Northeast has no weak spot

Remember the talk coming out of the lockout:

The Sens can’t perform in the playoffs
The Sabres are too young
The Leafs are too old
The Habs are too small
The Bruins have no depth

A lot has changed since then. The sens won 5 playoff series in 2 years, the sabres won a Presidence Trophy, the Habs prooved that size doesn’t matter, the Leafs drafted and showcased a bulk of young talent, and the Bruins managed to play well despite injuries, and losing star players, and having no goalie.

So, its no surprise that the Northeast divisions 475 points was highest in the league. But still, after last season, each team had its knock. The Sabres didn’t have the grit to survive in the playoffs; the Sens seemed to be one of the NHL’s best, but lost in the finals; the Habs couldn’t get production out of their veteran players, and the Leafs and Bruins had dreadful goaltending.

A Northeast division team hasn’t won the cup in almost 15 years. But this year, that may change. All 5 teams have a good shot at making the playoffs. I believe this division will once again be the best in hockey. This is how I think it will fall:

Ottawa Senators: 120 Points
New GM, New Coach… but basically the same team. They are cup contenders if they can get the 2nd, and 3rd lines rolling in the playoffs. Volchenkov and Phillips are arguably the best shut down pair in the league. Emery is a top 10 goaltender. If they play consistent hockey, they’re hands down favorites to win the Presidence Trophy.

Buffalo Sabres: 104 Points
This team played a few games last season while both Drury and Briere were injured. They still dominated. Losing those guys is a big loss, but they have so much depth and youth in the system. Remember, Miller is still a top 10 goaltender, they still have arguably one of the best defense cores, And Connoly will play a full season.

Toronto maple Leafs: 96 Points
Unlike the 2 teams above, the Leafs added players to their team. Bell and Blake fit the mold of the Leafs, and Toskala may be just what the doctor ordered. Toskala is a top 20 goaltender in the NHL and the whole defense core is coming back. A team that was once a great offense with a garbage defense, is now a great offense with an average defense. Look for Wellwood and Steen to have breakout seasons in their contract years.

Montreal Canadiens: 88 Points
This team will stay in the playoff race because of their defense. Hamrlik adds to an already strong defense core. Smolinski will also help this team defensively. The big question is where are the goals going to come from. The loss of Souray will take a huge toll on the habs offense. The youth should chip in and keep them alive, but unless a star comes out of the water, the Habs wont make the post season.

Boston Bruins: 80 Points
The team finaly has a goalie, though Fernandez wont carry the team. This is a team that, only a few years removed from trading Thornton, is still one of the best down the middle. They made small strides in every catagory, and if they were in the Southeast thay might have a shot at making the playoffs. But being in the toughest division in Hockey will make them on the outside looking in.

151 Responses to Northeast has no weak spot

  1. Atomic_Wedgy says:

    It's not hockey that I was making a comment on.  If you don't know that it is actually the Presidents' trophy, you don't know that much about hockey. 

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