Battles in the East

With the free agency market dwindled down, teams now have a better idea of what their rosters will look like come October. Obviously each team will still make minor adjustments, but looking and additions & subtractions in the past few weeks, here’s how I see things playing out in the East.

First off, let’s look at last years’ standings

New jersey
NY Rangers
Tampa Bay
NY Islanders

Now then, Let’s look at each team and see if there has been improvement or

Buffalo: Still a strong team, but with the losses of Drury & Briere, how can anyone possibly expect them to be as dominant? Look for Buffalo to be a playoff team, but slide a few spots in the East

New Jersey: same as Buffalo. They still have Brodeur & Elias, but with the losses of Gomez & Rafalski, I just can’t see them being as strong. IF Brodeur misses any significant playing time, Jersey could miss the playoffs.

Atlanta: Havn’t really got better or weaker. Similar team from last year. The fact that they are in the weakest division should help them out. They should be able to win the division again, which would seed them 3rd in the East.

Ottawa: Again, not much weaker. Comrie is gone, and so is Preissing, but they have oodles of talent. Will be interesting to see how they bounce back from the cup loss and how they play under a new coach. SHOULD be able to win their division.

Pittsburgh: The young guns should be even better with a full year under their belts. Crosby will lead the way and with the additions of Sykora & Sydor, they will be a more balanceed team. It’s up to Fleury to really step up and lead. Pittsburgh should be able to win their division, and COULD win the entire Eastern conference.

NY Rangers: I’m not all excited about this squad. Gomez & Drury are good, but not superstars, and to tie up over 14 mill on the 2, will hurt the Rangers long term. Gomez replaces Nylander (not much of an upgrade). Drury is a solid addition. With Shanny re-signing, their top 2 lines will be deadly. Their defense is average at best, and goaltending could be great, but still unproven. NY should have no problems making the playoffs and will fight Pittsburgh for first place in the division, BUT they still have to fill out the rest of their roster and have no cap room left. Changes will need to come to this line up at some point.

Tampa Bay: Same story as last year. Great top line, everythjing else is average at best. I look for Tampa to fall out of the post season as several other teams have become a little stronger.

NY Islanders: Sorry folks, All the Guerin’s & Comrie’s in the world won’t fill the holes left by all whole departed. NY will be much weaker than last year and will fall 5-7 spots in the East

Toronto: It pains me to write this, but toronto made good moves to get better. Look for more consistant goaltending from the tandem of Raycroft & Toskola. Defense should be healthy and ready to go. Still not great, but not bad either. Offense will be fine. Adding Blake will be a help. There still seems to be something lacking, but these guys have lots of character and I think they’ll still be playing hockey come the spring

Montreal: This is a tough one to call. Last year Montreal look great through the first 3rd of the season, then the wheels fell off. Huet went down, the whole team got the flu etc etc etc. montreal seems to have all the excuses in the world. They are basically the same team minus Souray. They will HAVE to get better in 5 on 5 situations, they will HAVE to stay healthy and they will have to do something they havn’t done in a few years. play a full 82 games schedule. Last year they took too many nights off, and this team just isn’t talented enough to compensate for too many of those. I think Montreal will come up short again, and drastic changes will need to be made in the organization

Carolina: whatever, more of the same. I can’t see them going anywhere. All they did was get a little older.

Florida got much better just by adding Vokoun. They will make a run at the post season, but may fall just short again.

Boston: Still weak. Fernandez won’t help enough. No defense here and not ample depth up front to compete. A few key injuries, and these guys are toast.

Washington: they should be a little better with Nylander, but still not quite there yet.

Philly: Only one way to go, and that’s up. Don’t look for Briere to rack up the points he did last year. He is great, but not a 100 point guy, and certainly not worth 8 million a year. Philly will come up short again, however, this year they’ll at least be in the hunt.

All this having been said, here is where I think everyone will p-lace in the East for 2007/08.

Pittsburgh (along with another scoring title for Syd “the kid”)
NY Rangers
Carolina / Florida
Florida / Carolina
New Jersey
Tampa bay
NY Islanders

What do you think??

