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07-07-2013, 07:31 PM
  #17
worstfaceoffmanever
These Snacks Are Odd
 
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Fargo, ND
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Honestly, by the end of the year, Colorado might have the best forward group in the division, but it won't matter because they have no support behind those forwards. Varlamov was the only goalie with 30+ starts to have a GAA over 3 this year. Outside of Johnson and maybe Barrie, their defense is atrocious.

Winnipeg could be really, really bad this year. Burmistrov and Jokinen as your center depth? Yikes. Their defense is okay, but their goaltending is really spotty. Noel could get fired mid-season.

I think the Blackhawks might be in the market for a center, unless they think Pirri is ready to make the jump full-time to the NHL. I wonder if they might try to bring in Grabovski on a short-term deal to plug him into that #2 center role ahead of Kruger. If that happens, just give them the Cup, because they have no weaknesses.

St. Louis is a little more vulnerable because of their inconsistency in goal, but their forward group is going to be incredible, and their defense is really stout, as well. I expect a strong year from them.

The teams we'll be competing really closely with, to nobody's surprise, are Minnesota and Dallas. The Wild are relying on a lot of young players to give them big results this year, which could go one of two very different ways. Dallas is doing the opposite, trying to squeeze one more good year out of guys like Whitney, Cole, and Horcoff while Seguin, Eakin, and Nichushkin are still cooking. All three teams have at least a respectable defense and a good starting goaltender, though Backstrom and Lehtonen have proven fragile in the past, and Harding and Ellis aren't going to be able to carry their teams for 40 games if the starters go down for a substantial length of time. Of course, the same is true for us. I think our forward depth is better than theirs, and we have better defensive depth than Minnesota and better top-end defensemen than Dallas, but we lack the same high-end skill up front.

It's going to be a real dogfight to get to the playoffs in this division, but if everything breaks our way, we can do it.

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