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Five Teams To Watch in 2012-2013


Taylor Hall. Source: Wikipedia Commons (Alesiaxx)

The lockout is happening, and there’s quite a bit of uncertainty about when the lockout will end. Both sides are wanting financial changes, but neither will give in enough to please the other. The ones suffering the most are us. The fans.

So I decided to write about something that might cheer you up or maybe just make you miss the game even more.

5 teams who I think will be better then they were last season. Lets begin.

1. Edmonton Oilers.

I think this is a team everyone expects to make an improvement from last season. The Oilers 32 wins were 3rd least in the NHL, but I expect that number to go up next year. Taylor Hall needs to stay healthy, and he is a player who could possibly be an All Star next year. I also expect him to have a HUGE year with Ryan Nugent Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. Adding the 1st overall pick Nail Yakupov will only make them better, and I expect this team to be a formidable threat in the West over the next decade. Edmonton already had a top 5 power play, so by adding Yakupov to their lineup, it will just increase the firepower.  Read the rest of this entry

Man Down! Who Will Fill Erik Gudbranson’s Skates?

Erik Gudbranson.
Photo Source: Michael Miller/ Wikipedia Commons

Hello once again, hope everyone enjoyed the first week of the NFL season. Hopefully your team won! If you’re a Dolphin fan like me, well lets just say they did better then I thought they would. Also if you’re a Falcons fan like I am, our team looked pretty great on Sunday.

Anyway, I’m sure most of you have heard the terrible news about Erik Gudbranson. the 3rd overall pick back in 2010 who seems to have injured his shoulder during a training session last week. He had successful surgery and is expected to miss roughly four months of action.

This has to be a devastating blow to the Panthers plans for next season, but what is shocking to me was the fact that the Panthers were even thinking about starting Gudbranson in the AHL whether or not there was a lockout. To me this is kind of surprising and raises curiosity at the same time.  You’re going to send a young future star that played his best hockey of the year in the postseason to the AHL even if the regular season got under way? I’m personally trying to understand that, and while there may be good reasons for it, I don’t agree.

Read the rest of this entry

Ready To Make The Jump? 5 Players Who Will Have Breakout Seasons

Dmitry Kulikov. Image source: Hockey Photography by Yuri Peralta.

Greetings everyone. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the smooth transition to our new website, Panther Parkway. I’m excited for our team and what lies ahead. What I’m not excited about is a lockout, so lets continue to hope and pray that there isn’t a full season lockout looming.

Staying away from the that for while, I’d like to share my opinion on who will have breakout seasons; if we have a season. All 5 of these players are relatively young, and most are about to hit their prime age and break out, so it should make sense when you see my 5 guys.

There are plenty of players to choose from but first I’ll start with a player who had a great season last year, and I believe he can have an even better one.

That player is John Tavares. The former first overall pick of the 2009 NHL draft had a great season last year. His 81 points were a career high, and his 50 assists were among the top leaders in the league. Since he plays with the New York Islanders, his name isn’t in the headlines every night, but when people get to see him live, he is something special. With so much turmoil going on with the Islanders, Tavares has been a bright spot. Even though they lost P.A. Parenteau to free agency, Tavares should still thrive and I believe he’ll flirt with the 100 point range. He’s averaged 67 points a season in his first 3 NHL seasons, but I believe his 4th will be the best one he’s had thus far.

Second, I’ll go with a name that might not be a household one, but possibly could be. It’s a stretch but I’m going with Derrick Brassard. The 6th overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft has shown that he can play in the NHL. His 41 points last year were a step back from his 2010-2011 campaign where he tallied 47 points, but with Rick Nash gone; someone has to take the helm in Columbus. I believe Brassard will be that man. Although he had a slow start last year, in his final 32 games he totaled 25 points. His time on ice increased,  which resulted in more production. With Nash gone, Brassard will be one of the go to guys for Columbus. He’ll be in the neighborhood of 65-70 points.

Third I’ll go with a our very own, Dmitry Kulikov. Kulikov was lights out before he got injured. Night after night, he was tallying points on a consistent level. He was certainly on his way to shatter his career highs. Although he did surpass his career highs by 2 points, we didn’t get to see Kulikov thrive as much as we thought he would. Hampered by a leg injury, Kulikov missed 24 games. Although Kulikov finished with 28 points, he had 20 points in the first 38 games and was on pace for a 50 point season. If Kulikov can stay healthy, he’ll be on pace once again to get to that plateau. He’s had injury issues in his young NHL career, but if he wants to play for the Panthers organization for many years, he is going to have to prove that his injuries are a thing in the past.

Fourth, a player that isn’t as young as the rest of the field but seems to have found a steady place for awhile will be Curtis Glencross. The 29 year old player for the Calgary Flames had a terrific season last year even if he had some injury issues. He missed 15 games overall but still managed to score 26 goals on a mere 110 shots. Thats a 23.6% shooting percentage! What that means is that pretty much he’ll make one out of every four shots. That’s highest in the league as far as a player that’s played as many games as he did. Higher then Stamkos, Malkin, you name it. Glencross has talent, and I believe he has the potential to top 30 goals this year.

Lastly we have Taylor Hall. Another former first round draft pick was hampered last year with some injuries. He missed 21 games but still averaged about a point a game. Hall has seen top prospects coming left and right with Nugent Hopkins, Eberle and now Yakupov. It seems impossible to think that Hall won’t have a career year with these names playing with him every night. He should be somewhere around the 80-85 point range next year and I expect him and the Oilers to have one of the best offenses in the league for years to come.

Thank you for reading, Comments are appreciated !

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