Or, The Post That Makes Me Look Like a Genius (Or An Idiot) --
Bookmark this post, so at the end of the season we can look back and see how right (OK -- or wrong) I was with these predictions.
If the Blue Jackets are going to make the playoffs, Rick Nash can't be the only good player on the team. Hopefully, he'll have a cast of supporting characters worthy of a playoff appearance. Let's take a look at some of my predictions for the upcoming season.
Leading scorer: Rick Nash, 90 points (38-52-90)
Goals: Jeff Carter, 43 goals
Assists: Rick Nash, 52 assists
Points by a defenseman: James Wisniewski, 52 points (12-40-52)
Player that finally hits his stride: Fedor Tyutin, 10 goals, 38 assists, 48 points
Wins: Steve Mason, 31
Impact player (The Raffi Torres Clutch Goal Award): Matt Calvert
PIMs: Derek Dorsett, 190 penalty minutes
Rookie of the Year: Ryan Johansen
Best played called up from Springfield: Tomas Kubalik
Best all-around player: Antoine Vermette
Team MVP: Rick Nash
I believe Nash will still be the biggest impact player on the team, but Carter won't be far behind. They're both too talented to not make their line combination work, and anyone who gets paired with them (Derick Brassard, Kubalik, or Vinny Prospal among others) will look good by association. That scoring threat is going to help Wisniewski and Tyutin rack up the assists, and I think having a partner like Wiz will encourage Tyutin to step his game up for the first time in his career.
Mark Dekanich could have a bigger impact in net than many anticipate, but at this point in time I have to believe that Mason's size and athletic ability will allow him to finally bounce back and have a strong, playoff-worthy season. What do you think?