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07-24-2012, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
As much as I respect Semin, I think Washington will be a whole lot stronger this year. I don't know whether Oates will be any good, but I don't see him being worse than what the Caps had last season. Further, young players like Holtby, Carlson, Alzner, Johansson, Perreault should all improve more. Orlov may have more of an impact. Backstrom and Green shouldn't endure the same injury riddled seasons. Ribeiro will help offset the Semin loss. Frankly, I view Washington as being competitive with your 'big three'.

I think it's also tough to dismiss Boston as being weak or significantly worse than those three clubs. Boston still has a nice collection of players that can compete with most of those top tier clubs.

So that's 5 clubs that are really solid.
I could be wrong about Washington. But they're replacing Semin with Wolski and Ribeiro, so unless they sign someone else I expect them to be weaker. However, they have good youth depth, and Ovechkin just had an off-year, so they could rebound. You make a strong case.

I don't think Boston is on the same level as the other 4. However, they are very likely to have a regular season total of 102 points, as they can beat up on what may be the weakest division in hockey. Buffalo, Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto -- 4 teams that have a legitimate shot at a lottery pick. Is there a single team in the NHL that has as easy a regular season as the Boston Bruins? I doubt it. They will break 100 points again. But they're not on the level of the other teams I mentioned.

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