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Old
07-07-2013, 11:55 AM
  #1
Cashville
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2013-14 New Division Thoughts / Discussion

For those living under a rock, our new division next year is as follows:



I think we improved our team measurably, are very strong on the backend, and have a good chance of being a playoff team come next April. That said, when you step back and look at the teams we have to surpass to still be dancing next spring, it is not going to be an easy path by any means.

To be guaranteed to make the playoffs, we need to be in the top 3 in our division. The #7 and #8 seeds from the Western Conference are chosen by total points (i.e. the "Pacific" division could have five teams while we have three if their #5 seed has more points than our #4 seed). Given the parity at the center, I would not be shocked if we only sent three teams to the playoffs

As it stands, I see three tiers:

Tier 1
Chicago
St. Louis

Tier 2
Dallas
Nashville
Minnesota
Winnipeg

Tier 3
Colorado

It's going to be a bear to be #3 or above, and if I'm honest with myself, Winnipeg and Nashville could really be in the third tier. As usual, I think this season hinges on Rinne. If he can bounce back from surgery with a .930 SV% type of year, I think we can make some noise.

What does everyone else think?

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07-07-2013, 11:59 AM
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Joe T Choker
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I think it's going to be tough to get into the playoffs this year ... every team but 1 finished ahead of us in the new division... & Winterpeg played in the SouthLeast

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07-07-2013, 12:38 PM
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I think we will finish between 2-4th in the division barring injuries like last year. If Chicago has a cup hangover then we may be in the mix for first after a terrible year.

Chicago - Top of the class easily, but with the same core have had some stinkers in the past.

St. Louis - Last year they hit the Hitchcock wall and everyone believed that their kids just needed to grow up. Well they need a few more pieces, but they should be a playoff team.

Minnesota - A playoff team last year, but not great. They have not really improved now, the Clutterbuck/Nino deal will help in the future but now it likely will do nothing, and also lost Setoguchi, but they should have some growth make up for their loses. Their defense is still suspect after first pair.

Winnipeg - They could be one of the worst teams in the league. At the same time they have pieces that could make them be on the playoff bubble.

Dallas - They actually got worse this year. They defense is terrible, an old Gonchar will not help and neither will losing an awesome two way forward like Erickson. Seguin and Nich will help in the future, but not this year.

Colorado - I have a feeling that Sakic and Roy will make this team a laughing stock. They won't be good because their defense sucks. They cant trade O'Rielly yet, but may they can trade Stastny for help. Mackinnon will be the 4th best center as things stand now, so will have time to grow, but if he is rushed this team will be drafting first again.

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07-07-2013, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webersmashpuck View Post
I think we will finish between 2-4th in the division barring injuries like last year. If Chicago has a cup hangover then we may be in the mix for first after a terrible year.

Chicago - Top of the class easily, but with the same core have had some stinkers in the past.

St. Louis - Last year they hit the Hitchcock wall and everyone believed that their kids just needed to grow up. Well they need a few more pieces, but they should be a playoff team.

Minnesota - A playoff team last year, but not great. They have not really improved now, the Clutterbuck/Nino deal will help in the future but now it likely will do nothing, and also lost Setoguchi, but they should have some growth make up for their loses. Their defense is still suspect after first pair.

Winnipeg - They could be one of the worst teams in the league. At the same time they have pieces that could make them be on the playoff bubble.

Dallas - They actually got worse this year. They defense is terrible, an old Gonchar will not help and neither will losing an awesome two way forward like Erickson. Seguin and Nich will help in the future, but not this year.

Colorado - I have a feeling that Sakic and Roy will make this team a laughing stock. They won't be good because their defense sucks. They cant trade O'Rielly yet, but may they can trade Stastny for help. Mackinnon will be the 4th best center as things stand now, so will have time to grow, but if he is rushed this team will be drafting first again.
I worry about Dallas. Seguin can make an impact this year imo and I think he'll settle down in a non-traditional hockey market. They've been just out of the playoffs for the past 2 years and Lehtonen is a great goalie.

