Oct 022007
 

I have just posted my summaries of all six divisions (northeast, atlantic, southeast, central, northwest, pacific) so now it is time to make my predictions on where each team will finish the season in the standings. Let’s start with the western conference since I think it is a bit easier.

(Note: Rankings are based on points, not on playoff seeding which puts the three division winners in the top 3 spots)

Pos Team Points
1 Detroit 110
2 Vancouver 103
3 Anaheim 101
4 Colorado 101
5 San Jose 100
6 Minnesota 99
7 Dallas 98
8 Calgary 96
9 Nashville 92
10 St. Louis 87
11 Los Angeles 86
12 Edmonton 82
13 Chicago 77
14 Columbus 73
15 Phoenix 68

I pondered dropping Anaheim further down the standings because of their injuries and off season losses but in the end I think Niedermayer will return at some point and that should keep them in the top few positions. In my mind there are 8 elite teams in the western conference and those six are the ones I have making the playoffs. There is a chance that Calgary and/or Dallas could drop a bit further and St. Louis or Nashville (or even Los Angeles if they get some quality goaltending from Bernier) challenge for a playoffs spot but if everything plays out as it should there once again won’t be a significant playoff race in the western conference this year.

Now, that is far from the case in the eastern conference where almost anything can happen.

Pos Team Points
1 Pittsburgh 105
2 Buffalo 102
3 NY Rangers 101
4 Ottawa 100
5 Toronto 96
6 Florida 94
7 Atlanta 92
8 New Jersey 91
9 Philadelphia 89
10 Carolina 88
11 Montreal 86
12 Tampa 85
13 Boston 83
14 NY Islanders 81
15 Washington 78

Predicting the eastern conference is really tough because there are really only four sure things when it comes to playoff teams and even that may be stretching it. In my mind Pittsburgh, NY Rangers, Buffalo and Ottawa are the four top teams in the eastern conference and all should make the playoffs. But even those teams have some question marks which may cause them to fall out of the top four positions. But after those teams pretty much anything can happen and you could arguably make a case for any one of the remaining teams to make the playoffs or miss them. But, if the Leafs can get average or better goaltending and stay somewhat healthier than last year I think they are the best of the rest. If Florida can get 60+ starts from Vokoun they will be the class of the southeast and will make the playoffs and possibly take the division title. After that it is almost a crap shoot. I suspect only one of New Jersey and Philadelphia will make the playoffs and I have picked New Jersey because of better goaltending and team defense. One could even make a case for the Capitals to make a playoff push but in the end I think they are at least another year away from having their young forwards come together and dominate like they probably will some day.

So what do you all think? Agree? Disagree?

  3 Responses to “Season Standings Predictions”

  1.  

    Detroit plays 32 divisional games against non-playoff teams? They should be able to rack up ~130 points this year.

  2.  

    4th-11th in the east is going to be a dog fight and I fully expect one of Ottawa, Buffalo or NYR to not live up to top 5 expectations. I also don’t see Philly improving that much, they won’t be DFL but I don’t see them challenging for a playoff spot either.

    Toronto will place mid pack, best case 5th, worst case 9th…again.

  3.  

    Toronto has a lot of work to do just to make the playoffs, let alone finish top 5 in the east. Pittsburgh will need a little more maturity before they become the best in the East. Detriots devision is no longer complete push overs so I expect a bit of a dip maybe a little less than 110. I like SJ to challange for the top spot in the West. Calgary again will stuggle w/o scoring however LA will suprise w/ a lot of young talent. Chcago could suprise as well as long as Havlat stays healthy….. forget that one. I think its too soon for Florida to make that kind of a jump although its not a far cry to see them sneak in to the playoffs. Im also a little more optimistic about NY. Forwards, great. D-Men, good enuff to get the job done. Goaltending, Elite… NY should be the class of the east this year.

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