THE SWAMMI’S (DON MIRON) YEARLY PREDICTIONS… always entertaining.
SWAMI ‘s CRYSTAL BALL 2016-17
Swami last year had the Sabres finishing dead last & for the Blues to have a Big Season(Congrats Cup Winners)! Swami also said that Van,Min,Nj,Bos, & Win would miss playoffs, they did! But Swami missed the boat too, said Philly wouldnt make it,they did! Also said that San Jose would be one of the teams to beat for the 2nd year in a row, they missed the post-season both years! The “Crystal Ball” is fuzzy when they see Sharks! From last-place to the top, what does Swami see this season! As the “Rookie Draft” proceeds & trades are flying everywhere,the “Ball” is having a difficult time keeping up, but for now,,,,,,,,,
BUFFALO- The Sabres scored just 169 Goals last season, the ONLY team in the League to score under 200 Goals, while giving up the 2nd most(266)! They had a League-Worst -372(plus-minus) as a team! Then, they lost the Lotto, but as consolation, they signed “Hometown Kid” (Red Wing) Dylan Larkin! The “Rookie” doubled the number of 20-Goal scorers in the line-up to just Two! With just 2 guys with 20 or more Goals(tied for lowest in League), they invited Free Agents Zack Smith(25G) & Leo Komarov(19G) to camp as the Sabres have enough money to sign one come September! Early in camp, the Lines looked like this…. Taylor Hall(26G) was paired with J.G. Pageau at Center & Michael Frolik on RW! Line 2 saw Rookie Larkin on LW- Jiri Lehtera at C & Jason Pominville on RW! Jiri Hudler-Tyler Bozak & David Pastranak(51GP) were the 3rd line, while Cal Clutterbuck,Dominic Moore, & Andrew Shaw were the checking unit! On defense, Matt Niskanen & Eric Johnson was the Top Pairing, while Torey Krug & newcomer Ryan Ellis(Sabres traded 2nd round to Blues for him)made up the 2nd pair! Graybeards Nick Kronwall & Dion Phaneuf skated as line 3! Goaltending may be an issue as Starter Sergei Bobrovsky showed up out of shape & looked shaky in camp! Back-up Jonas Enroth was sharp,but doesnt expect to play much(16GP) Sabres might look to add a Rookie Goalie in draft or trade for a veteran! The “Defense” looks better,can they score enough Goals, Do they get a decent Goalie? Swami says: They move outta last, just barely! Swami you’re Cruel!
NEW JERSEY- Only 4 teams scored less Goals then the Devils(205)did last year, but that shouldnt be a problem this season , as they have 9 (20G) Scorers in the line-up, tied for most in the League(Tor-Dal)! This could be the “Most Improved” team in the League & back in the Playoffs they go! Jonathan Huberdeau-Matt Duchesne & Brayden Schenn made up the Top Forward Line in camp! Line 2 saw youngsters Tomas Hertl- Rookie Jack Eichel & Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr together! Chris Kunitz-Derek Stephan-Nino Niederreiter were the 3rd line! Matt Belesky-Nick Bonino-Tomas Tatar skated as the 4th line! Tanner Pearson & Dale Weiss were also looking for spots! On defense, Danny DeKeyser & Tyler Myers skated as the top pair! Pair 2 saw Toby Enstrom & newcomer(trade)Alex Petrovic together! Rookie 1st rounder Noah Hanifin cracks the line-up paired with Kyle Quincey(47GP)/Jonathan Ericsson as the RD for line 3! In Goal, Thomas Greiss will split time with the “King” Henrick Lundqvist ,as they look to be solid! Add an FA to line-up or deal for another RD, either way, Playoffs this May!
