MONTREAL – The start of the 2015-16 hockey season also marks the beginning of the fantasy hockey season, and you can’t spell fantasy hockey pools without all kinds of expert predictions.
Although these experts are usually more scientific in their approaches than the fortune teller who predicts a Stanley Cup parade in Montreal from tea leaves, the differences and variations in opinion remain high between the many magazines that specialize in hockey statistics and fantasy values. Many analysts promise to be THE one true hockey expert worthy of having their predictions published in the Sports Almanac 1950-2000 from Back to the Future II.
For this reason, we’re happy to offer a quick recap of what fate lies ahead for the Habs according to certain reputable publications, as well as how some Canadiens stars will fare during the 2015-16 season.
First off, team results.
It wasn’t long ago that many analysts would proudly reveal their predictions for the final standings before a single puck had been dropped to kick off the season. However, the NHL’s recent parity has made it much more difficult to predict and commit to standings in a specific order. This year, The Hockey News Yearbook and Hockey: The Magazine were two of the rare publications that dared predict the final team standings. These publications had the Habs finishing 3rd and 2nd in the Atlantic Division, respectively.
In terms of individual performances, The Hockey Guide of The Hockey News, The Sports Forecaster and Hockey : The Magazine went ahead with numerous predictions for the upcoming season.
According to most of the specialists, Max Pacioretty will finish in first place among Canadiens scorers for the fifth consecutive year. After his recent 65-, 39- (lock-out), 60- and 67-point campaigns, most sources have the newly-minted captain scoring between 65 and 68 points this season.
Many magazines also predict a phenomenal offensive explosion for Alex Galchenyuk, who is expected to begin the 2015 season as a full-time centerman. The most conservative prediction for the 21-year-old has him racking up 52 points, while others have him penciled in as the second-highest-scoring player on the team with over 60 points.
When it comes to defensemen, The Sports Forecaster predicts another big offensive year for P.K. Subban at 69 points, good for pole position among Canadiens scorers. The other publications' predictions vary between 56 and 63 points.
The undisputed star of hockey magazines is without a doubt Carey Price, who led nearly every statistical category for goaltenders a year ago. Most experts expect another stellar season from the British Columbia native, winning between 41 and 43 games, which would once again give him the lead among goaltenders across the league. Those victories would include between 7 and 9 shutouts.
Poolers, good luck this upcoming fantasy season!
Tomas Fleischmann under contract for the 2015-16 season
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