Season Predictions Part 1: Eastern Conference

Eastern Conference: The east is my favourite of the two conferences, it is always unpredictable. Every year the standings are never the same, and those who you thought would do good, fail, and those you thought would preform bad, do well. What are your predictions for the East?

Eastern Conference: The east is my favourite of the two conferences, it is always unpredictable. Every year the standing are never the same, and those who you thought would do good, fail, and those you thought would preform bad, do well. What are your predictions for the East?

1. Philadelphia Flyers: When you look at this team on paper you wonder why weren’t they in first last season. LeClair, Roenick, Recchi, Gagne to name a few. Most players on this team had sub-par season last year, and with Hitch***** behind the bench suspect them to get back into gear and playing good hockey. In my opion they got a great offense, good goaltending, and a decent defese, if everything goes smoothly they sould be number one.

2.Ottawa Senators: Young and energetic, certainly a fun team to wacth. They are a team with raw talent and if the new rules stick this teams will excel to be one of the best teams in the league. Lalime is always solid between the pipes, and all their players will benefit from these new rules and take their game to the next level.

3.Washington Capitals: This team couldn’t make the playoff’s last year, but don’t expect the same mistakes this year. Jagr had an off season last year with injuries, expect him back to his usual level this year. Kolzig has had a few off years, but when solid he is one of the best in the game. One giant question mark on this team, if every thing goes their way, a solid Kolzig, a consistent Bondra, they should and will be at the top of their divsion.

4.Toronto Maple Leafs: This team has a good offense, considering Green, Reichle and Renberg were all new last year and had good second half of the season, Green and Renberg at least should be fine this year playing better than last. Life with out Roberts wont go unnoticed but will play a minor role on the way they preform. Sundin is not getting any younger and will be at the top of his game this year. The defense is better than last season. Just the only problem for them is their goaltending, either if it is Belfour or Kid, if they can get a good solid goaltender they should be fine.

5. New Jersey Devils: So they had a tough year, they should rebound. They lost Holik which will hurt them dearly, thats why they aint higher than fifth on my list. Friesen should preform well on a good team like this. They got a solid defense and goaltending, should do good this season.

6.New York Rangers: Holik, Bure, Lindros, Poti, Kaspar, this team is good all around, and goaltending should be all right if Ricter is back there. Only question is with a star filled team would there be chemestry issues? If they can get hings together qucikly and play like a team they should go far.

7.New York Islanders: The leafs series in the playoff’s is still haunting this team. They lost Peca, not only a good player but an excellent leader for most the season. Jonsson one of their top defensman having a dangerous concussion. But they have a tough and gritty team, much like Carolina and Toronto. Despite injureis they will claw their way through this season.

8.Carolina Hurricanes: Strong team, after a brilliant playoff run, they will not settle for anything less. If Irbe can stay solid and/or Weekes, they should be fine, O’Neil should establish him self as a solid goal scorer and Francis will provide the team with veteran leadership.

9.Boston Bruins: Strong offense, Thorton, Samsanov, Stumple. But their defense is nothing special and their goaltending is nothing to cheer about. Very unlikely that they will be anywhere near the place they finished last year.

10.Montreal Candians: We all rooted for them to make the playoff’s last year after a strong second half to the season, but this year I don’t expect them to do much. Audette will never put points up like he did in Atlanta, Perrault is much overated, weak defense and lack of grit. Only reason they may make the playoff’s is Theodore, and thats if he preform as well as he did last year.

11.Pittsburg Pengiuns: Injury bug hits this team every year, and if every one of their players stayed healthy they could be a 8th place team, but that is unlikely. If Lemiux and Straka come back strong they could make it an interesting playoff race, but still, they would struggle. If a strong Hedberg they could have a suprise freak season, but expect them to be amongst the double digit ranked teams.

12.Buffalo Sabres: Life without Hasek was tough last year, but Biron is a good goaltender who should do well. NOt much different from last year, so why expect any change in where they finished.

13.Tampa Bay Lightning: Inconsistent LeClavier, and poor defense. Bright side Khabibulin in net, if they get a solid Modin, Richards and LeCalvier they still wont make the playoffs. Thier still not close yet, much to improve.

14.Florida Panthers: No more Pavel, and an unhappy Valerie, this team wont be good at all this year. IT will be pretty much a learning year for this young team, they will learn much this season, who will lead and what young guys will be strong in the NHL.

15.Atlanta Thrashers: Beyond Kolvachuck and Heatly this team doesn’t have much to offer, still young, and they will hold the precious rank of 15th.