BOSTON- The Bruins gave up 270 Goals last season, the Most in the League! They scored 233, more than two Playoff teams(Phi-Dal)! The Defense has to improve & somebody has to show up, as it was pretty thin in camp! 2nd round “Rookie Pick” Jacob Slavin walked in & was handed the 2nd Line Defense Jersey at LD! He was paired with veteran Mark Streit! Kevin Shattenkirk & Dougie Hamilton were the 1st pairing! Pair 3 was Ian Cole & Marek Zidlicky! Mark Streit(3 defense)is the ONLY defenseman in camp better than a 2 on defense! Hopefully they can sign an FA that stays home on defense! No problem scoring Goals, as the “B’s” have 7 forwards dressed with 20 or more Goals, led by Jamie Benn(41G) who will play Top Line with Evgeny Malkin(57GP) & Corey Perry! Blake Wheeler-Leon Draisaitl(72GP)-Tyler Toffoli make up line 2! Ondrei Palat was seen with #1 Overall Rookie Pick Connor McDavid(45GP) & Mats Zuccarello on the 3rd line! Tomas Vanek-Mike Ribeiro & Jannik Hansen had line 4 duties today! Youngster Marcus Granlund should see time at Center when Malkin,Draisaitl & McDavid are out! Could use another Center for GP! The B’s have 5 Goalies in camp battling for the #1 Job & it looks like Michael Neuvirth(32GP) will play the most! Youngsters Calvin Pickard(20GP) & Jacob Markstrom(33GP) should also see time! Louis Domingue,another youngster,could also get a few starts! Veteran Ben Scrivens will see alot of the pressbox! They(the B’s) can score in bunch’s, but can the defense step up & help the Goalies? Swami says “Gotta see more on the back-end” No Playoffs just yet!
VANCOUVER- The 13th place Canucks last year did some things well, as they had the 2nd best Penalty-Kill (81.7 %)in the League, but they needed that with Goons like Derek Dorsett & Zach Kassian in the line-up! Neither will play this season! The “Nucks” boast 6 players with 20 or more & 5 have exactly 30 Goals (Galchenyuk,Jenner,Eriksson,Gaudreau, & Palmeri) The Offense should score enough! Galchenyuk, David Krejci, & Johnny Gaudreau were the Top Line in camp! Boone Jenner,Tyler Johnson, & Louie Eriksson made up line two! The Sedin’s Daniel & Henrik had Kyle Palmeri at RW on line 3, while Jussi Jokinen,Travis Zajac, & Calle Jarnkrok skated as line 4 tonight! Cody Eakin was looking for a spot also! On defense, Roman Josi & 1st round Rookie Pick Shayne Gostisbehere were the Top Line in practice! The “Pickle” Marc-Edward Vlasic was paired with Chris Tanev on line 2, while Alexander Edler(52GP)/Paul Martin & Kevin Bieksa skated as line 3! Andy Greene & Rookie Colin Miller fetched pucks for today! In Goal, both Roberto Luongo & Ben Bishop took turns jabbing each other,as niether wanted to give up the crease,while Craig Anderson & Darcy Kuemper played catch in the hallway, wondering if they would be traded! It’s an interesting call for Swami, can another Lotto team(from this past year)go to the post-season, well, like the “Devils”, buy your tickets now, it’s playoff time in British Columbia!
WINNIPEG- The “Yotes”, oops i mean the Jets, one year removed from the desert, are still adjusting to that Canadien air, as they finished in 12th place last season! Things look Rosy,Peachy, & better up front with the Rookie Pick of Artemi Panarin, who joins 7 other Forwards who scored 20 or more Goals! The “Bread Man” Panarin will play with Ryan Getzlaf & Joe Pavelski on the Top Line! Line 2 saw newcomer(trade)Andrew Ladd with Ryan O’Reilly & Jordan Eberle! Chris Kreider, Jason Spezza, & Bobby Ryan made up line 3 this afternoon, while Melker Karlsson,Casey Cizikas, & Ryan Strome were the checking unit! Tyler Ennis(23GP) & Joffrey Lupul(46GP) should also see some action! On Defense, Jay Bouwmeester(72GP) & John Carlson(56GP) skated as the 1st pair, while Trevor Daley & Jason Demers(62GP) wore line 2 jerseys! Dan Hamhuis(58GP) & Luke Schenn were line 3. Matt Dumba could start at RD or be an injury fill-in! Veteran Dennis Seidenberg also could fill either side for injuries! No Problems in the nets this season as both Chad Johnson & John Gibson will split the duties! Kari Ramo & Cam Ward will back-up when needed! One of Swami’s teams on the “Bubble” , just might have enough to make playoffs, key injuries on defense will hamper or possibly ground the “Jets”, Swami says ” Wrong Runway” They just miss!
