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Buffalo, NY • United States • 23 Years Old • Male
Here are my Eastern Conferene predictions:

1. Boston
2. Washington
3. Rangers
4. Pittsburgh
5. Carolina
6. Philadelphia
7. Buffalo
8. Toronto
9. Montreal
10. New Jersey
11. Florida
12. Atlanta
13. Tampa Bay
14. Islanders
15. Ottawa

Solid team. I expect a repeat performance from last year. They led the league in goals against per game with 2.32 and save percentage of .925. After topping 50 wins last year, I expect the same from them this year. The good start really helped them finish in first place. They posted a record of 23-2-1 in November and December last year.

AO and the caps seek revenge this year. After a game seven collapse in the playoffs, expectations are higher once again this season. They have six 20-goal scorers returning from last season, including defenseman Mike Green, who tallied 31 goals alone (the rest of the defense scored 12). The only thing stopping them from the #1 spot is the goaltending.

Yes. I picked the rangers to win the division. The team has added Brian Boyle, Chris Higgins, Marian Gaborik, Donald Brashear, and Ales Kotalik. They lost some guys as well, but this team is going to be revamped and ready to go this October. The team will get a lot of help from Henrik in goal. Also, John Torterella will make this team even better.

The Penguins look like they are going to be a real tough team to beat. I think that the short summer will begin to wear them down at some point in the season. They may have somewhat of a hangover from winning the Cup, but have a very good chance to make it to the finals again.

The hurricanes didn't make any major moves as the rest of their division has improved. It will be tough for the Canes to go as far as they did last year, but Cam Ward will help tremendously. As long as they get off to a good start, unlike last season, this team will finish fifth in the conference.

The addition of Chris Pronger will improve the team, obviously. One of the biggest question marks for Philly is how Ray Emery will do in goal. If Emery plays well, this team will have enough support to make the playoffs.

The Sabres have taken some cheap shots the past few years and no one stepped up and fought back. This season, teams are going to start respecting Buffalo. Steve Montador has arrived, and Mike Grier is back. The Sabres need to get a full season from Tim Connolly, who could greatly contribute. Also, a healthy Ryan Miller is always a good thing.

I don't believe Toronto is capable of winning a playoff round, but I can see them snatching the final spot from Montreal. With Brian Burke, Toronto will be much more competitive. They were dead last in save percentage last year (.885), which shows why they didn't have one month with a winning record. I expect this team to show significant improvements this season

The whole team has been remodeled. I don't think that the team will click right away. I think there are too many new players on the team. All of the chemistry will be messed up and it will take some time before all of the lines are synced up. Montreal will struggle through the first half of the season, and wont be able to overcome it. They will fall short at the end.

New Jersey:
The Devils are always a tough team to play against, especially with the trap. They did lose Brian Gionta, Scott Clemmensen, and John Madden, which puts more pressure on Brodeur. I can't see him doing better than he has been. If Brodeur gets injured, there isn't a reliable backup like last season. I expect the Devils to be a tough opponent, but not good enough for the playoffs.

The Panthers just dont have anyone capable of stepping up as a leader. By losing Jay Bo, Florida isn't going anywhere for a few years. It is time for them to build around the two solid goaltenders they have (Vokoun and Clemmensen). Florida is a hard working team that just needs a big name player or two.

They need a goalie. They have a good group of players, but they need to convince Kovalchuk to stay. If they lose him, they are going downhill. Atlanta needs some help before they make the playoffs again. Expect the same kind of outcome as they have had the last two seasons.

Tampa Bay:
Almost the same situation as Atlanta. They need solid goaltending. They have plenty of talen on the team. Their biggest concern is defense. Last season, Tampa didn't have anyone with a positive plus/minus. However, they added Mattias Ohlund who was +14 last year, and Matt Walker who was +7. I believe Tampa will begin to improve this year, getting about 30 wins.

Rebuilding. A few years from now, the Isles will be a very good team, but right now, they just don't have what it takes to compete. Their goaltending is solid, but the offense needs to improve, which is just what they are working on.

