - Matt Duchene
LW - Taylor Hall
LW - Milan Lucic
LW - Alex Burrows
LW - Magnus Paajarvi
RW - Patric Hornqvist
RW - David Backes
RW - Teemu Selanne
D - Erik Johnson
D - Tobias Enstrom
D - Joni Pitkanen
D - Ryan Suter
D - Dimitry Kulikov
D - Oliver Ekman-Larsson
G - Cam Ward
G - Semyon Varlamov
G - Jonathan Bernier
G - Sergei Bobrovski

In the first year of a 10 team H2H Keeper league

Team Balls Mahoney

C - John Tavares
C - Travis Zajac
C - Tyler Ennis
C - Taylor Seguin
LW - Taylor Hall
LW - Simon Gagne
LW - Milan Lucic
LW - James van Riemsdyk
RW - Corey Perry
RW - Patric Hornqvist
RW - Steve Downie
RW - Kyle Okposo
D - Mike Green
D - Drew Doughty
D - John Carlson
D - Jamie McBain
D - Dimitry Kulikov
D - Andy Greene
D - Oliver Ekman-Larsson
G - Marty Turco
G - Steve Mason
G - Jonathan Bernier

In a one year Rotisserie 16 team league

Team Balls Deep

C - Ryan Getzlaf
C - Tyler Ennis
C - Tyler Seguin
C - Matthew Lombardi
W - Ilya Kovalchuk
W - Rick Nash
W - Milan Lucic
W - Taylor Hall
W - Magnus Paajarvi
D - Mike Green
D - Tobias Enstrom
D - Joni Pitkanen
D - Ryan Suter
D - Dimitry Kulikov
G - Antti Niemi
G - JS Giguere
G - Sergei Bobrovski

Notes from CBJ Vs. MIN from 09/30/10

Blinking S.O.S. unconsciously

Well I managed to catch the CBJ Vs. Minny pre-season game this morning thanks to NHL Network running all the pre-season games in the A.M. (greatest idea ever) So I've been managing to catch a lot of games from teams I normally wouldn't get the chance to. I was interested to see what the Blue Jackets look like under Arniel.

Blue Jackets look miles ahead of where they were last season with hard work and effort. However there is still a lack of top end talent both up front and on the back end which is quite apparent.

Nash is looking like Iginla has in recent years. Very frustrated that he doesn't have anyone to play with who can anticipate what he's thinking.

The Blue Jackets have a respectable group of talent up front and it looks like their offense will be much improved this season.

Steve Mason also looks improved but is going to get blasted this season with shots behind a small defense.

The Blue Jackets desperately need some more talent on their back end. They don't look like they have a single guy that could be considered a first pairing defenseman.

The CBJ are noticeably playing Arniel's system and seem to be buying in as they're exhibiting an aggressive forecheck and collapsing defensive style characteristic of Arniel's work in Manitoba. My question is how long are they going to continue to buy into the system and how long with this system be able to cover the CBJ's weakness on the back end.

Scott Arniel will be a finalist for coach of the year. Book it.

It's going to be another long season for Minnesota fans.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

2010-2011 New York Islanders Preview

Next player to enter Superstardom?
Last Years' Results

34 wins, 37 losses, 11 OTL, 79 points, 26th overall in the league

Team Analysis

The New York Islanders are a team of high highs and low lows. Already the Islanders who finally were moving in the right direction after what seemed like an endless rebuild suffered long term injuries to two of it's key players. This season looks to be yet another in this long rebuild the Isles faithful have had to endure however there will be some bright spots as a lot of kids will look to get an opportunity and to make names for themselves in the league. 

