Northeast Division Update

The top three teams in the Northeast division were extremely competitive all year long in 10-11, but lets look at how that might shake out this year.  At the end of each summary we will highlight just one blog for that respective team, but there are many quality sites out there if you care to search for them.  Please share your comments on the rest of the teams across the NHL as we fill the void of the offseason.

Boston Bruins
2010-2011 Record: 46-25-11 (1st  in the Division)

Offseason Thus Far: The Bruins got to carry the Stanley Cup around this summer after an amazing season by Tim Thomas.  The only acquisition of note was the veteran defenseman Joe Corvo.  Adam McQuaid signed a contract extension that he called a no-brainer.  Brad Marchand also decided to stay in Boston, but the biggest team news may be that Marc Savard is still struggling with issues related to concussions.

Analysis: Thomas won the Vezina Trophy and was solid throughout the playoffs after being partially written off in the 09-10 season.  Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin fueled the offensive attack with David Krejci picking up his game when it counted most.  There is no reason to believe the Bruins will not contend again this year.

 Courtesy of Chicks Who Give a Puck

Buffalo Sabres
2010-2011 Record: 43-29-10 (3rd in the Division)

Offseason Thus Far:  Buffalo has a new owner and he gave the green light to sign and find talent through trades.  The Sabres were one of the most active teams this offseason starting with the acquisition of Robyn Regehr and Ales Kotalik sending Chris Butler and Paul Byron to Calgary.  Christian Ehrhoff signed a lucrative long term contract and was followed to Buffalo by Ville Leino.  The moves showed Sabres’ fans that new owner Terry Pegula is committed to doing what is needed to improve the team. 

Analysis: The moves were one thing, but this team still has Ryan Miller in net.  Drew Stafford, Thomas Vanek, and Jason Pominville are mainstays in Buffalo and Tyler Ennis showed a lot of skill last year.  It is a solid lineup from top to bottom that should help to duplicate the finish of this division last year.  However, the money being thrown around will make the scrutiny that much tougher.    

Montreal Canadians
2010-2011 Record: 44-30-8 (2nd in the Division)

Offseason Thus Far: Montreal played with grit last year and found itself for playoff position.  After Max Pacioretty had the gruesome looking injury against the stanchion the team rallied and found the scoring touch on the power play.  Pacioretty should be back this year and there were some solid additions as well.  Peter Budaj was brought in to be the back up goaltender.  Eric Cole signed a four year contract coming over from Carolina.  Chris Campoli is a recent signing on the blue line.

Analysis: Pesky may be the best way to describe Montreal this year as the core of the team is all in.  Carey Price answered all the doubters last year, but the pressure will be back on him to perform.  They have a good mix of excitement and status quo on defense as most know what they will get from Andrei Markov and Hall Gill while P.K. Subban is sure to surprise.  This locker room is probably thinking Stanley Cup or bust. 

Ottawa Senators
2010-2011 Record: 32-40-10 (5th in the Division)

Offseason Thus Far:  The Senators had an off year battling injuries and inconsistent goaltending while the ownership was willing to listen to most offers.  That meant a lot of spots were open in the Senators lineup for the coming year.  Bobby Butler, Tim COnboy, Lee Sweatt, Mark Parrish, and Mika Zibanejad will be among those trying to find a role in Ottawa.  Tough guy Zenon Konopka and goaltender Alex Auld also now call Ottawa home. 

Analysis: It was clear early last year that the Senators needed some changes and this year could be full of growing pains.  There are still many questions in the forwards outside of Butler, Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Nick Foligno, and Chris Neil. A once hyped prospect, Nikita Filatov, will try to resurrect his game in the NHL as a member of the Senators.  Craig Anderson now prowls the crease and the defensive core is led by several NHL veterans.  Still one must wonder where the scoring will come from and how Ottawa can hang with its division foes. 

Blog: Sens Shot

Toronto Maple Leafs
2010-2011 Record: 37-34-11 (4th   in the Division)

Offseason Thus Far:  The Leafs acquired Matthew Lombardi and Cody Franson from Nashville despite Lombardi’s injury woes only playing two games last year.  Tim Connolly signed on as the top line center to feed Phil Kessel.  The biggest name to find a new home in Toronto is John-Michael Liles as the Leafs look for a big contribution on the power play.  Toronto did make a play for Brad Richards before he landed in New York

Analysis: There was some improvement as the year progressed for Toronto but the final statistics showed that they put a lot of pressure on their own goaltender and not enough on the opposition netminder.  James Reimer played well but saw an average of 31 shots per night.  Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson should still see a lot of pucks as the Leafs’ moves were more offensively focused.  The fan base is optimistic, but this season still feels like a slight uphill battle. 


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