Saturday, July 20, 2013

Division D is rough

Some of the yellow ones could have gone either way, and I might have been a bit generous with the greens. It's also worth noting that it's tough to judge the West teams moving east because there was no interconference play. (If you follow the people that I do on Twitter, you know that quite a few fans of Western Conference teams thought the West was much better than the East this year. Not sure I believe that, especially with the emergence of Montreal as a strong possession team.) That being said, certainly looks like the Capitals got stuck in the tougher conference—the one with better team quality and more teams competing for the same eight playoff spots—and perhaps in the toughest division as well.

Unless George McPhee makes a major upgrade to the team between now and October (hint: signing Grabovski would do the trick), the Capitals don't stand out from the many second-tier teams in the East. (The first tier would be Detroit, Boston, Montreal, Pittsburgh, and maybe Ottawa.) That means that there's a realistic shot Washington misses the playoffs. The same goes for every other second-tier team.

I really hope this is somehow all worth it in the end for Caps land.

  • Boston—lost Seguin, Peverley, and Ference, added Iginla and Eriksson. Not sure they covered their losses, exactly, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt: they have young D that could step in.
  • Montreal—did the Canadiens do anything?
  • Tampa Bay—added Filppula, lost Lecavalier. Meh.
  • Florida—lost Weiss, but he was hurt most of the year, anyway. Young team, but I'm not convinced their youth will lead to rapid improvement immediately.
  • Detroit—lost Filppula, added Weiss and Alfredsson. Sounds like a win.
  • Buffalo—Re-acquired Tallinder.
  • Ottawa—lost Alfredsson, but signed MacArthur and should have Erik Karlsson healthy again.
  • Toronto—net loss of talent up front, but Randy Carlyle will actually play Clarkson more than he did Grabovski and MacArthur (who couldn't do much good on the bench or in the bottom six).
  • Columbus—added Horton, get a full year of Gaborik.
  • Washington—full year of Erat and Laich, no slow start again (probably)
  • New Jersey—lost Kovalchuk and Clarkson, got Clowe, who doesn't replace either of them. Old team, too.
  • Philadelphia—added Lecavalier and Streit. Still need to dump a contract, but even if it's Coburn, I'm calling this a net win.
  • Carolina—nothing to note here. Skinner should bounce back, and I anticipate better possession numbers from Eric Staal and Alexander Semin, but I'm not certain.
  • N.Y. Islanders—young team got better as the year went along, but lost Streit and Boyes.
  • Pittsburgh—will have more health from Crosby and Letang.
  • N.Y. Rangers—new coach...dunno what will happen here.
  • Colorado—MacKinnon is one of those guys I think will be a game-changer right from the start. Also, more from Ryan O'Reilly.
  • Chicago—nothing much to note here. Don't like Handzus staying in the lineup, but they ditched Bolland (who wasn't as good last season as he was a few years ago) and have young players ready to step in.
  • St. Louis—young team that replaced Perron with Paajarvi and added Roy, who may or may not be an impact player (he used to be, but he's been hurt a lot recently)
  • Winnipeg—Yawn.
  • Nashville—Added Seth Jones and a bunch of bottom-six forwards. Okay...
  • Dallas—I like adding Seguin for Eriksson. Throw in Gonchar, Peverley, and Horcoff, and this team is better.
  • Minnesota—Lots and lots of good youth here.
  • Vancouver—Lost Roy, but he was hurt a lot.
  • Phoenix—lost Gordon, got Ribeiro. Net possession negative.
  • Anaheim—Yawn.
  • Calgary—Already bad team, lost Iginla and Bouwmeester via trade, and not enough youth to compensate.
  • Los Angeles—sometimes they seem like they build with Corsi, sometimes they trade for Robyn Regehr and sign him to extensions while letting Rob Scuderi walk.
  • Edmonton—lots of really good youth (i.e. first-overall picks). Also may not have a single AHL-level D playing in the NHL this year, which is a departure from recent history.
  • San Jose—Yawn.

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