Assessing the Landscape of the NHL

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Can the Saskatchewan boy lead the Ducks to a Stanley Cup?/Michael Miller

Can the Saskatchewan boy lead the Ducks to a Stanley Cup?/Michael Miller

Canada’s favourite past time is almost back.

Article: harrison brooks – contributor

The new school year has started. Even the beer gardens on the greens have been taken down, so I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious. Have no fear, though, because along with studying and tests comes a spot of joy, and that joy is the NHL season being right around the corner. With that being said, here are my opinions on how the standings in each division are going to shape up this year.

Pacific Division:

  1. Anaheim Ducks– With the addition of Ryan Kesler, the Ducks will finish first in the entire NHL.
  2. LA Kings– They’re almost exactly the same team that just won the cup, they’ll do fine.
  3. San Jose Sharks- The Sharks are on the decline but they’re not out of it yet.
  4. Vancouver Canucks- With the addition of star goalie Ryan Miller they should easily be fighting for a playoff berth.
  5. Arizona Coyotes- No playoffs for Arizona, but they’re still better than Edmonton.
  6. Edmonton Oilers- Let’s be honest, this franchise is a joke and they’ll never get out of the basement until they address the root of their problems.
  7. Calgary Flames- Some terrific young players in Sean Monahan, and Johnny Gaudreau to build around they just need a few more years.

Central Division:

  1. Chicago Blackhawks- Perennial powerhouse led by captain serious, Jonathan Toews.
  2. St. Louis Blues- Lost an elite goalie Ryan Miller. This could cost them.
  3. Colorado Avalanche- Added some terrific veteran leadership in Jarome Iginla.
  4. Minnesota Wild- Adding a sniper like Thomas Vanek is only going to help this team.
  5. Dallas Stars- Adding Spezza will help, but they aren’t a cup contender just yet.
  6. Nashville Predators- Finally addressed need for scoring by adding James Neal and Mike Ribeiro but they’re still going to need some time to click.
  7. Winnipeg Jets- Goaltending isn’t good enough to be anything but last.

Metropolitan Division:

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. ‘Nuff said
  2. Columbus Blue Jackets- A surprising pick to be this high in the standings, but they have the team to do it.
  3. New York Islanders- Pair a legit starter in net with a full season of Tavares and you have yourself a third place finish in the division.
  4. New York Rangers- Not the same team they were last year
  5. Philadelphia Flyers- Not a team to take lightly, if they click they’ll be playoff bound.
  6. Washington Capitals- If new head coach Barry Trotz can get this team playing his style of hockey they could be a threat, but that’s a big if.
  7. New Jersey Devils- I’m sorry Devils’ fans (if there’s even any left) but Mike Cammalleri is not the answer.
  8. Carolina Hurricanes- Last but certainly not…never mind.

Atlantic Division:

  1. Montreal Canadiens- Yes you read it right, Montreal, not Boston, will be first this year.
  2. Boston Bruins- Aging defensive core, but still very much a powerhouse.
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning- A full year of Steven Stamkos + Jonathan Drouin + Ben Bishop = playoff appearance.
  4. Detroit Red Wings- Aging team, still has playoff chance.
  5. Florida Panthers- They’re getting closer. A full season of Roberto Luongo will do wonders.
  6. Toronto Maple Leafs- I cant even say I’m sorry about how they will finish this season because it has become a guilty pleasure of mine watching them fall apart every year.
  7. Ottawa Senators– On the downslope could use a serious rebuild.
  8. Buffalo Sabres- No one should expect anything but another lottery pick this year.

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