COLORADO- Swami doesnt know what to call them, the “Avs” or the “Rockies” as this team is so young & inexperienced & if you are over 30 yrs old,look out, you could be moved! Anton Management is rebuilding with youth as many veterans have moved on! Three 1st round Rookie Picks will be in the line-up getting that much needed experience, as they still have 6 players with 20 or more Goals! Alex Killorn, Victor Rask, & Brock Nelson went out today as Line 1, followed by Rookie Max Domi, Rickard Rakell & Reilly Smith as line 2! Rookie Sam Reinhart skated with Vincent Trocheck & fellow Rookie Nikolaj Ehlers as line 3, while veterans Nugent-Hopkins,Ryan Johansen,Carl Soderberg were tangling to Center line 4 with Ryan Spooner,Anders Lee, & Nail Yakapov on the wings! Plenty of candidates up front & the fight for jobs! On defense, with the trade of Captain Mark Giordano to the Blackhawks, Tyson Barrie takes over the #1 LD slot with Sami Vatanen as his partner! Ollie Maatta(67GP) & Jared Spurgeon(71GP) will skate as line 2! Karl Alzner, who tied for the League lead in take-aways(122) last season will pair up with Adam Larsson on the 3rd pair! The “Netminders” Tuuka Rask & Pekka Rinne are on the block,as the Avs look for the right deal! Carter Hutton(17GP) will most likely get a few starts & whoever is left will get the bulk of time! The Uncertainty in Goal & an inexperienced line-up has Swami saying ” The Avs are close, but it’s a Rockie Road to the Playoffs, not just yet!
SAN JOSE- The Sharks traded for P. K. Subban to give them 7 RD’s in camp, will all of them stay? On defense, Keith Yandle was spotted with Subban on the Top Line, knocking youngster Risto Ristolainen to the 2nd line with LD Calvin deHaan ! Jack Johnson(60GP) & Brendan McNabb will share LD duties on the 3rd line with John Klingberg at RD! Dan Girardi,Eric Gudbranson,Mike Green, & Justin Braun all play RD & one or more could be trade bait! Up front, the Sharks have 7 players with 20 or more Goals, led by Tyler Seguin(33G) & Vladimir Tarasenko(40G) who will play with Gabriel Landeskog on the Top Line! Another deal saw Troy Brouwer come to the Sharks & he will play with Alexander Barkov & Nikita Kucherov on line 2! Jaden Schwartz(33GP) will share line 3 duties at LW with Michael Boedker & Adam Henrique at Center & Phil Kessel on RW! Line 4 candidates include Alexander Wennberg,Logan Couture(52GP),Nazem Kadri,Antoine Vermette, Lars Eller,Teravainen, & Brett Connolly! In Goal, Jaroslav Halak & Cam Talbot will share duties,while Scott Darling will mop up! The LD isnt as mobile as in the past, but a RD swap could improve that, plenty of Offense & arguably the best RD’s combo in the League(the Blues will argue that) has Swami saying it again “The Sharks make the Playoffs” Can I be wrong 3 years in a row, it’s a cloudy “Crystal Ball” in the Shark Tank!
MINNESOTA- The “Wild” just missed the Playoffs last year by just 3 points! Goalie Jonathan Quick almost carried his team to the post-season, as he was voted 1st Star a League-Leading 20 times & finished runner-up to Carey Price in the “Star of the Game” Points! On Offense, the Wild have 6 players with 20 or more Goals, including 1st round Rookie Anthony Duclair who will start the season on the 3rd line with Nathan MacKinnon at Center & Teddy Purcell on RW! The Top Line features Henrik Zetterberg,Sean Monohan & Mark Stone! Line 2 sees Carl Hagelin,Derrick Brassard, & Shane Doan together! Antoine Roussel, Paul Stastny, & Tommy Wingels made up the checking unit while Brandon Pirri & Jason Zucker looked for ice-time! Back on defense, Ryan Suter & Johnny Boychuk(70GP) were tabbed the #1 Line, while Andrei Sekera skated with newcomer(trade)Nick Hjalmarsson! Youngster Hampus Lindholm saw line 3 sweaters today with Alex Martinez on RD! Minnesota has 5 Goaltenders in camp, but the Team “MVP” Jonathan Quick will be the starter, with possibly Jeff Zatkoff getting the dozen games that Quick doesnt start! Jimmy Howard,Anders Lindback, & Michael Hutchinson will fight for the mop-up job as back-up! Another “Bubble team” in Swami’s Crystal Ball, could be the “Philadelphia” of last year & make it….Swami says they just miss again!
