NHL Eastern Conference Predictions and Stanley Cup Odds

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By Brad Leeb


To start the 2011-2012 NHL hockey season, I wanted to post my NHL Eastern Conference prediction picks and team odds to win the Stanley Cup.


Giving a prediction on conference standings, or predicting the Stanley Cup winner, is never easy. There are a lot of factors that can change a teams fortunes. Injuries, suspensions, trades and over and under achieving players all play a factor. 

Heading into the 2011-2012 NHL season here are my NHL predictions for the Eastern Conference. 


Washington_Capitals_BetOnHockey.gif1. Washington Capitals 10/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Capitals will once again be a top team in the Eastern Conference, and the Southeast Division. The addition of Tomas Vokoun was the best free agent signing of the summer, and he will add to the much needed team defense. Players Jeff Halpern, Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik and Troy Brouwer will round out this team with grit and playoff experience. Look for the Caps to go deep into the playoffs.


Pittsburgh_Penguins_BetOnHockey.gif2. Pittsburgh Penguins 8/1 Stanley Cup odds

A healthy Penguins lineup should put them on top of the Atlantic Division, and near the top of the NHL standings. If Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Stall are healthy they will add a lot to the team that finished 4th in the East without them. However, when their leader Sidney Crosby finally starts playing again, he will take this team to the next level. The earlier he returns the better. I expect him back full-time by December.


Buffalo_Sabres_BetOnHockey.gif3. Buffalo Sabres 20/1 Stanley Cup odds

Passionate owner Terry Pegula has turned the Sabres fortune, and that is why I am picking them to win the Northeast Division. Pegula wants to win and he is putting his money where his mouth is. The addition of Christian Ehrhoff, Robin Regehr, Ales Kotalik and Ville Leino are just the start for this team. Look for the Sabres to be active at the trade deadline in anticipation of a long playoff run. 


Tampa_Bay_Lightning_BetOnHockey.gif4. Tampa Bay Lightning 14/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Lightning are in 4th place in the East only because they have a strong Capitals team in their division. This team will build on a strong playoff run that saw them loose in game 7 of the Eastern Final to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion. The key to their season was locking down sniper Steven Stamkos to a long term deal. I am betting Stamkos will lead the NHL in scoring this season. 


Boston_Bruins_BetOnHockey.gif5. Boston Bruins 10/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Stanley Cup winning Bruins will not repeat as champions, and they will fall short of winning their division. This is not because they are not a good team, only because they will be dealing with the ‘Cup Hangover’. A shorter offseason and a lot of partying will do that to you. There were not a lot of changes to their roster, and there is not much reason to change if you are the Cup champion. They still have Tim Thomas and Pekka Renne in net, who are one of the best tandems in the NHL.


Philadelphia_Flyers_BetOnHockey.gif6. Philadelphia Flyers 9/1 Stanley Cup odds

A lot of changes in the City Of Brotherly Love makes me question the potential chemistry. Most notable additions for the Flyers are the services of a bonafied number one goalie in Ilya Bryzgalov, and former-bonafied superstar Jaromir Jagr. I predict Bryzgalov will prove to be a valuable addition, and the Jagr experiment will last 1 year. 


New_York_Rangers_BetOnHockey.gif7. New York Rangers 40/1 Stanley Cup odds

This Rangers team will be slightly better this season because of the addition of Brad Richards, but not by much. Some good younger players to watch, but not a lot to get excited about. Another first round playoff exit is in the Blue Shirts future. 


Montreal_Canadians_BetOnHockey.gif8. Montreal Canadians 25/1 Stanley Cup odds

Les Habitants will barely squeak into the NHL playoffs this season. This team will be carried by goalie Carey Price and Michael Cammalleri. Eric Cole was a solid veteran addition. However, this team will have to battle for every point they get this year.


Carolina_Hurricanes_BetOnHockey.gif9. Carolina Hurricanes 40/1 Stanley Cup odds

Calder winner Jeff Skinner is the real deal, and he will not have a sophomore slump. He will help lead the offense with Eric Stall. Adding Cup winner Tomas Kaberle will help the powerplay, but it will not be enough to make it into the post-season.


New_Jersey_Devils_BetOnHockey.gif10. New Jersey Devils 33/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Devils have Zach Parise healthy and a splid new head coach in Peter DeBoer. This team will have a better start to the season, but Martin Brodeur is not going to be able to steal them enough games to get them to the playoffs at this stage of his career.


Toronto_Maple_Leafs_BetOnHockey.gif11. Toronto Maple Leafs 50/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Leafs will be an improved team, but other teams have improved more. This team will fall short of a playoff spot. Heading into the regular season they already have injuries and suspensions to Tim Connolly, Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri, and Clarke MacArthur. I also question starting goalie James Reimer playing like a number one goalie all season long.


Florida_Panthers_BetOnHockey.gif12. Florida Panthers 125/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Panthers will have a minimum of 10 new faces in their lineup, including new coach Kevin Dineen. When a team has this many changes, it adjusts the entire team chemistry. There will be a different attitude and different approach on the ice. The Panthers are in the tough Southeast Division, but they will finish higher than the new Winnipeg Jets.


New_York_Islanders_BetOnHockey.gif13. New York Islanders 80/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Islanders will start to see a lot of improvement from their young team, especially John Tavares and Michael Grabner. Goaltending will continue to be a big question mark. This summer they did not have many transactions. Doug Weight retired, and they signed Marty Reasoner.


Ottawa_Senators_BetOnHockey.gif14. Ottawa Senators 66/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Senators are going to have another long season, and they will ultimately end near the bottom of the Eastern Conference again. This is mainly because they did not do much in the offseason to improve. They seem to want to develop younger players, and they could add more prospects by trading Jason Spezza this year. 


Winnipeg_Jets_BetOnHockey.gif15. Winnipeg Jets 50/1 Stanley Cup odds

The new Winnipeg team will start strong in a city that will be ecstatic to have the NHL back in town. Then it will be the ‘Jets’-lag that will slow this team down during the long NHL season. Playing in the Southeast Division will have the Jets logging the most travel miles in the NHL by a long shot. Combine this with a former Atlanta team that finished 20th in goals for and 29th in goals against. This will be a long season, but the Jets should get rewarded with the first overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. 



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