75 Responses to Battles in the East

  1. peake19 says:

    umm im just gunna help you out here a bit
    you might not have realized but you put toronto in the playoffs
    haha thats somethign everyone knows will never happen again
    especially with there star d man mccabe
    so just gunna point that out for ya go ahead and correct it

  2. XOXOHTH says:
    LOL, you can make stats say anything you want can't you? You know what this says to me??? NOTHING! This information can be manipulated 3,4,5 different ways. Someone could look at this and say that it is a representation of goals attributed to poor defensive coverage, goals due to lack of back checking forwards. But, all this information shows is that Toronto gives ~40 more goals than it should have. No where in this article can you find anything that conclusively says that those 40 goals were solely the goaltender's fault. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the team gave up 40 more goals than it should have, meaning all 6 players on the ice at the time.
    THIS IS NOT PROOF, how old are you 12?
  3. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    its hard to play defense when the goalie lets in half the shots taken off the FACE OFF

  4. Hockey75 says:

    Are u joking? Montreal SUCKS!!!! Toronto has a WAYYYYYYY beter team than them.  If Toronto stays healthy, they could actually take their division but if they do REALLY good, then they could even take the conference!!

  5. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    no, because if a team gives up a breakaway or lets a guy get in front of the net, THAT is poor defensive coverage. so teams that DO NOT allow the guys in front of the net(like the leafs) SHOULD give up less goals.

    also, everyone who says the leafs defense sucked looked at the goals against. The Leafs dominated the play EVERY NIGHT, and raycroft had a nasty habit of letting in point blank shouts 15-20 feet away. theres NOTHING you can do about that. if you try and cut off the shot, of take away the guys space 20 feet from the net, he'll either get around you half the time, or the coach will rush you with 4 guys and get 2 guys wide open in front of the net.

  6. Habfanforever says:

    do you have short term memory loss? do you remember what JFJ had to give up to GET Toskala? Oh I forgot, the draft is not important in Leaf land.

  7. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    no, you see the leafs have a good team. i know its hard for a biased and obviously uneducated mind to realize that, but it will come to you in time.

  8. masarume says:

    This year’s draft was pretty shallow. I don’t think you, yourself truly know what JFJ gave up to get Tosk until 2 or 3 seasons down the road.

    Most 2nd rounders this year will be borderline NHL players.

    I also think you’re dead wrong about the Leafs. With all those man games lost to injury last year they were 1 point out of the playoffs. You really think that the Leafs made negative process this offseason?

  9. PhiladelphiaFlyers says:

    NY Rangers

    Tampa Bay
    New Jersey
    NY Isles
    Ottawa is a good team. They might win the conference but I don't see them getting much further than 1st or 2nd round of the playoffs.

    The Rangers stacked the deck but I think they made a mistake getting rid of Nylander. Jagr was playing great with them… we'll see how it works with Gomez.

    Pittsburgh got a lot better but did anyone see Fleury play in the playoffs last year?? He'll need to be a lot stronger and grow up if they expect to make a run at the cup!

    As much as I hate saying it, Toronto looks better than last year and if they can get things together they will be a tough team!

    The Flyers are my team of course and I expect good things from them. It remains to be seen but I have to give them a spot because they have the ability to be there!

    Buffalo is still a good team and they will always battle hard.

    I do NOT think the Devils will make it this year. Again, did anyone watch the playoffs last year? Brodeur did NOT look that good and the team couldn't hang. They didn't get much stronger or get much more talent. I don't expect Zuby to do much to help their offense, at least not enough to make them a playoff team.

  10. andrizle says:

    i guess you pretty much agree with what i said just switched a couple around

  11. BruinsManiac83 says:

    Everyone should write this down, I will only do this once(hahaha) here goes my East predictions as it stands today.

    1. Ottawa(Got a taste, and it turned up bitter, look for a team on a mission this year)

    2. Pittsburgh(Depth, Youth, experience, and all the other intangables to make a Cup push, all of their hopes and dreams now lie directly on Fleury's shoulders.)

    3. Tampa Bay(Made a late season bid to snatch the division from Atlanta, and will assume this standing early and often this season now that their secondary scoring SHOULD be better with Oullet on Richards line.)

    4. NY Rangers( Adding Gomez and Drury brings cup experience and playoff clutchness that will help the Rangers by leaps and bounds, look for this squad to seriously challenge Pittsburgh for the division and and even Ottawa for the East itself.)

    5. Buffalo( What can I say that already hasn't been said about Briere and Drury leaving the Sabers? Snipers Afinogenov and Vanek will be introduced to the leaques elite defenders with no Drury or Briere to garnish their attention, took a slide, but still a playoff team with a great team concept and potential in every aspect of the game.)