The Islanders are led up front by former first overall pick 20-year old John Tavares who's been a superstar since he was fifteen. Tavares entered the season last year to much fan fare but has had difficulties with his skating and adjusting to the physical play in the NHL. Tavares will look to enter this season much stronger and with a season of experience under his belt. The 20-year old center boasts a freaky hockey IQ that I can only describe as "hockey jedi" and looks to become one of the most brilliant creative players in the league. However Tavares will largely have to do it by himself this year as there's not much scoring depth beyond himself up front for the Islanders. Kyle Okposo is a former seventh overall pick who the Islanders have been slowly developing into a first line scoring forward. Okposo had an excellent sophomore campaign last year and looked to have a breakout campaign this season before being sidelined with a shoulder injury that could see him miss as much as three months. Due to Okposo's injury current fifth overall pick Nino Niederreiter will likely see NHL time this year and could remain with the club until Okposo returns. Niederreiter is a big power forward who reminds me of a young Jarome Iginla and was labeled the most NHL ready player in the draft. Matt Moulson seemed to come out of nowhere to score 30 goals for the Islanders last season. Moulson who has previously bounced around the AHL has developed into a decent scorer with a good shot. The 26-year old winger is a rather one dimensional player but has an acumen in the offensive zone that is valuable to the Islanders.

Blake Comeau will be a fixture in the Islanders top six and will likely be riding shotgun with Tavares. Comeau displays a smart two-way game and work ethic but lacks the polish and consistency of top tier player. Frans Nielsen is a talented two-way player who also has solid playmaking skills. Nielsen is a likely candidate to have a breakout season while being a permanent member of the second line. Likely bouncing between the second and third line will be uber puck wizard Robbie Schremp who found a home with the Islanders after several frustrating seasons in the minors. Schremp hasn't been able to translate the game that's made him a YouTube god to the NHL yet but will get ample opportunity to prove himself in a scoring role. 

Former ninth overall pick Josh Bailey has developed into a solid two-way player who's reminiscent of a young Trevor Linden. Bailey will likely bounce between the second and third line while adding a respectable amount of points. Trent Hunter will be a fixture on the Islanders third line and will contribute a honest grinding game. Hunter is a big bodied winger who hasn't found the consistency in his offensive game to be a top six player but plays a very respectable complimentary role. Young 21-year old Matt Martin is a big 6-2 winger who plays a physical crash and bang style while displaying a decent shot. At the time of this writing it seems likely Martin will make the team and bounce between the third and fourth line.

Rounding out the forwards core for the Islanders is 39-year old Doug Weight who remains on the team to add a veteran presence and some scoring pop when he's in the lineup. The Islanders signed gritty pugilist Zenon Konopka this off-season to protect the kids in the lineup and to provide a solid defensive game. 22-year old Jesse Joensuu is another big kid at 6-4 and has displayed a scoring touch at the various levels of his career. It's a good likelihood he'll see significant games this year. Training camp invitee Jed Ortmeyer could also win a contract soon and be a defensive winger on the Isle's fourth line. Grinding agitating winger John Sim will likely bounce between all the lines this season and could pop a fair amount of goals. Depth winger PA Parenteau could also find himself getting significant games this season.

The Islanders were cursed to lose premiere defenseman Mark Streit during training camp to a shoulder injury that will see him out for the season. Streit was arguably the most underrated player in the league before his injury tallying some of the best numbers in the NHL from the back end. Losing the Swiss defenseman will significantly hurt the Islanders. James Wisniewski will get significantly more opportunity this season then at any point in his career as he'll be asked to become the Islanders number one defender in Streit's absence. Wisniewski has quietly developed into a talented three zone defenseman who displays a competent offensive acumen. Wisnieski will likely prove to be an intelligent moneypuck acquisition for the Islanders. 

Veteran Stanley Cup winner Mark Eaton signed with the Islanders this off-season and will look to be a stabilizing influence in the Islanders top four. Eaton is a player you don't really notice but he'll quietly eat 20 minutes a night with mistake free hockey. Radek Martinek is a talented smooth skating defenseman who can play the shutdown role however has been injury plagued since entering the league. Martinek is 34-years old now and remains a huge injury concern but will be entering the season healthy. 

