Ales Hemsky could be in for big things in Edmonton this season.(Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
If you have picked up a copy of our annual Yearbook, then you already know we have chosen the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup.
And you may also know the last time we were right in our pre-season prediction was in 2004 when the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Cup. So it might just be worth your while to actually watch games this season.
And if you are anything like me, these three teams are worth keeping an eye on:
Los Angeles Kings
Maybe it’s because I believe GM Dean Lombardi is on the right track, but I just hope ownership in Los Angeles has patience and allows Lombardi to follow through on building a team I believe is very close to being a competitor.
In Anze Kopitar, Patrick O’Sullivan, Dustin Brown and Alexander Frolov, the Kings have some fine young studs up front.
Jack Johnson, Thomas Hickey and Drew Doughty offer hope for the future on the blueline.
An upgrade in goal is definitely required.
Like the Kings, the Oilers have a host of young guns up front including Ales Hemsky, whom I believe will break out and be a top-10 scorer this season.
If Shawn Horcoff returns to health he’ll be a quality two-way pivot and Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano will certainly be counted on the take the next step in their young careers.
It is time for Rob Schremp to make his move, too.
I’m not convinced the Coyotes have what it takes to be a playoff team in the tough Western Conference, but they’ll make a serious run at it.
Olli Jokinen is an excellent addition, though it must be noted he has never played an NHL playoff game. He’ll look great on a line with captain Shane Doan.
How quickly kids such as Peter Mueller, Kyle Turris, Martin Hanzal and perhaps even top draft pick Mikkel Boedker develop will play a big role in the Coyotes success this season.
Keep and eye on the contenders, by all means, but don’t ignore these squads.
Mike Brophy is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor on THN.com.
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