How will the standings go?

I’m sick of new people to the boards sending in these really off-the-wall standings and only giving one line to explain why they will end up that way. Let’s go in-depth about this and share our opinions and see how close we get.Eastern Conference-

1. Philadelphia Flyers. I believe that the Flyers are now one of the deepest teams in the NHL. Not only do they have Roenick and Primeau, but Dopita; although he is not tested in the NHL, if he can get it going like he did in Europe, he’s a sure killer. The only thing I am worried about is Chechmanek and Boucher. Will we have another sophomore slump?

2. Toronto Maple Leafs. Another very deep team. Their taking a big risk by bringing in two ex-NHL players that opted to play in Europe, but I believe it will pay off. With Cujo in net, I think their defense won’t be as much of a problem as most think.

3. Washington Capitals. With Jagr and Bondra on their top line, their acting like the Mighty Ducks. However, fortunately for them, they have Olaf Kolzig and not (the last years goaltender for the Ducks) Hebert. The Caps have always been a wonder to me; not much when you look at their roster, but Ron Wilson is a genius. He has taken a sub-par roster and has always made them work in unison every year. What a coach, if you ask me.

4. Ottawa Senators. A lot of people will disagree with this one and I don’t blame you, but I believe that the Senators got one heck of a deal out of the Yashin trade. I believe Lalime is one of the best goalies in the league (very underrated). Those who say he sucked in the playoffs, well, you can’t win if you don’t score. Goalie World Magazine said he had 1 GREAT game and 3 average games. Hear that? No bad games. Second of all, I believe this team, dare I say it, will be the next dynasty in the NHL … as long as they can keep this roster working. The Sens have known to be a relatively cheap team because of the Canadien market and they are still one of the best. This VERY young roster will definitely make an impact, and with the addition of grit from Chara, I believe they are one of the best.

5. New Jersey. This is probably the most scandalous part of my article, according to most readers. I know that last year they had 12 players with 30 or more points, which is great. But I can’t see the same thing happening again. Martin Brodeur is the most overrated goalie in the NHL, and almost everyone knows that. He plays on a great team and still lets in the cheapies. Just another Osgood, but can handle pressure. To me, a goalies record means nothing, a saver percentage means everything. Since when is a .906 save percentage a top goalie in the league? Heck, Manny Fernandez surpassed him and look at the Wild. I just can’t see another great season coming out of New Jersey. This team is one of the more emotional teams of the NHL — and with Brody up for a contract .. well .. we’ll see.

6. New York Rangers. I think finally this season will be a good one, not a great one but a good one, for the Rangers. I think Richter will get traded and the Rangers will pick up a good reliable goalie and the offense will start to pick up. A refreshed, and sober, Fleury will poise his team for the playoffs.

7. Buffalo Sabres. Another team like the Caps. Sub-par roster but still keeps it together and plays hard every game. No Hasek, no problem. Martin Biron will keep them in the game. I think Kozlov will come together with the rest of the team just fine and will hopefully make the others play just as hard as last year.

8. Pittsburgh Penguins. This one was a hard one for me to pick. To tell you the truth, I don’t like Mario Lemieux. He’s cocky, arrogant, can’t skate, and needs a cane to walk. Ok, just kidding on the last one, but with all of these injuries he has, you would think so by now. I think a healthy “Moose” (Johan Hedberg) can lead this team to at least an 8th spot…if he’s lucky.

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9. Carolina Hurricanes. Not much to this team and they play hard every game … however, this will be an end-of-the-season upset. Irbe gets a load off, thanks to Barrasso. They just signed Brind’Amour, but for way too much money and probably too many years. They still have a lot of missing pieces before they make it back to the playoffs.

10. New York Islanders. I’m being very optimistic this year, for the Islanders. I think Yashin and Peca will play great, and that in turn will make the others play great. Still a question mark on the goaltending, and I still think DiPietro stinks, but that’s my opinion. Steven Valliquette will be a great goalie if they gave him a chance.

11. Florida Panthers. Roberto Luongo is the God of this team, not Pavel Bure. Pavel Bure finally gets his brother on his team and that’s great, hopefully another All-Star performance. However, Luongo is the future of this team. They need a LOT of work on the defense.

12. Boston Bruins. Bye-bye Guerin, bye-bye Allison, maybe even bye-bye Dafoe and McLaren. The Bruins are now the laughing stock of the NHL. Giving LaPointe a 5 mil contract was hilarious and left no money for the good players that matter. LaPointe can’t ride this team to the playoffs by himself and Dafoe probably couldn’t ride in a car without hurting his knee somehow. Rumor is that Poti from Edmonton is going in a McLaren deal.

