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11-16-2012, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 416Leafer View Post
Neither do I. I think NJ/Ott are the most likely to take a huge slide. I just don't have Florida written in as a likely playoff team. More as a bubble team, I'd expect them to finish ~9th/10th.

As to your other points.
- Kuba is very inconsistent. Last year he was good, the year before? Ottawa fans wanted him run out of town. I would say that it's quite unlikely that he plays at a similar level as he did last year
-Actually if you look at Kuba's stats since the lockout, the year before last in Ottawa was the anomaly not the norm. But really Kuba is a stopgap anyway until Gudbranson really can step up more. I could see by the end of the next season played that Gudbranson is the #2 d-man and he showed glimpses of that when Garrison was injured. Honestly Garrison is more of question mark to return to the same level as what he produced last season over Kuba since Garrison had a career yr and limited history.
- Versteeg/Fleishmann MIGHT continue to play at the same level. But that's the question anytime anybody has a career year. Sometimes they show that it was a longterm step-forward, other times they show that it was a flash in the pan.
-But their career yrs were barely over their normal averages. I mean Fleischmann put up 31 pts in 45 games the previous season so if you project that to a full season, its in the 50-60 pt range. The previous full season (with the Caps in a 2nd/3rd line role) he played he put up 51 pts which is only 10 pts less than what he put up last season in a 1st line role. Cant see him regressing from 60 pts much anyway. What would lead you to believe Flash, specifically, would regress (I dont care what other players do)? Versteeg also has consistently put up 20g seasons with several teams in the last 3-4 yrs. He beat his career high in pts & goals by ONE...thats not like he's super overachieving here. Why would you think him specifically would regress at all based on his history of putting up the same numbers?
- Statistically Theodore had the best season he's had since 2003-2004. He's never had a higher save % in that span, and he's tied it once, and that was in a 32 game sample size.
-Save percentage is the only thing he really had exceeded on in comparison to past yrs. And to me, some of that is associated again to the team in front of him to keeping the shots at a low quality. I dont know that he completely meets those same numbers again but its not like he was leading the league in any of his stats last yr. He was middle of the pack in most statistical categories and that is a fair expectation of him again. And keep in mind, the Panthers have one of the better backups in the league too in Clemmensen. He's proven he can step in and be a starter for periods when needed (like when Brodeur was down with an injury).
- Even if Carolina/Washington have only improved on paper and haven't "proven" anything yet, it's likely that it WILL come together for at least one of those teams, maybe both
- Again, thats on paper. Does everyone on Washington return to form? Can Ribiero make up for the loss of Semin? There's no guarantee that Holtby takes the reigns and leads them to the playoffs. Carolina has a ton of talent but they have had talent before and they still struggled. Can they put it all together with all that new talent and gel together quickly? Everyone expected the Panthers to not make the playoffs last yr because its not the norm for a big roster turnover to gel quickly.
- Yes, Florida does have a number of awesome prospects. Markstrom is probably another ~2 years away, Huberdeau I think will make an impact for the 2013-2014 season, though I'm not entirely sure he would do that this current season
- Markstrom is probably just 1 yr in the AHL (currently playing there) to being an NHLer. Maybe he's not the starter right away but he should be able to split starts with Clemmensen and not hurt the team at all. If Markstrom doesnt look ready, there's always the option to get a guy like Luongo. Huberdeau has gotten more development time than anyone really expected before turning pro so I expect he'll make at least an impact equivalent to what the Panthers got from Mikael Samuelsson. In other words, thats 14 goals and 31 pts...modest expectations I'd say and completely doable based on what past rookies have done when put in similar roles.

Essentially there are just a lot of question marks, just like a lot of the middle of the pack teams. Which means hot/cold seasons from key players, key injuries, break-out seasons, etc will have a huge impact on deciding the fate of those teams vying for the last few spots.

I'm not saying they're guaranteed to miss the playoffs. Just that they're definitely a bubble team, and not in that top group of teams that you can almost guarantee will make it. I would definitely put Boston, NYR, Pittsburgh, Philly, Washington, and Carolina ahead of them, and then put Florida in a group of about 4-5 teams fighting for those last 2 spots, not to mention the potential for a big "surprise" season from any of the projected bottom couple of teams (see Ottawa/Florida last year as examples).
I address each of your points above again.

I'm not expecting another Southeast division winner but I think they are a team that had 94 pts last season so they should be a team that is considered a playoff contender. I think all the teams in the East have plenty of question marks so how can anyone be considered sure things. I can give you examples from each of the teams you mentioned as guarantees to make the playoffs to show how they have question marks too. Just a few quick ones, Boston-does losing Thomas hurt or can Rask pick up the slack; Pittsburgh-does Crosby return to form and can he stay healthy; Philly-can they overcome their defensive depth and Bryz have a solid season; NYR-how does Nash integrate with their team, does it make up for the loss of Dubinksy+Anisimov beyond just pts; Washington-does Ovechkin, Backstrom & Green return to form, will Ribiero replace the offense lost from Semin; Carolina-can all the new guys mesh together quickly. All of those question marks are just as likely to affect those teams from making the playoffs as the Panthers.
Originally Posted by Mystlyfe View Post
Even if you pretend that every team doesn't get blown out a few times a year, and you take away those losses, it still puts them at even. Hardly a recipe for a guaranteed playoff berth.

And if you're assuming this season is done, then you also have to factor in expiring contracts along with the prospects. Weiss and Theodore could both leave after the 2012-2013 season.
Honestly, the only stat that should matter is the number of pts. Goal differentials, OTL, etc doesnt really matter how you get into the playoffs really. So long as you have more than the normal 92 pts, thats what is a playoff contender in my view. The Panthers are coming off a 94 pt season and I see zero reason why they cant reproduce that again...I've given plenty of reason why too.

If we assume this season is done, lots of teams are going to look different too. Who's to say that Weiss really does leave? If the Panthers pay him fairly, then he most likely stays. If not, they have several center prospects that are near NHL-ready too. Drew Shore is currently leading the farm team in scoring for San Antonio, Bjugstad was rumored to be signed this past offseason but elected to finish out his college career at Minnesota so he'll be in the fold next yr too, and then Huberdeau was drafted as a center and may play there too. I think keeping Weiss would help all those prospects but if he's not willing to stay, there's a plethora of young guys ready to step in.

Theodore isnt the be-all-end-all of starting goalies so replacing him isnt impossible. At least 3 starters would also be free agents after 2012-13 too (Backstrom, Howard, Smith) who could just as easily be a stopgap to Markstrom. Or if they go a different direction, then they could trade for Luongo depending on what the cost would be.

Last edited by CoolburnIsGone: 11-16-2012 at 03:38 PM.
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