By Daniel Friedman
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It’s a brand new year, which means another 365 days of great (and not-so-great) sports moments.
They say you can’t predict the future, but I’m going to try anyway. With that, here are my 10 bold predictions for 2016:
1. Josh McDaniels will be the next head coach of the Giants.
There’s no questioning his offensive smarts, and the Giants need to get the very most out of Eli Manning and a talented receiver group if they’re going to get back to the playoffs.
2. Travis Hamonic will be traded to the Edmonton Oilers on deadline day.
Islanders GM Garth Snow would likely prefer to wait this out as long as he can until the best deal comes along, but if Johnny Boychuk recovers and the Oilers want to play ball, Snow will pull the trigger and put this situation behind him and his hockey team.
3. The Rangers will trade Marc Staal to Arizona in a deal for Mikkel Boedker.
They have to shed some cap space and they need some help on offense. No one’s taking Dan Girardi, so Staal’s the odd man out. The Coyotes will likely be sloping downward by the trade deadline and could look to sell high on Boedker, who has historically produced less than he has this season. It could be a fit.
4. The Islanders’ streak of years without a playoff series win will continue.
The Blueshirts might be struggling, but they’re still better defensively and in net than the Isles. If the playoffs began today, they would meet in the first round. I think the Islanders still have work to do before they can beat their archrivals in a seven-game series.
5. Subsequently, the Isles will relieve Jack Capuano of his coaching duties.
Out of patience and with new ownership taking over the franchise, Snow will let go of Capuano and hire a more experienced bench boss.
6. The Rangers will face Washington in the playoffs and lose.
The Rangers are a shell of what they once were. Conversely, the Capitals are what the Rangers once were, and maybe even better.
7. Kristaps Porzingis will be named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.
He’s done an excellent job thus far, and has probably surpassed the expectations most Knicks fans had for him. He’ll seal the deal with an ROY nod.
8. Michael Conforto will lead the Mets in most offensive categories.
We saw flashes of his potential last season, but going into 2016 with (presumably) a full-time gig, his confidence will soar and so will the baseballs he hits.
9. The Mets will repeat as NL East champions.
They could’ve done more to improve their team in the offseason (and perhaps they still can), but they’ve still got the best starting pitching in baseball and, assuming their younger batters step up, they should have enough.
10. Led by the AL’s deepest bullpen, the Yankees will win the AL East for the first time in four years.
They’ve made some big moves to bolster their lineup, but the Bronx Bombers now have a bullpen that will keep them in games during the latter innings.
Follow Daniel Friedman on Twitter @bardownhowitzer.