NHL Hockey Betting – NHL Eastern Conference Preview – NHL Hockey Matchup ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
|NHL Hockey Matchup Analysis
by Scott Burgess
Bet on NHL hockey at Sportsbook.com
Gone: Joni Pitkanen, Robert Esche and Geoff Sanderson
Hired: Scottie Hartnell, Jason Smith, Joffrey Lupu, Daniel Briereand Kimmo Timonen
The Philadelphia Flyers got top free agent Daniel Briere, alongwith Kimmo Timonen and Scottie Hartnell to add some much neededoffense, after finishing dead last in their conference. Pitkanenwas traded for Lupol and Jason Smith, to help solidify theirtroubled defense. Last year’s top Flyer prospects, MikeRichards and Jeff Carter, need to step it up this year whichshouldn’t be a problem given the Flyers new acquisitions.Martin Biron will be the Flyers goaltender after Robert Esche’sdeparture. The Flyers have not picked a team captian yet andleadership is a big part in the success of a team.
Gone: Michel Ouellet, Jocelyn Thibault
Hired: Ty Conklin, Darryl Sydor, Petr Sykors and Dany Sabourin
The Pittsburg Penguins are a young team with another year’sexperience underneath them and they will be hard to beat thisyear. Rookie-of-the-year runner up Evgeni Malkin, forwards SidCrosby and Staal are going to be magic on the ice again thisyear. Jocelyn Thibault will be replaced with either backup Sabourinor Conklin, which is better than before. Veteran Gary Robertswill return for another season to lend his experience and knowledgeto his teammates.
Gone: Scott Gomez, Brad Lukowich and Brian Rafalski
Hired: Kevin Weeks, Karel Rachunek, Arron Asham, Dainius Zubrusand Vitaly Vishnevski,
The New Jersey Devils bring in a new coach, Brent Sutter, tohelp create a scoring offense. Dainius Zubrus and Vitaly Vishnevskishould chip in for some goals after the loss of Gomez and Rafalski.All star goalie Martin Brodeur’s back in action againalong with their top defenseman, Paul Martin, who’s expectedto have another great season. The Devils picked up a betterbackup goalie, Kevin Weeks, so they can give Brodeur a breakmore often. He is getting old.
New York Islanders
Gone: Alexei Yashin, Jason Blake, Tom Poti, Sean Hill, RyanSmith, Richard Zednick and Viktor Kozlov
Hired: Bill Guerin, Sean Bergenheim, Mike Comrie, Ruslan Fedotenko,Andy Sutton, Josef Vasicek and Jon Sim,
The New York Islanders have finally departed ways with AlexeiYasin, after they had contract disputes. This is what the Islandersneeded so they could free up a lot of money and get some qualityplayers. The Islanders squeaked into the playoffs last yearand they want more. Ted Nolan did an outstanding job as headcoach. Bill Guerin had a good regular season with San Jose butfailed to score in the playoffs. Guerin and Comrie should bea nice addition to the Isles. Miroslav Satan will be expectedto help knock some pucks in the net. The gritty defender, ShawnBates, will be back in the lineup after an injury ended his06’ season. Goalie Rick DiPietro had offseason hip surgeryto go along with a concussion. This will make or break the Islandersif he can’t perform.
New York Rangers
Gone: Jet Ortmeyer, Michael Nylander, Matt Cullen and KevinWeekes
Hired: Andrew Hutchinson, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury
The New York Rangers made some bold moves over the break toadd some more fire power to their already stacked team. Withthe addition of Gomez and Drury the Rangers are going to havetwo strong forward lines in their arsenal. Then we get to seewho gets paired up with Jarmir Jagr. As for goaltending, highlypraised prospect Al Montoya will play back up to Henrik Lundqvist.Lundqvist, Vezina Trophy finalist, had an excellent second halflast year and is expected to win steadily throughout the season.Expect great things from Jagr, B. Shanahan, M.Straka, S. Avery,P. Prucha and M. Hossa. The Rangers are capable of competingfor Lord Stanely’s Cup this year
Northeast DivisionBoston Bruins
Gone: Shean Donovan and Hannu Toivonen
Hired: Manny Fernandez, Peter Schaefer, Carl Sodoberg and ShawnThornton
The Boston Bruins biggest offseason move was to acquire goaltenderManny Fernandez after he had a great season with Minnesota. Bostonwill have to step up their defense if they want to go anywherethis year. Chara was good at scoring but it seemed every timehe was on the ice, goals were scored against him. He finishedwith a -21 rating. The Bruins didn’t give Chara any talentedhelp last year and without improving this year’s squad they’renot going to be any different.
Gone: Chris Drury, Daniel Briere and Dainius Zubrus
Hired: Jocelyn Thibault
The Buffalo Sabres took a big hit with the departure of ChrisDrury, Daniel Briere and Dainius Zubrus. All is not lost thoughespecially with young talent like Nathan Paetsch, Brian Campbell,Drew Stafford and Jason Pominville. The Sabres will return five50 goal scores this year. Maxim Afinogenov had a great seasonlast year and will have to do the same again. Newly acquired goalieJocelyn Thibault will be a nice addition to backup Ryan Millar.As for their defense, the Sabres will have their whole defensereturning for another season.
