SWAMI’s CRYSTAL BALL 2018-19

Swami would like to congratulate both the Minnesota Wild & the San Jose Sharks for making the Finals of the Swain Cup!  The 6th seeded Sharks knocked off the defending Cup Champs(Blackhawks) & the Avalanche to get there!  Meanwhile, a team that Swami said would not make the playoffs(bad Swami)got the last spot(8th seed) & then beat the Regular Season Champ St Louis & the 2nd place Stars, who was the only Top 4 team to survive the 1st round! A big miss Swami on the Wild as the “Ball” had Toronto, Los Angeles & Philadelphia in, they missed!  Two years in a row Swami said the Flyers would make it(wrong) & two years in a row Swami said the Isle would miss(wrong)!  Is “Swami” getting senile, does the “Ball” need polishing or should it be hocked at a pawn shop? From last place to first, a review of the team’s recent draft(17-18) & the outlook for the season! NEWS FLASH- Congrats to the SHARKS on winning in 7 games over the Wild in the Swain Cup Finals!

VANCOUVER-  Despite the Best PK%(82.7)in the League, the Canucks fell from 4th place a year ago to rock bottom!  With the Twins(Daniel & Henrik) announcing that this would be their final season, will they finish their careers in Vancouver?  17-18 Draft-  13th Overall Nikita Zaitzev(never trust those Russians)2nd round- Brandon Carlo 3rd- Drake Caggiula 4th-D. Malgin & Miles Wood, who should be in starting line-up! GRADE- C  Camp Lines- Just 3 (20)Goal Scorers, but has 4 defenseman with 10 Goals or more!  With the 2nd overall Rookie Pick, the Canucks invited Brock Boeser(29G) to camp & he was on the Top Line with J. Gaudreau(24G) & D. Krejci(64GP).  D. Sedin(23G)- A. Galchenyuk, & T. Johnson(21G) were on line 2!  Line 3 had M. Wood,B. Jenner, & C. Jarnkrok together. The 4th line had C. Sissons, T. Zajac(63GP), & J. Fast.  H. Sedin was given the day off & was signing autograph’s!  Defense Lines- R. Josi(14G) & S. Gostisbehere(13G) was Top Pairing! M. E. Vlassic(11G) & C. Miller(10G)was pair 2!  A. Edler was paired with C. Tanev(42GP) & C. Murphy on the last pair!  Goaltenders-  The nets were crowded as a late season deal saw Power Forward Kyle Palmeri dealt to the Avs for Tuuka Rask,who shared the pipes with R. Luongo,B. Bishop,& veteran C. Anderson!  Will veteran R. Luongo or B. Bishop be dealt, can the “Nucks” defense there way to victories, Swami says not enough for the Playoff’s!

PHILADELPHIA-  Only 3 teams scored less Goals last year than the Flyers(213) & the return of Matthias Janmark(who spent the year on IR)should help! 17-18 Draft- 6th Overall J. Guentzel was their lone pick in 1st 3 rounds. 4th round- G. Forsling & Free Agent D. Forbort will split time on 3rd LD pairing!  Guentzel will have Top Line Duties! GRADE- B-  Camp Lines- Four(20G) scorers & a League High Five Defenseman with (10G)or more has some(Swami)saying this could be the best collection of defenseman in the League!  The Flyers invited Matthew Barzal(22G) to camp, who could go #1 in the Rookie Draft & he was on the Top Line with J. Guentzel(22G) & J. Neal(25G).  J. Skinner(24G)-B. Horvat(22G-64GP)& E. Lindholm was line 2 today!  Z. Parise(42GP)-V. Rask & M. Janmark made up line 3!  The Checking line had A. Cogliano,C. Soderberg, & B. Comeau on the ice.  Defense-  V. Hedman(17G) & S. Jones(16G) was the Top Pair, while A. Goligoski(12G) & D. Doughty(10G) were pair 2!  Pair 3 had D. Forbort & Josh(Charles)Manson out banging bodies, while 16 Goal scorer A. Ekblad couldnt crack the line-up! Drew Doughty, who usually plays top minutes wasnt happy & neither was Ekblad, rumors swirl that one of the RD’s might be trade bait!  Goalies- C. Crawford(28GP) & youngster M. Murray(49GP) were the only 2 in camp & another is needed(GP).  Veteran’s Z. Parise & C. Crawford, along with youngster B. Horvat have to miss alot of games, can the others step up, will they get a better back-up Goalie, too many unanswered questions, but Swami has an answer, “Picked to make playoffs two years in a row & they missed, not gonna fool me 3 times,the challenge is on, they miss the Post-Season”

