Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quick Bone to Pick

Ok, we know that the Thrashers get no respect from the hockey media. We're 951 miles SOUTH of Toronto, so that means we're not worthy. I get it.

I am getting a little tired of all of the predictions from hockey writers and pundits, mostly based out of Ontario, who think the Thrashers will finish 14th in the East.

TB- no goaltending, still lousy defense
NYI- no scoring, lousy defense
Senators- A team full of second line scorers with no goalie
Leafs- Burke has made them bigger, but worse
Habs- Implosion waiting to happen, no goaltending, no size
Panthers- Only change from 08-09 is swapping Leopold for JayBo

That's six teams in the Eastern Conference that I would be willing to bet large amounts of money will finish with worse records than Atlanta.

The Thrashers are more aptly put in the middle of the pack amongst the Rangers, Sabres, Devils, and Canes. Atlanta could end up at the top, bottom, or middle of that pack easily.

Thrashers- Added scoring depth, dramatically improved defense, still shaky in goal
Rangers- Very solid in net, iffy on D, improved O for the 12 games Gabby will play
Sabres- No real change from last year except health of Ryan Miller
Devils- Same roster, minus Clemmensen and Gionta, all one year closer to retirement
Canes- Fairly solid, but not great anywhere but inside the skates of Staal and Ward

The only teams in the East that are safe bets to do BETTER than Atlanta are Boston, Washington (barring a total melt-down by both goalies), Philly, and the Pens.

Boston- Great goaltending, solid scoring, tough D
Washington- Swapped an aging Federov and Vik Kozlov for Mike Knuble
Philly- Despite a big question mark in goal, they're scary
Pittsburgh- No one questions Fleury anymore, and they didn't lose much (with apologies to Scuds)

So here's an Eastern Conference prediction for you:

1) Washington- Firepower + Varlamov
2) Philadelphia- But Emery won't be starting by March
3) Boston- Still trucking along, but not quite as good without Kessel
4) New Jersey- Brodeur can pretty much do this on his own
5) Pittsburgh- Cup hangover will only hurt as much as early slump in 08
6) Carolina- A similar showing to last year, with a similar lineup
7) Atlanta- A marquee year from Pavs or Kari sets this up
8) Buffalo- A full year of Miller and 60+ games from Connoly
9) Rangers- Again, pretty much Lundqvist by himself
10) Montreal- Price can't quite get them there
11) Toronto- A lot of OTL's will move them down the draft order
12) Florida- A frustrating set back after almost making it last year
13) Ottawa- It's hard to replace Heatley if you don't get Hossa in the trade
14) Islanders- Only a little better than Tampa
15) Tampa Bay- Hmm, maybe it wasn't Barry Melrose's fault?

Feeling a little better after that rant, I'm Razor Catch Prey.


h said...

I like it.....seems fair to me.....I'd swap Florida and Tampa and then swap NJ and Rangers. IMHO. I think NJ may have a bad year. As you said, they did nothing and they got older, and so did Brodeur.....would love to see all the Canadian teams crumble.

Mortimer Peacock said...

My predictions for the East aren't too different from yours. There's simply no way Montreal makes the playoffs, if you ask me, and Tampa is still a joke that the hockey press thinks is a contender, because they're experts.

Mortimer Peacock said...

Also: how anyone can think we'll do worse than the Panthers this year is beyond me. They don't have a horrible line-up, exactly, but losing Bouwmeester will surely have SOME effect.

Downtown Atlanta said...

I was kind-of wary of my prediction methodology until I read this. Nice to see someone else thought it through in a similar manner, even if the results aren't excactly the same.

See what I'm talking about here.

A2B said...

Wow, I wrote the same thing 3 days ago. Apparently only Canada thinks like that.

Daculafan said...

I like the look of those predictions. I'm thinking that Tampa and Florida are probably backward also...don't underestimate Victor Hedman..the Bolts have some decent D and still have Vinny and St Louis...and you know every time we play them they'll drag the Kari Kryptonite out and play Nitty

Razor Catch Prey said...

All of the shows on Home Ice have been doing predictions the past two days. I haven't heard anyone pick us to finish higher than 14th yet.

The Falconer said...

Pretty good picks IMO