Predictions made by Frank Fleming on October 7, 2003 at 2:40 pm EDT.
2003/04 NHL PREVIEW
ART ROSS: Peter Forsberg Avalanche
RICHARD: Todd Bertuzzi Canucks
ADAMS: Doug MacLean Blue Jackets
CALDER: Carlo Colaiacovo Maple Leafs
SELKE: John Madden Devils
VEZINA: Martin Brodeur Devils
NORRIS: Niklas Lindstrom Red Wings
HART: Marian Hossa Senators
SMYTHE: Dominick Hasek Red Wings
Ottawa Senators 112 Points
A year after losing in 7 games to the New Jersey Devils the Senators could be the team who is next in line coming off a President's Trophy, as nearly coming back from a 3-1 deficit, will serve as a catalyst.
New Jersey Devils 108 Points
Coming off their 3rd Stanley Cup Championship the Devils will of course be a team to watch out for especially with Vezina winning GoalieMartin Brodeur just coming into his prime.
Washington Capitals 90 Points
In the weak Southeast Division the Capitals should be able to rise to the top, as Jaromir Jagr remains one of the top players in the NHL, but the playoffs will surely bring failure again.
Toronto Maple Leafs 106 Points
The Maple Leafs continue to have the talent to bring home, but every year end up losing a heartbreaking series in the playoffs. One of these years they will be able to get over the early hurdles and make it to the finals.
Boston Bruins 94 Points
The addition of Felix Potvin once again gives them a proven goalie who can make them contend for the top spot in the playoffs, but Potvin has never been able to get it done in the playoffs.
New York Rangers 91 Points
After 6 years no team is more in desperate need of making the playoffs, With Glen Sather behind the bench all season the drought will end, but the Rangers will not make it past the second round.
Philadelphia Flyers 88 Points
Despite having one of the most talented teams and best coaches the Flyers could be one of the bigger disappointments without a proven goalie, as GM Bobby Clarke continues to outsmart himself.
Tampa Bay Lightning 87 Points
The Lightning have a small but exciting team that shocked its way into the second round last year. However, expect them to take a step backward and barely make the playoffs.
Buffalo Sabres 86 Points
With new ownership and a secure future the Sabres are finally on the road back, and will make a serious run at a playoff spot spurred by the several key off-season additions including Chris Drury.
Montreal Canadiens 78 Points
The Canadiens are a year or two away from returning to the elite of the NHL as the hiring of GM Bob Gainey was the best move the franchise made in a decade. However, it won't bring a playoff spot this year.
New York Islanders 74 Points
The Islanders seemed to be making strides under Coach Peter Laviolette. However, out of the blue he was fired by GM Mike Milbury who will be the next to go as the Isles season ends early.
Florida Panthers 70 Points
If the Rangers struggle the Panthers season could be turned upside down as rumors will once again fly about Coach Mike Keenan. Roberto Luongo will keep them in games, but once again they will fall short of playoffs.
Carolina Hurricanes 66 Points
After a fall from Eastern Conference Champs to NHL worse the Hurricanes begin the road to recovery. However, the road uphill is much longer then it is going downhill, and the Canes have a long way to go.
Atlanta Thrashers 60 Points
After a strong finish last year the Thrashers appeared prime for a playoff run. However, the tragic death of Dan Snyder and subsequent injuries and felony charges to young star Danny Heatley will send this franchise back to square one.
Pittsburgh Penguins 50 Points
Mario Lemeiux can no longer save this franchise without some serious help. Completely dismantled if a new arena is not built for this team it will have to move. As for this year expect the losses and frustration to mount.
Detroit Red Wings 116 Points
The return of Dominick Hasek will mean the return of Lord Stanley to hockey town as Steve Yzerman and the rest of the Wings cast of Hall of Famers heads into the sunset with the cup getting the most they can before the lockout.
Colorado Avalanche 107 Points
With the addition of Selanne and Kraiya the Avalanche should be the top scoring team in the NHL. However, with unproved goalie David Aebischer in the pipes the Avs will fall quickly in playoffs.
Dallas Stars 102 Points
Despite the loss of Derrian Hatcher the Stars should once again be the top team in the Pacific Division, with Marty Turco one of the top young goalies in the NHL. However, they will fall short in the playoffs again.
Vancouver Canucks 104 Points
The Canucks have one of the best offenses in the entire NHL. However, Dan Cloutier remains a question mark in goal. Expect the Nucks to be string again, as Bertuzzi and Naslund once again makes a run at the scoring title.
St. Louis Blues 94 Points
For the Blues it will be a silver anniversary jubilee, as they make playoff for 25th straight season. However, it will turn into 25 years of failure, as they don't make it out of the first round again.
Los Angeles Kings 92 Points
The addition of Roman Chechmanek and return of Luc Robitalle should be enough to get the Kings back into the playoffs. However, it will only be a cameo appearance for the team from Hollywood.
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 89 Points
Despite the magical run to the finals last year making the playoffs will be a struggle for the Duck. However, once in the playoffs they are a threat to go far again, but this time Midnight will strike earlier.
Columbus Blue Jackets 80 Points
This year's surprise team will be the Jackets who will win a final scramble for the last playoff spot in the Wets as Rick Nash establishes himself as one of the top young guns in the West.
Phoenix Coyotes 79 Points
If Goalie Sean Burke stays healthy all year the Coyotes can make the playoffs easily. However, if they struggle he can also be traded and the Coyotes can sink to the bottom, so right on the bubble they will sit all year.
Chicago Blackhawks 77 Points
The Blackhawks continue to struggle missing the playoffs for the 6th time in 6 years. However, Goalie Jocelyn Thibeault will once again keep them in games and the playoff race, despite very little help.
Minnesota Wild 70 Points
The longer the holdouts of Marion Gaborik and Pascal Duprius last the harder it will be for the Wild to make it back in the playoffs, as they have the potential to be this year's biggest disappointment.
Edmonton Oilers 68 Points
Years of trading off their top players and still sneaking into the playoffs, will finally catch up to the Oilers who will be a non-factor all year as they fight off the Flames for last place in the Northwest.
Calgary Flames 66 Points
Some how some way the Flames continue to sputter as they have failed to make the playoffs for 7 straight seasons, despite having one of the league's top scorers in Jarome Iginla.
San Jose Sharks 64 Points
Prior to last season the Sharks were considered a top contender for the Stanley Cup. However, a long holdout by Goalie Evengi Nabokov and a slow start led to a last place finish, and now the Sharks are forced to start from scratch all over again.
Nashville Predators 60 Points
In their 6th season and still most die hard NHL fans have no idea who the Predators are, that's because they have no stars and no fans, yet their Coach and GM keep their job must be they have connections at Grand Ole Opre.
Toronto Maple Leafs Over Ottawa Senators
Detroit Red Wings Over Vancouver Canucks
STANLEY CUP FINALS:
Detroit Red Wings Over Toronto Maple Leafs