PHILADELPHIA- OK, Zach Parise scores 43 Goals & led his Flyers to an 8th place finish & a spot in the Playoffs last year, take that Swami, you were wrong! Good Coaching & Cory Crawford & Fredrick Anderson beat that Crystal Ball! Can they do it again? They certainly look to try again, drafting Rookie Goalie Matt Murray(13GP) in the 1st round(brings back memories when the Stars took Schneider in the 1st round) So in Goal, the Flyers are in great shape! Up front, only 4 players with 20 or more Goals return led by James Neal(31G) who will play with Zach Parise(70GP) & David Backes on the Top Line! Jeff Skinner drew Joe Colborne & Elias Lindholm for practice on the 2nd line, while Matt Read, Rookie Matthias Janmark, & Andrew Cogliano worked out as the 3rd line! Blake Comeau, Matthieu Perreault, & Brian Boyle had 4th line duty as Val Filppula & Tomas Fleischman were the linseman for today’s scrimmage! On defense, All-Stars Victor Hedman & Drew Doughty were the Top Pairing! Alex Goligoski & Aaron Ekblad went out as #2! Veteran Willie Mitchell(46GP) & Mark Stuart look to share line 3 LD with Michael Stone on RD! Youngster Seth Jones might play 3rd line LD if offense is needed! A solid defense & Good Goaltending is usually a recipe for success, Swami says they sneak in again! NEWS FLASH- Flyers get Marian Hossa & Patrick Sharp in trade with Bolts, the Playoff push is on!
LOS ANGELES- The Kings, who finished 7th a year ago, were led by Alex Ovechkin(50G) who led the League in Goals(56),PPG’s(23) & GWG’s(13) ! The Kings return 8 players with 20 or more Goals, as Patrick Kane(46G) will line up with Mikko Koivu & Ovechkin on perhaps the Top Line in the League! Veteran Patrick Marleau,Mika Zibanejad, & Brandon Saad skated as line 2! Matt Cullen,Artem Anisimov, & Craig Smith were line 3! Jimmy Hayes,Sean Couturier, & Ryan Callahan were the energy unit tonight! Nick Bjugstad & Matt Calvert played soccer in the hall,not dressing for today’s workout! On Defense, All-Stars Duncan Keith(67GP) & Shea Weber formed the Top Shutdown pair! Matthias Ekholm & Travis Hamonic were together on line2, while youngster Trevor Van Riemsdyk skated with Cody Ceci on pair 3! With 5 Goalies in camp, it looks like youngster Martin Jones has won the starting job over veteran Ryan Miller,who should be the primary back-up, with Pavelec,Kinkaid, & McElhinney just hoping for contracts! The “Big Line” should carry the team again, along with the Shutdown 1st Defense line & a Good season outta Martin Jones! Swami says : Playoffs Again!
TORONTO- The Leafs scored 273 Goals last season, the 2nd most in the League to finish in 6th place! Claude Giroux, who led the GHC in Plus/Minus(+42) is one of 9 forwards returning with 20 or more Goals! The lines in practice looked like this, Patrik Hornqvist was with Sidney Crosby & Justin Williams, who just arrived in a trade! James Van Riemsdyk(40GP) was with Claude Giroux & Brendan Gallagher(53GP) on line 2! Scott Hartnell,Michael Backlund, & P. A. Parenteau made up line 3! Evander Kane(65GP), Bryan Little(57GP), & Radim Vrbata(63GP) was the 4th line! Jamie McGinn,Eric Fehr, & Jonathan Drouin will also see a lot of ice-time for injuries! On Defense, Ryan McDonough teams up with newcomer(trade)Brent Seabrook on the Top Line! A disgruntled Kris Letang,not happy about 2nd line duties, went out with Francois Beauchemin today! Newcomer(trade)Alexei Emelin skated with Kevan Miller on the 3rd line! The Leafs traded their #1 Rookie pick to get Goalie Brian Elliot & he will share duties with youngster Jake Allen, leaving Goalie Steve Mason in the dark(trade bait)! Coach Keith Larkin might have a different line-up every day(injuries), but Swami likes defense & Goaltending, could be a Top 4 team, Playoffs are a lock!
