NHL experts predict 2012-13 could be a wild season

Friday, 01.18.2013 / 5:00 PM NHL.com

If you choose to believe the assorted experts from the NHL Network and NHL.com, Sidney Crosby will leave Las Vegas with the Hart Trophy in 2013.

Of the six NHL Network members (Kelly Chase, EJ Hradek, Mike Johnson, Barry Melrose, Kathryn Tappen and Kevin Weekes) and six NHL.com staffers (Arpon Basu, Adam Kimelmen, Dave Lozo, Corey Masisak, Shawn Roarke and Dan Rosen), eight believe the Pittsburgh Penguins’ superstar will be the NHL’s most valuable player.

Three of the remaining four chose Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, with one lone wolf choosing Tyler Seguin of the Boston Bruins to win the award.

The prognostication of the Stanley Cup champion was far more varied.

The New York Rangers were pegged to win their first Stanley Cup since 1994 and second since 1940 by three experts, while the Penguins also had three backers to win the Cup. The Kings, Canucks, Flyers, Bruins, and Wild also received support from the panelists.

It seems the only thing our 12 experts agreed on was the Boston Bruins winning the Northeast Division.

The Wild made the biggest splash in the summer by signing defenseman Ryan Suter and forward Zach Parise to 12-year contracts, and that has led to support from several of our predictors.

Kimelman, Roarke and Tappen have the Wild winning the Northwest Division. Melrose has the Canucks winning that division, but he sees the Wild going on a run all the way to the Stanley Cup. That would be quite the leap for the team that finished No. 24 in the League standings last year.

Only Masisak sees the Kings winning a second straight championship.

The rest of the predictions for this season are below.

Barry Melrose (NHL Network)

Atlantic Division champ -- Rangers

Northeast Division champ -- Bruins

Southeast Division champ -- Caps

Central Division champ -- BKingsckhawks

Pacific Division champ -- Sharks

Northwest Division champ -- Canucks

Eastern Conference champ -- Rangers

Western Conference champ -- Wild

Regular-season MVP -- Stamkos

Stanley Cup champ -- Wild

Kelly Chase (NHL Network)

Atlantic Division champ -- Rangers

Northeast Division champ -- Bruins

Southeast Division champ -- Caps

Central Division champ -- Blues

Pacific Division champ -- Kings

Northwest Division champ -- Canucks

Eastern Conference champ -- Flyers

Western Conference champ -- Blues

Regular-season MVP -- Crosby

Stanley Cup champ -- Flyers

Mike Johnson (NHL Network)

Atlantic Division champ -- Penguins

Northeast Division champ -- Bruins

Southeast Division champ -- Caps

Central Division champ -- Blues

Pacific Division champ -- Sharks

Northwest Division champ -- Canucks

Eastern Conference champ -- Penguins

Western Conference champ -- Blues

Regular-season MVP -- Crosby

Stanley Cup champ -- Penguins

Kevin Weekes (NHL Network)

Atlantic Division champ -- Rangers

Northeast Division champ -- Bruins

Southeast Division champ -- Panthers

Central Division champ -- Blackhawks

Northwest Division champ -- Canucks

Pacific Division champ -- Kings

Eastern Conference champ -- Rangers

Western Conference champ -- Kings

Regular-season MVP -- Crosby

Stanley Cup champ -- Rangers

Kathryn Tappen (NHL Network)

Atlantic Division champ -- Flyers

Northeast Division champ -- Bruins

Southeast Division champ -- Panthers

Central Division champ -- Blues

Northwest Division champ -- Wild

Pacific Division champ -- Kings

Eastern Conference champ -- Penguins

Western Conference champ -- Blackhawks

Regular-season MVP -- Crosby

Stanley Cup champ -- Penguins

EJ Hradek (NHL Network)

Atlantic Division champ -- Penguins

Northeast Division champ -- Bruins

Southeast Division champ -- Capitals

Central Division champ -- Blues

Northwest Division champ -- Canucks

Pacific Division champ -- Coyotes

Eastern Conference champ -- Rangers

Western Conference champ -- Canucks

Regular-season MVP -- Crosby

Stanley Cup champ -- Canucks

Dave Lozo (NHL.com)

Atlantic Division champ -- Penguins

Northeast Division champ -- Bruins

Southeast Division champ -- Hurricanes

Central Division champ -- Predators

Northwest Division champ -- Canucks

Pacific Division champ -- Sharks

Eastern Conference champ -- Bruins

Western Conference champ -- Sharks

Regular-season MVP -- Seguin

Stanley Cup champ -- Bruins

Corey Masisak (NHL.com)

Atlantic Division champ -- Rangers

Northeast Division champ -- Bruins

Southeast Division champ -- Lightning

Central Division champ -- Blues

Pacific Division champ -- Sharks

Northwest Division champ -- Canucks

Eastern Conference champ -- Bruins

Western Conference champ -- Kings

Regular-season MVP -- Stamkos

Stanley Cup champ -- Kings

Shawn Roarke (NHL.com)

Atlantic Division champ -- Rangers

Northeast Division champ -- Bruins

Southeast Division champ -- Lightning

Central Division champ -- Predators

Pacific Division champ -- Kings

Northwest Division champ -- Wild

Eastern Conference champ -- Penguins

Western Conference champ -- Red Wings

Regular-season MVP -- Crosby

Stanley Cup champ -- Penguins

Dan Rosen (NHL.com)

Atlantic Division champ -- Rangers

Northeast Division champ -- Bruins

Southeast Division champ -- Capitals

Central Division champ -- Blues

Pacific Division champ -- Kings

Northwest Division champ -- Canucks

Eastern Conference champ -- Rangers

Western Conference champ -- Blues

Regular-season MVP -- Stamkos

Stanley Cup champ -- Rangers

Adam Kimelman (NHL.com)

Atlantic Division champ - Rangers

Northeast Division champ - Bruins

Southeast Division Champ - Capitals

Central Division champ - Blackhawks

Pacific Division champ - Kings

Northwest Division champ - Wild

Eastern Conference champ - Rangers

Western Conference champ - Kings

Regular-season MVP - Crosby

Stanley Cup champ - Rangers

Arpon Basu (LNH.com)

Atlantic Division champ - Penguins

Northeast Division champ - Bruins

Southeast Division champ - Capitals

Central Division champ - Blues

Pacific Division champ - Kings

Northwest Division champ - Canucks

Eastern Conference champ - Rangers

Western Conference champ - Canucks

Regular-season MVP - Crosby

Stanley Cup champ - Canucks

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