1: Washington Capitals
2: Pittsburgh Penguins
3: Boston Bruins
4: Tampa Bay Lightning
5: NY Rangers
6: Buffalo Sabres
7: Philadelphia Flyers
8: Montreal Canadians
9: New Jersey Devils
10: Carolina Hurricanes
11: Toronto Maple Leafs
12: Winnepeg Jets
13: New York Islanders
14: Florida Panthers
15: Ottawa Senators
1: Pittsburgh 108 points
2: NY Rangers 97 points
3: Philadelphia 95 points
4: New Jersey 88 points
5: NY Islanders 79 points
1: Boston 105 points
2: Buffalo 96 points
3: Montreal 93 points
4: Toronto 87 points
5: Ottawa 60 points
1: Washington 112 points
2: Tampa Bay 98 points
3: Carolina 88 points
4: Winnepeg 82 points
5: Florida 77 points
Strengths: Skill players in Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin.
Should have better goaltending with Vokoun.
Added much needed grit with Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer.
Weaknesses: Scoring depth could be an issue
Stars can go into scoring slumps and disappear in their defensive system..
Mike Green's health.
Questions still remain about psychological hurdles to make in playoffs.
Strengths: Top notch down the middle with Crosby, Malkin, and Staal.
Athletic, solid goalie in Fleury.
Gritty, hard working depth at forward.
One of the best top 4 defensive units in the NHL.
Coached by Jack Adams winner.
Weaknesses: When will Crosby return? And will he be the best player in hockey again?
Power Play NEEDS to improve.
3rd defensive pairing needs to be better, was exposed in playoffs.
Strengths: World class goaltending in Thomas and Rask.
Solid blueline corps led by Chara.
Big, hard hitting, timely scoring forwards.
Weaknesses: The dreaded Stanley Cup hangover.
Long playoff run last year could make for tired legs late in year.
It will be hard to repeat the magic of last year.
4- Tampa Bay Lightning
Strengths: Elite scoring in Stamkos, St.Louis, and Lecavalier.
Roloson should be solid again in goal.
Good coaching and players dedicated to the system.
Weaknesses: The defensemen are good, not great.
Will Roloson hold up as well and play as well as last year at age 42?
Third line was magic in playoffs last year, won't be this year.
Strengths: The addition of Richards should give them a complete, dangerous top line.
Young forwards in Dubinsky, Callahan, and Stepan should only get better.
Great goaltending in Lundqvist.
Staal and Girardi developing into a shutdown pair.
Weaknesses: Limited offense from the blueline.
Shaky 3rd defensive pairing
Lundqvist usually overworked by time playoffs start.
Depth scoring dries up with guys like Fedotenko and Christensen.
Strengths: Elite goaltending in Ryan Miller.
Scoring depth with speedy forwards.
Size and offensive contributions from blueline.
Organization committed to do what it takes to win.
Weaknesses: Small forward corps can get roughed up in playoff hockey.
Can Leino produce like he did in Philly?
Can Miller regain his status as the best goalie in hockey?
Strengths: Excellent young talent in Giroux, van Riemsdyk, and Schenn.
Better goaltending with the addition of Bryzgalov.
Solid defensive corps led by Pronger.
Weaknesses: Former strength of scoring depth is now an issue.
Defense is good, but age and injuries catching up with Pronger and Timonen.
How long will Jagr play nice?
Chemistry on a radically altered roster.
Strengths: Strong goaltending from Carey Price.
Game breaking speed in the forwards.
Solid defensive corps.
Weaknesses: Shortness of grit.
Certain key players are injury prone.
Bottom nine forwards are solid, but unspectacular in any way.
9-New Jersey Devils
Strengths: Defense first philosophy starts in net with Brodeur.
Parise and Kovalchuk lead a skilled top line.
Weaknesses: Lack of scoring depth.
Lack of dominate defensive pairing.
Old and declining goaltending.
Strengths: Franchise pillars in Eric Staal and Cam Ward.
Young talent in Skinner and Sutter.
Veteran presence in Jokinen, LaRose, and Ruutu.
Weaknesses: A couple top six forwards short.
Defense is average.
Ownership wants to stay near cap floor.
11- Toronto Maple Leafs
Strengths: Always make themselves difficult to play against.
Some depth at forward.
Weaknesses: Lack of goal scorers to complement Kessel.
Lack of depth on the blue line.
Strengths: Offensive punch from blueline.
Steady goaltending from Pavelec
Young, improving forwards.
Could feed off new crowd at home.
Weaknesses: Lack of scoring depth.
Several prospects seem to be stuck in neutral.
More support, but also more pressure.
Strengths: Dangerous forwards continue to get better.
Weaknesses: Thin blue line.
Suspect goaltending, yes, even with Nabokov.
Strengths: Depth at forward.
Talented, young defensemen.
Weaknesses: Dynamic scorers are missing.
A step back in goaltending with Vokoun's departure.
Tons of overpaid, new faces will make it hard to create chemistry.
Strengths: Offensive depth on defense.
Weaknesses: Lack of scoring forwards.
Inexperience at many positions.
No shutdown defenseman.
EAST WINNER: Pittsburgh Penguins
Darkhorse candidate: Buffalo Sabres
Yes, I have the Pens winning the Cup.
Tomorrow comes my in-depth Pens forwards predictions. Stay Tuned.
One more day!