Another highly anticipated NHL season is just a couple of days away, and once again, the Buffalo Sabres are not favored to win the division. The Sabres haven’t changed too much from last year. A few players came and left, but for the most part, they are relatively the same.
Many experts have already submitted their predictions for the 2010-2011 season, and many have favored Boston, or even Ottawa to win the Northeast Division.
Puckmeplease.com even has Buffalo finishing in ninth in the Eastern Conference (view predictions here). That’s good enough for fourth in the division. You’re telling me that the Sabres have become that much worse since winning the division last season?
My first question would be “why aren’t the Sabres a playoff team this year? What makes them that much worse from last season?” As I pondered whether or not the other teams in the division, such as Boston and Ottawa, have improved that much, there was nothing significant enough for me to believe the Sabres can’t win it again.
The Bruins may have improved, especially with the addition of Nathan Horton. But now Marc Savard has post concussion syndrome, which could have a heavy impact on his career. Regardless of when he returns, one hit is all it will take for him to be done with the NHL.
You could say the same for Tim Connolly, who played 73 games last year, the most since the 2002-2003 season.
Boston also has Tyler Seguin, who could make an immediate impact on the club. They also have Tuukka Rask, but he still needs to prove that he can be consistent. His 45 games played last year are not enough to determine whether or not he is an elite goaltender.
The Bruins may have some upside with these young stars and additions. Plus, they still have Zdeno Chara, who always makes his presence known on the ice.
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