Fast forward to March of 2014 and I think you'll see us, DAL, and MIN neck and neck (and neck) clawing to get in. We'll see; I wish it was October already

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07-07-2013, 01:44 PM
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I think we're clearly better than Colorado and Calgary.

About on par with Edmonton, Phoenix and Dallas.

No idea where to rank Winnipeg.

Worse than San Jose, Anaheim, Vancouver, St Louis and Minnesota.

Significantly worse than Chicago and LA. (Just got a feeling about LA this season)

So the way I see it, the last playoff spot is up for grabs and it's between Nashville, Edmonton, Phoenix, and Dallas. Gonna be a dog fight. We still need to see how the rest of the summer plays out though. I will say this, I think we lucked out with our division. Looks like the weakest division in the league, plus our conference has less teams.

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07-07-2013, 02:09 PM
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I think the games between Dallas and St. Louis will be dogfights where any team can win. Winnipeg will have goalie issues, and we are definitely ahead of Colorado. I think we'll be 3-5

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07-07-2013, 02:09 PM
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I think Minnesota got worse with the loss of Seto and Cullen (yes, they were upset about losing Cullen.)

Dallas is an uncertainty, I'm not sure if they're better or worse but I guess we'll see. Perhaps a rivalry?

Winnipeg I have no idea. Should be interesting.

I don't think Colorado will improve this year, but in a few years yes.

Chicago and St Louis? Lord help us. That's all.

I think we did improve. Should be an interesting year.

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07-07-2013, 03:14 PM
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I think we make the playoffs.

Chicago
Vancouver
LA
San Jose


Those are the teams that I think on paper are probably better than us.

I'd take our defense over any of the defenses on this list. I think this team will be miserable to play against. Just how we like it.

PS: Do they have names for the new divisions yet, and when is HF going to switch the boards to this new setup?

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07-07-2013, 03:33 PM
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Joe T Choker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oreilly22 View Post
I think we make the playoffs.

Chicago
Vancouver
LA
San Jose


Those are the teams that I think on paper are probably better than us.

I'd take our defense over any of the defenses on this list. I think this team will be miserable to play against. Just how we like it.

PS: Do they have names for the new divisions yet, and when is HF going to switch the boards to this new setup?
I saw on kukla's Twitter feed that it's going to be changed on or around the 17th of this month, don't know about the names of the Conferences though, wish they'd go back to the old names

Prince of Wales Conference -> Adams and Patrick Divisions.
Campbell conference -> Norris and Smythe Divisions. But that's already been thrown out and into the garbage

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07-07-2013, 03:37 PM
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Pacific, Central, Atlantic, Northeast. Seems easy enough

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07-07-2013, 03:40 PM
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I think we'll beat out Winnipeg pretty easily as well. The SE was awful last year with 3 teams picking in the top-5, and Peg still missed the playoffs. So far, they've only added Setoguchi (of note).

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07-07-2013, 03:55 PM
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I know they talked about this in the original realignment but did they agree to the west playing all the teams in the east twice? If that is the case then that would be 32 out of conference games that would be way more important then they used to be.

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07-07-2013, 04:14 PM
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I know they talked about this in the original realignment but did they agree to the west playing all the teams in the east twice? If that is the case then that would be 32 out of conference games that would be way more important then they used to be.
Yes a home and away game with each team from the East. I also like this because it means less total west coast (9PM) games

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07-07-2013, 04:23 PM
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Division D is a nightmare. Even the Islanders are starting to look pretty good and the Blue Jackets are on the up and up. Very glad we are not there; easily could have been us instead of CBJ. Central timezone with the save.

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07-07-2013, 04:39 PM
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On the prediction thread, most have us finishing last. Here's to proving them wrong.

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07-07-2013, 05:01 PM
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I think the only clearly better teams in the division are Chicago and St. Louis. Probably right on par with Minnesota. Winnipeg, Colorado and Dallas are worse.

