Inviting Julia to Skate America is profitable for organizers. Gracie vs Julia would be a great battle.
How does Gracie competing in a watered down field build credibility? Especially if she fails at GPF or Worlds. If that is the case than it may prove do to the exact opposite!
They have to invite a top 3 seed, which is why Mao was invited last year. Maybe it would have been wiser in hindsight to invite Kostner, but Mao was considered by many as the weakest of the top 3 after worlds last year, and often struggles early season (although Kostner does also). Obviously they were not going to invite Kim.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the seeding once all the retirements and changes are made official over the next month or two. Some retirements are not official yet, and we still don't know for sure what some of the final partnerships may be.
In dance, since P&B are retiring and I&K and S&Z appear to be breaking up, that may mean that Gilles/Poirier and Coombes/Buckland move up to seeded status. That was not originally expected, so we will see if that affects anything.
Yes, there seem to be some people who think (hope?) that C&L will retire. I suppose they will have to think it over. Go out on top, or stay around for a couple more seasons with the chance of more World medals now that D&W and V&M appear to be gone. With P&B retiring, they will be the clear European #1 for now.
But if they go, then yes, P&I could move up to seeded status as well. (The Germans bombing in the FD and dropping below P&I could turn out to be more significant for P&I than originally expected.)
Right now Weaver & Poje's only competition for next season looks to be Capellini & Lanotte and Bobrova & Soloviev. If C&L do retire then they really will be in position to potentially dominate. Unless Chock & Bates show an unlikely improvement in just one season, or one of the new Russian formations works out better than any of us seem to be projecting them to.
In any event, there has been far more movement in dance post-Sochi than we expected. We assumed V&M and D&W would move on, but I don't think we expected so many new formations or retirements or as much movement in the Top 10 at Worlds. Who would have thought we would have 3 Canadian teams in the Top 10 and that they could have a shot at seeded status so soon?
Gracie Gold: will win her first gp event. Will place 3rd or 4th at gpf. 3rd at worlds.
Yulia L: will place 1st at both gp events. Wins GPF. Survives puberty monster for the year. 1st at euros. 1st at worlds. (... maybe I should predict her to lose something... but without Adelina, I don't expect her to lose)
Polina Edmunds: wins a gp event. Places 3rd at GPF. 2nd at worlds. (basically, a dream year for Polina Edmunds, continuing her meteoric rise to the international stage). I hope she can continue her improvement!
Park So-youn: medals at a gp event. Top 6 at worlds. places 1st or 2nd at 4CC -- either beating or losing to Murakami.
Adelina Sotnikova: Gets enough grand prix points to make gpf, but does not medal. We barely see her again.
Mao takes a year off or Yuna's the season -- participating in only worlds, and whatever events she needs to get to worlds.
Hanyu wins all of his events.
I have lots of wishes.. haha
Skaters who I think are pulling a Yuna (can we agree that it's a new competition season word?)
Mao Asada - is it confirmed?
Daisuke Takahashi - although the R word for him is imminent, I think he still wants to compete
Carolina Kostner - same as Daisuke she looks like she wants to compete though
Takahiko Kozuka - I have a feeling he might
Hanyu - 1st in most major competitions but might come second to Javi or Tatsuki in GPF
V/T - win everything
Julia - 1st in most major competitions but might be second to Adelina, Elena, or Anna in Euros and/or Russian Nats.
No one in ice dance...unless V/M or D/W comes back
Anna P. - gets her shining moment next season
Elena - gets a good season not as successful as Julia last year but nonetheless, a good one
Park - gets a medal at a GP event; medals in 4CC; part of top 10 in Worlds; adds a triple toe to her flip (my wish)
Kanako - may have a weird season like this year's but places better
Javi - WINS IN GPF (my wish )
Tatsuki - gets a good season! medals at every event
I would like to see Kozuka make a strong comeback. IMO he is a far more talented and better overall skater than Machida when he is "on" but he hasnt been on in so long. Skated well at Japanese Nationals, but not great, and that is the first time he even skated well in quite awhile.