DALLAS- The Stars allowed a League-Low 173 Goals & led the GHC with 12 team Shutouts in a 5th place finish! Dallas, like NJ & TOR, return 9 Players with 20 or more Goals! The Forward lines in practice saw Brad Marchand, Nick Backstrom & Cam Atkinson skate as Line 1! Mike Hoffman, Pavel Datsyuk(gonna miss you next year) & Jacob Silfverberg were together on Line 2! Benoit Pouliot(55GP), Ryan Kesler & Jerome Iginla had the Line 3 Jersey’s on! Tobias Rieder, Jordan Stall, & J. T. Miller were the checking unit! Rookie Phil DI Giuseppe, Riley Sheahan, & bruiser Tom Wilson will likeky see time as well! On Defense, Jake Muzzin & Captain Erik Karlsson skated as the Top Line! Andrei Markov & T. J. Brodie(70GP) had line 2 duties! Brooks Orpik(41GP) was with the Stars #1 Rookie pick Colton Parayko on the 3rd line! The veteran Dan Boyle will also see time for injuries! In Goal, the Stars have 4 Goaltenders with veteran Cory Schneider winning the starting job! Youngster Petr Mrazek will also see action! Phillip Grubauer & the “Hamburglur” Andrew Hammond will serve as back-ups! Once again, the Stars will depend on defense & Goaltending says Coach Dale Hunter, but we have a tough schedule(Tor,La,Phi)8 times(4 home & away)! Excuses,Excuses,Excuses, quipped GM Steve Yzerman, he(Hunter)better make the show or out the door he may go!
TAMPA BAY- It’s like a Hurricane hit the Lightning roster, as many former Bolts are scattered through-out the League! Rookie GM-Coach Tim Matte threw out the “Old” to bring in the “New” & with numerous deals has his scouts working Overtime! The “Bolts” have 4 First-round Rookie Picks in next year’s draft along with 3 Second-Rounders, so it could be a season of pain for the South Florida fans! What was left at the time of Swami’s visit was this… Up Front, Alex Tanguay was with Anze Kopitar & Kyle Okposo on the Top Line! Eric Haula, who will likely play some games at Center , was the LW with Jeff Carter & Kris Versteeg on line 2! Dustin Brown, Vinny LeCavlier(49GP) & 2nd round Rookie pick Jake Virtanen(55GP) were on the 3rd line! 1st round Rookie Pick William Nylander(22GP) will see action when Vinny sits! Milan Michalek(45GP) & Joseph Blandisi(rookie)will split time on the 4th line at LW! Marcus Kruger(41GP) & Ben Smith(22GP) look to Center the checking unit with Curtis Lazar on RW! On Defense, the Bolts had Nick Leddy paired with newcomer(trade) Morgan Rielly on the Top Line! Brayden Coburn was paired with youngster Damon Severson on line 2! Johnny Oduya & Justin Schultz were pair 3! 1st round Rookie Pick Darnell Nurse will also see ice-time in his Rookie season! In Goal, The “Flower” Marc-Andre Fleury will see the most rubber(if still there)while youngster Robin Lehner & Sergei Varlamov get spot starts! Swami sees a rough road ahead this season & a fall from the top to the bottom of the heap, a Lotto team, but with light at the end of the tunnel!
