Blue Jackets: Bob in the race for Vezina? No Nash no problem? Big holes to fill for a team, a starting and yet emerging goalie and replacement(s) for an All-Star. Blue Jackets are right there for a playoff spot and in my opinion, have looked strongest among the West bubble teams. (enter CBJ wagon) But I really like whats going on in Columbus.
Islanders: Nabakov and Tavares show. Quite possibly the opposite structure here in the East when looking at CBJ and the Islanders. A strong vet goalie in Nabby and a stud in John Tavares. The Islanders look primed and seem to be getting hot at the right time to earn themselves a playoff bid.
So, who is your biggest surprise bubble team? And who do you think has the better shot in making the playoffs or who can go further?
I thought the Jackets did very well in the Nash trade and added Bobrovsky as well into the mix. I didn't expect them fighting for a playoff spot but I knew they would be a much harder group to play against. The Islanders I didn't think were there yet. Nice to see them back and competing, Snow has done a great job there with what he has to work with
Islanders for me. Maybe because I just don't see them as often?
The Nash trade looked a lot worse in headlines than it actually was. They often looked like a team that just didn't care, and they shipped out the guy who IMO was one of the biggest culprits of that apathy for some players who are known for their hard work.
Bob also looked like a great acquisition. Not that I would've had him pegged for the Vezina race or anything, but I figured he would do a lot better for them than Mason had in recent years.
Most surprising team? Anaheim. They sucked two years ago, but made the playoffs with Cory Perry shooting 22% over the last 2 months. They sucked last year and did awful. They suck this year but between crazy shooting percentages, a hot start for Viktor Fasth, and winning some 1-goal games they're sitting pretty for 2nd seed.