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Last year's NHL basement; who improves the most in 10/11?

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Cap'n Clutch

Cap'n Clutch
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The bottom 5 teams, according to NHL.com's overall standings last season, were:

Edmonton
Toronto
Florida
Columbus
New York Islanders

Of those 5 teams who do you think improves the most? Do any of them make the playoffs? I realize Toronto is 3-0-0 right now but keep in mind it's 3 games out of 82 so as far as I'm concerned it's a bit of an illusion. One of their wins was vs. a floundering Penguins team that saw Fleury allow 4 goals on 14 shots. Also as much as I hate to say this: Toronto has owned Ottawa over the last 7 or 8 games played in Toronto. Okay now that my Leafs rant is over I will move on to my prediction.

I think that the Isles will climb out of the bottom 5 and maybe Toronto as well. I believe that Carolina will crash to earth and Yzerman won't be able to work miracles in Tampa either. I see my bottom 5 this season being Carolina, Tampa, Florida, Columbus, Edmonton.

Carolina had a fire sale last season and are in re-build mode and despite a 2-0 start my thoughts on that haven't changed. The same goes for Edmonton. They are bringing in a lot of youth and giving them important minutes in a trial by fire type of manner. There's little to no pressure on that team but, their youth and inexperience will find them bottom 5 again this season.

Florida has actually found a way to get worse so they are going to stay bottom 5 barring a collapse of teams around them and a lot of good fortune.

As for Columbus, unless they get fantastic goaltending and find someone to play with Nash, they'll stay bottom 5. They're in a tough division and they play in a tough western conference.

So as much as it pains me to say this, I think Toronto makes the biggest baby steps out of the bottom 5 and may even make a late season surge to finish 9th in the east. A big reason for that is the D played well below their abilities and expectations last season and the addition of Giguere is at least an upgrade in that department. As badly as Phaneuf played in Calgary he's still young and he's still a potential stud on the back end as well. They'll still struggle to score goals despite McCarther's current scoring prowess but, out of the bottom 5 I didn't say another team with a better chance of improvement.


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Riprock

Riprock
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Toronto obviously. A lot of depth. Maybe bot first line depth but they have two 2nd lines.

Edmonton's playing well and have some young exciting talent, and Bulin's playing pretty good thus far. They won't be as bad for sure, but expectations need to be low.

New York Isles missing Streit, Okposo and Tavares will hurt.

SeawaySensFan

SeawaySensFan
Franchise Player
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I think Toronto will stop getting early-season freebies from teams that clearly aren't awake yet.

The whole list still looks awful stinky to me. Edmonton might have a chance to come out of a pack of bubble teams in the West.

Cap'n Clutch

Cap'n Clutch
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I think McCarther will not continue to score like he has. I also think that Kadri will fizzle out a bit this year and teams will be able to key on Kessel, Phaneuf and Kaberle in order to shut down the Leafs offense personally. Toronto will be better than the others in the bottom 5 from last season but they'll be the best of the worst. I think they have the potential to fight for a playoff spot but I don't believe they make it.


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wprager

wprager
Administrator
Administrator
Who the *bleep* is McCarther?

MacArthur says "I shall return!"


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Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
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PTFlea

PTFlea
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Is Pittsburgh not awake, or not really that great? Crap goalie, Michalek is hurt right away, Martin has been 'meh', absolutely no wingers, I think Crosby had Dupuis and that little tool Kunitz last night.

Malkin has been poor so far. Comrie was a HS, Letang and Gogo aren't ready to be the new Gonchars for that team. Stall has had recurring problems now - even if he's skating finally, he's had issues for a while.

The list goes on...

When your forwards are Crosby, Malkin, Injured Stall and a bunch of guys, it gets to be a fine line.

PKC

PKC
All-Star
All-Star
SpezDispenser wrote:Is Pittsburgh not awake, or not really that great? Crap goalie, Michalek is hurt right away, Martin has been 'meh', absolutely no wingers, I think Crosby had Dupuis and that little tool Kunitz last night.