    6. Carolina( Everyone seems to forget that this team won the Stanley freakin Cup a mere 13 months ago and were only 4 points removed from the playoffs in a season plaqued by injury and inconsistent goaltending this season. If the WHC is any indication, look for Cam Ward to rebound this season, and Staal could have a career year at any point now.)

    7. Philadelphia( Overpaid for some guys, but how do you add Briere, Hartnell, Timonen, Smith, Lupul and Biron and not improve? Might take a few weeks to gel, but will have the ability to run and gun with any team offensivly.)

    8. Boston( Yeah Yeah, I love The B's, but I am not delusional, Everyone only remembers the bad things the Bruins do, which granted as been a lot lately, but any objective person who followed them closly last year knows that they were in the hunt and gaining momentum until Bergeron and Murray went down with about 10 games left, Fernandez gives the Bruins a viable 1-2 punch in goal, and Julien WILL MAKE THIS TEAM WORK HARD, something Lewis couldn't do.)

    9. Atlanta(Honeymoon is over, Ousted in 4, and if they sustain ANY kind of injuries up front, it will be shown on the back end.)

    10. Toronto( Can't stay healthy, and have way to much money invested in a defence that just dosn't live up to expectations, the Toskala trade will work out, I just don't think it will right away, unless they move Raycroft, if not, to many distractions and the bar is set to high, 08-09 is geared more for the leafs in my humble opinion.)

    11. New Jersey( The Mighty will fall, and it won't be pretty, Watch for deadline Brodeur trade talk and Lou to be packing his bags. I will admit, my opinion will change if they hire Sutter to coach.)

    12. Florida( TONS of potential, but sorry Panthers fans, one more year of development , and I promise, these boys will make the playoffs.)

    13. Montreal( Best powerplay in the league last year kept them on the bubble, but losing one the the main ingreidients of that(Souray) send them three spots in the wrong direction.)

    14. Washington( See Florida and add another year.)

    15. NY Islanders( See Philly 2006/07)

    Did that quick, apologize for spelling errors or any other problems, no time to proof read, if you want to win your next hockey pool, follow this example strickly(haha)

  12. peake19 says:

    ahah the leafs dont allow point blank shots?
    mccabe coughs the puck up infront of his won crease more then anyone i know

  13. peake19 says:

    no no no
    the leafs DONT have a good team and thats whats hard for a biased idiot like you to understand
    and im uneducated im sorry have you ever played hockey
    cause ive never met a good hockey player that likes the leafs cause they all know the leafs suck since they know how hockey should be played

  14. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    haha pretty much

  15. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    You must not get outside your own men's hockey league much because I know players who are good enough to play in the NHL who like the leafs. Also you haven't made one good point to show that the leafs don't have a good team. They have a solid defense despite what most people think they are just overpaid and not even very overpaid anymore. Mathieu schneider makes $225 000 less than McCabe, half a mill more than Kubina, and doesn't show any more upside than either. But nobody groans and moans at the ducks. The offensive side of our D is obvious but what people underestimate is the defensive side. No they're not amazing on D but they're not weak like many think. McCabe is the big oops defensively, probably the only big problem defensively, but he makes up for that by being one of the top offensive Dmen in the league. White is small, but excellent positionally, and has quick feet. Gill was AMAZING defensively last year, leading the TEAM in +/- Colaiacovo is solid, Kubina was solid when playing with Kabby, and Kaberle well we all know what he can do. We also improved our goaltending situation, and added scoring depth to a team already in the top 10 in scoring the past season. So you are uneducated about the leafs' team. Knowing good hockey players that dont like the leafs does not make you educated about hockey.

  16. gronk says:

    whoops! buffalo will claim the 8th spot.

  17. peake19 says:

    actually i play junior against guys drafted to the nhl
    and i no that none of them wanted to go to the leafs expect the d guys cause they knew they could easily make there weak d core
    mccabe and kubina have no where near the skill schneider does
    schneider played 14 less games and had only 5 less points a way better plus minus and didnt take as many penalties
    kubina has nothing posative going for himself
    gill better be good defensily hes get how much 2-3 mil? and he has no offensive upside
    i dont no anything about white and ive never heard of him
    colaiacovo… is that the guy who tried to hit varada and knocked himself out for the year?
    and kaberle is there only good d guy but has to be wearing down from covering for mccabe and kubina all the time 

  18. mooresy44 says:

    I completely agree, and I'm a Bruins fan.  Devils will never be around the bottom of the barrel, never ever.  Especially if Brodeur is still in net.

