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2013 NHL Atlantic Division Preview 

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Hockey is almost here. So let’s dive right into the new Atlantic division.

How They Will Finish:

8. Florida Panthers +6500

It would be difficult to be worse than they were a year ago. That being said, they might be. However, they have some young forwards that should at least make them a bit more exciting to watch. The problem for the Panthers lies behind those young forwards. They just signed a defensemen off the street. They had to host a try-out to bring someone in to play for them. Then behind them lies Tim Thomas. A 39 year old goalie that sat out all of last year, is not going to solve the misery going on with this franchise.

7. Buffalo Sabres +3000

Buffalo is going to be bad as well. However, they have some pieces that should at least lead them to a finish above Florida. Tyler Myers sort of disappeared last year, but still deserves some respect. This team is probably going to undergo a big time midseason makeover. Their young roster needs to grow, which means a rebuild, which means Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek will likely be traded at some point.

6. Toronto Maple Leafs +350

I don’t care how many months have passed, you don’t just come back from that devastating playoff loss. The Leafs really seemed to overachieve last year. That just has all the makings of a disappointing season this year.

5. Tampa Bay Lightning +700

As a sports fan I really wish this team would find a goalie. Steven Stamkos is a rare player, I would hate to see his talents be wasted even more than they already are being by playing hockey in Tampa Bay. Stamkos as well as the wily vet Martin St. Louis will keep this team dangerous. Joining them could be one of the most fun to watch junior players from a year ago, Jonathan Drouin. If this kid can live up to the hype the Lightning offense is going to as good as any. Ultimately they need one of their young netminders to step up if they want to be considered a legit Stanley Cup contender.

4. Montreal Canadiens +400

The Habs took a big leap forward last year. They were viewed as a young up and coming team and really outperformed expectations, winning the Northeast Division. I expect a slight regression, but those young guys got some much needed experience and Carey Price figures to have a much better year than a season ago.

3. Ottawa Senators +650

As much as the Senators’ faithful adored Daniel Alfredsson, Bobby Ryan is going to make them better. Pair him with Jason Spezza and you have a sneaky great line. This team has some really under the radar talent. However, of the notables Erik Karlsson is going to be 100% healthy now. He will anchor the defense for Craig Anderson. Last year Anderson was the clear cut best goalie in the NHL, at the time he got injured. I have high hopes for this team. I think they may surprise a lot of people.

2. Detroit Red Wings +400

This team is loaded on offense. They have nearly five lines on offense that you would want your team to have. Datsyuk and Zetterberg have been just incredible in years past and this move to the East could really make them stand out. Their troubles happen behind those guys. Their defense is not very good. While there is still room for some growth, they will need Jimmy Howard to have a stellar season if they want to knock off the Bruins in this division.

1. Boston Bruins +200

The Bruins are really good. The only thing that could stop them from another fantastic season is if they go through one of those seasons where they can’t find the back of the net. The B’s are still a defense first team, and now with Loui Eriksson and Jarome Iginla replacing Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin, maybe things won’t gel as well as they would like to. I don’t know, I am just trying to think of a reason they won’t clean up in this division. While I think the Red Wings and Senators are going to give the B’s a run for their money, it’s going to be difficult to overcome the consistency of the Boston defense. Although they aren’t as deep at the goalie position as they were in years past. Tuukka will be asked to play probably 60 games, so who is going to step in for the other 22?

Best Future Bets:

Senators +650 to win the Division

Senators to win the Eastern Conference 10-1

Bruins to win the Stanley Cup 9-1

Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup 15-1

Senators to win the Stanley Cup 20-1


Sunday, September 29, 2013

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