Wade Redden

You Got A Cannon, I Got A Tank

by James DeBerardine

Hey again, this week I’d thought I would give you a rundown of teams in the East we should watch out for this season, some are constants, while others are new threats.

Pittsburgh Penguins: During the off season they certainly got older, adding Petr Sykora and resigning Roberts and Recchi, while all of their young studs gained a year of experience. Expect similar seasons from Crosby, Malkin, and Whitney, while Staal’s scoring should drop off a little, he will still be a threat. Angelo Esposito has a chance to play a big role on this team, depending on the lines at the end of camp. Their success is also greatly linked to their goalie, Fleury, if he plays well, they may well challenge for 1st in the division and/or conference.

Philadelphia Flyers: Undergoing a major facelift this off season with many new players, this team is in a position to challenge for a playoff spot this year. With Briere and Hartnell joining the forward group of Gagne, Richards, Knuble, and Carter, this team has a strong offence to say the least. The defensive is still unproven, but with new addition Kimmo Timonen they should be stable if not solid. Goaltending is still up in the air, with Biron the likely number one; we will have to see how he fares against the many strong offences in the East.

Washington Capitals: With the addition of Nylander and Backstrom up front, coupled with a season of experience for the defense which looked stable at the end of last year, this team has the ability to challenge for a playoff spot. Two complete scoring lines is their biggest claim to fame, but it looks like everyone in the East will have strong scoring, so lots of pressure will come down on veteran Olaf Kolzig, we will see if he can still man the pipes at an elite level in the NHL, with a young defense he may be left open to many odd man rushes so it is up in the air at this point.

Carolina Hurricanes: They regained their prized pivot Matt Cullen, as well as having some of their players step up in big ways last season, namely Ray Whitney. Still blessed with a strong defensive corps, they are still uncertain on the abilities of Cam Ward in goal after a shaky end to the season last year, he is probably at the end of his rope, perform or get shipped out, so their depth will be tested at goalie for sure. Also, they don’t have a sure goal scorer, Staal and Cole can score, but not on the level of someone like Jagr or Gagne, look for them to try and reinforce their forward position.

Ottawa Senators: Still pretty much the same team that made the finals last spring, so look for them to be up there once again. The defense should be very solid, even with Wade Redden as a question mark, with young players like Joe Corvo and Tom Priessing stepping up. Their goaltending is set with Emery, as he proved in the playoffs last year, but a good year by him would go a long way to prove this once and for all. Their only concern should be their depth at forward, they have one brilliant line and then Mike Fischer, they need to make a move to acquire a scorer if they wish to become elite.

New Jersey Devils: As always they have the Brodeur factor as well as a pretty solid defense even with the subtraction of Rafalski, some of their young defense proved they could play last year. Their forwards are pretty much the same as well, minus Gomez of course, look for a similar approach, not many goals this year as always. Jamie Langenbrunner must regain his scoring touch as does Brian Gionta, they do have a proven scorer in Elias and a young star in Parise, but we will see if this offence can do enough to support Brodeur once again.

Well that’s all from me until the end of training camp, hope you all enjoyed my thoughts and feel free to comment or PM me, of course we will discussing on forums.

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