Filling out the Islanders' defense will be impressive defensive defenseman Andrew MacDonald who played 46 games in his rookie debut last season. MacDonald doesn't have much of an offensive game but is extremely competent in the defensive zone and displays impressive wheels for a defense oriented defenseman. MacDonald really shows the potential to blossom into the Islanders' key shutdown defenseman. Bruno Gervais has been often criticized by the Islanders' faithful for having holes in his game however Gervais is a young talented offensive defenseman who will help to distribute the puck in Streit's absence. 24-year old Jack Hillen has very quietly emerged as a decent puck moving defenseman since being signed out of college by the Islanders. Hillen is another strong candidate to have a breakout season on the Islanders blueline. The Islanders also signed depth defenseman Mike Mottau to a two year contract following Streit's injury.

In net the Islanders will have 40-year old crafty veteran Dwayne Roloson as their 1A. Roloson blossomed into an excellent starter late in his hockey career and will likely wind up a great career on the island this season. Backing up Roloson will be charismatic former number one overall pick Rick DiPietro who's returning to the Island after managing only 13 games in two hellish injury plagued years. DiPietro is one of best puck-handling goalies in the league and just oozes confidence but will have to overcome two years of knee injuries to return to prominence.

Team Trending

The Islanders quite honestly don't have the talent to make the playoffs and this will be another year in their rebuild cycle. However the joy of this season for the Islanders will be watching the progression of several young players who will soon lead this team back to prominence. It's also very encouraging that DiPietro is healthy as he's gone from future of the franchise to complete write-off to potentially being back in the fold. This season will see Tavares take another step forward to becoming one of the elite players in the league. Despite this, expect the Islanders to be a lottery team and to come in somewhere between 25th-30th in the league. 

BVB's Projected Opening Night Lineup




Player Projections


Matt Moulson - 27 G/23 A 50 P
John Tavares - 33 G/39 A 72 P
Blake Comeau 24 G/23 A 47 P

John Sim - 13 G/14 A 27 P
Frans Nielsen - 17 G/28 A 45 P
Nino Niederreiter - 12 G/14 A 26 P

Matt Martin - 7 G/11 A 18 P
Josh Bailey - 18 G/26 A 44 P 
Trent Hunter - 17 G/20 A 37 P

Jesse Joensuu - 6 G/14 A 20 P
Zenon Konopka - 3 G/9 A 12 P
PA Parenteau - 4 G/7 A 11 P

Robbie Schemp - 7 G/20 A 27 P
Kyle Okposo - 6 G/15 A 21 P


Mark Eaton - 4 G/14 A 16 P
James Wisniewski - 5 G/31 A 36 P
Jack Hillen - 4 G/23 A 27 P
Radek Martinek - 3 G/15 A 18 P
Bruno Gervais - 4 G/16 A 20 P
Andy MacDonald - 2 G/10 A 12 P
Mike Mottau - 0 G/7 A 7 P


Dwayne Roloson - 22-28-7 | 3.19 GAA | .909 Sv%
Rick DiPietro - 10-11-4 | 3.07 GAA | .913 Sv%

2010-2011 New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils
Kiss her where it smells, take her to New Jersey!
 Brodeur can't see you.
Previous Year's Results

48 wins, 27 losses, 7 OTL, 103 points, 6th overall in the league

Team Analysis

The New Jersey Devils are one of the elite teams in all of professional sports. The Devils are a team that have boasted post season success for over two decades and one of the finest management groups in hockey. Led by the best General Manager in the NHL Uncle Lou Lamoriello since 1987 the Devils have set the standard for scouting, development, and intelligent hockey moves. However it's not going to be long before this team will be forced to contend with personnel turnover on both the ice and in the front office. The question for the Devils will be how deep will they make it in the post-season and how many more runs does this team have left in it's current form?

The Devils have one of the best and most balanced forwards group in the league. GM Lou Lamoriello achieved an absolute coup this off-season re-signing deadly Russian sniper Ilya Kovalchuk to a 100 million dollar life time contract. Kovalchuk has been an elite goal scorer since entering the league a decade ago and for the first time will be competing on a competent powerhouse team. Kovalchuk will be moving to right wing this season to compliment another elite player in Zach Parise. The American left winger has blossomed into a top point per game left wing and is still young enough to continue to improve. Travis Zajac has been one of the main picks to have a breakout season this year. Zajac will be the pivot in between the two elite wingers and offers a solid two-way and passing game in the offensive zone. 

