Habs had a good PP but I believe they were one of the better 5 on 5 teams also...PK struggled, in large part due to Price having a down year.
What was our 5 on 5 +-?
Last year the Habs had a top-10 fenwick close league-wide (8th). In the Habs' division only Boston and Detroit were better. Last year's goal differential was good as the Habs were 3rd league-wide, ahead of Boston, Toronto, Ottawa and Detroit.
Only Boston, Ottawa and Detroit are as good possession teams as the Habs, so I believe that it'll be a fight between the Habs and Boston for top spot.
As for the Habs' PK, I believe that the Habs were using a diamond rather than a box formation last year and it really sucked. That and Therrien didn't use the Habs' best PK defenseman very much at all.
Toronto will probably drop as their success last year was based on very good goaltending and a way above normal SH%. When their SH% regresses to the norm they'll be screwed.
I'm positive we will be ahead of Buffalo, Tampa, and Florida.
I'm pretty sure we will be behind Boston, but I thought that last year and we beat them, so I won't write off our chances completely.
Then there is the middle four in Detroit, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. Detroit is IMO overrated because of recent success but they are aging and it just has that feeling that they are very beatable. Toronto overachieved last season. I don't care if people say we overachieved too (which they definitely are saying) but Toronto were a terrible team last year in terms of puck possession and they were insanely lucky with shooting percentage. I feel we beat them pretty easy if we play even close to potential. Ottawa is really hard to read because of their injuries last year and the loss of their long time captain. Craig Anderson has never put up the same numbers he did last year over a full season and I think if they are counting on him too they will be disappointed. Ryan is a nice addition but I don't like Turris as a 2C, especially when Spezza's back injury appears to be chronic (or maybe I am misremembering). I think we can beat them but we will stay close all year.
I wouldn't put too much stock in the pre-season, as it seemed like they were trying out the new kids for the entirety of it, rather than making most of the cuts early and solidifying the roster towards the end. They really only decided on the final roster after the last game, and still some vets just didn't play.
Unless we're really good in general, which I'm not sure about given the amount of new blood we have, I think it will be a slow start to the season as the full roster finds its wheels together. It will definitely pick up after a couple of weeks, and we should be in strong contention throughout the season for the division, only coming up short due to a mid-to-late season slump.
7) Tampa Bay
I think Detroit will have a strong year, Boston will take a small dive, Ottawa will struggle in the middle of the season for a long stretch, I put an asterisk next to Buffalo's name as I think they will surprise many this season with new blood stepping up, Toronto still won't have solid goaltending or any good defense, Tampa Bay I also wouldn't be shocked to see a big turnaround but I don't think it'll happen this season, and Florida is just in disarray at the moment.
I expect Boston and Detroit to be way ahead of everyone
I'm not as sold on Detroit as I am with Boston. I feel Detroit will probably make it but not a lock, just like Ottawa.
Last year, the habs had one of the best records despite of price faltering down the stretch. If he locks in this year, and becomes a team Canada frontrunner, I like the team's chances to outdo Toronto. If he is only okay, then it will be a tough fight to get in.
These standings reflect my confidence level with price right now. But that can change as he is so hard to read.
I wouldn't be suprise to see Toronto have a good season. They have a good team. They have a balance of size, skill, speed and team thoughness.
If Bernier is as good as some people think he is watch out. Personally i am a bit skeptic, but let's wait and see. Reimer is good but unconsistant.
I agree here. TML have made nice moves and are better built for playoffs than we are. That was evident last year. They should be better and we should be worse considering we added Briere while they added Bernier and Clarkson.
Most likely somewhere in the top four, though it's hard to say where.
The Atlantic is very lopsided, with four top-third teams (Detroit, Boston, Montreal, and Ottawa) and four bottom-third teams (Florida, Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Buffalo) with a very large gap in-between. One of the top-4 teams might get unlucky with injuries or shooting (like Montreal in 11-12), or one of the bottom-4 teams might get correspondingly lucky (much like Toronto in 12-13), but in terms of team quality, the top-4 should make the playoffs and the bottom-4 should end up near the cellar.
Between the top-4 teams, while Montreal may be seen as the weakest of that lot, the four are really close enough that standard variations in performance should matter more than the actual differences in team quality.