As of last night, the four bottom slots in the eastern conference were held by teams in the Southeast division. Only the Carolina Hurricanes were in playoff position, and are running the risk of losing that position very quickly.
Every team in the division, with the exception of maybe Washington, is one or two pieces away from being a serious contender, but none can be called a clear-cut dominant force.
A huge reason for this, is simple. In the Southeast division, there is no DEFENSE.
Every team has great offensive stars. There is not one team that doesn't have a stud or star forward... the problem is that none of these teams have much in the way of solid defense.
Florida and Carolina are the best teams in the division but not by much. Florida being the most balanced of the teams, while Tampa and Washington remain in the bottom.
A severe lack of depth on all fronts is killing these teams who simply try to outgun eachother. So much money has been put into the high powered offenses of thee teams, that little has been spent on defense (with Florida being the exception). All of these teams can match up or defeat ay other through firepower alone, but this frantic scoring race has caused several losses against teams with stronger defense.
The porous defense of essentially all the teams in this division is the cause of the Southeast woes and until some general managers begin to realize this, there simply may not be a southeast division to worry about.
I hear you, this has been a pitiful division for many years. That's why it is such an anomoly that 2 of the last 3 cups went to that division! It's also a shame that the the division leaders automatically get a top 3 spot in the playoffs whether they deserve it or not. I would like to see some change to this system over the next few years.