The top 10 teams in the league last year were (by points):
5 San Jose
8 Tampa Bay
Which one can you see missing the playoffs this year?
I will make a case for why each team may miss:
1. Vancouver - Hamhuis has battled injuries, Ehrhoff left, there will be more pressure than ever on Luongo
2. Washington - Hard to fault the Caps. Got a goalie, Ovechkin should bounce back, Carlson and Alzner should be better.
3. Philadelphia - Can they gel? There has been a massive change, with 2 core players leaving in Richards and Carter, a new goalie, and an aging defense. They also lost Leino and Versteeg, but picked up an aging Jagr and a feisty Max Talbot.
4. Pittsburg - The health of Crosby and Malkin is the biggest question of all. Crosby, Malkin and Staal played in the same game less than 10 times last year.
5. San Jose - More massive change, with the departure of Heatley and Setoguchi, and the addition of Burns and Havlat.
6. Detroit - With Rafalski gone and Lidstrom a year older is this the year that they falter?
7. Boston - Lost Ryder and Recchi, and swapped Kaberle for Corvo. You have to think with the core in place and Seguin getting better that they will remain strong.
8. Tampa Bay - The team is largely unchanged. The biggest question is whether they vintage Roloson can continue his strong play.
9. Will Hiller's health be an issue? Can Perry repeat his incredible season?
10. Nashville - The core of the team is still on defense and all are returning.