Boston Bruins (2011-12: 49-29-4)
Key acquisitions: Chris Bourque and Garnet Exelby
Key departures: Benoit Pouliot, Brian Rolston and Joe Corvo
In the 2011-12 season, the Boston Bruins owned the league’s best divisional record at 19-4-1. The Bruins also had the second best second best record in the conference. With only inter-conference opponents on the schedule due to a shortened 2013 season, one can only expect Boston to look to be one of the top contenders in the Eastern conference.
Tyler Seguin (Right Wing) will be a scoring stud for Boston and should spark some enthusiasm amongst the young players. Goalie Tuukka Rask will defend like a shield this season.
If you expect this team to be the same one that went out in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, don’t hold your breath!
Buffalo Sabers (2011-12:39-32-11)
Key acquisitions: John Scott and Steve Ott
Last season the Buffalo Sabers were the Bruins whippin’ boys. So, the Sabers went out and got Center Steve Ott, a player who you don’t mess with and Defenseman John Scott, the enforcer.
Can this new sense of toughness translate into wins?
That depends on the health of key Sabers players. Buffalo was riddled with injuries last season. A short season may work in the team’s favor.
Montreal Canadians (2011-12: 31-35-16)
Key acquisitions: Alex Galchenyuk, Brandon Prust, Colby Armstrong, GM Marc Bergevin and Coach Michel Therrien
The Montreal Canadians was one of the worst teams in 2011-2012. Thus, the organization made some serious moves in adding a new head coach (Michel Therrien) and a new GM (Marc Bergevin). Montreal also added some talent on the ice with Brandon Prust (Right Wing), Colby Armstrong (Right Wing), and Alex Galchenyuk (Center).
Defenseman Tomas Plekanec will offer some relief for a team that only won 31 games last season. Add a healthy Andrei Markov (Defense), Raphal Diaz (Defense) and Carey Price (Goaltender), Montreal might surprise us a little.
Ottawa Senators (2011-12: 41-31-10)
Key acquisitions: Guillaume Latendresse and Marc Methot
How exciting was Ottawa’s in last years’ Stanley Cup playoffs? The 8th seeded Senators took the 1 seed Rangers to a thrilling game seven.
Don’t look for a repeat this season. Ottawa is an aging team with a 40-year-old captain in Daniel Alfredsson. Defenseman, Erik Karlsson and Center Jason Spezza had a dream scoring season in 2012 which I won’t say was a fluke but it will be tough to duplicate in 2013.
The senators will be contenders for a playoffs spot. Making the playoffs isn’t a given.
Toronto Maple Leaf (2011-12: 35-37-10)
Key acquisitions: James van Riemsdyk, Jay McClement and Morgan Rielly
Is this the year that Toronto will make the Playoffs? Can the additions of an aging star in Light Winger James van Riemsdyk, Center Jay McClement and Defenseman Morgan Rielly take a franchise to a place (THE POSTSEASON), where they haven’t been to in seven seasons?
If the players can buy into coach Carlyle’s defensive scheme and Joffrey Lupul, Phil Kessel and Ben Scrivens can wreak havoc on the opponents goalies, anything’s possible.
The shortened season could prove to be beneficial for the Maple Leafs.
By Keith Madyun