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Lighting the lamp: Things that might happen in '10-11

by Matt Cubeta
This isn't your typical fantasy hockey projections story. Predicting Alex Ovechkin to score 30 goals this year isn't anything special, simply because it's obviously going to happen. That's a safe and uninteresting prediction. This is a story full of strange and fairly outrageous predictions.

Some of these predictions are based on statistics or changes of scenery or different line combinations, but most of them are based purely on instinct or a hunch. You may think some of them are extreme and unrealistic, but that's the point. Odds are only a handful of these will come true (maybe none of them), but nevertheless, these are things that could happen this season.

So let's get to it; one prediction per team. Call them crazy, but here they are:

Zach Parise, not Ilya Kovalchuk, becomes the first 50-goal scorer in Devils history and finishes as the top-ranked overall fantasy player.
Marty Turco sets a career high with 42 wins while starting close to 70 games.
John Tavares scores 35-plus goals; Matt Moulson doesn't reach 20.
Blue Jackets
Nikita Filatov scores 10 goals in his first 20 games, but that's all he plays in for the season.
Brandon Dubinsky will end up centering the top line with Marian Gaborik and Alexander Frolov; he'll record 30 goals and 65-plus points.
Red Wings
Two brave predictions for the Wings: Jimmy Howard finishes the season as the top-ranked fantasy goaltender and Johan Franzen tallies 40 goals.
Chris Pronger appears in less than 40 games this season (all that ice time last season and in the playoffs has to wear on him at some point, right?) and Nikolai Zherdev scores more than 30 goals.
No Predators player scores more than 25 goals, but defenseman Shea Weber and forwards Patric Hornqvist, Martin Erat, J.P. Dumont and Matthew Lombardi all score more than 20 (note -- no defenseman scored 20 goals last season. In case you don't realize it, let's make it obvious: Weber is going to have a big season).
Both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby reach the century mark in points. In fact, Sid posts 115 points but doesn't lead the NHL (see Ryan Getzlaf -- monster season coming from the 25-year-old center).
T.J. Oshie and Brad Boyes bounce back and combine to score 60-plus goals (32 combined last season).
Tyler Seguin scores 25 goals (no rookie accomplished this feat last season) and is a Calder Trophy finalist.
After combining for 78 points in his last two seasons with the Canadiens and Lightning, Alex Tanguay posts 70 points, thanks in part to being reunited with captain Jarome Iginla.
Like Ilya Bryzgalov and Craig Anderson, Ryan Miller does not match last season's performance; his GAA soars up to 2.70 this season after a 2.22 GAA in '09-10.
Matt Duchene scores more than 35 goals and Craig Anderson wins fewer than 30 games (Duchene is in line for a huge season; not so much for Anderson).
P.K. Subban steps in smoothly for the injured Andrei Markov and puts up 50 points while being nominated for the Calder Trophy.
Lots of young talent to choose from here, but let's go with an "old guy": 27-year-old Ales Hemsky reaches 75 points after appearing in just 22 contests last season.
Jason Spezza drops 100 points. He's that talented!
Mikko Koivu reaches 300 shots on goal and actually puts the puck into the net 30 times for the first time in his career.
Maple Leafs
Jean-Sebastien Giguere starts 50-plus games; Nazem Kadri doesn't appear in any NHL games.
Daniel Sedin scores 40 goals, but Henrik doesn't reach 90 points; choose wisely on which Sedin you draft.
Evander Kane posts Ryan Kesler-like '08-'09 numbers: 25 goals, 60 points and 60 PIMs.
Biggest prediction on the list: Ryan Getzlaf plays the full season and leads the NHL in points.
Defenseman Anton Babchuk returns to the NHL and scores 20 goals (again, no defenseman had 20 last season).
As stated in's sleepers story, we like Jamie Benn. His name should be all over your radar and you can expect the youngster to score 27 goals, 55 points with 200-plus shots and 200-plus hits. Can you say fantasy beast?
Scott Clemmensen becomes the No. 1 goaltender and wins 25-plus games while posting a GAA under 2.50.
Another potential breakout player this season is Wayne Simmonds. He'll fill up the fantasy stat line with 25 goals and 50 points to go along with 100-plus PIMs and 150-plus hits.
Sorry folks, but Steven Stamkos will not score more than 40 goals this season (to be more specific, 34 is all he gets!).
Ilya Bryzgalov doesn't crack 30 wins and his GAA climbs over 2.50.
Michal Neuvirth wins the battle with Semyon Varlamov and takes over the starting goaltender's job.
Dan Boyle leads all defensemen in points with 75 and finishes as the top-ranked fantasy blueliner.
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