Friday, August 10, 2007

Eastern Conference
Who's the worst?

Sure, maybe it's mid-August. But these are the kinds of questions you're faced with when your summers are filled with prognosticating for publications that come out in a few weeks time.

And this one's a toughy. Who is the worst team in the East this year? Last season, it was unexpectedly the Flyers, who bottomed out early (and often), but who might that be in 2007-08?

Washington? They look to have improved. Ditto for Boston and Florida. And I can't see Philadelphia being anywhere near the bottom with the roster makeover put together by Paul Holmgren.

So here's the question, put to you, in the hopes for some clarity. Consider it a homework assignment for the weekend.



21 Comments:

At 10:56 PM, August 10, 2007, Blogger Kevin said...

Florida and Boston improved, but imo not enough to stay ahead of Washington and Philly. Carolina and Montreal didn't do a whole lot but didn't lose a whole lot and I can't see them dropping to the cellar. The question mark (again this year) is going to be the Islanders. We saw last year what they can do when they put their minds to it, but can they now do it with a completely revamped roster? They're certainly worse than last year, and if things go downhill, they're going to fall flat on their faces..... SO.... My pick is Florida with Boston on their heels and the Isles if Nolan loses control (or something like that).

 
At 11:33 PM, August 10, 2007, Blogger Lowetide said...

Boston is run by a wingnut, they're always a good bet when no one jumps out at you. I expect Jacobs will wake up one day soon and have an allergic reaction to the name "Bergeron" and they'll get Bobby Dollas and a bag of peanuts in return.

 
At 1:35 AM, August 11, 2007, Blogger JavaGeek said...

As it normally happens, the worst team generally has a unlucky year and therefor it's difficult to predict.

However, you make a good point that there are quite a number of teams in the "worse than average" category, but none stand out as horrible.

That being said, Washington has been 15th three seasons in a row (never quite last)

 
At 7:35 AM, August 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the Islanders are going to be Eastern Conference's top competitor for the 1st overall pick in next year's draft...

 
At 10:41 AM, August 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's got to be the Islanders. The Bruins actually have some serious depth at forward and Claude Julien's system should help out the defense somewhat -- I say Boston has a realistic chance at challenging for a playoff spot, at least as much as last year. The Panthers have exponentially improved their goaltending situation and while they lack the sandpaper and grit to be involved in any serious playoff discussions, they'll be far from the basement. The Capitals have also vastly improved. So it has to be the Islanders, who are inept offensively and defensively -- come on, they replaced Tom Poti with Andy Sutton and Ryan Smyth, Alexei Yashin and Jason Blake with Ruslan Fedotenko, Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin.

 
At 10:49 AM, August 11, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

There is no obvious horrible team certain to finish last. The Islanders are the worst team that might only be saved from last spot by good goaltending. Other teams that might contend for last spot are Washington, Carolina, Boston, and Montreal. Tampa might struggle too if they don't get an MVP season from at least one of their big 3 forwards but they should be good enough to stay out of the basement. Florida is dramatically improved with Vokoun in goal and will contend for a playoff spot, not last spot. All-in-all, my pick is the Islanders.

 
At 10:56 AM, August 11, 2007, Blogger Matt said...

It's really a toss up between Boston, Florida, and the Islanders (as the poll is currently showing)

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks DiPietro can singlehandedly keep the Isles out of the basement. And I think Florida improved themselves enough to the point where they're out of it too. That leaves Boston.

My projected non-playoff teams:

9. Carolina
10. Toronto
11. Atlanta
12. Washington
13. Florida
14. Islanders
15. Boston

 
At 11:30 AM, August 11, 2007, Anonymous Lyle Richardson said...

This'll be about as accurate as predicting the Stanley Cup champion for 2008. Sure, it's easy to pick the usual "favourites", but sometimes that simply doesn't happen.

If anyone last summer had predicted the Philadelphia Flyers would've finished dead last in the East they'd have been mocked mercilessly. They also would've made a fortune if they'd laid that wager in Vegas last September.

