Monday, September 24, 2007

Pre Season Predictions-East

1) Its that time of year. While others amazingly posted/wrote their predictions in late July/early August, we at FAUXRUMORS decided that we would be better served/more accurate to wait until after the start of training camp when complete rosters could be analyzed, and early trends(as limited as that is for these purposes) could be evaluated. Not that this tactic helped us last year. http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2006/10/preseason-predictions-east.html As you can see we didn't exactly nail things. LOL We way over rated the Flyers and undervalued the Penguins/Islanders.

2) To simplify things we will do each conference separately. Unlike last year when we gave each team a range, we will simply stick with the one number concept. The other was too 'busy' and feed back from readers said it wasn't helpful, so we'll go with the traditional point total. We will rate them 1-15, placing division winners in their appropriate top 3 ranking.

3) WE believe as its been the last couple of seasons that there will be a huge fight for the last 1-2 spots, with all but 1-2 teams in it until the last couple of weeks/days.




  • Ottawa- 110 Essentially has their Cup Finals team returning. They possess one of the most lethal top lines in the league. Though Spezza needs to shed his deserved 'perimeter/soft player' label. Their defense lost Preissing and replaced him with Luke(not good)Richardson, but they remain one of the better sets of rear guards in the league with Volchenkov coming into his own last spring. That said, we can NOT get passed Mr. Puice suit, Ray Emery. He's not going to carry this team to a Cup(see last spring), but overall the team is good enough to win the relatively weak East.

  • Pittsburgh- 108 Like the Senators, this team returns most of their team that surprised most(including us) last season. Most believed they'd be better, but few thought this fast. MVP/Ross winner Crosby leads a very formidable array of forwards that are only in their literal infancy. Along with an improved back line, they should be tough to beat. Also like the Sens, their possible Achilles heal is their goalie. Though highly touted, and looking great in spurts last year, Fleury has yet to demonstrate that he is a top tender. Without a decent backup this year, he will be thrown to the fire. They should be able to outscore most opponents so this deficiency won't be a huge issue until playoff time.



  • Carolina- 98 This team way under achieved last year. At least they better hope they underachieved, else they're in trouble as they are returning the same team this year. An extended Stanley Cup hangover was blamed, along with a few injuries. Rutherford must have believed that this was true, as he made few big changes outside of reacquiring Cullen from the Rangers. With their roster from 05 back, and being hungry again, we can see them regaining their form and winning the weak SE division



  • Philadelphia- 105 The Flyers can't be accused of trying the old we're going to 'rebuild' nonsense that other teams use when they have a God-awful year. They went right at trying to get back to the playoffs when they made huge splashes to acquire Hartnell, Timonen, Briere. We're not enamoured with their defense anchored(literally) by Derrian Hatcher, but the additions of Timonen and Jason Smith should help. They also tried to upgrade their goaltending win Marty Biron. We're not yet sold on him as a #1, but if he plays to expectations the Flyers could be the most improved club in the NHL. They have no place to go but up!


  • Buffalo-104 After losing both their captains(Drury/Briere) as well as having to over pay to retain RFA Vanek, it wasn't a good off season in upstate NY. That said they still possess a very young, talented lineup with a top goalie in Miller, and decent defense corps. The key to look for is will Vanek produce now that the pressure of his salary will be upon him? Overall, while a fall from the elite is likely, they have enough talent, and are coached well, so we still see them as a legitimate playoff team to not be taken lightly.



  • Rangers- 100. While many looked at their big UFA acquisitions of centers Gomez and Drury as huge upgrades, the losses of Nylander and Cullen in favour of the highly paid duo should be an improvement up front, but not as huge as some may have over stated. As Ranger fans painfully know, Higher paycheques do NOT = increased output. Meanwhile most prognosticators ignore a lack of improvement with their biggest weakness; their defense. Lundqvist, now a legit star, can cover for many miscues, but not all, so that's why we don't have them winning the division, but should be solidly a playoff team.



