Rookie tournaments have started and training camp gets under-way later this week for a number of NHL clubs. So it is a fun time of year for hockey fans who have high hopes for their favorite teams and players. The Hockey Fanatic makes its predictions for the Eastern Conference for the 2015-2016 NHL season. Which teams will lead the Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions? Which players will be dominant from the Eastern Conference?
NHL Eastern Conference Predictions
Let’s start with the Atlantic Division shall we? Can the Montreal Canadiens rely on Carey Price as much as they did last year? Not if they want to win the Atlantic. Here is a look at how we think that Atlantic Division will shape up this season.
Predicted Finish by Atlantic Division Teams
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Montreal Canadiens
- Ottawa Senators
- Detroit Red Wings
- Florida Panthers
- Boston Bruins
- Buffalo Sabres
- Toronto Maple Leafs
What the Sens above the Red Wings? We feel that the Wings might have a slight setback this season with losing mike Babcock and all. Still a decent franchise but maybe a little too much hype around this team for our liking. Ottawa played hard down the stretch last season but were spent come playoff time. The Florida Panthers are doing some great things and have a nice nucleus. The Buffalo Sabres will be better, the Bruins and the Leafs will not.
Predicted Finish by Metropolitan Division Teams
- Washington Capitals
- New York Islanders
- New York Rangers
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- Philadelphia Flyers
- New Jersey Devils
- Carolina Hurricanes
This could be a great season for the Capitals, they have some great talent and should be a dominant force in the the East. The New York Islanders are back to respectability and John Tavares will challenge for the Art Ross trophy again this season. The Rangers, Pens and Blue Jackets will jockey for positions three through six in the division. If Columbus can stay healthy they may finish as high as number three. The Penguins need goaltending as Marc-Andre Fleury continues to struggle. The Flyers seem to be stuck in an abyss and the Devils will struggle to score. The Hurricanes since winning the Cup in 2006 have not proven to be a playoff contender since.
Here are some additional predictions for the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
Most Exciting Player: John Tavares – New York Islanders
Top Goal Scorer: Steven Stankos – Tampa Bay Lightning
Top Defender: Victor Hedman – Tampa Bay Lightning
Top Goaltender: Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
Top Rookie: Jack Eichel – Buffalo Sabres
Player to Watch: Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning (can you say contract year?)
Most Improved Team: Florida Panthers
Most Overrated Team: Detroit Red Wings
Darkhorse Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Team that Will Win the East: Tampa Bay Lightning
There you have it a few predictions for the the 2015-2015 NHL Eastern Conference.
Look for our Western Conference predictions this week.