I am not going to pretend that I am enough of a hockey analyst to accurately rate how the eastern conference is going to shake out before even 1 game of the regular season is played. What I do know is that there is more to a team than a power-forward or a bona fide enforcer. For me successful teams usually have more to do with how the players jive together than individual strengths. I am calling the Canadiens to finish 7th and I feel justified in doing so because:
-The Habs missed the playoffs last year by a mere 2 points and they managed that with; the Samsanov soap opera, questionable goal-tending that got them down early far too often, a team wide flu, the Kovalev factor, Higgins injury, and a defense that let WAY too many goals make it to the goalie.
-Carbonneau will be better this year
-5 on 5 will be better (can't be much worse)
-Carey Price. Carey Price. Carey Price.
-Red Fisher called it and he knows everything.
As to where everyone else will finish I know the Flyers got way better but they lost 48 GAMES LAST SEASON! So I'll go:
1. Ottawa, have to admit Spezza, Alfredsson & Heatley pretty much kick ass
2. Carolina-can't downplay experience
3. Pittsburgh- If Crosby can pull his panties up
4. Flyers- they will be so amazed to not suck they'll finish strong
5. Sabres- I loved them last year...despite losing Briere and Drury they still have a lot of talent in Pominville, Afinogenov, Connolly etc..
6. Rangers- Avery is far too annoying to put them above 6th
8.Leafs- barf but hey it makes sense.
I have no clue about the west but I am rooting for the Red Wings cause they took Aaron Downey and he plays the game cause he loves it and is grateful for every day hes out on the ice.