The Cannon Staff Playoff Predictions

The Stanley Cup playoffs are still over six months away, but the staff here at The Cannon are pleased to offer our playoff standings predictions. These are somewhat educated guesses at the eight teams from each conference who will take part in the marathon that is the Stanley Cup playoffs. Below you'll find a chart outlining the picks, and check after the jump for a brief explanation of each pick. We'll check back in April to see who was the closest!

Without further ado:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

MIKE

DAN

MATT

ANDY

LOU

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins

Buffalo Sabres

Pittsburgh Penguins

Washington Capitals

Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres

Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals

Pittsburgh Penguins

Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals

Pittsburgh Penguins

Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres

Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers

Tampa Bay Lightning

Philadelphia Flyers

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes

Tampa Bay Lightning

Carolina Hurricanes

Montreal Canadiens

New Jersey Devils

Philadelphia Flyers

Montreal Canadiens

New York Rangers

Tampa Bay Lightning

Toronto Maple Leafs

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Florida Panthers

New York Rangers

Boston Bruins

New York Rangers

Florida Panthers

WESTERN CONFERENCE

MIKE

DAN

MATT

ANDY

LOU

Detroit Red Wings

Los Angeles Kings

Vancouver Canucks

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings

Los Angeles Kings

Vancouver Canucks

Los Angeles Kings

Los Angeles Kings

Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings

Vancouver Canucks

Los Angeles Kings

Chicago Blackhawks

San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks

Chicago Blackhawks

Nashville Predators

San Jose Sharks

Chicago Blackhawks

Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators

San Jose Sharks

Anaheim Ducks

Anaheim Ducks

Anaheim Ducks

San Jose Sharks

St.Louis Blues

Colorado Avalanche

Nashville Predators

Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets

Chicago Blackhawks

Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets

Chicago Blackhawks

Anaheim Ducks

Columbus Blue Jackets

These predictions were done independently, so it's interesting to see where we differ. In both conferences, the top three teams are unanimous, with seeding the only difference. Four out of five of us believe the Flyers are just behind the Penguins in the Atlantic, and we all have Boston returning to the playoffs. Andy, Matt and I have faith in the Hurricanes making it, while Dan, Andy and I think the Rangers will be in the postseason. Dan, Andy and Lou like Tampa to make it, while only Dan and Lou see the Habs in the hunt for Lord Stanley's mug. Lou and I believe that the Panthers are back in the postseason, while single votes went to the Leafs and Devils (both from Wagner....does he know something we don't?)

Out West, like Boston, we all have Chicago and San Jose making it. We all like the Ducks coming out of the Pacific, with the exception of Lou, while I'm the only guy who sees Nashville miss. Lou gave a single vote to St.Louis, while I went solo with Colorado. We all have the Jackets making the playoffs, three of us in the 8th slot, and two in the seventh. I know...

Prediction Breakdowns:

Mike

EC
Pittsburgh- The Pens are already solid. Add in a healthy Crosby and the Pens are a force.

Buffalo- The Sabres are an interesting team, and they can feast on the Northeast division.

Washington- They are primed for a deep run, as long as the goaltending and defense hold up.

Philadelphia- Deep and talented, adding Bryzgalov was the final piece.

Boston- Not as deep as they were last year, but they now know how to win.

Carolina- More skilled than most think, Skinner, Staal and Ward will lead them to the postseason.

Rangers- Adding Brad Richards to run shotgun with Gaborik makes this team deadly, providing the latter can stay healthy.

Florida- About time! They made some nice moves this summer, and if Theodore can play at a high level, they're in.

WC
Detroit- Same old Red Wings. That's a good thing.

Los Angeles- Finally ready to become a force in the West.

Vancouver- Hungry for another shot at the Cup.

Chicago- Will fight the Wings all season for the Division crown, and will be rock-solid if the goaltending holds up.

San Jose- Perennial bridesmaids, they'll be in the dance but is this the year they take the next step?

Anaheim- They are talented up front, and are built to succeed in the postseason.

Colorado- They'll surprise, write that down.

Columbus-A lot of things need to go right for the Jackets, but they have the pieces in place, they just need to execute.

STANLEY CUP FINAL:
Los Angeles over Washington. The Kings are loaded.

Dan

EC

Pittsburgh - If both Sid and Geno are back, they're the most talented team in the East.

Buffalo - This team was solid before the off-season splurge, and should be better.

Washington - Here if only because I'm not sold on Tampa Bay just yet, and no one else in their division gives me pause.

Philadelphia - Bryz should give them a better shot to absorb some of the losses up front.

Boston - They'll get everyone's best shot, but are still talented enough to be here.

Montreal - If Carey Price continues to develop, no reason to think they're not a playoff team.

Tampa Bay - Not a team I'd want to play in the first round, but Roloson and Garon don't fill me with confidence in net.

NY Rangers - Here by virtue of the fact that no one else in the East impresses me.

WC

Los Angeles - This is the year for them.

Vancouver - The team is still too talented, and has two legit goaltenders.

Detroit - This is their spot until someone takes it from them.

San Jose - I didn't like their off-season as much as some, but you can't ignore the talent still here.

Chicago - Weathered the post-Cup purge, and got tougher to play against this off-season.