  • Toronto- 96 The Leaf nation will be happy to see their squad rebound from a non playoff year in TO. Jason Blake should give them an added weapon up front. While another 40 goal campaign is unlikely, chipping in 30 and his added tenacity on the PK will help. Vesa Toskala has shown in spurts that he is capable of being a #1 goalie, though has yet to have to do it long term. He will get that chance if he can out duel the underwhelming Raycroft in camp. Definitely an upgrade to the two-some the Leafs had last season. We believe those 2 factors should push them over the hump and back into the post season.


    Montreal- 95 They improved by just ridding themselves of the Samsonov distraction! We think they over paid for Hamrlik, but he may prove to be a decent replacement for Souray. They also returned Montreal native Patrice Brisebois to their backline. The wild card in Hab-land is the development of their younger players led by Long Island natives Chris Higgins and Mike Komisarek as well as, Andrei Kostitsyn, Guillaume Latendresse, Maxim Lapierre, and Tomas Plekanec. If they continue their development and take big strides, we believe the Canadians can surprise. In goal, the team seems set. Having jettisoned disappointing David Aebischer, prized prospect Carey Price is waiting in the wings should Cristobal Huet falter.


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  • Tampa- 94 We may finally see John Tortorella burst that gasket he always seems so close to blowing when his team fails to execute. They barely got into the post season last year, and we see no significant upgrades so it will again be a battle that they may fall short of this time around. They went into last season unsettled in net, and they did nothing to change that. That most of all is why we don't see them in the big dance in April, and the inevitable rumors that one of their big three will be traded.



  • Atlanta- 92 Many see their first entry into the post season last year as a stepping stone. We do not. Their failure, and the manner in which they were dismantled may carry over, especially in goal where Kiprusoff wanna-be, Kari Lehtonen had his confidence shattered by coach Hartley with an early yank in their dreadful series. Russian sniper Ilya Kovalchuk needs to step up his game, and Marian Hossa needs to forget about the playoffs where he wasn't even the best Hossa on the ice. We can see them stumbling out of the gate and falling short of the post season.


  • New Jersey 91 Yes, yes, we know we predicted their demise this time last year and were proven wrong, but if not for a Hart/Vezina-like season from Brodeur they would have been in bad shape. Marty may be one of the best ever, but he's not superhuman, and even a slight decline this season combined with the lost offense(Gomez/Rafalski) could be enough to have the boys from Newark(Geez thats difficult to say!) sitting home in April


  • Boston 88 Chiarelli hopes to have fixed what was an obvious problem for his team last year with the acquisition of netminder Manny Fernandez. The B's seem to have a new starter every year. Perhaps Manny will finally solidify this problem position for them. We're not convinced. He was inconsistent after being handed the No. 1 job in Minnesota last year, losing that role to newcomer, Backstrom. Some have said that their relatively quiet off-season will allow the team to come together. They may be better than last year, but, this doesn't quite look like a playoff team to us.


  • Florida 86 Prognosticators like to point to new comer goalie Tomas Vokoun as the key to the Panthers making the playoffs. They fail to look at their starter last year, Ed Belfour, and see he actually had a good year. We don't see Tomas therefore as an upgrade. Up front,their captain Olli Jokinen is one the game's most underrated centres. Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss could be ready for break-out years. The blue-line depth is thin after Jay Bouwmeester, Mike Van Ryn and Ruslan Salei. Overall, we see the Panthers no better or worse than last year, and not playing come mid April



  • Washington 83 While many especially in the Belt-way believe this team is ready to compete for a playoff spot we're not yet sold on that. Too many question marks to make that a safe bet. Can a 19 year old shy rookie be the answer to their center problems? Is Semin for real or was last year an aberration,etc.? Their defense should be better with maturation and the addition of Poti, but Kolzig is getting long in the tooth, and if he goes down for any stretch, the team will falter significantly. An improved version from last go around to be sure, but this is not yet a playoff calibre team.

  • Islanders- 80. While many of our Islander supporters won't be happy with this prediction, and those same folks will undoubtedly point to us missing the mark with Nolan's team last season, we were not too impressed with their off season. Way too many question marks going in to the season. One area where there is no question is between the pipes, where DiPietro has become a top 10 goalie. If his predilection for injuries continue though it will be a long season in Uniondale. If this team makes the playoffs Nolan has done the job of a magician and hopefully would be recognized for his efforts with an Adams win, if not nomination. Unlike last years obvious snub!