13. Montreal Canadiens. Saku Koivu’s loss is gigantic not only to the Canadiens but the whole hockey community. They made a good move by at least trying to get Brett Hull. Hackett will be traded within the season for some scoring help — which is greatly needed.

14. Tampa Bay Lightning. A great team .. in 5 years. They’ve made some good moves to bring in some great players (Khabi, for one) but I think this season will be another flop. But at least their on the right track now.

15. Atlanta Thrashers. New goalie. Oh please, a new goalie. Rhodes can’t even sit on a lazy-boy couch without getting injured. Maybe its the blonde-dyed hair that gives him bad luck, who knows. But this team will go no where until they get a new goalie. Ilya Kovalchuk, I believe, will do ok this season, but he’s no star yet. If anything, Kaspiritis, on a new team, will check him and knock some NHL sense into him. He’s asking for it and the season hasn’t even begun yet.

Western Conference-

1. Detroit Red Wings. This was possibly the hardest decision of all for me. Detroit, Colorado, or Dallas? Well I pick Detroit for the reason that they now not only have one of the greatest offensive teams, but a great goalie, too. Sure, defense is all right, but nothing to be arrogant about. I think that if Bowman does use the Torpedo system, it will work great, especially with this team. However, I don’t see this team being a threat for anymore than 2 years. No good farm system = no good future.

2. Colorado Avalanche. Big contracts for great players. I think this team will play just as good as last year. Just because they lost Bourque doesn’t mean anything … like a past article said, it just means Blake will play more.

3. Dallas Stars. The most consistent team on the face of the Earth for the fact that Belfour is the most consistent goalie on the face of the Earth. Great team, great depth. Again, not much of a farm system, though. Could be trouble in a couple of years.

4. St. Louis Blues. One thing everyone keeps saying is that Brathwaite isn’t a good goalie and I certainly do not agree. He’s a very underrated and he plays better when the crowd likes him. St. Louis was voted the best sports city and I believe they will welcome him with open arms. This team is one of the major 1st line threats in the NHL, but how good will they be in 3 or 4 years? A good question.

5. San Jose Sharks. Great team. Ok, great YOUNG team. They will be a keeper, especially with a great fan base, for many years. Nabokov and Kiprusoff is a great tandem and with the acquisition of Selanne, this team won’t go down easily.

6. Edmonton Oilers. They gained so much youth and kept Tommy Salo. One thing I absolutely love about this team is Salo. Takes one heck of a pay cut to play in the city he loves. This team is a sub-par roster with a great coach and a great system.

7. Los Angeles Kings. After Potvin resigns, I can see this team doing a lot of good. Not much of a team, really, but a lot of heart is there.

8. Phoenix Coyotes. A lot of people think this team was hurt, but I don’t think so. Sean Burke pulled this team to the playoffs and barely missed it at the end. I was disappointed to see the Canucks go into the playoffs. I believe this team will play a great season and make 7th or 8th.

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9. Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Anyone who saw how the Ducks were playing at the end of the season would agree. And that was without Steve Shields. Kariya and Friesen was a GREAT tandem … but how far will it take them?

10. Vancouver Canucks. Without a goalie, the team will go no where. Bob Essensa was their only hope at a good goalie and Brian Burke ruined that. Cloutier is not a #1 goalie, I’m sorry Brian. They have great youth and I can see Jovanovski having a great year, but nothing too spectacular. Without a goalie, this team goes no where. With a good goalie, I can see this team going in 7th or 8th spot.

11. Minnesota Wild. This team can do a lot of things with its roster. It has one of the highest per-game revenues and they weren’t that good last year. However, will sold-out games all season and Fernandez playing great as always, I can see this team making a battle for some better players.

12. Columbus Blue Jackets. This team will be a good team in a few years. I have a lot of optimism for this club. Especially with Tugnutt and Denis as the goalies.

13. Nashville Predators. They put their heart in it, but the talent isn’t there. Dunham will most likely be traded, and Tomas Vocoun takes his place in the net, but after that? Well..Finley, but nothing after that.

14. Chicago Blackhawks. Team just keeps getting worse and worse every year. Amonte will be traded, nonetheless probably for a bag of pucks and a Russian flag. Someone needs to tell GMs to get their head out of their ass and start trading for good players, not just a certain Nationality. Look at Don Cherry’s OHL team. HAHAHA.

15. Calgary Flames. I am the biggest non-Calgary fan in the world. Not only did they make dumb trades in the off-season, but they brought in Turek in one of them. Giving away Valeri Bure was a bad decision. I can see this team riding on their high-prospect goaltenders in about 4 or 5 years, but unless their GM gets smart, I can’t see this team going anywhere but last.

I took a big risk putting the 2 expansion teams above the Nashville Predators and I think that’s the only thing that might REALLY be different in the standings, unless NJ really does have a great year, then power to them. Please post your comments.


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