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07-07-2013, 06:31 PM
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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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07-07-2013, 08:34 PM
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I agree that the teams in our division with spotty defense and goaltending and great offense will still struggle. Ask Philly how having some great forwards and bad defense and goaltending worked for them last year.

That's why I think our elite defense and goaltending mixed with our okay offense will get us better results than we think. Cup contenders? Probably not. But I doubt we're bottom dwellers again. Give us a few years and maybe we'll even sign our star forward we want. I don't think anyone expects us to win the Cup now, right off our worst year. It'll take time. But I think we'll be a better team than we and everyone else thinks.

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07-07-2013, 09:41 PM
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Sorry, I just don't think STL is that good.

They're better tha. We are but they are by no means unbeatable.

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07-07-2013, 10:26 PM
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our 14th place finish last year is misleading. 1/3 of the way into the season, even with our early trouble scoring, we were either 4th or 5th in the west... then the injuries started and we fell down but even at the trade deadline we hadnt completely lost hope. then the final spate of injuries and we finished 1-10-1 and fell from just outside the playoffs to 14th.

as long as we are healthy I like our chances against everyone but Chicago. now, dont get me wrong, its a fine line and we cold be anywhere from 2nd to 5th but i dont see us any worse than 5th unless we have more major injuries

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07-08-2013, 08:08 AM
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The longer I have to think about this lineup, the better I feel about it. Not as in it is the best that DP could possibly do, but it builds a solid mix of short to medium term contracts, no single one of which is a Gaustad albatross, that can bridge the gap as our prospects continue to develop. Only contract I really question is the Nystrom one (for $ and term). As others have mentioned, that 4th line is going to be one of THE toughest to matchup against in the league. The apparent toughness will provide cover for FF, Wilson, etc. also.

So the jokers in this deck IMHO are largely:
a) will Pekka be able to get back into prime form? No question he will work hard enough and be coached well enough)
b) Can Jones make the jump fast enough, or will he hit a wall after about 50 games as many guys straight from junior seem to?
c) factors out of the Preds control-- like how Dallas will gell, or Can Hitch flog the Blues into shape without losing the room?

Anyway, I think barring injury this could be a most formidable team to play against, if not as sexy as signing someone like Horton or trading for Vanek...

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07-08-2013, 10:42 AM
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I see us as the Bruins-lite of the Western Conference right now. Solid D and tending, tough checking lines, and a fair distribution of scoring contribution across lines. Their forwards are better, our D is better, but the general play is similar even if the Bruins are a better top to bottom team.

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07-08-2013, 11:51 AM
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I officially hate Dallas now! they have gone too far in minor signings! http://starsinsideedge.com/2013/07/0...chris-mueller/

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07-08-2013, 12:15 PM
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I officially hate Dallas now! they have gone too far in minor signings! http://starsinsideedge.com/2013/07/0...chris-mueller/
Poile didn't want him, and he wasn't that great of a player when he did play here. So what's to be upset about? I actually would have been upset if Poile did re-sign him as it would have bee wasted roster space.

The only thing that Mueller was good for was he was nice to little kids during warm ups, you could almost always count on him tossing 3-4 pucks over the glass to little kids.

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07-08-2013, 12:30 PM
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Poile didn't want him, and he wasn't that great of a player when he did play here. So what's to be upset about? I actually would have been upset if Poile did re-sign him as it would have bee wasted roster space.

The only thing that Mueller was good for was he was nice to little kids during warm ups, you could almost always count on him tossing 3-4 pucks over the glass to little kids.
I was being sarcastic!!

Honestly, I haven't had real hate for them since they were the North Stars in the Norris Division and I lived in West St. Louis County... Divisional playoffs tended to make you 'hate' on other teams and fan-bases more. Many Blues fans were always steeped in that hate early on and why they are so loathed when they try to take over your building and why I have fun with them as a turn-coat that went 'native' in Nashville.

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