4) Those numbers are of course assuming no major injuries to key players which is always the unknown going in. We welcome our readers who don't have their own blogs to offer up their own predictions. get 'on the record' so we can all laugh at how badly we did next April! LOL
Look for our West Conference Predictions upcoming Wednesday, followed by our preseason playoff/Cup champ predictions by the weekend. As always, keep it here for the latest!!

20 comments:

VLAD THE IMPALER said...

Man don't you learn? As I always say its all about your goalie. Here are my East picks. I'm not gonna give point totals.
Ottawa
Buffalo
New Jersey
Rangers
Pittsburgh
Atlanta
Montreal
Florida
Toronto
Philly
TB
Carolina
Boston
Washington
Islanders
Ward sucks ass in carolina. he got lucky in the playoffs 2 years ago. They aren't going nowhere. Brodeur is still on top of his game. If he starts 65 games the devils are in the playoffs. Its that simple. You yourself said that Biron hasn't done anything but you have the Flyers getting over a 100 points? Doesn't make sense. They might be better but not that much.

Antzmarching said...

Antz weighs in:

1. Ottawa - too much talent to finish anywhere else on this list, despite BAD goalie...

2. Rag$ - lots of talent and a great goaltender, who will consistently bail out sub-par defense...

3. Pittsburgh - Sidney plays in Steel Town - enough said...

4. Atlanta - Fourth spot on the strength of the PP... They will get plenty of chances...

5. Buffalo - significant losses, but solid in most areas, particularly in net...

6. New Jersey - they always find a way to succeed... Elias, Parise, and Marty will carry the load...

7. Carolina - They're still good - look at the roster...

8. Tampa Bay - despite the emotional mess behind the bench, this team will win their share of games...

9. Toronto - broken hearts in Canada, as Leafs miss playoffs by only ONE point...

10. Montreal - The goalie is so damn good, but not enough else to offset Jekyll and Hyde play...

11. Washington - greatly improved, but not there yet... The bandwagon people will need to wait another year...

12. Philadelphia - As Faux calls him, "Danielle," will not make a huge impact...

13. Boston - Seen Joe Thornton lately? Bad organization making bad decisions routinely...

14. Florida - I believe this team has talent, but bad coaching and an atmosphere of losing overwhelms all the good...

15. Islanders - Yashin is gone, so you would think that would be a BIG bonus, but these guys are not very good... Maybe Nolan steals a 14th seed, but that's it...

Antzmarching said...

Faux, why are you anually in love with the Flyers? 105 points? Are you kidding? I will bet you several adult beverages that they don't eclipse the 95 point mark...

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) Vlad- Points well taken. We may be way off, but even you can see that some teams like Ottawa may still win despite having inferior goaltending, and other teams like the isles may not win despite getting it regularly.
2) Antz: The Flyers may be the most interesting/difficult team to assess. They had so many bad things happen last year that coupled with their additions we could foresee them as being quite a surprise in the East.
3) We accept your adult beverage challenge. Anything under 95 pts a faux-round of liquid bread is on us!

Sauce said...

1. Islanders

2. thru 14. Who cares

15. Rangers


Predictions are worth squat. So why not dream?

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) Looks like someone got outta bed on the wrong side. LOL
2) As we have mentioned in the past Sauce these are for fun only (As is the blog in general) Its to generate discussion, etc.
3) Anyone's guess/prediction is as valid as any other. However, we will venture to guess that your 1st and 15th choices will be off a bit. ; )

Shmee said...

My pre-season predictions only end up embarrassing me in April, so I'm just going to enjoy reading yours.

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) Oh, we have no doubt that we'll probably do as well as we did last year, or worse. LOL But thats OK.
2) We screwed up the East, but for some reason last year did well out West. Their 'bad teams' are more obvious. LOL

The Dark Ranger said...

first of all, sauce cracks me up -- you are a Chris Simon lover, I suspect. bring back the 'ole days...and I hear Kasparitus is ready to join the team again, now on waivers, but I digress...

