Each week throughout the season I'll be doing a weekly review/discussion of the Atlantic Division over at InsideHockey.com
Every year the Atlantic Division is one of the most competitive divisions in the NHL and amongst the five teams (Devils, Flyers, Islanders, Penguins, Rangers) there are some of the fiercest rivalries that exist in the NHL. Let's have a look at each team in the division and make some predictions regarding how each team will finish the 2009-10 season.
Pittsburgh Penguins (1):
As the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Penguins are instantly going to be considered contenders again for the Cup this season. Plus, it certainly doesn't hurt that the Penguins have two of arguably the best three players (no arguments to be made about top five!) in the world on their roster - Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill were an important part of the Cup run, but they are certainly replaceable. The Penguins are hoping that Jay McKee can fill some of that void. Alex Goligoski, who played in half of the Penguins games last season will have a much more prominent role this time around.
The shortened summer for the Penguins, which they certainly won't be complaining about, is likely to result in the team getting tired down the stretch this year. They won't have any problems making the playoffs, capturing the Atlantic Division should be a realistic goal but not a guarantee with the Flyers and Rangers also improving this summer. Winning the East is certainly not out of the question. They'll be there or there about come the beginning of June.
Key Additions: Mike Rupp, Brent Johnson & Jay McKee
Key Subtractions: Rob Scuderi, Hal Gill, Mathieu Garon & Petr Sykora
Check out the rest of the predictions & analysis over at Inside Hockey