The Devils have one of the best second lines in the league featuring three premiere but aging veterans. Anchoring the second line has been one of the most talented offensive players over the last decade in Patrik Elias who's been close to a point per game player through his career. Elias is beginning to slow from age and injuries but will still be an effective complimentary scorer and will likely be a 20/30 player. Jason Arnott was traded from the Nashville Predatotrs this off-season to center the Devils' second line. Arnott is a retread in New Jersey and is a talented big bodied center who excels in the offensive zone. If Arnott can remain healthy he stands a good chance of having one of the best seasons of his career. Playing right wing will be Jamie Langenbrunner who's one of the finest two-way players in the game. Langenbrunner is the Captain of the Devils and has the reputation of being one of the most clutch players. Langenbrunner has found a scoring touch late in his career and has become a consistent 60+ point threat.

At the time of this writing the Devils are severely over the cap with the Kovalchuk signing. The Devils have two players that have a lot of speculation surrounding them as candidates likely to move before the season opens. Brian Rolston has been one of the most consistent second tier scoring forwards in the league boasting one of the most impressive slapshots. Rolston has been slowing considering in recent years and has in large part been pushed out of the picture in New Jersey. Rolston also has a boat anchor of a contract with a cap hit of five million a season. Dainius Zubrus is a big three zone player who's been a tool box player in New Jersey that can play any role necessary. However Zubrus is another player who's largely become redundant in the Devils lineup and has a weighty contract. These two players seem to be the most likely to be waived or traded as cap casualties. 

David Clarkson has blossomed into the type of player teams covet. Clarkson is a big mean power forward who's developed something of a scoring touch and exhibits a ham and eggs work ethic that sees him improve each season. Clarkson will never be a first tier offensive guy but he's developed into a player that could pop 20 goals a season while protecting your line-up. Clarkson faced a frustrating series of injuries last season but remains a strong candidate to have a career year bouncing between the third and second line. Likely rounding out the forwards core will be training camp invitee Adam Mair who's earned praise from the Devils coaching staff for his work this pre-season. Mair is a gritty center known for his defensive play and will likely get a contract with the Devils soon. 19-year old rookie and former 20th overall pick Jacob Josefson has been impressive this season and has received praise from the Devils' faithful. Josefson can play all three positions and looks to be another Devils steal. With the cap situation Josefson is a likely candidate to get significant ice time in New Jersey. 

Competing for ice time this season will be Rod Pelley who's become a work horse grinder for the Devils. Pelley doesn't offer much in the offensive zone but is an adequate depth defensive center. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond not only has the greatest hockey name of all time but will also likely make the Devils as their enforcer. Leblond is a capable pugilist who also has an adequate defensive game for his role. Vladimir Zharkov has found himself as an decent defensive forward in the National Hockey League playing in 40 games for the Devils last season without registering a goal. Zharkov was surprisingly sent to AHL recently but will likely re-emerge for the Devils at some point this year.

The Devils had a fantastic off-season not only signing a superstar in Kovlachuk but also signing two of the best defensemen on the market. The Devils acquired Henrik Tallinder from conference rivals Buffalo Sabres. Tallinder is a talented minute eating defenseman in the smooth Swedish three zone mold. Tallinder will be an excellent addition to an overworked defensive group and will aid both special teams. Tallinder has been plagued with injuries through his career but managed his second complete NHL campaign last year. The Devils also signed blue line bruiser Anton Volchenkov who's developed into one of the best shutdown defensemen in the game. Volchenkov is a very aggressive defensive defenseman who's one of the premiere shot blockers and hitters in the league. Although Volchenkov faces injuries concerns due to the physical and reckless nature of his game.

