Happy retirement to Chris Drury. I really was hoping Montreal could've picked him up. Class act and a great player.
Okay, so here we go with part 2. If you haven't seen part 1, go to my profile and check it out if it still isn't on homepage. What I'm doing here is a 5 part series of blogs. Part 1, Western Conference standings predictions. Part 2, Eastern Conference. Parts 3 and 4 will be based on the Western and Eastern Conference play offs, and part 5 will be my best guesses at the 2012 NHL Award winners. It will also be the blog where I reveal my pick for the Stanley Cup. So sit back and enjoy.
2011-2012 Eastern Conference Standings
1)Pittsburgh Penguins - X factor: If Sid returns, you can expect the President's Trophy from the Pens. If not, Malkin will be back and that will still be enough.
2)Washington Capitals- X factor: Don't expect Ovie to have 2 'off' seasons in a row. Expect a challenge for the Richard Trophy. Also, in Tomas Vokoun, they add a goalie who had good stats on a horrible team.
3)Boston Bruins - X factor: There will be no Cup hangover in Boston; expect the Bruins to win the division.
4)Tampa Bay Lightning - X factor: With Marty St. Louis feeding Stamkos for the one timer for at least the next 5 years, the Lightning will be an Eastern powerhouse for years to come.
5)New York Rangers - X factor: King Henrik is poised for a big year, and with Brad Richards in the mix, offence will be twice as good.
6)Philadelphia Flyers - X factor: I actually liked what they did this off season. Though they gave up loads of offence, they brought in a star goalie in Bryzgalov and that will be enough to allow the Flyers into the play offs.
7)Montreal Canadiens - X factor: With a full year under his belt and Andrei Markov (hopefully) feeding him on the power play, P.K Subban will break 20 goals. Expect big seasons from Cammalleri and Cole too. And Carey Price will be stellar, again.
8)Buffalo Sabres - X factor: Although what they've done this summer was horrific, they are a better team from it. But you can expect another early exit next April.
9)New Jersey Devils - X factor: Zach Parise is back for at least another year and he's 100%. Adam Larsson expected to join the blue line immediately, the Devils should rise way up in the standings.
10)Carolina Hurricanes - X factor: They really didn't do much this off season, so don't expect a play off berth unless Skinner improves greatly.
11)Toronto Maple Leafs - X factor: As much as I'd hate to admit it, the Leafs are getting better. This year won't be the year, but within the next 2-3 years I fully expect the Leafs to have a low play off seed.
12)Winnipeg Jets - X factor: Good news: The Jets are back!!!!!!!!! Bad news: They're not a very good team. Give them time.
13)Florida Panthers - X factor: Paying 3rd liners 3 million dollars won't really get you anywhere, and they have Jose Theodore in net. Who knows, he could play like he did in Washington, but that seems unlikely at this stage of his career.
14)New York Islanders X factor: Things could be different if Nabokov truly does report to training camp, but the way I see it the Isles will once again be bottom feeders.
15)Ottawa Senators - X factor: It looks like they've finally committed to a rebuild and they couldn't have better timing with the 2012 draft being "the best draft class since 2005". Good things will come in the future Sens fans. Just be patient.
Alright, that does it for part 2. Stay tuned for part 3 in a few days. Also don't forget to leave a follow on twitter!