I vote for Arnold.....oh wait....wrong poll. Honestly this team has a chance to finish everywhere from a top four seed to once again out of the playoffs. To try and guess would simply be folly and ultimately a waste of one's time. I vote 7th place.
Ottawa, Philly, New Jersey, Toronto, and the SE winner are pretty much locks to finish ahead of us. Of the rest of the Eastern teams, no one really impresses me. Boston and the Isles finished ahead of us, but they both took steps back in the offseason. Of the other teams in the thick of it last year, no one really took a step forward. If the Sather-Renney system is remotely effective, we should make the playoffs.
1) Lindros can prove he's is no longer the Big Eunich and stays in the action
2)Sather can prove that he can handle Messier and limit his time
3) The 2nd line can prove it ios an average NHL 2nd line
4) Dunham can prove he's a CONSISTENT top goalie
5) The team and defense focuses on defense
6) Ice time is rewarded on merit
7) Young energy and enthusiasm is incorporated into the line-up
8) Sather contstruct his best third line possible with Barnaby rather then accomodating Messier
I'm going to take the THN view and say that the law of averages says we'll get in. Everyone makes the playoffs eventually. Even Chicago got in one year, and they're a bigger mess than we are.
The East is pretty open. Like Kodiak said, you've got Ottawa, Philly, Jerey, Toronto and the SE winner (probably Tampa), then the rest. The Isles and Boston, to me, are huge question marks because of their goaltending. Washington certainly has the horses to get in. Atlanta might have had a shot if not for the recent tragedy. Buffalo is better, but not there yet. Montreal and Carolina are longshots, Pittsburgh is a no-shot. The team I think could surprise a lot of people this year is Florida. I'm guessing Florida, the Rangers and Washington round out the top 8 this year.