Antz...love it. I am thinking Rangers will battle out 2nd place with Pittsburgh - if NYC can manage to find chemistry with the new signings, those offensive lines will be brutal to opposing teams and hopefully The King will make up for our blueline.

Faux downgraded my Blueshirts after the pre-season smackdown by the Flyers, but....hey? it's pre-season. I say Philly makes that last slot -- they have a lot to prove this season, the fans are getting prepared to will their team into victory. Faux, how could you love the Flyers? ugh.

tdr

vakfan said...

And now, for the laughs:

1. Pittsburgh
2. NY Rangers
3. Tampa Bay
4. Washington*
5. Buffalo
6. Ottawa
7. Toronto
8. Carolina

9. Philadelphia
10. Atlanta
11. New Jersey
12. Florida
13. Montreal
14. NY Islanders
15. Boston

*if Nylander - Ovechkin works...

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) Dark: Our Ranger-Flyers prediction was written before the meaningless preseason 5-0 Flyer win.
2) You and Antz and just about everyone else may be correct about the Flyers, but we'll stick with our pick and own up to it if/when it explodes in our face
3) Vak: Looks like you see the Caps as the 'Pittsburgh' of the 2007-98 season. So far in preseason Nylander has NOT been playing with Ovechkin. Instead they have Nylander with fellow Swede, Backstrom and Russian sniper Semin. AO is playing with fellow Russian Kozlov and Chris Clark.

The Dark Ranger said...

vakfan,...you are definitely going on the line with that list. stranger things have happened.

Antzmarching said...

Vak, I would love it if your Caps prediction is even in the ballpark... But, this whole process just shows how much fun pre-season prognostication is... Everyone has a shot in September to be a maven... I will reiterate, though - the Broadway Blue Shirts WILL be an elite Eastern team and the Broad Street "Danielles" WILL be bad...

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) Antz: Reminder that Broad Street has MUCH more than Danielle up front. They may have one of the deeper sets of forwards in the East
2) The key will be their defense and how well the 'other Marty' plays.

Sauce said...

TDR - The Isles don't need Kasparitus. They're already trying to decide which of the 9 very capable defensemen to send to Bridgeport. Along with additional cap room, I suppose that's something the Rangers wish they had in front of the 'king'.

Of course, I suppose that won't matter in the immediate future, since Henrik is so fired up he's bound to get off to one of his famous 'fast starts'. But I digress...

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) We would doubt that the isles would scoop up Kasper. That train has left the station long ago.
2) That said, it wouldn't be surprising if he ends up somewhere before the season is completed, if not by opening night.
3) The fly in the ointment is he would have to clear re-entry waivers. If claimed the rangers would be on the hook for 1/2 his salary. NOT something they can afford!

Asquaredx2 said...

Couple points....first, what on earth does Ray Emery have to do to prove he's a good goalie?

Second, every year people predict the Devil's demise, and every year they prove them wrong.

The Devils will make the playoffs because:
1. Their goalie
2. Their system
3. Their coach
4. Even without Gomez, their offense is pretty good...Zajac and Parise will be better, and Zubrus is a nice addition.

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) Emery will have to carry the team instead of the other way around to sway most of us who believe he is an average tender.
2) Switch the goalies last Finals, and the result would also have been reversed
3) As for the Devils, you may be correct, we do admit we predicted their demise last year, not anticipating Marty having one of his best seasons ever
4) That said, Sutter may have been a good coach in junior, and been a dam good NHL player, but that does not mean he will be the next coming of Scotty Bowman. He IS a rookie coach. The Devils lost Gomez AND Rafalski. To our knowledge they don't posses a good PP QB/puck carrying defensemen now

Antzmarching said...

Hey Faux, Asquared has a great point... Parise and Zajac are good... Damn good!!!

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) We don't see the Devils as cellar dwellars by any stretch. They still will be right up there, but will be one of several teams fighting for that last spot or two, and in our opinion will fail to get in this time around

 
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