Too many variables come into play here. For all we know, the Senators could finish dead last this season, or the Sabres or Devils.

 
At 11:43 AM, August 11, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

The point being, Lyle, is that it's more difficult this year than ever before. At least in the West, you can easily narrow it down to four or five teams.

The bottom half of the Eastern Conference is one big dog pile; I'm just curious to weigh what others are thinking given I've already made my picks.

 
At 1:59 PM, August 11, 2007, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

Crapitals. They added a bunch of softies to their roster of one-way Russians. Does anybody remember Nylander pre-Rangers or Poti in Edmonton?

 
At 3:05 PM, August 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has to be Florida Panthers. They do have some good players like Bouwmeester, Horton and Jokinen, and Voukoun will give them decent goaltending, but they have no leadership.
Jokinen is all about himself and they have to trade him. Trading him could bring quite a good player or two but the biggest thing would be getting cancer out of locker room.

 
At 3:24 PM, August 11, 2007, Blogger McLea said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4:46 PM, August 11, 2007, Blogger Tyler said...

I agree with McLea's philosophy and am willing to predict that someone read that post and muttered "What a douchebag."

 
At 5:04 PM, August 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Florida Panther season ticket holder so I admit my bias, but the Panthers are young and getting better. They missed the playoffs last year by a couple of points largely because they lost 13 out 16 shootouts in OTdue to poor gaoltending. Despite injuries, the offense was solid finishing 11th in the NHL, the defense is young but improving and now the goaltending will be strong. Leadership is an issue.

In my judgment the Panthers fall into the second tier grouping of eastern conference teams that will be fighting for spots 5-8, including the Habs, Thrashers, Lightening, Hurricanes, Panthers and yes, the Flyers, who remain unproven. I am not sold on the Leafs, or Capitals, but admit that they have improved on paper. Sorry, but the Islanders will be worse and the Bruins remain flawed.

 
At 6:53 PM, August 11, 2007, Blogger Kevin said...

from anonymous:
"come on, they replaced Tom Poti with Andy Sutton and Ryan Smyth, Alexei Yashin and Jason Blake with Ruslan Fedotenko, Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin."

So we're saying Yashin was an asset to the team? I'm not so sure about that. And btw, the team played most of the season without Smyth so while they certainly did mess up that whole trade bigtime, it's not like they're drastically worse without him.

 
At 12:15 AM, August 12, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Panthers have made a significant move to get a new franchise goalie, and their youth is rapidly progressing. They won't make the playoffs this year, but I think they'll surprise a lot of people.

In my mind, the Bruins really haven't improved themselves a whole lot, and I have a very hard time believing that such a terribly managed organization that seems to have absolutely no clue what its doing is suddenly going to change. The Bruins will do the same old thing they've done since the mid/late 90's and look up at the rest of the conference from their spot in the basement. The only thing that may save them is A) the Islanders, B) Martin Brodeur being hit by a bus, C) Tampa's Big 3 being hit by a bus.

 
At 7:15 PM, August 12, 2007, Blogger mike said...

The Leafs are my dark horse choice. Old and shaky in nets, with Sundin getting more and more fragile, this team could really step it up a few notches in suckiness this season....

 
At 9:14 AM, August 13, 2007, Blogger Chemmy said...

Toronto finished 9th last year, upgraded their goaltending and added a 40 goal scorer, and 10% of people voting think they'll fall to 15th?

Good luck with that, Leafs haters.

 
At 10:16 AM, August 13, 2007, Anonymous Keith said...

James - It's easy to narrow the West down to four or five teams? Seriously? There are three or four teams as bad as Phoenix this year?

 
At 10:34 AM, August 13, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Good point.

But I think if I did a poll, 95 per cent of the votes would go to four or five teams.

 
At 1:38 PM, August 13, 2007, Blogger Rand said...

94% of the votes may well go to Pheonix so it's not hard to get 1$ to another 3-4 teams :)

 

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