NEW JERSEY- The fans in New Jersey are getting restless, it’s been 10 years since they last seen a Playoff game!  After a 14th place finish that saw Defenseman Cody Franson post a league-worst -31(plus-minus), he wont get a chance to repeat(23GP)!  17-18 Draft- traded the 8th overall(which brought in J. Klingberg)traded the 2nd also(S. Bennett) 3rd-L. Crouse 4th- J. Dotchin & traded the 5th!  GRADE- Incomplete(scouts were laid off)  Camp Lines-  Seven(20G)Scorers & one defenseman with 10 Goals!  With the 3rd overall Rookie Pick, Clayton Keller(23G), who could be the Jewel of the top 3 Rookies, was seen on the Top Line with J. Huberdeau(27G) & B. Schenn(28G).  T. Pearson, J. Eichel(25G-67GP) & T. Hertl(22G) skated as line 2!  V. Namestinkov(22G)-M. Duchesne(27G) & D. Backes(57GP) was line 3!  P. Maroon, D. Stephan, & N. Niederreiter(63GP) had line 4 jerseys! Youngster B. McGinn skated with P. Berglund & T. Tatar(20G) after practice!  On Defense, N. Hannifin(10G) & J. Klingberg were the Top Pair! J. Moore & T. Myers was the 2nd pairing!  D. DeKeyser(65GP) & J. Dotchin(48GP)were auditioning for pair 3 honors! Veterans T. Enstrom & A. Petrovic were also trying to crack the line-up!  Goalies-  The “King” H. Lundqvist has the starting job, while A. Nilsson & T. Greiss battle for the back-up!  Veteran’s D. Stephan & T. Tatar could be moved,an upgrade on Defense pair 3 is needed, no offense to the “King”,but his better days have past by! Could a deal for B. Bishop vault this squad into the playoffs or will they miss for an 11th straight season!  Swami says Bubble Team can go either way & I hate to pop their Bubble, but I see another miss here!

LOS ANGELES-  From 2nd a year ago to 13th with a Thud! The Kings gave up the most Goals(274)in the League last season!  Coach Pat McBride was so disgusted with his Goaltenders, he would often just leave them in when they were getting shelled(weak)! 17-18 Draft- 15th Overall A. Lehkonen,2nd- K. Fiala 3rd-A. Slepyshev 4th-M. Kempny 5th-R. Elie   Both Fiala & Lehkonen are in starting line-up so retain the scouts! GRADE- B Camp Lines- Eight(20G)Scorers & one Defenseman with 10 Goals!  Picking 4th Overall in the Rookie Draft, do they take a need(C. McAvoy)or do they go with a Home Town(DeBrincat) Homer? Alex was invited to camp!  The Top Line had A. Ovechkin(49G),S. Couturier(31G) & P. Kane(27G)together!  Line 2 saw P. Marleau(27G),M. Koivu, & A. DeBrincat(28G) skating around!  K. Fiala(23G), M. Zibanejad(27G) & C. Smith(25G) made up the 3rd line! A. Lehkonen(66GP),A. Anisimov(20G) & N. Bjugstad were line 4 tonight!  Youngster A. Athanasieu might take Lehkonen’s job on the 4th line!  On Defense-  D. Keith & S. Weber would be a good playoff combo,but this is the regular season & Weber only gets 26 games(ouch). C. Ceci will get moved to play with Keith most of the time! M. Ekholm & T. Hamonic will be pair 2!  B. Dumolin & A. MacDonald will handle pair 3 duties! Goalies- R. Miller(28GP) is the back-up to M. Jones(60GP)with K. Kinkaid as the extra!  Swami thinks that a McAvoy Pick is an easier route to the Playoffs, but it might be regretable to pass on DeBrincat, maybe a trade for a RD(see Phi/Col) is in the works, if so, a playoff spot is available, Swami sneaks em in!

