Dynasty Hockey League

Season 25 Eastern Conference Preview

As we’ve closed out the offseason, the start of the 25th season of the DHL will be nothing short of interesting, especially in the Eastern Conference.  The East will be highly competitive among the playoff contenders and highly competitive with the rebuilding teams vying for the top pick in the draft.  But the goal is still the same, to produce a team that can win the Cup.  The last 5 yrs, the West has won the Cup but this may just be the year that it goes back to the East.  Lets run down the expected ranking and some details behind each team

Rank Team Projected Points
1 Washington Capitals 105
2 Ottawa Senators 103
3 New Jersey Devils 102
4 Toronto Maple Leafs 100
5 Florida Panthers 98
6 Tampa Bay Lightning 95
7 Boston Bruins 94

NY Rangers


9 Montreal Canadiens 89
10 Philly Flyers 88
11 Winnipeg Jets 68
12 Pittsburgh Penguins 65
13 Buffalo Sabres 64
14 NY Islanders 55
15 Carolina Hurricanes 51

1. Washington – Consistently a top team in the East and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be the top team again, potentially winning the President’s trophy as well.  Adding Kucherov and Kopitar should make them a tougher team to play against.  The defense could use a little work but Hedman is the reigning Norris trophy winner so the top end talent is there.  They are obviously the pick to win the Orr division though the Devils could challenge them a bit for that spot.

2.  Ottawa – The kept the top goalie in the East by re-signing Pekka Rinne in UFA which was a smart move.  They have Erik Karlsson who’s tied with Hedman as the best rated d-man in the East and made a big move to improve the roster this offseason by acquiring a top line center in Backstrom.  Its really hard to find a hole in this lineup too which is why I have them projected to win the Lemieux division over the usually highly favored Leafs.

3.  New Jersey – It was an interesting offseason for the Devils, they lost their starter in Dubnyk via expansion but eventually found a starter late in the offseason by trading for Carey Price.  There’s a core of 5 of the top 6 forwards that rival any in the East with Draisaitl, Couturier, Kadri, Drouin and Forsberg (none of which are over 27 yrs old).  The defense is still strong with returning Shea Weber as a top pairing guy with Roman Josi and their other defenders in Mayfield and Skjei could be top pairing candidates on many other teams.  If the Caps falter at all this season, the Devils could capture the Orr division.

4.  Toronto – There’s no questioning the level of talent on the roster in McJesus, Matthews, Hamilton, Letang, and Andersen as all top players at their positions.  The additions of Hall, Kane and Radulov may just push the Leafs back into the top echelon of the East.  But then again there is always the “Sergio curse” that supposedly holds the Leafs back every year…but if the Leafs fall short again this yr, we may need to rename it the “Alergio curse” to give Alex some credit in the process.

5.  Florida – If the expansion Panthers finish this high, it won’t be a huge shock considering how well the NHL expansion Vegas franchise has done.  They have one of the top goaltenders in the league in Dubnyk, a top 20 defender in Suter and a top 20 center in Eric Staal.  The entire lineup is filled with good 2-way players that teams should have a hard time scoring on them and will likely have a hard time containing their offense as well.

6.  Tampa Bay – Some will question this finish but Blake has quickly tried to make the Bolts a winning franchise with several big moves this offseason.  He upgraded his defense by acquiring a #1 d-man in PK Subban and has a great tandem in net with Lehner and Quick.  He also acquired some scoring either late last yr or early in the offseason to help balance out the lineup to help top forward Jonathan Huberdeau.  The question is just how much scoring can he get from the other forwards on the team and if the defense will hold up.

7.  Boston – As the point projections show, the Bruins and Bolts could easily flip-flop between 6 and 7 in the East.  Rask is still the man in net and Jordan acquired too big centers this offseason in RyJo and Horvat but had to part with big name players to do so.  The top pair should be pretty good with Seth Jones and Jaccob Slavin but there’s still definitely room for improvement at wing and on defense but lack of cap space may hurt the regular season success of the Bruins (they could be a team that goes far in the playoffs).

8.  Rangers – The talent is definitely good amongst the skaters and Ajay made several moves to tweak the roster this offseason.  The big question and why the Rangers are slotted this low is Roberto Luongo and how much he really has left in the tank.  There’s also some improvement needed at 2C, on the right wing and on defense that the Rangers are a team thats definitely on the bubble of the playoffs.

9.  Montreal – This is likely the last time this team is out of the playoffs.  A few trades and signing this offseason have transformed the Habs from what they looked like last year.  Center depth is extremely good with Kuznetsov, Krejci and Staal and the wings are just as good with Patches, Rick Nash, Hornqvist, and Filppula in their top 6.  But the key to this team is the defense with 3 veterans in Muzzin, Phaneuf and Manson and 2 top end youngsters in Sergachev and McAvoy.  The main reason for their finish is lack of goaltending and while a tandem of Hutton and Bishop could sneak them into the playoffs, its not likely.

10.  Philly – The Flyers really made over their roster quite a bit this offseason too.  They are built around Tyler Seguin and Kevin Shattenkirk so they should have some long term success but it may not be achievable this season.  But they have plenty of cap space that they could be players in the trade market if the right deal comes around to upgrade their forward group or in net.

11.  Winnipeg – This is the point where we get to the “rebuilding” teams in the East.  The Jets are continuing to target top picks in the draft but they won’t be as bad as they were last season finishing 14th in the East.  Its more a matter of the teams below them are just that much worse in all positions and still won’t be a team without a top 10 pick.

12.  Pittsburgh – Another team that decided to “blow it up” this offseason after a couple of mediocre finishes the last 2 yrs but they still just have too much talent to finish lower than this (the same result as last season).  That could change though if they ship out a top 4 defender as both Klingberg and Trouba have been mentioned as available but neither have found a new address yet.

13.  Buffalo – The Sabres were extremely active this offseason, particularly at the draft picking up several top picks.  They do look like a team that has good talent long term and could very easily finish 2 spots higher than I have them here.  But its obviously more beneficial for Adam to keep adding young talent to his pool and is hoping to end up with another top 5 pick.

14.  Islanders – Hopefully the Islanders get a GM soon as they are team in serious need of a direction and changes.  It’s hard to see them finishing any better than this but a top 5 pick should be something that would entice a new GM for sure.

15.  Carolina – Mayo also decided to go for a scorched earth approach to his team, even after a 5th place finish last yr and making the playoffs in 5 of the previous 6 seasons.  The main reason they will finish last is their goaltending tandem is probably going to be the worst in the league and likely put them in position to land the top pick in the draft.  There are also quite a few tradeable assets on the Canes roster so I’m sure the talent pool will get worse.

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