How is Buffalo being underrated? They simply don't have a good team right now.
Vanek, Stafford, Pominville, Hodgson, Ott and Ennis isn't a terrible top 6. Miller is good enough that they could sneak into the playoffs as a low seed. I still have Winnipeg 12th, followed by Florida. Buffalo will sneak into 7th or 8th.
Florida lost Garrison, but they still have impoving D in Gudbranson and in Kulikov. Kuba was a solid add to their team. Jovo, Campbell, and Weaver round out a solid core.
Huberbeau and Howden are two younger and more skilled players that could be on their roster. This team might be a little deeper this season than last. I don't see them winning the division with the improvements of other teams in the division.
Cats, Jets are the far better team. Forwards are comparable but Panthers blueline and goaltending doesn't catch a sniff at the Jets.
Versteeg doesn't have as good of a year, neither does Theodore and although I like Markstroms potential, he's not there yet. Garrison left, Kuba and JovoCop both have one step into retirement. Campbell won't be far behind them as he doesn't repeat the year he had. Flash has solid skills but Weiss becomes trade bait for a rebuilding team. Adding Kuba to replace Garrison doesn't add up and neither does adding Parros to replace Wolski and Samuelsson.
This team isn't even going to have a worse year, they're going to have a MUCH worse year. Maybe even last in the East.
Good possibility Kane is among the league leading goal scorers. Add that to a blueline that's among the best in the league and a solid goalie. You get a pretty good team. Add to it Scheifele and the potential of Burmistrov to step up his game. Added veteran forwards Jokinnen and Poni to their forward corps and they've got a respectable top9. They've even got chips like Little who they could potentially move to make changes/fill holes.
The Jets are not better than the panthers. The Panthers have better depth talent wise than WPG. Comes down to goaltending. I'm not really too impressed with either. That division got a little tougher with Jordan Staal joining it full time.
I chose NJ because I just don't see them bouncing back with the loss of Parise and Larry Robinson behind the bench. They don't have any forward prospects that jump out at you. Mostly defensemen. They can't all play nor are they all ready to jump in. Brodeur will get torn apart this year. I think this should've been NJ in a land slide. Haven't like the way these polls have gone, feel like people voting have no idea about any of the teams they are voting for or against. I think Winnipeg, then Buffalo, then either TBL/FA in that order for the next spots. (EDIT): Though obviously NJ isn't going to win the #12 spot, so it will have to be NJ --> BUF --> TBL/FLA