The NHL Season is upon us and with the blessing of Zeb, I am going to start the predictions here.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins - Crosby, Malkin, and Company are still the class of the Atlantic.
2. Philadelphia Flyers - The tandem of Leighton and Boucher in goal doesn't look like a Stanley Cup winning recipe.
3. New Jersey Devils - Kovalchuk will make the Devils a good bet to score more than past years. Martin Brodeur is starting to show his age.
4. New York Islanders - I picked what I believe the best of the 2 bad New York teams here. Tavares and Okposo look like very very good players and hopefully DiPietro stays healthy.
5. New York Rangers - The Blueshirts now have Boogaard patrolling for runners towards Gaborik and Lundqvist. But that trio doesn't make a team.
1. Boston Bruins - I believe that the depth of the Bruins will trump Ryan Miller standing on his head in Buffalo. Nolan Schafer is looking good in net. The only thing I worry about is injuries.
2. Buffalo Sabres - Ryan Miller is the man of the NHL. The team will be in the top 10 in scoring as well.
3. Ottawa Senators - I expect Pascal LeClaire to play like a #1 goalie should. I am a little worried about the offense.
4. Montreal Canadiens - Bad decision in keeping Carey Price instead of Halak. I don't see Price as a #1 goalie right now. Will Canadiens fans be patient for Price to continue growing through his growing pains.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs - I am impressed with what the Leafs are doing in building this team. However, I look at the roster and don't see the scoring needed to make a serious effort of getting to the playoffs.
1. Washington Capitals - The Caps know how to win in the Regular season. Now can they take the next step and win in the playoffs?
2. Carolina Hurricanes - I am taking the experience of Staal and Ward to put the Canes in this slot. Some of the kids will benefit from the experience they got from last year.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning - Mike Smith and Dan Ellis are the question marks in net. Stamkos won't score 50 goals again. I don't see many contributions from the 3rd and 4th lines.
4. Atlanta Thrashers - Chris Mason as your savior in goal? I don't see it. Blackhawks South won't make the playoffs this year.
5. Florida Panthers - Tomas Vokoun will keep the Panthers in a majority of games. However, the offense needs an upgrade.
Eastern Conference Finals:
Buffalo Sabres over Washington Capitals
Bold = Teams In Playoffs