Sunday, October 12, 2008

Northeast Division

The northeast has been one of the toughest divisions since the lockout, but the competition is beginning to level out. Neither Ottawa nor Buffalo are as dominate as they used to be, and Montreal and Boston have improved into playoff contenders.

#1 Montreal Canadians
They took second in the division last year, and have mostly brought back the same team. Their most notable addition is Robert Lang who they picked up from Chicago, and will give them some additional offense. The main downside for this team is that Price is still rather unproven in goal, and could go either way.

#2 Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo missed the playoffs last year, but should make it this season. Their main weakness was on defense, but they have shored up that position with the addition of Rivet and the return of Numminen. Buffalo also has the division's best goaltender in Ryan Miller.

#3 Ottawa Senators
Ottawa won the division last year, but fell apart at the end of the season and then got swept out of the playoffs in the first round. The team has some talent, but there is no reason to think that they will recover from their collapse and are unlikely to make the postseason.

#4 Boston Bruins
Boston is a bit of a question mark as they have the possibility of easily making the playoffs, and also finish near dead last. The team has some big name players, but lacks the depth to be a top of the league team. Goaltending is also a huge question mark for this team as it could end up being anywhere from amazing to awful.

#5 Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto has been having a very tough time getting things together since the lockout and this season doesn't look any more promising for them. They have no consistent scoring, and only mediocre defense. They surprisingly upset the defending champion Detroit Red Wings in their season opener, but that is not how the entire season is going to go for this team.

1 comment:

Tom said...

The team has some big name players, but lacks the depth to be a top of the league team.

Funny, I would actually say the opposite. The Bruins didn't have a single 30-goal scorer on the roster last season, and their only defensive star is Chara. The lack of big names on the roster is noticeable when you realize Chuck Kobasew was their 2nd-leading scorer.

But they have a TON of depth, especially at center and defense. In fact, the roster moves they've made in the past week (trading Alberts, waiving Schaefer and Thompson) are a reflection of the logjam they're starting to experience in Providence where NHL-ready players are stuck waiting.

If anything sinks the Bruins this season, it'll be a lack of go-to talent that can break open a game or lead a big rally.