Ok...so now the painful job of predicting the great East Division. This is tough one and I feel the 8 teams in this division outpace the other divisions on the whole...so fully knowing I am about to anger many out there...here goes nothing.
#8 The Buffalo Sabres
The addition of Taylor Hall and Eric Staal will make the Sabres top 6 way more entertaining but where the Sabres finish may indeed have more to do with the development of their prospect and another season with coach Krueger. In a division this competitive, the key may be goaltending…. That is where I feel the Sabres may fall into 8th, however I do believe that the Sabres, and all the teams in this division will stay in the race…
#7 The Washington Capitals
The Caps have had a turbulent off-season and there are several questions with this team to be sure. The biggest issue I have, and why I put them in seventh, is their age and depth in what I feel will be a “race to the finish line” type of a season. The loss of Lundqvist is important as well, although the addition of Anderson will definitely help. Adding Chara is hard to debate, but also brings more of what they already have. Aging talent who have little left to prove, but may also not be able to keep up in a young and quick division.
#6 The NJ Devils
The Devils are in the details. I was ready to put the as high as #4, and I do believe they will be this season’s most surprising team in the NHL. The loss of Crawford has put them out of the playoffs for me, because I felt they had picked the perfect goalie for their situation. This is good young team. A fast young team. They will be dangerous and I could still put them higher if they find a backup who can really help.
#5 The Pittsburgh Penguins
Again, I really believe that all the teams in this division could be thrown into a hat and that prediction could be just as solid as any pundit’s. The Penguins were missing something last season and while they won’t admit it they are probably closer to a rebuild than they are another Championship. I think the loss of Murray has made them very susceptible to problems and literally without a safety net. The Penguins defense isn’t strong enough at this point to carry ANY issues in net.
The Bruins have always played the Metro Division teams tough. Last year the Bruins lost on 3 times in. Regulation to Metro Division teams. They still have a killer lineup, but its been a long time since we have seen that line dominate… In the bubble, the loss of Rask truly showed some bigger holes and the loss of Krug and Chara without any additions (they went hard after Pietrangelo) puts a ton of pressure on some kids who have potential but will be under more pressure than they have ever been under in a condensed period of time.
#3 The NY Rangers
The Rangers are stacked up front, fast and solid in goal to be sure. They showed moments of dominance last year interspersed with moments that made the entire team look like they are in danger of making a rookie mistake. Lafreniere is the total package, and better than anyone seems to be expecting him to be...and while I believe they should have found a way to keep Fast, I think they will be the team everyone is afraid to play.
#2 The Philadelphia Flyers
Like Boston and Washington, the Flyers have a good group of veterans who can still compete, however, unlike those teams the Flyers have a few lines of young players at forward and on the blue line who are ready to play at this level and will be coming into their own this season. The Flyers are also as strong as anyone in the division in goal. Carter Hart and Brian Elliott are a perfectly matched combo for this NHL season. Hart could be ready to enter the elite level of goaltenders…
#1 The NY Islanders
The Islanders are for real. The trip to the Conference Final in the bubble was for NOT a one time thing and had the Islanders had better goaltending the Lightning would have been more challenged. I am a real Ilya Sorokin fan and believe he will be the difference maker and the goaltending combo for the Isles will make them stronger than most right now are seeing. Waiting on Barzal’s signing was the reason I held off this division until today. They did lose some depth in order to make their cap work, but some of the players who left signed contracts well beyond their worth…
Ok...so there you have it...You can all say I am nuts now, but remember these teams will ONLY be playing each other and this season is a sprint of crazy condensed games...Anything can happen and probably will.
Puck Drops Wednesday on the new NHL season and so begins the HockeyBuzz Super League fantasy game.
NOTE: This season is going to be, well, unpredictable. There will be games on the NHL season schedule that will be postponed, moved, even canceled outright in favor of another opponent should a team go down for a period of time with COVID-19.
So as it pertains to our fantasy game: If the player you rostered during the stated week plays a game you get those points—if he does not play that game you do not get any points. So if a game is added it will be included, if removed it won’t.