With Heatley no longer there......(eventually) the team is going to suffer from the loss. They need Leclaire and Elliot to perform well to even have a chance at the playoffs. I don't see Ottawa having much success this year.

From the East, I am choosing Washington to make it to the Finals

Kevin Hits For The Hat Freiheit
Filed Under:   Conference   NHL   Predictions  
August 31, 2009 12:32 AM ET | Delete
I don't really agree with NYR on top of the division, Jersey missing out (Do many teams stand much of a chance without their starting goalie? NYR, Pitt, washington doesn't have one yet, Carolina, very few teams have two proven goalies now) or Toronto and Buffalo both making it into the playoffs. I'd say 7-15 (with the exception of jersey) has all the right teams in it.
August 31, 2009 1:45 AM ET | Delete
finally someone who has the ranegrs in the playoffs.. i can only hope we get third.. i expect 5th-6th..it all matters how things click.. if u watched the rangers, our problem was scoring.. an we certinaly fixed that with.. gaborik kotalik prospal higgins.. well have atleast 6 20 goal scorers.. and redden and rozi cant be worse.. so i predict 5th for the rangers.. but i hope its 3rd ;)
August 31, 2009 1:50 AM ET | Delete
for me this is how it goes..boston..washington..pittsburgh..carolina..rangers..philadelphia..devils (always find a way to make it like the rangers)..buffalo..ottawa and montreal have a shot if things go the right way.. tampa is a long shot along with florida... and i think isles thrashers and toronto are out..
August 31, 2009 1:57 AM ET | Delete
can't picture the Sens in last... at all...
August 31, 2009 8:04 AM ET | Delete
Little biased there I think...which is why they are your predictions, so thats fine....honestly though, havent we all learned its time not to count the devils out of the playoffs?? Thats just not a smart bet....I think carolina drops to 6, NYR drops to 7, Pitts wins the atlantic, Philly moves up to 4 and the devils get in at 5...8 goes to either to montreal/ottawa or buffalo....to put the sabres and toronto in at 7 and 8 is a strethch to say the least....
August 31, 2009 8:43 AM ET | Delete
Well the 7-10 spots are always tough to predict but Tampa will be better with Tanguay in the fold as well. Ottawa is not making the playoffs...too many issues, Heatley isn't getting dealt anywhere fast right now and Leclaire can't stay healthy anyways...As a Leafs fan, they are also a long shot!
August 31, 2009 9:10 AM ET | Delete
I just dont see anything that buffalo did in this offseason to improve.....
August 31, 2009 9:56 AM ET | Delete
The Rangers Philly and Montreal will all be fighting for spots 8-10, They are not putting together good teams they are buying players, there is a differance. That philosophy rarley works. Pittsburg will win the Atlantic and Toronto still dosent have enough scoring to compete.
August 31, 2009 11:28 AM ET | Delete
People do underestimate Toronto's scoring, but yeah I still believe that it is a long shot only because the East is fairly competitive this year. I agree that Montreal will have a bit of trouble with chemistry, so they are definetly a bubble team. Ottawa last ? As much as I hate them thats not happening.
August 31, 2009 3:01 PM ET | Delete
Move Rangers
August 31, 2009 3:51 PM ET | Delete
buffalo was in the playoffs last year without the injuries... they dont need to improve to get back to that spot... to go far in the playoffs is another question
September 1, 2009 5:13 AM ET | Delete
New Jersey 11... did brodour retire ..cause if he's in net they have a chance.
September 1, 2009 12:37 PM ET | Delete
all you people that say that buffalo doesnt deserve a playoff spot, remember that they were in the hunt for 6th spot before vanek and miller were injured. our only pure goal scorer and our starter were injured. the same exact thing would have happened to a team like the rangers. if lundqvist and perhaps drury went down to injury, they would have had the same fate.
September 3, 2009 12:04 PM ET | Delete
Ottawa 15th?? Wth Heatley in the line up Spezza-Alfredsson-Kovalev-Fisher and Leclaire in the net???? Wow!! Iam soooo jealous about the Islander who are soooo better than the Sens!...LOLL
September 4, 2009 5:27 PM ET | Delete
not bad! Ottawa in last place sounds just right, well them or Atlanta
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