NEW YORK I- The Isle allowed just 204 Goals last season, the 3rd best in the League for a 3rd place Finish! Coach Cristobal Huet has his work cut out for him this season, as the Isle have only 2 players with 20 or more Goals in the line-up, the lowest total in the League after Buffalo signs FA Zach Smith(25G) to give them three! To keep the fans happy & not put up the white flag just yet, GM Kevin Miron brought in thru trade Jonathan Toews & Dustin “Big Buff” Byfuglien to bolster the troops! FA Matt Martin was also in camp,hoping to get a contract in September! The Forward lines today were Alex Steen(67GP), Patrice Bergeron & Justin Abdelkader as the Top Line! Mike Cammalleri(42GP) was with Jonathan Toews & veteran Brian Gionta on line 2! Andre Burakovsky, Thomas Plekanec & Kevin Hayes took line 3 reps! David Perron,Mike Fisher & Brad Richards worked out as line 4! Shawn Matthias,Luke Glendening, & Michael Grabner will fill in for injuries! On Defense, Marco Scandella & Dustin Byfuglien were the Top pairing, while Cam Fowler(69GP) & Jacob Trouba skated as line 2! Rookie Jake McCabe was slotted with Ben Lovejoy(66GP) on line 3, although Radko Gudas was on the ice bashing teammates into the boards to get a job! Jonas Brodin figures to be the injury replacement on both Ld & Rd! Michael Del Zotto was the water-boy today! James Reimer & Devan Dubynk will spit time in Goal with Jonathan Bernier as the back-up! All this team needs is a little incentive & Swami is going to give it to them, Swami says: They come up short & miss the Post-Season! Swami you’re Cruel
CHICAGO- The Blackhawks scored 278 Goals last season, the most in the League & was the runner-up in the GHC CUP Finals! The Hawks return 8 players with 20 or more Goals, led by Steven Stamkos(36G) who will play on the Top Line with Max Pacioretty & John Tavares! Newcomer(trade)Frans Nielsen was seen with Joe Thornton & T. J. Oshie on the 2nd line! Jacob Voracek, whose 108 pts led the League last year was slotted with Brandon Dubinsky & Wayne Simmonds on line 3! Gus Nyqvist(trade) , Martin Hanzal(64GP) & Rookie Sam Bennett worked the 4th line! Matt Moulson & Joel Ward(said to be trade-bait) skated by themselves after practice! On Defense, Newcomer(trade) Mark Giordano was with Anton Stralman on the Top Line! Zdeno Chara(trade) & Zach Bogosian(64GP)(trade) were the new line 2 mates! Brian “Soupy” Campbell was skating with Jeff Petry(51GP) on line 3! Kris Russell was rumored to be on the trading block! In Goal, Braden Holtby will be the “Man” while newcomer(trade) Anti Raanta will get some spot starts! The off-season revamp of the line-up has the Hawks easily returning to the post-season & quite possibly to the Finals again! Swami says: Gonna be a fun year in the Windy City!
ST LOUIS- Congrats again from Swami to the GHC CUP Champion Blues( Great job on Website too!) Coach Rob Gallamore’s squad will certainly miss last year’s MVP Carey Price(12GP), who led the League in Star of Game Points(75) & helped the team to the 2nd lowest Goals-Against(175)in the League! Up front, the Blues return 7 players with 20 or more Goals, led by Filip Forsberg(33G) who will play top line minutes with Evgeny Kuznetsov & Rick Nash(60GP)! Milan Lucic was with Mark Scheifele & Charlie Coyle on RW on line 2! Drew Stafford, Kyle Turris(57GP) & Eric Stall made up line 3 this afternoon! Rookie Robby Fabbri, Michael Granlund & Nick Foligno had the line 4 sweaters on. Brandon Sutter(20GP) & Marian Gaborik will fill in for injuries! On Defense, Oliver-Ekman Larsson & Alex Pietrangelo return as the Top Pairing! Dimitri Kulikov & Brent Burns skated as line 2! Line 3 saw Jake Gardiner & last season’s GHC ice-time Leader(28:15) Justin Faulk(64GP) together! The Blues have 5 Goaltenders in camp, including 2nd round Rookie Pick Connor Hellebuyck(26GP) who might win the opening day job vs Chicago! Veteran Mike Smith & youngster Andrei Vasilevski will also see time,with Anti Niemi doing the back-up job! Carey Price(12GP) will get his dozen starts in somewhere! Musical chairs in Goal & with the Forwards has Coach Gallamore using a lot of the roster, but Swami says: Gotta like the back-end(defenseman), it’s playoff time again for the Blues!
OK Swami, you got it wrong,you cant count, you got 9 teams in the playoffs & 2 or 3 on the bubble, yup it looks to be another nail-biter for the Playoffs & what Coach will prove Swami wrong again! Good Luck to all… out camping & Blues select Griffin Reinhart to end round 2, couple teams were hoping he’d last till 3rd round. Swami gotta get ready for round 3 pick…..Woo!