Predict League Standings
ridiculous mix of quality depth and elite talent up front, arguably best top-6 d group in the league (especially if Staal comes back ahead of last year's concussion marred season), one of league best goalies, & a coach who drives a tight ship.
while it will be fun to watch Lucic struggle (if he is as out-of-shape as reports indicate) & go from hero to zero in that market, Bruins have great depth & a roster with minimal changes. Stability should help contribute to strong start, depth to a strong finish.
3- Tampa Bay
A bit of a stretch... hinges on Lindback being above average in nets. They have scoring, solid (if unspectacular) top4-defense, and the right coach to get the most out of a relatively unknown group of depth players (bottom-6, bottom-pairing). My darkhorse pick
If Bryz comes back with a better season, could challenge NYR for conference title... great skill/depth up front, defense is still solid despite losing Pronger/Carle.
Crosby/Malkin will need to carry a team that has lot's of holes in the lineup up front and on defense. Lucky for them that those two can probably handle it. Nevertheless Bylsma has his work cut out for him.
another "reach"... their top-6 could be pretty damn effective with Staals, Semin, Skinner anchoring it. Losing Ruutu hurts depth big time & their defense lacks high-end talent... Ward will have to have a very strong year.
a bit weak through the middle of their lineup, relying on unproven goalie duo & rookie coach... but any team with Ovie/Backstrom/Green/Ribiero is going to produce some offense. Remains to be seen if they can carry over some of the defensive responsibility Hunter had success instilling.
Race for 8th will be very tight imo. Teams 8-14 could easily be swapped in any order. Giving it to Ottawa in part on belief that Alfie has a revelation year after getting extra time to get healthy & with end of career right around corner. If Lats is in shape & stays healthy, could have a monster year playing with Turris.
Biggest stretch I'm sure... NYI should be cellar-dwellars again, but "every dog has its day" feeling tells me that Tavares & co. surprise a lot of teams while youth & lack of pressure/expectation plays to their favor. Over 82 games, they'd be exposed, in 1/2 season? maybe they benefit most from additional chaos/randomness of shortened season.
if Lombardi & Connolly are healthy and used properly, Toronto will have a very good top-9. Defense is solid, and Carlyle is a good coach. ? as always for them is in nets... if they land Luongo, Laffs get back into the playoffs, if not, will be fun to watch another year of futility in the center of the universe.
I really hope they don't end up in the 9-11 range... playoff or bottom of the conference plz. But i think they are too good to fall that far again without another mind-boggling string of bad injury luck. Price, if he's on top of his game, takes the team into the playoffs.
ooops. While there is reason to believe they will improve on last year, I also think they were heavy overachievers. More inclined to think they regress back to being a non-playoff team this year given their lack of top-6 skill up front and relying on a goaltender whose been consistently inconsistent throughout his career (especially year-to-year)
No parise, no volchenkov (not that he was stellar for them anyhow), a kovalchuk who might have his mind on another continent... lackluster depth up front/on defense...doesn't look good for defending cup finalist
Not much I like about their roster... minimal elite skill, marginal depth, a goalie whose becoming more of a factor off-ice than he is on-ice. I think this will be ruff's last stand.
Honeymoon is over... shorter season & tighter schedule means the travel factor will hit them even harder, and home-ice emotional factor will be a bit less impactful in year two. Don't trust Buff/Kane to have put in requesite off-season work in extended off-season, Hainsey (who is already needed beyond his capacity) was more focused on CBA than on training. Easily see them finishing as league worst team this season.
and panthers? :)
15. Blue Jackets
1 - NYR
2 - Bruins
3 - Washington
4 - Pittsburgh
5 - Philly
6 - Montreal
7 - Florida
8 - Buffalo
9 - Ottawa
10 - Carolina
11 - Tampa Bay
12 - Toronto
13 - Winnipeg
14 - New Jersey
15 - NYI
Will be a hard one to tell with a shorten season. If you have a little streak going it can serve you well.
from 12-15 I think the teams can change quite a bit. I think Toronto finally makes it because of the shorten season and their propensity to have streaks early on.
On paper their skaters are worse without Staal and Michalek. That won't matter enough to derail a team that was one of the best in the league 5 on 5 without Crosby. Vokoun can save them from MAF's flashy mediocrity.
Too good at playing both sides of the puck to keep down. Sadly. Hopefully Chara gets eaten by a passing polar bear so we don't have to put up with them being so good.
I had to pick someone to win that division. This isn't an endorsement of Washington so much as I believe they've got a decently well balanced lineup and I feel withering contempt for their compatriots in the SE.
4. New York
Nash is over-rated, Kreider won't be a 2nd line winger for them and I think they lost a bunch of defensive acumen at forward. D-corp, primary scoring and goaltending too solid too ignore. Relying on blocking shots rather than retrieving the puck and pushing it forward is why they are as good as Pittsburgh.
Defensive corps is one injury to Timonen or Coburn away from utter catastrophy and I don't have confidence in their goaltending. Will score enough to keep near the top of the conference but they are a faint shadow of their Pronger era selves.
Being a pretty normal team in the week eastern conference and North East has some perks. Making the playoffs often one of them.
7. New Jersey
Deep on D, Kovalchuk and Elias are stars, nothing else to write home about. Could fall to bottom if Broduer pulls a Roloson.
Nice well balance lineup with questionable goaltending. They could do some damage if they could find a real star forward to lead them.
Best off-season in the league. Still can't play defense or get depth scoring.