Anaheim - If the top line plays as well as last year and Hiller is back, they'll be solid again.

Nashville - The swan song for this team as currently constructed, never under estimate Barry Trotz.

Columbus - If only because I refuse to believe that a team with this much talent--on paper--would miss the playoffs.

STANLEY CUP FINAL:
Pittsburgh over San Jose - this is the year the Sharks put it all together in the WC playoffs, only to be beaten by the most talented team in the league for the Hardware.

Matt

EC
Buffalo - Pegulamania is running wild, and Ryan Miller is playing with an incredible level of energy so far.

Washington - Tomas Vokoun may take them to uncharted territory - the conference finals!

Pittsburgh - More dangerous than Crosby and Malkin getting healthy is the fact that the Penguins have the confidence to win without them.

Philadelphia - Claude Giroux may just replace Mike Richards in the lineup, if he can keep playing at his current pace.

Carolina - If the Lightning continue to struggle, it will be the Hurricanes who push Washington for the SE crown.

New Jersey - With a healthy Parise, a healthier Marty Brodeur, and a better head coach, the Devils might even make it out of the first round.

Toronto - Optimus Reim will transform this team back into a decent club.

Boston - They may have a Stanley Cup Hangover, but I won't bet against them.
 
WC
Vancouver - Interesting that Cory Schneider appears to be carrying the mail right now. Can he keep it up all season? Perhaps not, but that might just make Roberto Luongo that much more dangerous.

Los Angeles - It may finally be time for the Kings to step past their division mates.

Detroit - The gold standard until proven otherwise.

San Jose - I actually think coming in with home ice but NOT a divisional leader is just what the Sharks could use. Just a little less pressure (plus the addition of Brent Burns) might be what they need.

Nashville - Pekka Rinne can carry this team through thick and thin - but keep an eye on  Shea Weber. If he wants out of Music City, this team will suffer badly.

Anaheim - Jonas Hiller is 100% healthy again, and that could make a big difference, but I wonder if the stress of Teemu Selanne's potential retirement might be a little too much on their shoulders?

Columbus - I still believe this team can get their heads together and surprise their division.

Chicago - There are holes in the roster, but there's still a hell of a lot of talent. The real question is in net...

STANLEY CUP FINAL:
Buffalo over Los Angeles- the Sabres might just pull it off!

Andy

EC
Pittsburgh - This team is great without Crosby and Malkin. With them both healthy again? Wow.

Washington - Vokoun and a more stout defense should answer a lot of questions about the Capitals weaknesses.

Buffalo - Miller continues to lead the way, and this time he has a much, much better supporting cast.

Tampa Bay - Just too much talent to not challenge for the division.

Carolina - Ward has always been strong and that's not going to change this year.

Philadelphia - I don't see them making a deep run, but Bryzgalov will be a big help.

Boston - Stanley Cup hangover, maybe, but it's all about goaltending and there's no way Thomas misses the playoffs.

New York Rangers - If they can start to put it all together, they could be scary.

WC

Detroit - When will Lidstrom start showing his age? Howard with another year's experience is not a goalie I want to face.

Los Angeles - So much talent, if they can harness that power the sky is the limit.

Vancouver - Luongo is always the key, but he'll need more help if they actually want to win the Stanley Cup.

Chicago - I see them bouncing back in a big way this year.

Nashville - Trotz's tireless work ethic matched with an outstanding Rinne and defensive corps will go a long way. Again.

San Jose - If a goalie shows up to play, they will be dangerous.

Columbus - Too much skill for this team to not figure things out. Eventually...

Anaheim - Perry, Getzlaf, Ryan, and Hiller could take any team to the playoffs. Will they have enough help to not be worn out by the end of the season?

STANLEY CUP FINAL:
Pittsburgh over Los Angeles in 5 - Sid the Kid rides again.

Lou

EC
Washington - Vokoun was the missing piece to the puzzle.

Pittsburgh - Crosby and Malkin both healthy mean trouble for the rest of the conference.

Buffalo - Pegula's ownership pays a hefty dividend

Philadelphia - Don't forget, Holmgren made many of his roster changes before his bike accident

Tampa Bay - the Bolts will try to prove the adage of "the best offense is a good defense", and struggle.

Montreal - in their customary post season position, primed to make it to the second round. Maybe.

Boston - the 2012 version of the 2011 Blackhawks.

Florida - Dale Tallon has the last laugh at the expense of Glen Sather.
 
WC
Detroit - Why can't our elected officials do as good and consistent a job as Mike Babcock?

Vancouver - the other four teams in the Northwest make Vancouver a default choice as a division champ.

Los Angeles - Kopitar, Richards, Doughty and Quick make the Kings a fun team.

Nashville - I hated to type that. I still hate Barry Trotz.

San Jose - the losses of Setaguchi and Heatley will knock them down a notch or two.

St. Louis - this is their year to make more out of less.

Chicago - glad they won the Cup two years ago. It probably won't happen again any time soon.

Columbus - Oh come on. The Cannon is a Blue Jackets blog. What did you expect me to say???
 
STANLEY CUP FINAL:
Buffalo over Los Angeles in 5. Commissioner Bettman then fawns over billionaires far and wide to fiscally massage teams playing
south of the Mason-Dixon line.

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