I must say this now, these are my predictions and not of the opinions of any of my colleagues, please don’t abuse or criticize them, do that to me please by leaving comments in the comments section lol. Having said that, let’s continue on with my predictions for the rest of the Conference starting with the bubble teams shall we?
Bubble teams are just that: teams with playoff talent, but may need the upper teams to implode on themselves to make the playoffs. My bubble teams are: Philly, The Islanders, Montreal, and Toronto.
Philly: I’ve said this before; I’m not really impressed with what Philadelphia has done so far this past offseason. They have a great young core which may revitalize Lecavalier and they need to stay healthy, especially the goaltenders. Both have not played a number 1 goalie for any team in a while so it’ll be interesting to see. There defense is ok, but adding Streit to play defense may outweigh his powerplay goals. I would expect head coach Peter Laviolette to be on the hot seat starting today if wins don’t come soon.
Islanders: I’ll make this simple: If Kevin Poulin pans out and Matt Donovan delivers on what is asked of him, the Islanders make the playoffs. Nabokov in net will solidify the starting goaltending but a winning record season from Poulin can push them further. It really does come down to the “Netminders!” Donovan is not being asked to replace Mark Streit, just be Matt Donovan and we may see a better all round game from him. The forward lines are stacked and new captain John Tavares will lead by example and the players will follow.
Montreal: Oh boy, this team is small in size but carry big hearts. Price, Subban, Markov and company may need some help if they want to get into the playoffs this year. Briere may help, but I have to say players like Gallagher and Galchenyuk need to be stars this year. They’re fast and they did make the playoffs last year, so it’s out of respect that I put as a bubble team.
Toronto: They’re moving in the right direction, but their defense needs to be stable for a full season or this is going to be a wild run & gun team who will have to rely on their offense to get them in the playoffs. Their goalie tandem is one of the best future tandems out there. Are they ready for a full season? We’ll find out.
And finally, I have my Core teams:
The Core teams are my top six teams that, even with injuries, should still make the playoffs: Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Boston, Rangers, Detroit, and Washington. Any of these six should land somewhere in the top 8 by seasons end. We know what kind of teams they are, so there is no need to dissect everyone. You can fight amongst yourselves where what place you should be in, but you should make the playoffs, that should be enough, especially when the playoffs are so unpredictable these days.
BOLD PREDICTIONS: Pitt & Boston do NOT make it to the Conference Finals again. Both will be eliminated earlier. As for the Islanders, if all goes well, they’ll go beyond the first round.
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