Seemingly out of nowhere former depth defenseman Andy Greene exploded into a first tier offensive defenseman and emerged as the Devils number one last season. In one of the stranger rags to riches performances in my memory Greene put in a consistently excellent effort every night on the Devils' blueline while netting top numbers. Greene wore down as the season went along and likely won't be relied upon as heavily this season but there's no reason not to think he won't be the Devils' top point producer on the back end. Colin White a lifetime Devil has become one of the key leaders for this team and has developed into a gritty defensive defenseman on New Jersey's blue line. White will likely bounce between the second and third pairing for the Devils while be one of their most consistent blueliners.

Bryce Salvador is another gritty defensive defenseman who's found a home in Uncle Lou's system. Salvador seems a likely candidate to be moved in the Devils' cap crunch despite managements proclaims that they wish to keep him. Salvador "mysteriously" came down with an undisclosed injury in training camp and is currently undergoing "testing." We all hope and pray for a speedy recovery. Behind Salvador on the depth chart is a plethora of different defensemen. Mark Fraser is a big stay at home defenseman who displays a solid game for a depth defender. Rob Davison has made a career of being a gritty stay at home seventh defenseman who's willing to protect his teammates. 19-year old Alexander Urbom has been a surprise as a big gritty defensive defenseman in training camp. Urbom stands an outside chance of making the team although will likely see himself back in the WHL this year. Depth offensive defenseman Anssi Salmela will also be in the mix bouncing between the AHL and NHL for the Devils.

The Devils have been pleased for over fifteen years to have the best goaltender in the history of the game Martin Brodeur tending their nets. Brodeur put up Vezina caliber numbers through the first half of last season before crumbling a week before the Olympic break. The 38-year old Brodeur regained form towards the end of the season but still showed that he was worn down after playing 77 games for the Devils last year. This led to the Devils signing arguably the best 1B goaltender in hockey Johan Hedberg who absolutely shined last season in Atlanta. The 37-year old Hedberg will likely get 15-20 or so games spelling Brodeur in relief and will be a strong replacement if Brodeur get injured. 

Team Trending

The Devils are in full blown win now mode with their off-season moves and the way they've structured their team. It seems likely that GM Lou Lamoriello senses that after over two decade of being the best general manager in hockey that his time could soon be through. The Devils will look to go all the way this season and are a Cup favorite right now. Look for them to come in somewhere between first through fifth in the league.

BVB's Projected Lineup




Projected Stats


Zach Parise -41 G/50 A 91 P
Travis Zajac - 27 G/60 A 87 P
Ilya Kovalchuk 50 G/55 A 95 P

Patrick Elias - 17 G/27 A 44 P
Jason Arnott - 19 G/31 A 50 P
Jamie Langenbrunner - 22 G/29 A 51 P

Brian Rolston - 15 G/20 A 35 P
Jacob Josefson - 11 G/21 A 32 P
David Clarkson - 19 G/17 A 36 P

Adam Mair - 5 G/9 A 14 P
Rod Pelley - 3 G/10 A 13 P
Vladimir Zharkov - 1 G/8 A 9 P 


Andy Greene - 6 G/34 A 40 P
Henrik Tallinder - 4 G/17 A 21 P
Anton Volchenkov - 3 G/18 A 21 P
Colin White - 1 G/8 A 9 P
Bryce Salvador - 3 G/10 A 13 P
Mark Fraser - 2 G/6 A 8 P
Rob Davison - 0 G/4 A 


Martin Brodeur - 38-23-7 | 2.29 GAA | .919 Sv%
Johan Hedberg - 9-3-2 | 2.47 GAA | .915 Sv%

Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010-2011 Nashville Predators Preview

The Nashville Predators
Michael Jackson's Favorite Team
I hear ya knocking but ya can't come in.
Last Year's Results

47 wins, 29 losses, 6 OTL, 100 points, 8th overall in the league

Team Analysis

The Nashville Predators are the very model for success as an expansion team as the Predators are a team that thrive in a non-traditional hockey market with a modest internal budget through moneypuck decisions and one of the most competent management groups in the league. Despite being a perennial playoff team making the post-season five out of the last six years this team has never been out of the first round. The Predators have reached a level of respect in this league but needs a franchise defining post season run to take hockey in Tennessee to the next level. The question for the Predators is will they be able to go deep in the post-season? 