Gone: Mike Comrie, Oleg Saprykin, Tom Preissing and Peter Schaefer
Hired: Luke Richardson and Shean Donovan
The Ottawa Senators will return the same lineup as last year alongwith their outstanding defensive core. The Sens add Luke Richarsonto add some lightning fast speed to their offense. They are goingto be a fast team on the fly! There might be trouble coming theSens way if they can’t lockup Dany Heatley and Jason Speezabefore the trade deadline.
Gone: Sheldon Souray, Sergei Samsonov, Mike Johnson, David Aebischer,Radek Bonk, Janne Niinimaa and Alexander Perezhogin
Hired: Romam Hamrlik, Bryan Smolinkski, Patrice Brisbrois andTom Kostopoulos
The Monteal Canadians finally got rid of underachiever SergiSamsonov and acquired Sheldon Souray to fill in the void. SakuKoivu and Michael Ryder will be the only decent goal scorersthe Habs will have this year. Romam Hamrlik, Bryan Smolinkskiand Patrice Brisbrois should be able to help the Habs much neededoffense. There’s some young talent that the Habs are givingserious thought too. Tomas Plekanec, Christopher Higgins andGuillaume Latendresse were all big goal scorers in there respectedleagues. Don’t be surprised if you see them playing.
Gone: Michael Peca, Jeff O’Neill, Yanic Perreault, TravisGreen and J.S. Aubin
Hired: Vesa Toskala, Jason Blake, and Mark Bell
The Toronto Maple Leafs are trying everything they can to satisfytheir playoff needs. They’re bringing in draft pick, VesaToskala, as their hopefull goaltender which is funny becausehe hasn’t even proven he’s starter material yet.The biggest addition to the Leafs organization is 50 goal scorerJason Blake, who should work well with Mats Sundin. Newly acquiredforward Mark Bell may have to go to jail sometime during theseason. The Leafs have missed the playoffs two years in a rowand still haven’t made any major moves.
Southeast DivisionAtlanta Thrashers
Gone: Andy Sutton, Scott Mellanby, Greg De Vries, Keith Tkachuk,Jon Sim, Shane Hnidy, Eric Belanger and J.P. Vigeer
Hired: Ken Klee, Eric Perrin, Todd White and Karel Pilar
The Atlanta Thrashers lost a lot of players and didn’t geta lot in return. Goalie Kari Lehtonen had a lackluster playoffappearance and it will be interesting to see how he rebounds.The Thrashers will have to lock up Marian Hossa before the tradedeadline or else they may be in trouble come playoff time. Theyalso bring in top AHL star Brett Sterling to help with offense,but can he score in the NHL. Ilya Kovalchuk has slumped a littlesince his start in Atlanta and will be expected to step it up.Todd White will be a nice addition to Atlanta as well as TobiasEnstrom who is a star for Sweden
Gone: Andrew Hutchinson, Josef Vasicek and David Tanabe
Hired: Matt Cullen, Jeff Hamilton and Michael Leighton
The Carolina Hurricanes will return Matt Cullen back to the teamafter he was traded to the New York Rangers. If you remember hewas a part of the Hurricanes Stanley Cup team. There will be six20 goal scorers and six 50 point players back in the lineup. RayWhitney was a big surprise for the Hurricanes after putting up83 points. Eric Staal has dropped since his outstanding 05-06’season and will need to chip in more. Frantisek Kaberle is backand healthy after he was injured 22 games into last season whichshould help out the Huuricanes dismal defense.
Hired: Brett McLean, Tomas Vokoun, Radek Dvorak and Richard Zednik
The Florida Panthers bring in top goaltender Tomas Vokoun to helpstop pucks. Vokoun had a stellar season with Nashville and he’llbe a much needed improvement over Ed Belfour. The Panthers willhave a much better offense this season after the additions ofRadek Dvorak and Richard Zednik. Dvorak is coming off a carrierbest 37 points with the St.Louis Blues. The problem for the Panthersthis season may lie in their defense. Their defense is young andinexperienced
Tampa Bay Lightning
Gone: Eric Perrin, Cory Sarich, Nolan Pratt and Ruslan Fedotenko
Hired: Michel Ouellett, Jan Hlavac, Chris Gratton and Brad Lukowich
The Tampa Bay Lightning decided to bring in a new GM to help getsome decent players. This is not a short term fix but rather along term solution. Chris Gratton and Brad Lukowich are returningback to the team that traded them away. Martin St.Louis and VincentLecavalier were the two best scorers on the Lightningin 06’and will return this season for the same. The Lighting haven’tfigured out their goalie situation and until they do, they won’tbe Cup contenders
Gone: Kris Beech, Jiri Novotomy and Bryan Muir
Hired: Tom Poti, Michael Nylander and Viktor Kozlov
The Washington Capitals are going to be a more experienced contenderthis season with veterans Michael Nylander and Viktor Kozlov thereto install some wisdom into a young talented squad. Donald Brashearreturns to protect his team’s most talented players. TomPoti has been brought in to install some much needed experiencebut this may be a lost cause as the Caps have the least experienceddefense in the league. Olaf Kolzig returns as the Caps star goalie,with last season’s pitiful defense he was working like amad man in net. The Caps offense will be a force to reckon withbut their defense may be their downfall. Beton 2007/08 NHL Hockey Season at Sportsbook.com