Here’s my predictions on the Atlantic Division for this season.
New Jersey Devils
Key Additions: Krys Barch
Key Losses: Zach Parise, Alex Ponikarovsky, Eric Boulton
This team is not the same team that won the Eastern Conference last year. When Zach Parise signed that long-term deal with his hometown team, the Minnesota Wild, all chances for the Devils to make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals were thrown out of the window. It would take a miracle for this team JUST to make it back to the playoffs.
New York Islanders
Key Additions: Matt Carkner, Brad Boyes, Eric Boulton, Lubomir Visnovsky
Key Losses: P.A. Parenteau, Micheal Haley, Al Montoya, Steve Staios,
When the Islanders traded for Lubomir Visnovsky, their defense was set. However, the Islanders are caught playing in the toughest division in the NHL. Either way, it’s still gonna be the same result for the Isles like last year: a dead-last finish in the Atlantic Division.
New York Rangers
Key Additions: Rick Nash, Arron Asham, Micheal Haley, Jeff Halpern
Key Losses: Brandon Prust, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Ruslan Fedotenko
The Rangers were unstoppable last season. They led the Eastern Conference with 109 points. They made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. But sometimes, in order to get over the hump, you need to sacrifice talent to get talent. The Rangers struck a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets and traded Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, and Tim Erixon to Columbus for Rick Nash. Is the former Blue Jackets captain the missing piece to a fully-loaded team of talent? The answer is a definitive yes.
Key Additions: Luke Schenn, Bruno Gervais, Ruslan Fedotenko
Key Losses: Jaromir Jagr, James van Riemsdyk, Matt Carle, Sergei Bobrovsky
For the first time in a while, uncertainty clouds the Broad Street Bullies. Chris Pronger might not be coming back to play in a Flyers jersey. Ilya Bryzaglov has become the NHL’s equivalent of Charlie Sheen. But beneath all of this, Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux are starting to become one of the top 1-2 punches in the NHL. But will it be enough to survive the NHL’s toughest division?
Key Additions: Brandon Sutter
Key Losses: Jordan Staal, Aaron Asham, Zbynek Michalek, Steve Sullivan
Don’t let the pluses and minuses fool you. The Pens are still the team to beat in the Atlantic Division, and with Sidney Crosby near 100% back to normal after concussions sidelined him for nearly 2 seasons, you pair him up with the reigning Hart Trophy winner, Evgeni Malkin, this team might just be not only the team to beat in the Atlantic Division, but they might just be the team to beat in the entire Eastern Conference.
Prediction: Atlantic Division Champions