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Holiday Special: Fantasy predictions for the New Year

by Matt Cubeta /
Back in preseason we provided hockey fans with 30 outrageous fantasy predictions -- one for each team. Most of those predictions were based on instinct or a hunch, but regardless, they were things we thought could happen this season. And because they were such extreme predictions, we were obviously off on a few of them.

Is Zach Parise going to become the first 50-goal scorer in Devils history and rank as the top overall fantasy player this season? Definitely not. But it wasn't our fault he got hurt. Who knows, if he stayed healthy he could have eventually found his game and injected life into the Devils, or maybe not. But you could say we were off on that forecast. Jason Spezza is not going to record 100 points, especially now that he's injured, but even before that, he was obviously not reaching that hefty expectation -- that'll be the last time we believe in Spezza's talent. There were other missed predictions as well, but we won't recap all of them.

However, we also had a few potential hits in our predictions. Arguably the biggest prediction on our preseason list was that Ryan Getzlaf would stay healthy and lead the NHL in points. While he will definitely have a tough time overtaking Sidney Crosby and several other players, Getzlaf does rank 14th in the League with 37 points this season. We may not have hit the predictions exactly, but that wasn't the point. We didn't expect to be accurate on most of these (it would be nice to nail a few of them, though), but we just wanted to show you who we believed were capable of having big seasons and who we thought might struggle.

We were also right on with a few other predictions: Brandon Dubinsky is having the best season of his career so far; Matt Duchene is on pace for very close to 35 goals; Evander Kane is doing his best Ryan Kesler impression this season. You get the point, though -- we might miss a bunch of them, but we also came pretty close with others.

With the holiday season in full effect and the New Year approaching quickly, we thought it would be appropriate to throw out some more extreme predictions for the remainder of the 2010-11 season. Many of you will disagree, and that's OK, but here are some more wild predictions (in no particular order, and this time, it's not one for each team -- they are totally random). Remember, these aren't necessarily going to be exact predictions, we're just showing you our cards:

Sure, his point-scoring streak is over, but Sidney Crosby stays red-hot all season long and finishes with 71 goals.

Alex Ovechkin heats up and ends the season with 50 goals -- that's 36 goals in his final 43 games.

Team defenses finally start paying attention to Steven Stamkos at the high slot, taking away his deadly one-timer -- he finishes with less than 50 goals on the year.

Sticking with our preseason prediction, Matt Duchene does score more than 35 goals and Craig Anderson continues to struggle in net for the Avs (currently a 3.21 GAA and .900 save percentage).

Marc-Andre Fleury finishes as the top-ranked fantasy goalie.

Tim Thomas finishes at No. 2 -- yes, we believe he can keep this up all year long.

Patrick Sharp does not eclipse his career-highs in goals and points -- 36 and 66 respectively.

Patrick Kane ends the season as Chicago's leading scorer with 77 points.

Ilya Kovalchuk eventually gets going and reaches the 30-goal plateau.

Despite missing time due to injury and having just 10 goals on the season, Marian Gaborik hits 35 goals.

Roberto Luongo reaches 40 wins, but he finishes the season with a 2.68 GAA.

Ryan Getzalf doesn't quite reach the century mark in points, but he does finish in the top-10 with 90-plus points.

Back to the preseason predictions: despite the loss of linemate Ryan Callahan for up to two months, Brandon Dubinsky's solid season continues and he finishes with 30-plus goals and 70-plus points.

Claude Giroux leads the Flyers with more than 80 points.

Dan Boyle will finish the season with the most points by any defenseman -- sorry, Big Buff.

The top three fantasy-ranked defensemen will be in this order: Dustin Byfuglien (because of his propensity to take penalties), Dan Boyle and Mike Green.

Anze Kopitar eclipses 100 points.

Despite superstar Pavel Datsyuk being sidelined for some time, Henrik Zetterberg goes on to have the best season of his career, surpassing 100 points for the first time.

Semyon Varlamov proves he is the clear-cut No. 1 netminder in Washington, forcing Michal Neuvirth into a confirmed backup role.

Loui Eriksson cools off and doesn't top 70 points.

Eric Staal scores a career-high 47 goals.

Steve Mason puts together a hot streak and regains control of the No. 1 goaltending duties from Mathieu Garon in Columbus.

Phil Kessel does reach 300-plus shots, but he does not score more than 28 goals.

David Booth also attains 300-plus shots and scores more than 28 goals.

Sergei Bobrovsky starts less than 20 of Philadelphia's remaining 46 games.

Vincent Lecavalier proves he still has some gas left in the tank (he is just 30 years old after all -- it only feels like he's been around forever) and finishes the season averaging at least a point-per-game.

No Islander totals more than 50 points this season -- Blake Comeau comes closest with 48.

Carey Price's GAA (currently at 2.27) rises to nearly 2.50 by season's end.

Shea Weber records the most shots on goal by a defenseman in 2010-11 with 293. He also scores 18 goals.

Despite missing some time due to injury, Ales Hemsky still records 70 points (we predicted 75-plus points in the preseason).

Miikka Kiprusoff records a losing record for the first time as a member of the Calgary Flames.

Arguably our boldest prediction of all: Ryan Kesler finishes the season with more goals than teammate Daniel Sedin.

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