For my money, it's the Central that is tremendously difficult right now. It also stank not so many years ago. These things tend to be cyclical. It wasn't so long ago that the Atlantic featured woeful Pittsburgh and NYR franchises, to go along with the perennially dreadful NYI, a middling NJD squad, and one conference power in Philadelphia.
As for realignment, it appears likely that after they parry and thrust for a few months, the current league proposal will garner NHLPA approval. You'll see Washington and Carolina join the current Atlantic teams.
Yeah the Devils were so middling managing only to win the Atlantic division in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010...
In comparison, the central division of years past were still as dominant as ever what with the Blue Jackets, Blues and Blackhawks so competitative for all those years
Originally Posted by JerseyGuy276
Originally Posted by daveskirtun
I think what he was implying was that New Jersey wasn't nearly as good as everyone thought we were those years. Coming off of being a pseudo-dynasty for the better part of 10 years, those teams, though modestly successful in the regular season, were enormous underachievers. Especially in the playoffs.
I mean of course when you win the division you think you're a legitimate contender, but looking back now the only team that had a reasonable shot of accomplishing anything was the 2009 team which crashed in magnificent fashion.
The Central division is clearly quite dominant and the Western Conference has a couple of legit teams more than the East.
But saying that, I also believe that the Atlantic is/would be on par and perhaps better if it hadn't seen many more high profile injuries than the teams leading the Central. Pens need few words in that regard having suffered to a ridiculous extent again, but take Philly with Pronger out and Giroux and Jagr having slowed down big time after coming back from injury. New Jersey were deprived of their nr.1 C for most the season so far (even if Zajac isn't that great, having him back contributes to their turn around) and they have had important losses on their blue line where they are also ill equipped to deal with them. Islanders continually suffer the loss of D-men and there's no position where they are worse. Rangers... them being where they are is in part because they've profited from Division rivals' injuries, but also because they coped very well with the losses of Staal and Sauer themselves.
I know MacDonald is a big loss for the Blues and that Perron has been out for long also, but other than that I don't think they or Chicago, Detroit or Nashville have suffered like the Atlantic in terms of injuries. Much less in terms of the absence of their KEY players. Among key players on Detroit, I think Datsyuk has lost one game. Lidström, Zetterberg, Franzen, Kronwall, Stuart.... none. Nashville has had few injuries of note also (beyond a few games here and there) and with Chicago it is the same.