TAMPA BAY- Last season’s #2 Overall Rookie Pick Patrick Laine had 31 Goals to lead the team, but finished with the 3rd worst(-27)plus-minus in the League!  Winnipeg,Los Angeles, & Tampa all finished with 77 points, but wins put the Bolts in 12th place! 17-18 Draft- Laine,Marner,Aho, & Dvorak all in the 1st round! Zacha,Saros, & Montour in round 2!  E. Lindell round 3. K. LaBanc in round 4! O. Kase in the 5th!  At least 6 players in the Starting line-up & a good back-up Goalie to boot! GRADE- A+   Camp Lines- Eight(20)Goal scorers & two defenseman with 10 Goals!  A Rookie invite was kept secret(Swami cant guess no more)so the Top Line was S. Aho(29G),A. Kopitar(35G) & P. Laine(44G)!  Line 2 had K. Okposo, E. Haula(29G) & M. Marner(22G) grouped together!  Z. Hyman,W. Nylander(20G) & D. Brown(28G) as line 3!  The 4th line saw  K. Labanc,C. Dvorak, & O. Kase(20G-66GP) out there!  N. Ritchie,P. Zacha,& R. Panik were first extra’s!  On Defense- M. Rielly & B. Montour were the Top Pair!  D. Nurse & D. Severson were pair 2! Veteran N. Leddy(10G) & J. Schultz(63GP) made up the 3rd pairing!  D. Orlov(10G) & E. Lindell, both LD’s, could not crack the line-up today!  Goalies- M. A. Fleury will be the starter, with J. Saros(26GP) getting his starts. With R. Lehner & S. Varlamov only needing to play 8 games, will one of them get moved?  An abundance of Scoring up front, maybe the 2nd best Goalie tandem in the League, add another 1st round Rookie to the mix & this team is headed to the Playoff’s!

WINNIPEG- Last season, the Jets were one of 2 teams(Buffalo)to score more Goals than they gave up but miss the Playoffs, while both Boston & Minnesota gave up more Goals than they scored, but made the Playoffs!  17-18 Draft- J. Chychrun 10th overall, traded 2nd, A. Beauvillier & J. Vesey in the 3rd,traded 4th & J. Coreau in the 5th!  Well, 3 of the 4 Rookies are in the starting line-up, so Swami gives a GRADE of B-   Camp Lines- 4(20)Goal scorers & two defenseman with 10 or more Goals!  The “Bread Man” A. Panarin(27G), R. O’Reilly(24G), & J. Eberle(25G) were the Top Line tonight! The 2nd line saw C. Kreider(58GP),R. Johansen & R. Strome together!  The 3rd line had J. Vesey,A. Beauvillier(21G) & B. Ryan.  A. Ladd,R. Spooner(59GP) & A. Watson as the checking line! On Defense it was J. Chychrun(50GP) & J. Carlson(15G) as the Top Pair!  Veteran D. Hamhuis was paired with M. Dumba(14G) as the 2nd pair! M. Nutivaara(61GP) & J. Demers was the 3rd pairing!  Veterans A. Greene,J. Bouwmeester(35GP) & T. Daly should all see some ice(probably in their glass)  J. Gibson will play 3/4 of the season(60GP)in the nets while M. Smith gets the back-up job!  With the 6th Overall Rookie Pick, the Jets will add a Player that should easily make the Line-Up, maybe even the 2nd line up front, but the Fog in Winnipeg is heavy & the Jets are grounded for now, could be a Rasmus Dahlen candidate next season!

BUFFALO-  Veteran Coach Dave Landsman, who was in charge of the Flyers when the GHC was born(1981) & won the “CUP” back in 1984-85, was hired last year by the Sabres. In his 2nd tour of duty in the GHC, Dave already has installed a Philly mentality in his team!  17-18 Draft- 3rd Overall I. Provorov & T. Konecny in the 2nd(both Flyers) 3rd round-A. Dell 4th- W . Carrier & M. Benning  GRADE- B+  Camp Lines- 5(20 Goal)Scorers & 2 defenseman with 10 or more!  T. Hall(39G),D. Larkin & D. Pastranak(35G) was Line 1 this afternoon!  T. Konecny(24G) hooked up with T. Bozak & J. Marchessault(27G) on Line 2!  R. Dzingell(23G),Riley Nash & J. Pominville was line 3!  D. Helm,J. G. Pageau & M. Frolik was the 4th line!  The Blueline had I. Provorov(17G) & R. Ellis(44GP) on the Top Pairing! The 2nd Pairing had T. Krug(14G) & E. Johnson(62GP)!  Pair 3 was M. Scandella & R. Gudas bouncing players around!  M. Benning figures to sub at RD for GP!  With the late-season trade of S. Bobrovsky, the Sabres figure to use maybe 3 Goalies this season,as newcomer P. Grubauer will share the nets with A. Dell & P. Mrazek!  A 4th Goalie J. Korpisalo is just looking for a contract! With only 8 defenseman on the roster,are the Sabre Scouts looking Blueline in the Rookie Draft? Offensive Lines 1 & 2 will put up points,but is it enough? Can the Goaltending hold up? Contenders or Pretenders?  Swami says Pretenders, but right on the edge of making it(Playoffs)

