Friday, July 25, 2008

Any worth in summer power rankings

ESPN really loves the power rankings, don't they. Well since Pittsburgh is #1, we suppose we'll bite..

1. Pittsburgh PenguinsNever mind the absence of Marian Hossa, Ryan
, Jarkko Ruutu and Georges Laraque, the Penguins still have the most formidable lineup down the middle of any team in the NHL, with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, plus an emerging elite netminder in Marc-Andre Fleury.

2. Montreal CanadiensMany folks will pick the Habs to win the East next season, but Carey Price will have to prove he's over this spring's playoff meltdown before we hop on that train. Sundin will make that bandwagon pretty crowded if he signs on with the Habs.

3. Philadelphia FlyersWhat do Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Braydon Coburn, Daniel Briere, Kimmo Timonen et al do for an encore after going from 30th overall in 2006-07 to a berth in the Eastern Conference finals? How about a return trip?

4. New York Rangers The Rangers have been flirting with contender status for three seasons now, and they'll have a dramatically different look with Wade Redden, Nikolai Zherdev and Dmitri Kalinin in and Jaromir Jagr, Shanahan (we assume) and Martin Straka out. Different, but not necessarily better.

5. Washington Capitals OK, the defense is still a little suspect and there's Jose Theodore in net, but this Caps team can light it up with any team in the league.

6. New Jersey Devils We put the Devils here because they're always better than we expect they'll be. This will be true again with the addition of Brian Rolston and the continued growth of an underappreciated blue-line corps.

7. Carolina Hurricanes Yes, the Hurricanes have missed the playoffs twice in a row after winning the Cup in 2006, but they missed the cut by a single point this spring and have improved themselves along the blue line with the addition of Joni Pitkanen. If healthy, they're a playoff team.

8. Tampa Bay Lightning The Lightning will be much more imposing offensively this season with the addition of Malone, Radim Vrbata, Gary Roberts and Adam Hall. Defense is young, and goaltending is unproven. Still, a playoff team in the mediocre East.

--We agree that right now, on paper, it looks like Pittsburgh and Montreal at the top. But on paper and on the ice are two separate issues.
--Only one Northeast team in the top 8? Yeah, right.
--Tampa Bay is flashy but they are not a playoff team. Just wait.
--Hear that teeth gnashing sound? That's TST reader JP over the crack about the Caps defense. Their defense ought to be alright, it's the man in net that will provide the questions, if you ask us.


DMG said...

Tampa Bay at 8? That's nuts. The only team in the east they ought to be ahead of is Atlanta

JP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JP said...

Eh... I'm ok with "suspect." Hopefully every team the Caps play this year buys into that conventional wisdom as well.

And, fwiw, I think the Flyers, Devils and Bolts are a bit high on the list and Buffalo and Boston perhaps a bit low. There's definitely a top tier, a second tier, a huge third tier, and then the dregs in the East, imo.

The Peerless said...

"The Lightning will be much more imposing offensively this season with the addition of Malone, Radim Vrbata, Gary Roberts and Adam Hall."

Last year, these four players -- combined -- didn't have as many goals as Alex Ovechkin. And their average per-82 game scoring (again, combined) was 20-24-44.

That isn't generally thought of as a working definition of "imposing," let alone of the "much more" variety.

Tampa Bay is a disaster in the making.

Every team in the East among the top six that made the playoffs last year is, in my opinion, weaker than the one they played their last game of the season with, with the exception of Philadelphia, but that doesn't make them the third best team in the East, either.

hipcheck said...

Vrbata is streaky. We coyotes fans loved him, but he went for the better deal (even though he claimed he loved Phoenix and really wanted to stay). I wish him well, but I don't see Tampa Bay doing that well.

I feel the Caps totally took a step back in their goaltending. Jose had his moments last year but still he's a big unknown as to which Jose is going to show up. I was hoping they'd keep Huet.