By my unofficial count, there are 4,787 articles predicting team standings, award winners and champions for the upcoming NHL season. That's easy stuff.
With 30 franchises split into four divisions of either seven or eight teams, there are only so many ways the standings could shake out. Chances are, players that have won individual awards in the past will be nominated for them again this year to the surprise of no one. And, some time next April, everyone will chime in with their playoff predictions, conveniently sweeping their playoff picks from nine months before under the proverbial rug.
But real fans know that there are several common events that happen every single NHL season. It's simply inevitable that a ref will blow an critical call, a big trade will disappoint everyone and a team will run out of money. It's predicting who will be involved in these moments that's the hard part. Here goes nothing:
Trade that Nobody Will See Coming:
Coaches Most Likely to Get into a Cross-Bench Shouting Match:
Playoff Team That, By the Start of the 2014-15 Season, Everyone Will Forget Was a Playoff Team This Year, Sorta Like Last Season's Minnesota Wild:
Probably the Minnesota Wild.
Next Team to be Saved from Financial Hell by Gary Bettman:
Big Trade That Everyone Will Talk About Happening For Months Only to Be Disappointed By The Eventual Exchange of a Star for a Bunch of Prospects and Role Players:
Welcome to Nashville, Thomas Vanek, where you'll be acquired for a bottom-sixer, a few draft picks and some tall-ass goalie from Norway.
Unrestricted Free Agent That Will Stay With His Current Team and Walk Away for Nothing Next Summer:
Referee Who Will Blow An Important Call for a Team and Immediately Become Part of a Vast Institutional Conspiracy Against That Team According to Their Fans:
Tough one. I'm going with #18 Greg Kimmerly because that dude looks like trouble.
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Player No One Predicts Will Be Nominated For a Major Award That Gets Nominated for a Major Award:
This time, I'm totally series: Thomas Hickey, Norris Trophy finalist.