Until the stench of Randypuck and the we see something resembling winger depth and a 2nd pairing, I'm avoiding optomisim. They didn't deserve 15th last year though. What ever happens, they have the Price and the enemy does not.
11. Tampa Bay
Liked adding Carle, but Lindback isn't a proven starter and Boucher's system is hell on goaltenders. Deficent in forwards that can play both sides of the puck. Plus Lecavilier and St. Louis are old.
Bad team dumped their only top 40 C, leaving a void reminiscent of Calgary down the middle. Come back in a couple years when you can expect something out of Hodgson and Grigorenko.
Going nowhere no where fast. Not young enough to expect improvement, never fix major weakness and were lucky to accomplish what they did last year. Maybe drafting top 5 will bring them a savior.
Made the playoffs on smoke and mirrors, the only quality part of their lineup in the top pairing has been dismantled with Garrison leaving and Jose Theodore starts in nets.
They were the Oilers before it was popular, darn Brooklyn Hipsters. Gradually improving, still stink like week old socks. They have nice pieces, but brutal bottom six forwards and weak goaltending doom them from the start. Maybe one more lottery pick will do it for them.
Of course, random factors in a short schedule make projections unreliable to useless. Some bad team is going to ride a lucky streak into the playoffs.
They lost Staal..but the lockout only helped them. A rested Crosby and a Malkin already in top shape, their 5 on 5 play will be too good.
Rask will make or break them...but at this point there core is mainly veterans who will cope with the short pre-season and Seguin is ready to break out, thanks Burke. I won't cry if something bad happens to Chara.
If Muller is as good of a coach as we think he might be...well there defense is still going to suck but the Southeast is mediocre and they had the best off-season in the league.
They overachieved last year...their defense is elite but I'm not convinced by their scoring after their first line. Nash has never faced this kind of pressure and Gaborik and Richards are both on the decline. Plus Krieder is the most overrated young player this side of Gardiner.
Their offense will carry them to the playoffs, but only the Islanders and Detroit might have worse defenses on paper.
I like the direction they are heading in, at the very least being the only team besides Boston in the NE who isn't below average is a plus. Not sure Karlsson can replicate last year but he looked the part in Finland. Not to mention Alfie's swan song.
They should start to recover from last year...but this isn't their year overall. Ribeiro will be a plus, they are more balanced than they were in the past, still questions about their goaltending and defensive depth.
8. Tampa Bay
Their defense should be better than last year, but all of the SE got better and the goalie questions remain.
Mediocre in every way, my gut feeling is they will find a way to overachieve just enough to hurt their draft position to balance out lucking out in the draft last year. It helps that they play well vs the poor NE.
With Luongo, they can fluke their way to the 8th seed. Without Luongo, another year of one to many what-if's. One of the worst center tandems in the league, talented but fragile wingers, and a mistake-prone defense.
Jokinen was an underrated pickup, I actually like their balance, but they don't have the high end talent, and the media is trying to chase Kane out of town.
The division got better, leaving Florida behind. Garrison was a major loss and they didn't do enough to replace him. Huberdeau is good enough for the NHL but not yet good enough to make a difference.
13. New Jersey
No Parise, an unhappy Kovalchuk means far too many responsibility goes to old men Elias and Zubrus. Brodeur is a ticking time bomb.
I hope I'm wrong and last year was a fluke, but this team shed itself of its wing depth and the addition of beloved toughness in the bottom 6 won't make up for the softest defensive corps in the league. Price could knock us up as far as 9th, but I don't see the playoffs happening.
They are trending upward...but this is not their year, with a brutal schedule and Visnovsky screwing them out of any chance they possibly had of silencing the critics. Taveres should be great though.
The optimism in here is really high
we're fast..tough..big.. and have a goalie. new coach that is probably more offensive minded and will let our guys show the skill not hinder it..NO EXCUSES!!! baring major injuries 6th place at the least...book it!!:nod:
1. New York Rangers
6. New Jersey
9. Tampa Bay
15. New York Islanders
All I care about---habs win their division this year!!
1. * New York
2. * Boston
3. * Washington
7. Tampa Bay
14. New Jersey
1. * Los Angeles
2. * Vancouver
3. * St-Louis
6. San Jose
My Prediction is toronto finishes 9th by losing to us last game of the year haha
Hahaha...you guys watch too much TSN. The Habs had no Gionta, no Markov and endless injuries. I know you guys don't want to look like homers but please, Ottawa ahead of Montreal ? And i am not saying the Habs will finish first but cmon you guys look like sheep.
So every team has improved but it's not possible the Habs get back their injured players and with a new offensive system and tougher team could have improved.
Do any of you remember where TSN had Montreal before the beginning of last season, yep in the playoffs. So basically with same team minus Cammy and shaky Kosty we are bottom dwellers.
I though you guys were suppose to be hockey connaisseurs ?
I personally think we are going to have a great season
Last season was a complete **** up with martin behind the bench all the distractions with cunnyworth, all those shootout losses etc...
This year we have a new coach who has a great record with teams in his first season, a new GM , an amazing new prospect in Galchenyuk
We have added some key pieces into the line up in Armstrong/Prust which will make us a much tougher team to play against, There is no doubt in my mind that Cole-DD-Patches line will be awesome again and Eller has improved physically, Gionta is back from injury, A Healthy markov who was missing all last year pretty much
I could go on all day i really don't see how anyone who is a habs fan can not look at this season with optimism everything looks good to me, yes you can say last year but that was really just a ****ed up year if you ask me, we couldn't get anything to go our way whether it be all the shootout losses or just bs bounces..
I look forward to this season and i think it is going to be a very fun season to be a habs fan!
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