With training camp right around the bend in another month, I decided to do a division by divisionpreview and what to expect from each team this season. Here is the South East Division outlook:
Washington: Look for the Capitals to dominate the weak South East division again this year. Alexander Ovechkin and the high powered offense of the Caps is still there and will continue to own the South East, and perhaps the Conference. Washington didn’t make many off season moves as they remained relatively quiet after being knocked out in the first round by the Montreal Canadiens.
The defense for the Capitals is sub-par and the Goaltending is less than average which may cost them again this season. The two most important pieces that most teams build upon is the goaltending and defense, which Washington has virtually none of. The talents of their scoring alone will carry this team to another division title, but don’t look for this team to go very deep in the playoffs. Players to watch on the Caps will be Alexander Ovechkin as always, along with Mike Green.
Tampa Bay: This season I expect the Tampa Bay Lightning to finish 2nd in the South East Division because of the moves they made this off season. The Lightning acquired Simon Gagne from the Philadelphia Flyers, while also signing Pavel Kubina, Brett Clark, Dominic Moore, and Dan Ellis in the pipes. Ellis should make the goaltending more steady, but still not great. Clark and Kubina help out the young defense of the Lightning and can bring some offense to the point.
The additions of Clark and Kubina should also help out Victor Hedman, the young budding start of defenseman who will be entering his sophomore season. Moore won’t score the most goals (as Sabre fans know), but he is a very good 2-way forward. Tampa Bay’s top forwards don’t get much better as they have Lecavalier, Gagne, St. Louis, Malone, and Stamkos (who recorded 51 goals last season). Expect the Lightning to do much better from last season and be on the edge of making the playoffs. Player to watch in Tampa Bay this year is Steven Stamkos as he is becoming the star of this team.
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