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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

NHL Season Preview: Atlantic Division



The Atlantic Division is not as strong as the Metropolitan Division this season, but they sure do provide a lot of interesting storylines heading into the season. The Tampa Bay Lightening is heading into a do-or-die season where they are going all in to win the Stanley Cup. Montreal Canadiens (AKA Canada’s dive team) are looking to improve off of a first-place finish last year in the standings. The Boston Bruins are looking to find some quality young players while managing the growing age of the team. The Ottawa Senators go under the radar a lot, especially last year when they snatched a playoff spot ahead of other notable teams. The Detroit Red Wings (AKA Hockey town) is like Boston — they’re looking to get younger across the board while still squeezing production out of star Pavel Datsyuk. The Buffalo Sabres landed a future star in Jack Eichel (FYI he’s just as good as Connor McDavid) in the draft, and he gives hope to a franchise that has been struggling. The Toronto Maple Leafs are trying to find an identity overall due to there being no leadership from ownership, and the Florida Panthers are simply trying to not get relocated by the impending expansion.


  1. Tampa Bay Lightning

The reigning Eastern Conference champs will once again rely on young players and Steven Stamkos to carry this team. Stamkos, besides Alex Ovechkin, is probably the best overall scorer in the league. The “triplets” line consisting of Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, and Nikita Kucherov has to produce like they did in the playoffs. Victor Hedman is becoming the best defender in the league and he’s complemented with monster (6 ft. 7 in.) goalie Ben Bishop behind him. This is a boom-or-bust year simply because Stamkos’ contract is expiring at the end of the season.


  1. Montreal Canadians

This is a classic example of a very good team that didn’t change during the off-season. Carey Price is probably up there with Henrik Lundqvist in goalie ranks, and P.K. Subban is on the verge of greatness. As much as I hate Subban, he’s pretty darn good, and Max Pacioretty earned the captain’s role this off-season. The question for the team is how do they finally get over the hump and beat Tampa for the top spot?


  1. Detroit Red Wings

A group of savvy veterans who are hungry to win, that’s basically how this team is, and always has been, constructed. Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall, and Henrik Zetterberg just keep chugging along into their 30s. The team brought in Mike Green to give some defensive help to Kronwall, while Tomas Tatar needs to show continued improvement from last season’s breakout year. The Achilles heel of this team is that they do not have an established goaltender. If they can find one then this team could make some noise.


  1. Florida Panthers

This team is a product of getting quality prospects and developing them. The Panthers pair these new players with savvy veterans like Shawn Thornton, Roberto Luongo, and Jaromir Jagr. The biggest piece to this Panthers’ roster is Aaron Ekblad, who won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s best rookie. If he can continue to perform, then this team has a shot at making the playoffs and giving someone a good series. Possibly more important than making the playoffs, this team needs to show something or else they will definitely be moved out of Miami.


  1. Ottawa Senators

The Senators shocked the NHL world last season by winning 23 out of their final 31 games to steal a playoff berth. They need to sort out their goaltender situation, is it going to be Craig Anderson or Andrew “The Hamburglar” Hammond? They also have solid players, which include Erik Karlsson who is one of the better defenseman in the league, and Mark Stone who had a really impressive campaign last year. Stone was a finalist for the Calder Trophy. Can he and the rest of the team avoid the dreaded sophomore slump??


  1. Boston Bruins

Where to start for my team…We traded away our future stud in Dougie Hamilton, traded fan favorite Milan Lucic, lost our heart in Gregory Campbell and our captain Zdeno Chara has been battling injuries for the last year or so. Tuuka Rask has to perform better if this team even wants to be relevant again. If he struggles, this team could be near the bottom of the league. The main question for them is, how are the ‘young guns’ going to handle the pressures of playing in the NHL?


  1. Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto recently has been associated with losing, and losing badly. This off-season the entire front office and organizational mindset changed by hiring Mike Babcock as their next head coach. Babcock automatically improves this team, but their roster is still very weak. Dion Phaneuf is still around as their captain, but scorer Phil Kessel was traded. The far-off future looks promising for the Maple Leafs, but their present day situation doesn’t.


  1. Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo reaped the benefits of being terrible and got Massachusetts hockey-stud Jack Eichel in the draft. They also acquired Evander Kane, Robin Lehner, and Jamie McGinn, and hired Dan Bylsma from the Penguins as their head coach. They are starting to get pieces to build with, but the bottom line is that they are not ready to compete yet.

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NHL Season Preview: Atlantic Division