TORONTO-  The Leafs had the 3rd best Power-Play(25.7%)in the GHC, but a 9th place finish was a disapointment to Leaf Nation!  17-18 Draft- The Leafs traded their first 3 picks( got B. Seabrook,K. Alzner, & M. Green)took D. Shore in the 4th & T. Motte in the 5th! GRADE- Incomplete  Camp Lines- 7(20 Goal) Scorers but no defenseman with 10 or more Goals!  The Leafs had C. Giroux(34G) on LW with S. Crosby(29G) & B. Gallagher(31G) on the Top Line!  Line 2 saw E. Kane(29G),M. Backlund & R. Smith(22G) skating together! J. V. Riemsdyk(36G),B. Little & P. Hornqvist(29G) was line 3 today!  The checking line had S. Baertshi(53GP),D. Shore & J. Williams as a unit!  Veterans S. Hartnell & J. McGinn will also see time! Back on Defense it was N. Schmidt & K. Letang as the Top Pair!  R. McDonough(63GP) & B. Seabrook was pair 2!  P. Nemeth(68GP) & B. Pesce(65GP) was pair 3 with M. Green looking for a spot!  Goaltending- F. Andersen looks to have a big season(66GP) & might lead team in Star Points!  J. Allen,B. Elliot, & S. Mason will fight for the remaing starts!  The Leafs #1 pick was dealt for R. Smith, but with the move of Giroux to LW, the Leafs have a lot of firepower!  The defense plays defense(5 defenseman rated at 4 on defense) & a solid Goalie spells playoffs in Toronto!

MINNESOTA-  Despite a League-worst (16.1%)on the Power-Play in the regular season, the 8th place Wild went on a magical playoff run to the Finals, beating #1 seed St Louis & #2 seed Dallas along the way!  17-18 Draft- 1st- traded  2nd round- J. Anderson 3rd-C. Brown 4th- J. Bailey 5th- E. Rodrigues, Y. Gourde & S. Noessen  2nd rounder Josh Anderson & 5th rounder Y. Gourde both will make starting line-up this season! GRADE-B Camp Lines- 7(20 Goal)Scorers & one Defenseman with 10 or more Goals!  J. Zucker(33G), N. MacKinnon(39G) & M. Stone(20G-58GP) was the Top Line in camp! The ageless H. Zetterberg, S. Monohan(31G) & Y. Gourde(25G) made up line 2!  A. Killorn, D. Brassard(21G) & J. Anderson(63GP) skated as Line 3!  C. Hagelin,P. Stastny & B. Rust(69GP) got 4th line jersey’s, while M. Ferland(21G) looked to be 1st sub at RW(starting Rw’s miss 50 gms)  Blueline- R. Suter & A. Martinez got Top Pair honors! H. Lindholm(13G-69GP) & J. Boychuk(58GP) was pair 2!  B. Dillon & M. Pysyk was pair 3! LD A. Sekera(36GP) was the only other defenseman in camp, as the Wild might dangle J. Donskoi or S. Noesen in trade for a RD(25GP short)  Goaltending-  J. Quick should win the Starting job, while Playoff Hero J. Howard gets the back-up spot!  2014 #1 Overall Rookie Pick N. Mac Kinnon has emerged as a Superstar & can carry this team offensively & might challenge C. McDavid for the League Scoring Title! The “Cup” runner-ups will be in the post-season again!