The Predators are led up front by the last pick of the 2005 draft Patric Hornqvist who's blossomed into one of the finest crease crashing forwards in the league. The 23-year old Hornqvist who played his first full season last year exploded with 30 goals and displayed one of the most unique playing styles I've seen in the NHL. The young Swede promises to be among league leaders in goals and shots on goal this season. Likely playing on the opposite wing is venerable veteran Steve Sullivan who had a very nice complete 82 game bounce back campaign after six years of frustrating injury plagued seasons. Sullivan is one of the more competitive players in the league but is beginning to get long in the tooth and still has injury concerns based on his history. Look for Sullivan to have another great year in a complimentary scoring role if he can stay healthy. General manager David Polie's biggest moneypuck acquisition this off-season was speedy center Matt Lombardi who will have the greatest production opportunity of his career in Nashville. Lombardi has never been confused with an elite offensive player but displays a solid two-way acumen and has a game that'll fit the Predators like a glove. Look for Lombardi to have a career year with the Predators.

Predators' fans are very excited about 20-year old Colin Wilson who's a former seventh overall pick. Wilson will get a full time role on the NHL roster as the Predators will rely upon him to produce in the top six. The Predators broke the young winger in with 35 games and expect him to be a 20 goal 15 minutes a night guy. Wilson is a strong candidate to be a breakout player much like Hornqvist last season. David Legwand has never lived up to his second overall draftee tag but will suppliment offensive production as the other top six pivot for the Predators. Legwand is another player that's struggled with injury concerns but managed a complete season and a great post-season last year. The 30-year old American is a player that can be relied upon for a point every other game. Another late round gem for the Predators, Martin Erat has developed into one of the better complimentary scorers in the game. The Czech winger has a gift for creativity in the offensive zone and has found decent shot in recent years. Erat will likely eclipse 20 goals and 50 points this season. 

JP Dumont has been one of the more consistent scorers in the NHL since the lockout but is finding himself gradually being pushed down the depth chart in Nashville. Dumont is another player who will likely break the 50 point ceiling but speculatively remains a likely candidate to wind up on a different team before the season ends. Another moneypuck acquisition by Nashville was German center Marcel Goc who was largely on his way out of the league before finding a home as the Predators' third line center. Goc had a career year last season and displays a competent two-way acumen and work ethic. Likely rounding out the third line will be the fiesty Jordin Tootoo who's garnered the reputation has one of the most agitating players in the league. Tootoo is exactly what you want in a grinder as he has a solid work ethic and defensive game but limited offensive upside. Likely to bounce between the second and third line this season is another moneypuck player in Joel Ward. Another stereotypical Predators player, Ward is hard-working player with a two-way acumen who's found a home in Nashville after bouncing around collegiate and minor league teams. 

Rounding out the forward group for Nashville is gritty defensive center Jerred Smithson. Heavyweight enforcer and arguably the heavyweight champ right now Wade Belak. Jonas Andersson who was a 2nd round pick in this franchise's second ever draft has returned from several years in european leagues and will look to factor into the Predators' lineup. Stereotypical eastern european winger Sergei Kostitsyn will look to factor into the Predators' in a scoring role this season but has character issues he's going to have to overcome to survive and thrive in Nashville's system. Likely to be the first call-up from the AHL this season will be playmaking center Cal O'Reily who absolutely blew up the AHL last season and could find himself getting a permanent role on this team in the not to distant future.

