After my summer hiatus, it’s time I bring you my previews gor the upcoming 2013-14 NHL season. I will do this every Monday for the next four weeks. This week, I preview the new Atlantic Division.
Key Additions: Loui Eriksson, Jarome Iginla
Key Losses: Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton, Jaromir Jagr, Andrew Ference, Rich Peverley
The Bruins made an unbelievable run to the Stanley Cup Final last season, but what turned out to be a Game 6 win on TD Garden ice was shockingly crushed by two goals in the span of seventeen seconds. However, this veteran team had the summer to stew in their juices, and now, they’re coming back swinging, trading former first-round pick Tyler Seguin to Dallas for former All-star winger Loui Eriksson. And after “the trade that never happened”, the Bruins finally get veteran winger Jarome Iginla to wear the Black and Gold.
Prediction: Atlantic Division Champions
Key Additions: Henrik Tallinder, Jamie McBain
Key Losses: Nathan Gerbe, Adam Pardy, Andrej Sekera
The Sabres have not changed a lot this offseason, but this will be the first full season under head coach Ron Rolston, and this will be a year of rebuilding.
Detroit Red Wings
Key Additions: Stephen Weiss, Daniel Alfredsson
Key Losses: Valtteri Filppula, Carlo Colaiacovo, Damien Brunner
The Red Wings made the transition to becoming an Eastern Conference team by adding veteran forwards Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson. However, this season is gonna be very tough, because this puck-possession team has to adjust and adapt with the physically demanding teams from the Eastern Conference, let alone teams from their own division. They will contend, but it’s not gonna be easy.
Key Additions: Tim Thomas, Ryan Whitney, Bobby Butler, Scott Gomez, Matt Gilroy
Key Losses: Jack Skille, Stephen Weiss, Nolan Yonkman, George Parros
The Florida Panthers were riddled with injuries last season, and ended up with the worst record in the NHL. They did not win the Draft Lottery, but they did get the second pick, for which they drafted rugged center Aleksander Barkov. Barkov will most likely center the second line. 2013 Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau will center the first line. Unfortunately, like Detroit, the season is gonna be very tough because the Panthers are still in the middle of growing pains, and it’s gonna take a while to get used to playing in a new division. But when you sign Tim Thomas, at least you’ll give yourself a chance.
Key Additions: Danny Briere, George Parros, Douglas Murray
Key Losses: Colby Armstrong, Tomas Kaberle, Michael Ryder, Yannick Weber
The first season under the Marc Bergevin era proved to be very successful, as the Habs made it back to the playoffs. Now it’s up to the young core, led by 2013 Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban and 2013 Calder Trophy runner-up Brendan Gallagher, to build off of the momentum from last year.
Key Additions: Bobby Ryan, Joe Corvo, Clarke MacArthur
Key Losses: Daniel Alfredsson, Sergei Gonchar
Though it was a year of trying for Ottawa last year, they survived the storm and made it to the playoffs. It could be de ja vu for the Senators, because this season is the first in the post-Daniel Alfredsson era. But like Friedrich Nietzsche said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” as the Sens bolstered their offense by trading for Bobby Ryan.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Key Addition: Valtteri Filppula
Key Losses: Vincent Lecavalier, Benoit Pouliot
Last season, defense and goaltending were question marks for Tampa Bay. The goaltending situation may be solved by acquiring Ben Bishop from Ottawa last season, but defense is still a question mark. The addition of Valtteri Filppula will counter the loss of Vincent Lecavalier.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Key Additions: David Clarkson, Dave Bolland, Jonathan Bernier, Mason Raymond
Key Losses: Ben Scrivens, Mikhail Grabovski, Matt Frattin, Clarke MacArthur, Mike Komisarek
Last season, the Leafs finally made it back to the Playoffs for the first time since 2004. Now they have expectations, and I believe after the painful Game 7 loss to the Bruins, they’ll be hungrier as ever. They signed premier power forward David Clarkson, two-time Stanley Cup champion grinder Dave Bolland, and acquired 1-A goaltender Jonathan Bernier from the LA Kings in a trade. The Leafs are a team to watch for this season.