Monday, October 3, 2011

2011-2012 Season Predictions-East

1) Yes, its that time of year. While others amazingly(stupidly) posted/wrote their predictions in late July/early August, the we at FAUXRUMORS always have thought 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. So without further nonsense we will get right to it. We will project each team's order of finish. Number of points, and name one player we believe might be the 'difference maker'. A player we believe might be the team's wild card.

2) First The East where despite the turnover from last season we don't think the balance of power has changed all that much and we don't see any of last year's non-playoff teams nosing out a team that was in the top 8 a year ago.

  1. Philadelphia: (110) Probably the wild card team in the East. Holgren unsatisfied where the team was headed did a major make over in the off season resulting in a new look Flyers. The biggest addition is goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Finally it appears the Flyers addressed their biggest weakness, net. They still have a very solid top 6 defense and up front despite the loss of Carter and Richards the Flyers can still ice 2 very dangerous scoring lines. If they can gel as a team we can see the Flyers as the team to beat in the East. Difference Maker: Jaromir Jagr

  2. Washington:(107): Like Holmgren GM George McPhee didn't take losing lightly and revamped a good bit of their roster, while retaining its talented core. They appear to be the consensus pick to win the East, (not us) and Stanley Cup. On paper anyway we'd agree, as with the additions of Brouwer,Ward, Halpern. Hamrlik, and Voloun they now have a very solid lineup. We expect in the long haul of the regular season they should prevail the majority of games and win another SE title/top 3 seed. However without a change in coach we are less sure of next springs results than many of my fellow bloggers. Difference Maker: Troy Brouwer

  3. Boston: (100)-Bruins are essentially the same team they were when they won it all last June. The lone newcomers are former Montreal Canadiens forward BenoƮt Pouliot and offence-first defenceman Joe Corvo who, along with more contributions from the youngsters, should help keep Boston among the contenders. With the NE division appearing weaker than in past seasons they should have little problem winning a top 3 seed. Difference Maker: Nathan Horton

  4. Pittsburgh:(105) Very few new faces from last season, and why not? All they did was compile one of their best regular season records despite not having their 2 best players for a majority of the season. Malkin appears healthy and ready to reassert himself in a big way. When Sid returns it will give the Pens the best center depth in the East. If they are to make a run James Neil, Kunitz and newcomer Steve Sullivan will have to contribute. They will battle Philly all year for the Atlantic crown. Difference Maker: James Neal

  5. Buffalo: (97)-Buoyed by new ownership, Sabres general manager Darcy Regier became a significant spender in the summer, adding Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino on bloated, multiyear deals, and Robyn Regehr via trade. We are not alone in 'liking' the Sabres chances of becoming an NHL power once again. With Ryan Miller they have a chance to win every night. If their offense can score enough they should keep up with the Bruins and give them a run for their division winning money. Difference maker: Brad Boyes

  6. NY Rangers (95)- Hauled in the biggest free agent fish in Brad Richards giving the Broadway Blue shirts a legit #1 center. If Gaborik can stay healthy he and Richards could combine for a lethal combination. The top 2 defense and goalie Henrik Lundqvist provide the Rangers with an opportunity to stay in most games. It remains to be seen if the remaining roster can also chip in. That said we see enough talent to keep NY in their playoffs. Difference Maker: Woljtek Wolski

  7. Tampa Bay (94)- Many were surprised to see the Bolts surge last season. We were not. However, while many are projecting them to continue to improve, we see a bit of slippage on the horizon. They will still be a playoff team, but unlike last season they won't challenge the Caps for the SE and will struggle to keep playoff position. Can 42 yr old Roloson hold up to play 50-60 games? Difference Maker: Teddy Purcell

  8. Montreal: (92)-Montreal fans are hoping to finally see a healthy Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges to go along with recently signed free agent Chris Campoli. Up front, newcomer Erik Cole adds some size, muscle and the ability to add 25 goals, but the rest of the improvement will have to come from within as Pierre Gauthier decided to basically stand pat this summer. They will go as far as Carey price can carry them. Most likely will hold onto a playoff spot but an injury to price and that will be tough. Difference Maker: Andrei Markov

  9. New Jersey: (89)- While we don't think the Devils will get off to as bad a start as last season, we also don't think they are as good as they played in the second half. What that means is they will be a near-miss playoff wise. From what we've heard youngster Larsson on defense is going to be the real deal, but is it too early to expect an impact season? . Marty Brodeur will have another solid season, and it will be good to have Zac Parise back but we don't think that will be enough to get back to the post season. Difference Maker: Adam Larsson

  10. Carolina:(88)-The Canes did some roster shake up this summer in an effort to get back to the post season after missing 4 times in the past 5 attempts. Can Cam Ward again play 70+ games? He may have to. We like the additions of Ponikarovski and Kaberle, but unfortunately for their fans we don't see this assemblage as quite up to the task once again. They will be right in it to the end and a couple of favourable bonces could get them in, but in the end I believe they come up a tad short. Difference Maker: Alex Ponikarovski

  11. Toronto: (85)-GM Burke certainly was busy in the off-season. He added center Tim Connolly, along with John-Michael Liles, Cody Franson and Matt Lombardi. This in an attempt to finally get the Leafs into the postseason, amazingly for the first time since 2004! Forward depth is surely improved, but will they get the goaltending all season long from young Reimer and Gus? The defense is expensive but questionable. All things together they are better, but the Leafs are not yet a playoff calibre team. Difference Maker: James Reimer

  12. NY Islanders (83)- The popular pick among prognosticators to be their "sleeper team". Sorry Isles supporters, we don't see it. Players like Grabner and Moulson are set for a bit of a decline in my opinion. Yes, they should be better and if they avoid a long losing streak they will hang around and be in the 8th spot hunt till March. That said they don't have the depth on defense especially to make a legit run and secure that spot. Is 'Johnny T' ready to lead the team? Difference Maker: Rick DiPietro

  13. Winnipeg: (82) The franchise may be in a different locale, but it probably won't (in the short run) change their fortunes. With the front office turnover, few significant roster changes were made so to see improvement their existing roster (already paper thin in depth) will have to improve. They will have MANY more fans, but probably not many more points in the standings as last year. Difference Maker: Evander Kane

  14. Ottawa: (78)-Their continued youth movement is going to make for some very painful nights for Sens' fans this season. The only significant off-season signings of note were tough guy Zenon Konopka, Nikita Filitov and backup goalie Alex Auld. There’s a gaping hole down the middle that will probably be filled with an untested rookie. The Spezza trade rumours will persist all season and Murray might be looking at his last season as GM. ( That would be the best result of the season in my opinion!) Difference Maker: Nikita Filitov

  15. Florida: (75) Despite the enormous turnover (fueled in large part by the salary floor) by GM Dale Tallon we don't see the Cats as any better off than they were with the previous roster. They will probably score more, but we also foresee them giving up way more goals than last year with a weakening of their goaltending. If they suffer a series of injuries, it could get ugly in South Florida (again) and another late February sell-off will be in store. Difference Maker: Brian Campbell

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