The Predators have one of the finest defensive cores in the league and their back-end remains this team's biggest strength. Leading from the blueline is newly christened captain Shea Weber who's developed into a franchise defenseman and was a key component on Team Canada's gold winning team last year. Weber displays the grit and tenacity necessary to be a first tier defensive player while having one of the most explosive slapshots in the league. The scary thing is Weber is only 25-years old and will just continue to get better for the next few years. Weber's defensive partner will be 25-year old Ryan Suter who some day to day followers of the Predators claim is even better than Weber. Suter is a talented three zone defenseman who will put up a healthy amount of points and play a sound defensive game.  It's a strong likelihood that both Weber and Suter could have career years.

Last season saw the emergence of highly touted 23-year old Cody Franson as the newest graduate in the defenseman factory in Nashville. Franson is a big bodied defenseman who shows a special offensive flair and will likely develop into a point machine from the blueline. Also Franson will have expanded opportunity with the departure of Dan Hamhuis. Keep an eye on Franson this season as he's a likely candidate to break out. Likely to play with Franson is long time veteran defensive defenseman Francis Boulion who's been yet another smart moneypuck signing for the Predators. Bouillon is a safe minutes eater who can handle tough minutes but lack the size or intangibles to his game to be much more than a complimentary defenseman.

The Predators' defensive core is rounded out by another graduate of the Nashville defenseman factory 25-year old Kevin Klein who hasn't found the consistency indicative of his skills in the pro game yet. Former 18th overall 23-year old Ryan Parent will look to have his role expanded this year. Parent is a hard-nosed defensive defenseman who boasts size and poise in his game but has lacked the game to game performance to become a shutdown defenseman. Offensive defenseman Alexander Sulzer could see significant game time this year as the Predators' seventh defenseman.

The one weak link for the Predators I feel lies in goal. The Predators will be entering the season with their complete hopes relying upon Pekka Rinne to carry this team as it's number one. Rinne is a big positional goalie who has notched adequate numbers in his previous two seasons as the Predators' number one but lacks the track record of a proven commodity. Also Rinne is stuck as a middle of the pack goalie in the NHL and hasn't displayed game changing talent. Behind Rinne is largely a question mark at the time of this writing as the Predators don't have an established backup and will look to one of their prospects to take this role. The contest is largely between two prospects. 24-year old Mark Dekanich had an excellent year in the AHL last season and looks to have outgrown that league and be ready for the show. Dekanich is largely the favorite right now to take the backup role. Competing with Dekanich is huge 6-6 Swedish goaltender Anders Lindback who's been a standout so far in training camp. Lindback will likely begin the season in the AHL to get accustomed to North American hockey but remember this kid's name as he will factor into the Predators' long term plans.

Team Trending

The Predators are a strange team in that they always seem to play much better than what they look like on paper. Led by one of the finest head coaches in the game Barry Trotz this team seems to defy the odds each season making it to the post-season despite playing in arguably the toughest division in the entire league. The Predators will likely make the post season again and come in somewhere between 14th-18th in the league.

BVB's Projecting Opening Night Lineup




Player Projections


Steve Sullivan - 18 G/36 A 54 P
Matt Lombardi - 22 G/35 A 57 P
Patric Hornqvist - 37 G/31 A 68 P

Colin Wilson - 20 G/23 A 43 P
David Legwand - 17 G/31 A 48 P
Martin Erat - 23 G/29 A 52 P

JP Dumont - 16 G/31 A 47 P
Marcel Goc - 13 G/19 A 32 P
Joel Ward - 10 G/18 A 28 P

Jonas Andersson - 4 G/14 A 18 P
Jarred Smithson - 7 G/7 A 14 P
Jordin Tootoo - 4 G/10 A 14 P

Sergei Kostitsyn - 4 G/12 A 16 P


Shea Weber - 14 G/31 A 45 P
Ryan Suter - 6 G/35 A 41 P
Cody Franson - 7 G/22 A 29 P
Francis Bouillon - 2 G/10 A 12 P
Kevin Klein - 0 G/11 A 11 P
Ryan Parent - 0 G/7 A 7 P


Pekka Rinne -  33-23-5 | 2.66 GAA | .913 Sv%
Mark Dekannich - 9-10-2 | 2.91 GAA | .902 Sv%