Thursday, September 22, 2005

2005/06 Predictions: Northeast Division

I have already posted my predictions for the West Conference. Today, I will begin with the East Division. Today, I will look at the Northeast Division. Again, it is impossible to have 100% accuracy in any hockey predictions of this fashion, but I am trying my best. This is my best guess at the way teams will finish.

1. Ottawa Senators - The wild card is Dominik Hasek. Will he remain healthy and how much does he have left? What happens to them if he is unable to handle their goaltending? They do have a very good core of players including Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, Wade Redden, Zdeno Chara, Martin Havlat and Jason Spezza. This is probably the best core of players in the NHL right now. They are the team to beat in the NHL if their goaltending holds up.

2. Boston Bruins - They kept a very good group of players through the lockout including Joe Thornton, Sergei Samsonov, Glen Murray, Nik Boynton and Andrew Raycroft. Then they added free agents like Brian Leetch and Alexei Zhamnov. This team should be good. If Ottawa's goaltending totally fails, they could win the division.

3. Montreal Canadiens - They will have very good goaltending from Jose Theodore. This is coupled with some good talent in Saku Koivu, Alexei Kovalev, Sheldon Souray and Richard Zednik. It looks good, but it won't be as good as the two teams I rank ahead of them.

4. Toronto Maple Leafs - They are too dependent on players who are in the downsides of their careers including Mats Sundin and Ed Belfour. They went out and added more injury prone players in decline. Most notably they added Eric Lindros and Jason Allison. Both have already had injury problems in camp. They do have two good defencemen who are around their peaks in terms of age in Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle. Likely, this team will run into injury problems.

5. Buffalo Sabres - This team has a group of young stars that might be able to lead them to a resurgence. Daniel Briere, Chris Drury, Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller could be the core of a very good team, but they are not ready to compete yet. It could be a long year.

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