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2016-2017 Season Primer: Atlantic Division

First thing is first:  how did I do last season?  Quick report card:

Montreal: Smartest opinion of the season (no need to thank me):  But, bottom line for the Habs:  As Price goes, so goes the team.  If he is a candidate to repeat for the Vezina, the Canadiens will be in cup contention.  Without him being other-worldly however, Montreal is a vulnerable team.  The injury to Price proved to be insurmountable for the Habs who were out of the playoff race early.  My pick to have them 2nd in the Atlantic failed, but I was right about who the habs were w/o their world class goalie.

Tampa Bay: Tampa is for real, and will win the Atlantic Division,  a real threat to repeat as Eastern Conference Champs.  An unfortunate injury to Steven Stamkos probably killed my prediction here, but Tampa is building to something to be sure.

Detroit: Red Wings could miss the playoffs this year (which has been predicted by some idiot each year for the past 24 years to no avail). Hi everyone, I’m that idiot.  Seriously though, if the B’s didn’t pork it I would have nailed this prediction.

Florida: They’ll improve even more this season, but after 82 games they’ll be on the outside looking in falling just short of the final wild card spot.  The best compliment I could bring myself to give these guys was “they are sneaky OK”.  Sneaky division champs you mean, dumbass.  Count this as a miss.

Ottawa:  The Sens will still be a fun team to watch, but they’ll ultimately fall back to earth this season and miss the playoffs. Nailed it.

Toronto:  This is a full on rebuild, and Toronto will be in the hunt for 2016’s likely first overall draft pick Austin Matthews.  Don’t let the kid get hot ya’ll.

Buffalo:  I sense the start of something good. Basically the something good is Jack Eichel.

Boston:  The Bruins, if only by relying on all-world goaltender Tuukka Rask, will overcome their severe lack of defensive help and finish 3rd in the Atlantic, cementing a Montreal v. Boston first round matchup.  I was so close…and so were the Bruins.  Alas.

 

OK with that out of the way now we can take my 2016-2017 predictions with a grain of salt.  Here we go:

Boston:  Management is expecting improvement without adding anything substantial to the roster.  If they are correct, this is a 7 or 8 seed.  If they are wrong they may be out of a job.  Don Sweeney is amassing some young talent, the team has a deep farm but organizationally they can’t stop talking about qualifying for the playoffs.  If they miss for the third year in a row heads could roll.  Bruins survive the season and sneak into the playoffs as a wild card.

Buffalo: Don’t miss a game this year.  They have some honest to god excitement in their game but they are too far away to compete for a playoff spot.  Buffalo will finish second to last in the division.

Detroit: This is the year.  Detroits playoff streak ends without Pavel Datsyuk.  We’ve seen what happens to teams that choose Justin Abdelkader over actual NHL talent.  (ya that’s right team USA you effed up).

Florida:  This team has so much young talent, if they were in any other NHL market they would be a must watch.  I’m still going to bet against Riley Smith (doing this has already cost me in gentlemen’s bets against my brothers), and say that he’s the Rick Porcello of NHL studs….that is to say every other year performances.  Florida finishes in the playoff structure but will not repeat as division champs.  2nd Place.

Montreal:  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA miss the playoffs and trade P.K. Subban?  Excuse me if I don’t buy in, even with Carey Price returning.  Still, Carey Price.  Fine. Jerks.  3rd in the Atlantic but an early exit in the spring.

Ottawa: Phaneuf isn’t enough.  Ottawa hasn’t done enough to improve their chances of getting back to the playoffs.  They’ll miss this season, but give the B’s a scare for a wild card spot.

Tampa Bay:  Stamkos is healthy, and he’s got himself a fancy new deal.  Tampa will be the class of the division this season, and be a real threat for the Cup.  BUT, they’ll have a losing record against the Bruins because that’s the way this thing works folks.

Toronto:  The Leafs will go the way of Team North America.  You’ll be in awe of Austin Matthews and marvel at the speed the leafs play this season.  But come the Spring it will become clear they just do not have it in them to make a run.  They’ll improve from last year but may not get out of the basement of the division.

Here we go.  Everyone gets a clean slate in just a few weeks time.  Here’s to hoping the B’s find the right mix to give us a season.

 

 


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