  19. mooresy44 says:

    Thank you, finally someone on Boston's side! Thank god.

  20. rossay says:

    Can all you canadian fans stop putting montreal toronto or both in the playoffs. Neither will make it. Leafs have and overpaid and poor defence and the Habs paid more for Hamrlik than Souray actually signed for… just tells you how in bad shape they are. And I understand Souray's play on defence was poor too but hey 26 goals don't come easy. Needless to say their offence is anemic and now that their power play is weaker… playoffs would be a miracle. The Leafs have a better shot but still won't make it. Toskala is playing behind a weaker defence than in San Jose and the offence seems to have no chemistry. And a selfish player like Blake will have a tough time improving that.

    1. New York Rangers
    2. Ottawa Senators
    3. Tampa Bay Lightning
    4. Pittsburgh Penguins
    5. Philadelphia Flyers
    6. Buffalo Sabres
    7. New Jersey Devils
    8. Atlanta Thrashers

    9. Washington Capitals
    10. Toronro Maple Leafs
    11. Florida Panthers
    12. Montreal Canadiens
    13. Carolina Hurricanes
    14. Boston Bruins
    15. New York Islanders

    For everything else… there's mastercard

  21. Glucker says:
    New Jersey suprises.. always… don't count them out of the playoffs
    Washington will have an excelent year.. they are underrated to the max
    i love this part:
    Everyone seems to forget that this team won the Stanley freakin Cup a mere 13 months ago and were only 4 points removed from the playoffs in a season plaqued by injury and inconsistent goaltending this season. If the WHC is any indication, look for Cam Ward to rebound this season, and Staal could have a career year at any point now
    now… Carolina has a season full of injuries and inconsitent goaltending…. so they will have a better year this coming season…. ok… that logic is decent… if the team has better goal tending and less injuries… why can't rebound… especially when they where 2 wins and 1 OT loss away from the playoffs…
    but then you look at the Leafs, who led the League in man-games lost to injury, and played RAYCROFT for 72 games… they've improved their scoring, their physicality, and their goal tending, all indications are that they haven't finnished for this offseason, seeing as they still have 9 D-men on 1 way contracts, and they where only 1 point out of the playoffs…
    how is it that Carolina moves up… what is it, 4 positions while Toronto moves down 1… and Boston… their improvements are no where near Toronto's improvements… how did they get so good? talk about an anti-leaf bias
  22. Glucker says:

    sigh… Leafs where out of the playoffs by 1 point, they lead the league in man-games lost to injury, had, despite what leaf haters-nhl wide say, one of the best defenses in the leauge(stats prove it) and had raycroft in net for 72 games…

    the leafs still have one of the top d-s in the leauge.
    the leafs have a much-improved offense… improving on one that was in the top 5 last year(i believe)
    the leafs now have a Toskala-Raycroft tandem as their goal tending
    chances are… they won't have 330 man-games lost to injury again
    how did this team move down in the standings?
    MTL's big problem was 5 on 5 play. getting rid of Souray and replacing him with Hamrlik improves that… true their Power-play will suffer w.o Souray… but what are the chances of the whole team going down with the flu again? players that puke between periods are not exactly effective ones…
    look for them to have a 10th-8th place finish this year… especially considering that the Sabres got abit weaker… and Boston's improvements won't make them that much better of a team 
  23. stryker19 says:

    1.Pittsburgh(very good mix of young and veteran talent)
    2.Ottawa(got to the finals kept the same team they will be up there)
    3.Atlanta(very good offence not good defence and a good goalie in a weak division.
    4.Ny Rangers(good depth and scoring up front and in goal but weak defence)
    5.New jersey(never count martin brodeurs team out of the picture)
    6.Buffalo(same core and still good speed they will still have a good season)
    7.Toronto(good aquisitions, good depth but still wont challenge ottawa and buffalo for the division)
    8.Carolina( good depth up front pretty good goalending just came up short last year)

  24. Viceroy says:

    Dayum, Ottawa sure kicks arse according to you, they're both in 2nd AND in 7th in the east.  Wowzaa!  Do they also show up in the western standings?

  25. flamefan20 says:

    1 Pittsburgh
    2 Ottawa
    3 Tampa Bay
    4 Buffalo
    5 New York Rangers
    6 New Jersey
    7 Carolina
    8 Toronto
    9 Atlanta
    10 Montreal
    11 Philadelphia
    12 Boston
    13 Florida
    14 New York Islanders
    15 Washington

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