BOSTON-  Only Los Angeles allowed more Goals-Against than the Bruins(260), but the League’s 2nd Best PP%(26.5) carried the B’s to a 7th place Finish!  17-18 Draft- 4th Overall Z. Werenski  2nd round- R. Hartman 3rd-B. Perlini 4th- T. Stecher 5th- V. Hinostroza   Youngster Z. Werenski gets Top Line on Defense, while Hartman,Perlini, & Hinostroza will all be in line-up thruout the season!  GRADE- B+  Camp Lines- 7(20 Goal)Scorers & two Defenseman with 10 or more Goals!  Led by C. McDavid(41G), who led the League in Goals(49) & Points(113), the B’s Top Line with J. Benn(36G) & B. Wheeler(23G) is one of the best in the League!  Line 2 saw T. Vanek(24G) skate with E. Malkin(42G) & T. Toffoli(24G)!  O. Palat(56GP), L. Draisaitl(25G) & C. Perry were line 3 today! B. Perlini, K. Brodziak & V. Hinostroza(50GP) was Line 4!  Defense- Z. Werenski(16G) & D. Hamilton(17G) was the Top Pair!  J. Slavin & K. Shattenkirk(46GP) were Line 2!  I. Cole(67GP) & T. Stecher(68GP) made up Pair 3!  Looks like RD will be a target in the draft or trade!  C.  McAvoy  would look good in a B’s Jersey,but I dont think he slips that far in Draft! Goalies- Youngster J. Markstrom will be handed the Starting job, while M. Neuvirth gets the back-up!  Holes on RD need to be addressed, can Markstrom stop enough pucks, the Offense is loaded again, but is it enough!  Swami already has 4 teams in with 6 clubs to visit, kinda looks like a just-miss Post-Season at the Garden!

SAN JOSE-  It’s been 13 years since a parade was held(04-05)in San Jose for Winning the “Cup”, but it was sweet, coming from a 6th place finish in the regular season!  Coach Jeff Freese has won multiple Cups(is it 4 or 5?)as Swami’s memory is shot!  The Sharks look to be poised to win again soon!  17-18 Draft-  8th Overall M. Rantanen & 9th Overall J. Puljujarvi  2nd- J. Morrissey & J. Vrana 3rd- O. Bjorkstrand,A. Pelech & J. T. Compher  4th- J. Schmaltz   Both M. Rantanen & J. Morrissey make the Starting line-up GRADE- B+  Camp Lines- 12(20 Goal)Scorers & one defenseman with 10 or more Goals. G. Landeskog(25G), T. Seguin(40G) & N. Kucherov(39G) was given Top Line in camp! J. Schwartz(24G-62GP), A. Barkov(27G) & V. Tarasenko(33G) was Line 2!  T. Teravainen(23G), L. Couture(34G) & M. Rantanen(29G) skated as Line 3!  A. Henrique(24G), N. Kadri(32G) & P. Kessel(34G) appeared as Line 4!  On Defense K. Yandle & PK Subban(16G) took Top Pairing!  O. Klefbom(66GP) & R. Ristolainen(73GP) was defense pair 2!  Youngster J. Morrissey was paired with J. Braun on Pair 3!  Veteran’s J. Johnson(ld) & D. Giradi(rd) could be trade bait!  Goaltending- Help!!  C. Talbot appears to be the Starter, but hasnt performed well in camp(3.02 GAA & .908%) & neither has back-ups S. Darling or L. Brossoit!  A trade for a Good Goalie would make this squad almost unbeatable, as all 12 starting Forwards have 20 or more Goals, including 90 by the 4th line!  Every Defenseman is rated 4 on defense!  Playoff’s for sure & if a Goalie is brought in, could be a runaway to the regular season Title!

COLORADO-  The fast-rising Avs scored a League-High 278 Goals last season to finish in 5th place!  Despite a League-worst PK%(73.0), the Avalanche got by the New York Islanders in the 1st round of the playoff’s before bowing out to the Sharks!  17-18 Draft- 1st Overall A. Matthews  2nd round- J. Hosang & M. Matheson  3rd- N. Schmaltz 4th- J. Weal & A. DeAngelo  5th- S. Mayfield & M. Nutivarra   Franchise Center Matthews, Matheson, & Schmaltz all make the Starting line-up! GRADE- B  Camp Lines- 11(20 Goal)Scorers & 3 Defenseman with 10 or more Goals!  A. Matthews(34G-62GP) is flanked by wingers R. Rakell(34G) & J. Pavelski(22G) on the Top Line!  A. Lee(40G), V. Trocheck(31G) & K. Palmieri(24G-62GP) was Line 2!  N. Ehlers(29G), S. Stamkos(27G) & S. Reinhart(25G) were Line 3!  R. Nugent-Hopkins(24G-62GP), R. Getzlaf(56GP) & N. Schmaltz(21G) seen line 4 duties tonight!  M. Domi,J. Drouin, & B. Nelson, along with C. Tierney could all sub(GP) or be on the trading block!  Defense-  B. Skjei & J. Spurgeon(61GP) were Top Pair this evening!  Pair 2 had M. Matheson(10G) & T. Barrie(14G-68GP) together.  O. Maatta & S. Vatanen(72GP) was the 3rd pairing!  Veteran’s RD’s R. Hainsey & N. Hjalmarsson(48GP) could be moved in a deal!  Youngster R. Pulock(10G)& A. Larsson should see time at RD(GP).  Goalies- Could be the best tandem in the League with P. Rinne & back-up C. Hutton   Key Players A. Matthews & K. Palmieri, along with Nugent-Hopkins & R. Getzlaf have to miss a number of games, but Offense is deep in players & wont have trouble scoring!  Has Rd’s as trade chips & Great Goaltending!  This could be a Top 4 Team & a challenge to the regular-season title, buy your playoff tickets now!

