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Teams that slide into playoffs; which fall out?

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Ooh, hard to pick.

In east Tampa and Boston are locks, Blue Jackets are a young team on the way up. Pittsburg has changed and I am not sure for the better and I think Rutherford is planning more change but unless stars are hurt for significant amount of time can't see them out of it completely. Oddly the two EC Finalists are probably two of the more likely teams to drop. Rangers lost a lot of heart and soul players and somehow always manage to get older though with King Henrik it is hard to believe they will drop out. Montreal I am not sure about their moves at all. Their best player just got a massive contract, he may have a slow year and Price is still rehabbing knee injury from the playoffs. They could slide. Detroit is most likely to get knocked off. Good young players, great coaching but big holes on D and fragile vets, if anyone is vulnerable the wings are probably the most. The problem is the quality below the playoff teams.

Maybe the Caps got better but maybe Ovechkin won't like the playing under disciplined system and they really overpaid to improve their D. The Isles maybe improved, maybe not. The leafs will improve after firing coach but may be too late, not thrilled about the moves they made and they seem to have no direction whatsoever, could be fighting for playoff spot or awful and hoping Bettman will fix the lottery for them. Carolina nothing significantly improved, Florida in the mix but probably a year away. Ottawa is worse, NJ is the Calgary flames of the east, sitting on the bubble and not willing to tear it down.

In the west the top teams are as good or better. Chicago, Anaheim and LA don't even need to be discussed. SJ is too good as it is built to miss and too well coached. If their GM gets to tear it up like he seems want to, maybe they will fall out but they are way too good up the middle to be anything but a good regular season team. St. Louis is probably better, though depending on very young goaltending. They seemed to have filled all other holes in their lineup which was already very good and built for the playoff grind.

I think Dallas got better. Big questions on D, their goaltending is either under- or over-rated depending who you talk to but man I think with what they have up front now they will be able to score themselves out of a lot of problems. Minnesota didn't do much. Who know if Vanek will be motivated to play for them, but the most important thing they have done is get a year older and more experienced. The most improved team last year was Colorado and they are the ones with the biggest chance of slipping. They played a lot of close games and have on d-man of worth. They lost Stasny and add Iginla and Brier which will let Mac move to the middle. They did nothing to address the massive whole on D. If Varlamov is not otherworldly again or gets hurt they are on the outside looking in.

Who is going to knock one of those teams out though. Calgary, Winnipeg and Edmonton again don't really warrant discussion. Maybe 2016 Edmonton but I think more likely 2-3 years, adding 5-7 D-Men and 18 year old centres did not fix your problem. Phoenix has lost scoring and will almost have to bring in Domi and some other kids. Nashville could be the team to make the most noise if Rinne is healthy. They added some vets to try to help with the scoring and a more aggressive attack will come with new coach.

Vancouver, god knows. This team could come together well under new coaching and have the depth to be a playoff team with a solid unspectacular D and great goaltending and a four line attack. Vey is a rookie that they will need to be good, could see Horvat in as well. Bonino is really entering his second full season and if he hits a sophomore slump we could have more trouble scoring down the line than last year. Vrbata has only ever been able to do well in Phoenix. We are asking almost all of our vets to have rebound years which is a lot to ask.

If we are going to come up short, I hope we do it early enough that Benning can start selling off some assets for pics and some quality youth, love to see what he can do at the deadline after the fantastic fun that was draft day.

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Detroit made the playoffs with guys like Datysuk and Zetterberg being injured. Wings are a deep team up front. D might be weak but Babcock will make it work.

East: Pitt, Boston, Montreal, Tampa, Columbus, Isles, Caps, Nyr

Philly and Leafs miss out

West: Chi, LA, Dallas, Ana, Col, Stl, Sj, Van

Minny slides

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I hope the Florida Panthers and Lui's knob slides in.

Lol same. I think they could. More veteran depth, a solid goalie, and hubredou should have a solid year. Agree that detroit prolly won't make it. But they did last year without datsyuk or zetterberg so if thy are healthy they prolly will make it
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Avalanche are very easily the odd team out.

Did nothing to improve their defence and lost one of their best players.

The teams underlying numbers were terrible last year and they continue to rely on god-tier goaltending from Varlamov.

If he doesn't bring it, neither will the Avs.

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They added Brad Stuart. He's not nothing. Probably an upgrade over Sarich, so I guess they improved.

Stastny may be missed. Or Briere and the improvement of MacKinnon will negate that. Then Iginla instead of Parenteau? Easily an upgrade, even at Iggy's age.

I would not conclude that Colorado is easily out. They brought back 'a winning culture.'

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Washington and the Rangers will slip. Florida I can see coming close but it depends if Lu stays healthy for the season and if their young players can take another step forward.

Minnesota I think will surprise the most this year if they don't have to use 5 goalies again. They were playing great until Harding unfortunately fell ill again.

Hard to say where we end up. We could squeak into the playoffs or pick top ten again. I personally think we're in the playoffs this year as the first wild card team. It will be a good transition year for Jensen, Gaunce, Shinkaruk, Fox, Corrado, and Kenins who will all develop in the AHL and be available for call up if needed, as well as Kassian, Bonino, Vey, Sbisa, and Tanev who will be our young players earning bigger roles on the team.

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