It seems I am marginally more optimistic than the majority. Possibly because my philosphical stance is that if you can't apply hope to sport, then you may as well just watch the news about Gaza, Russia the economy etc...
1) The team will be healthier than last year, particularly our top 6 ; partly a lack of Olympics, partly less issues entering the season (gotta love those early playoff exits for healing), and partly because Weiss will be able to play and if clearly can't skate he'll be beaten out in camp. Having no trade value makes him easier for KH to waive. Inevitably Dats, Zatta, Ericsson, Franzen, Alfredsson and Kronwall will all miss a few games, but I think all will pass 60 having been rested.
2) While Nyquist won't get as hot and there will be more attention on Sheahan and Tatar, I still think the kids will take a step forward as a whole, and the 3 will combine for comfortably over 100 points.
3) Weiss will play most of the year and be underwhelmingly solid for 40 points.
4) The D will be a little better, partly because Quincey & Smith will be kept apart more and because both will start the year considerably better than they started last year. Dekeyser will produce a little more offence and Ericsson will play more down the stretch. Kindl will still infuriate but will put up 5-10 more points (or at least in terms of pace) due to a forward core more able to take advantage of his longer outlet passes.He'll occasionally be bumped out for Oullett/Marchenko/Sproul, but with either largely hold onto his spot or be packaged in a trade.
5) Howard will be a little better, Gus will be a little less lucky, but they'll be a solid tandom. Mrazek will put up great %'s in a few games against bad teams.
6) Helm's improved scoring touch will stay, and his PPG will increase again. Same to a lesser extent with Abdelkader, despite less top 6 ice-time.
7) Miller will continue to quietly effective in his role, never exciting anyone, but never letting anyone down and will get slightly higher point totals.
8) Glendenning will play less or on the wing.
9) If alfie comes back, his play will be remarkably similar to this year, but a lack of Olympics will stop him being useless down the stretch.
10) Franzen will get more time with Nyquist, and as a result will put up more than 0.75PPG and will get 25 goals+ despite going on a run of 5 points in 20 games at some stage.
Mantha will be out-played by Jurco (before he sticks in the big club) in the Minors but will finish with 30+ goals in GR. The Grand Rapids PP will miss Almquist, but Sproul will get much improved points totals.
Babcock will continue to get half the team to over-perform, despite line combinations that make no sense in half the games. Holland will continue to get blamed by fans for things beyond his control, while journalists try to give him credit for things equally beyond his control.
The Wings to finish 5-7 in the conference but with a bit more breathing room and to get a better playoff match-up before losing in the ECSF in a blackhawks style tight series. Babcock to ride off into the sunset to much mixed opinions, and the team to do better in FA next summer as the wings splash out to get the 1 last shot for D & Z.
These predictions are dependent on Alfie re-signing.