Malkin has been poor so far. Comrie was a HS, Letang and Gogo aren't ready to be the new Gonchars for that team. Stall has had recurring problems now - even if he's skating finally, he's had issues for a while.

The list goes on...

When your forwards are Crosby, Malkin, Injured Stall and a bunch of guys, it gets to be a fine line.

Do you think the Penguins will ever trade Malkin for a package of players to accent Crosby?

PTFlea

PTFlea
Co-Founder
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PKC wrote:
Do you think the Penguins will ever trade Malkin for a package of players to accent Crosby?

If you had asked me last year, or the year before, I would have said no way, but now...things look real weak over there in Pittsburgh. If you shut down Crosby, Malkin and Stall, then you have a real chance of winning every single game against the Pens.

I loathe to say it, but the Pens and Sens need the same style of player - Phil Kessel. I'm not saying they should pay what TO did (hahahaaahaha), but I'm pretty sure that would make them lethal again. For the Pens, it might have to happen where you deal Malkin out West for one hell of a winger. Nothing less than a Rick Nash style. It has to be very carefully thought out obviously because the Pens have set a precedence that they can win with no wingers.

What do you think?

stempniaksen

stempniaksen
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Staal is injured though, that makes a bigger difference than people realize.

Once they get Staal back they will be tougher to shutdown and you'll see an improvement.

PKC

PKC
All-Star
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stempniaksen wrote:Staal is injured though, that makes a bigger difference than people realize.

Once they get Staal back they will be tougher to shutdown and you'll see an improvement.

That team just feels like if the big three (Crosby, Malkin, Staal) don't score, that they don't have a chance to win. And it's obviously exacerbated when a guy like Fleury just completely bombs in nets. It's honestly a mirror image of the Sens a few years ago with the obvious difference being that Pittsburgh's top trio are more talented than Ottawa's top trio at the time.

Ev

Ev
Franchise Player
Franchise Player
SpezDispenser wrote:Is Pittsburgh not awake, or not really that great? Crap goalie, Michalek is hurt right away, Martin has been 'meh', absolutely no wingers, I think Crosby had Dupuis and that little tool Kunitz last night.

Malkin has been poor so far. Comrie was a HS, Letang and Gogo aren't ready to be the new Gonchars for that team. Stall has had recurring problems now - even if he's skating finally, he's had issues for a while.

The list goes on...

When your forwards are Crosby, Malkin, Injured Stall and a bunch of guys, it gets to be a fine line.

Martin has been their best defenseman and far from "meh". He's been excellent, actually.

Goligoski also already has great #'s so far and is looking like he could equal Gonchar's production from last season.

What recurring problems has Staal had? He's never missed a game in his life before this year.

Most of your comments are way too premature.

stempniaksen

stempniaksen
Veteran
Veteran
PKC wrote:
stempniaksen wrote:Staal is injured though, that makes a bigger difference than people realize.

Once they get Staal back they will be tougher to shutdown and you'll see an improvement.

That team just feels like if the big three (Crosby, Malkin, Staal) don't score, that they don't have a chance to win. And it's obviously exacerbated when a guy like Fleury just completely bombs in nets. It's honestly a mirror image of the Sens a few years ago with the obvious difference being that Pittsburgh's top trio are more talented than Ottawa's top trio at the time.

And the fact they play on different lines. Don't discount the power of spreading out your offence.

wprager

wprager
Administrator
Administrator
stempniaksen wrote:
PKC wrote:
stempniaksen wrote:Staal is injured though, that makes a bigger difference than people realize.

Once they get Staal back they will be tougher to shutdown and you'll see an improvement.

That team just feels like if the big three (Crosby, Malkin, Staal) don't score, that they don't have a chance to win. And it's obviously exacerbated when a guy like Fleury just completely bombs in nets. It's honestly a mirror image of the Sens a few years ago with the obvious difference being that Pittsburgh's top trio are more talented than Ottawa's top trio at the time.

And the fact they play on different lines. Don't discount the power of spreading out your offence.

So there's their solution, then. Put Malkin and Stall on Crosby's wings and all they'll score enough to win most games as long as Fleury can hold the fort as well as Emery did.


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- Dicky Fox

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