A couple of days late to the game here, but I hadn’t done as much study of the east in pre-season, so I needed to get that done first…
Pittsburgh Penguins (1) (but the atlantic’s the tough conference in the east)
Montreal Canadiens (2) — I really like this team this year.
Washington Capitals (3) — I really, really like this team this year.
Philadelphia Flyers(4) — good, solid team in a tough division
New Jersey Devils (5) — will be a playoff lock for me until Brodeur proves me wrong.
on the bubble:
New York Rangers (6) — on the bubble because four teams out of the atlantic is going to be tough.
Buffalo Sabres (7) — I like a lot of things about this team, but it’s not really proven itself yet
Boston Bruins(8) — my bet for “I underestimated how good they were” for this season.
Carolina Hurricanes(9) — my bet for “could make the playoffs by beating up on a weak division”
Ottawa Senators(10) — have they put last season behind them? do they have real goaltending? I’m not convinced.
Florida Panthers (11) — best team attribute: finding a way to not make the playoffs. Not convinced anything’s changed.
Tampa Bay Lightning (12) — new lightning management and coach: circus or genius? I’m betting circus.
Toronto Maple Leafs (13) — when you get down to it, a pretty sucky team. Best wishes to Ron Wilson, he’ll need them.
Atlanta Thrashers (14) — not going anywhere this year.
New York Islanders (14) — if they go anywhere this year, it’ll be in reverse.
my choice out of the west, Montreal or Pittsburgh. I’ll take Montreal. Both teams ought to keep an eye over their shoulder for the capitals, though. The east should be fun to watch this year.
My choice for Stanley Cup champ — San Jose over Montreal.