Eastern Conference Predictions

Man I'm ready for some real hockey!  I really don't know if I can wait.  I'll be following the updates today online, then I'll go home and watch the game even though I will know the results.  I absolutely love this sport!  It is the best of them all.

So here is my preseason predictions for how the Eastern Conference will end up.  It should be an interesting year and like all predictions; it will for the most part be wrong.

1.  Washington - they have the offensive firepower to just outscore everybody during the regular season.  The big question will be their goaltending yet again and I think they will eventually trade for a good goalie.

2.  Pittsburgh - they will get off to a slow start without Jordan Staal, but will tear it up in the second half of the season and beat out NJ for the Atlantic Division.

3.  Boston - I don't think they'll be as good as most are predicting, but I also don't believe any team in the Northeast is solid enough to beat them out for the division.

4.  New Jersey - they have a very good team, but one injury could really cause some problems.  I see them getting worn down as the season moves along and they'll have another 1st round exit.

5.  Philadelphia - the defending Eastern Conference Champs have a solid offense and a very good defense, but like Washington they are missing a netminder.  I could really see Jeff Carter being traded during the season for a legit goalie.

6.  Tampa Bay - They have a good top 6 and a goalie that I think is a little underrated.  Take that and multiple games against Florida and Atlanta and they end up with a good record.

7.  Buffalo - Solid team, but not great.  Miller will have to work his magic, but I think they sneak into the playoffs.

8.  NY Rangers - very tough decision here, but I think Hank has a very good year in net and Frolov is out to prove his worth.  I also think Stepan will have a solid rookie year.

9.  Ottawa - They are a decent team that could take the 8th spot, but I feel they are stretched thin on the blueline.  There is also the Spezza thing, will he or will he not be traded away at some point.  And Alfredsson always seems to get hurt at some point of the season.

10.  Carolina - The young Canes start off a little slow, but as the All-Star game approaches; they kids start clicking and they make another late season charge. 

11.  Toronto - They will show some improvement this season, but I still feel as they are missing a piece.  They need to find a 1st line center.

12.  Montreal - I don't believe Price and Auld will keep them in games, plain and simple.

13.  Atlanta - This team could be real physical and win some games they are not expected to, but they don't have a go-to-guy.  I think if Kovalchuk was on this team now, they would be a playoff team.

14.  NY Islanders - They showed improvement last season, so what does Wang do to capitalize on that; NOTHING!  If not for the goofs in Calgary, this IMO is the worst run organization in the NHL.

15.  Florida - I think Florida might surprise me at some point during the season, but eventually crap settles; as will Florida.  They are moving in the right direction, but that could still be 2 or 3 years.  I hope they can last in the Sunshine State!

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