NEW YORK I-  A Strong Center-Ice Combo of P. Bergeron(+3) & J. Toews(+3) led the Isle to a 4th place finish & proved Swami wrong again(miss playoffs) 17-18 Draft- Traded up to select A. Mantha 7th Overall.  No picks in rounds 2,3, or 4  Round 5- T. Kero & A. Erne GRADE- B-  Camp Lines- 7(20 Goal)Scorers & no defenseman with 10 or more Goals! Veteran A. Steen, P. Bergeron(30G-64GP) & A. Mantha(24G) were the Top Line in camp! D. Perron, W. Karlsson(43G) & R. Sheahan were seen skating as Line 2!  C. Sheary, J. Toews(20G) & M. Grabner(27G) roamed the ice as Line 3!  The 4th line featured P. Byron(20G), K. Hayes(25G) & J. Abdelkader.  A. Burakovsky(56GP) & “Cool Hand” Luke Glendening will be 1st outta the stands to fill in games!  Defense-  M. Niskanen(68GP)& D. Byfuglien(69GP) were Top Pair in camp!  C. Fowler(67GP) & J. Trouba(55GP) were Pairing 2!  D. Phanuef & J. Brodin(73GP) was the last pairing!  M Del Zotto(Ld/Rd) will fill in the 68 games that the starters miss!  Goaltending-  D. Dubnyk remains the #1 Man while J. Bernier is a capable back-up!  Looking a little weak on the Wings, but Center-Ice has added “Wild Bill” Karlsson to the duo of Bergeron & Toews, although Toews is not happy being the 3rd line Center & has asked for a trade!  Swami called them out(playoffs) the last two years & New York still played in the spring(+ summer).  Can’t go against them this time, Islanders are playoff bound!

CHICAGO- The “Cup” champions from two seasons ago went out in the 1st round vs the Sharks in getting a 3rd place finish in the regular season!  17-18 Draft- No 1st or 2nd. In the 3rd- P. Buchnevich 4th- S. Johns 5th- D. Ryan  GRADE- C  Camp Lines- 5(20 Goal)Scorers & 2 Defenseman with 10 or more Goals!  Since the Hawks have 7 guys who can only play Center, J. Tavares(37G) moved to LW on the Top Line with both J. Carter(27GP) & J. Thornton(47GP) rotating at center! The RW on the Top Line was A. Radulov(27G)  Line 2 saw M. Pacioretty(64GP), F. Nielsen & J. Voracek(20G) together!  G. Nyqvist(21G),D. Ryan & W. Simmonds(24G) were line 3!  S. Andrighetto(50GP), J. McCann(68GP) & T. J. Oshie checked in as Line 4!  P. Buchnevich & T. Pitlick were extra’s at RW!  Blueline- M. Giordano(13G) & J. Petry(12G) was the Top Pair!  Z. Chara(73GP) & A. Stralman was Pair 2!  S. Johns & K. Russell skated as Pair 3!  Goalies- A. Raanta has taken B. Holtby’s job as #1 & will play just over half a season! Veteran K. Lehtonen might start the rest(33 gms)!  Holtby might just watch this season from the stands!  With 3 first round Rookie Picks(8th,12th & 14th) the Hawks look for help on LW so Tavares can move back to Center!  Lots of games to miss up front(Forwards) but the Rookie Draft should help!  This team could go either way depending on the Draft & trades, might have just enough to cash in on another post-season, but it’ll be close & Swami says they just make it!

