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07-04-2012, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by jakethesnake23 View Post
Im absolutely worried about all teams in the division:

1. Washington pushed the Rangers in the playoffs. Riberio is a Panther killer. Holtby may emerge as a stud. Backstrom injured for much of the season and Ovechkin way down last year. Can definately improve on last year.

2. Tampa. 2 years ago, with the same nucleus, went 1 game from the SC Final. Boast Stamkos and St. Louis. Hedmen improving.

3. Carolina. Added Staal who KILLED the Panthers last year. Best 1-2 Centre combo in the Division. Cam ward in goal and experienced defense. Faulk is a nice piece with experience and Skinner had a down year. Been down overall for a few years, its about time they had a good year.

4. Winnipeg. Lots of improving young talent in Kane, Burmistrov and Bogosian. Size and speed up front and deep from line 1-4. Serious home ice advantage.

Basic point, disregard any of these teams at your risk. I could see any of them winning the division and to cast them off at the moment would be ludicrous.

Meanwhile, and dont see any improvement from our big guys (1st line, campbell, goalies) and only a few guys who can legitimately make big strides (Kuly and Guds (the rooks cannot be definately counted on)) . We NEED the guys who performed at a high level last year them to perform like they did last year or we are busted. Any downturn will kill us.

I would feel much more comfortable if we made an offensive upgrade.
1. Washington gains Ribero but loses Semin, which is a downgrade in secondary scoring. The Holtby/Neuvirth combo could be good, but could also be disastrous over a full season. Ovechkin could have better numbers, but his game seems to have changed from offensive dynamo to be a bit more responsible. They also have a new coach, again.

2. Tampa, could improve from last year but goaltending remains a question mark. Would you be comfortable with a Lindback/Garon combo? I wouldn’t be. I wouldn’t assume that basically the same 84 point team as last year is vastly improved, but they do have the potential pieces in place

3. Carolina will be much improved, no question about it from me.

4. Winnipeg, they basically added second and third-line pieces. The team is improved on paper, but they haven’t improved drastically. they also lack high-end talent like we do. their home ice advantage is over-hyped, just look at the home records from last season and it sows that they didn’t do better at home than any of the other teams in our division. they’re a good team, but I’d rather be in our position.

I’m not dismissing any of the other teams in our division, because they are all very good. All I’m saying is that they aren’t as vastly improved as some on this board seem to think and we aren’t terribly worse than we were at last year.

Some of the posters here make it seem like we’re the only team that requires our top players to be our top players. The other teams need their top guys to perform, just like we need our top guys to perform, this isn’t unique to just us.

At the same time, many are assuming that other teams’ players improve while ours stand still. I would expect Gudbranson to be much better than the bumbling rookie he was in the first half, and Kulikov to be better than the hobbling liability he was in the second half. I also expect Versteeg to improve his game with a full year as a first-liner under his belt. Bergenheim and Goc should also be better contributors if they can stay healthy, and Upshall can actually contribute…something. Dineen should be a better coach, and the team should hit the ground running having played a year together and being more familiar with each other.

I want our team to add pieces too, but it is not as dire as it looks and, let’s face it, we are a budget team right now. Our best course of action is to remain competitive for a playoff spot (which we will be), build from within, and when it makes sense financially and competitively to add the necessary pieces to become a perennial playoff team.

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