DALLAS-  The Stars scored the 2nd most Goals(272), had the 2nd best PK%(82.1) & the Top PP%(27.5) on the way to 2nd place & 110 Points, just two pts back of St Louis! 17-18 Draft- 14th Overall B. Point 2nd round- T. Meier 3rd- I. Barbashev 4th- S. Santini 5th-P. Ladue   Both B. Point & T. Meier will be in starting line-up this season. GRADE- B Camp Lines- 8(20 Goal)Scorers with no Defenseman with 10 or more Goals!  B. Marchand(34G-68GP), N. Backstrom(21G) & V. Arvidsson(29G) was the Top Line! M. Hoffman(22G), B. Point(32G) & J. Bailey skated as Line 2!  J. T. Miller(23G), J. Stall & C. Atkinson(24G-65GP) was Line 3!  T. Meier(21G), R. Kesler(44GP) & J. Silfverberg was the checking line! J. Beagle will spell Kesler on line 4, while T. Wilson will sub at RW when an enforcer is needed!  Defense- J. Muzzin(74GP) & E. Karlsson(71GP) again return as the Top Pairing! T. J. Brodie(73GP) & C. Parayko is the 2nd Pair! B. Orpik & N. Holden(73GP) are Pair 3!  A pair of Joe’s(Edmundson & Morrow)are knocking on the door for ice-time on Pair three!   Goalies- S. Bobrovsky & J. Reimer will be in the nets, while veteran C. Schneider will draw his paycheck working with Goaltending Coach & ex-Star Marty Turco!  With Limited ice-time for R. Kesler(44GP) & the retirement of Andrei Markov(another Russian flee’s-Datsyuk last year), The team takes a slight hit, but Swami says “Coach Dale Hunter will get them to the Playoff’s or he’ll lose his job”

ST LOUIS-  The Blues had the Best Goals-Against(191) in the League, scored the 3rd most(258) & had the 3rd Best PK%(82.0) on way to a 112 Points in winning the Regular Season Title!  A first-round playoff loss to the underdog Minnesota Wild left a sour taste after a terrific regular season!  17-18 Draft- 11th Overall M. Tkachuk 2nd round- K. Connor & J. Honka 3rd- A. Kempe 4th-traded 5th- M. McCarron & F. Claesson   Blues get 3 Starting Forwards in draft  GRADE- A-  Camp Lines- 8(20 Goal)Scorers & 3 Defenseman with 10 or more Goals!  F. Forsberg(26G-67GP), E. Stall(42G) & K. Connor(31G)was the Top Line this Afternoon! M. Tkachuk(24G-68GP), E. Kuznetsov(27G) & M Granlund(21G) got together as Line 2!  A. Kempe, M. Scheifle(23G-60GP) & C. Coyle(66GP) was Line 3! N. Foligno, K. Turris & Rick Nash(21G) got Line 4 duties!  M. Lucic, B. Sutter(61GP) & J. Armia were running laps on the concourse!  Defense- O. Ekman-Larsson(14G) & A. Pietrangelo(15G) was the Top Pairing! J. Gardiner & B. Burns(12G) was Pair 2!  Youngster S. Theodore(61GP) was seen with J. Faulk on Pair 3!  N. Zadorov could bump Theodore off Pair 3 at times!  Veteran LD’s M. Stall & D. Kulikov might be moved or waived!  Goalies- Could be a dogfight in the nets between youngsters A. Vasilevskiy & C. Hellebuyck, as both have looked sharp in camp!  C. Price might just watch the Kids play this season, as his back is bothering him(not to mention that G.A.A. & Saves%! Some Key guys have to miss time up front, but the subs are ready, the defense will jump into the play( & score some Goals) Coach Rob Gallamore’s squad will again make the Playoff’s & be in a race for Top 4 & Home Ice!

This could be one exciting season as Swami has 10 teams in Playoffs & others real close!  In order to be a real “Swami”, their can only be 8 teams picked for playoff’s, so for these reasons I’ll drop two teams & give them incentive to bust the “Crystal Ball”

Los Angeles- Why they wont make Playoff’s- The loss of Shea Weber & the inability of the RD’s to pass the puck!

Chicago- Why they wont make Playoffs-  The Center position is a ? & no Forward rated 4 on defense could hinder the PK!

So, Kings & Blackhawks tell Swami he’s full of @#?^ 

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