The Hockey News and McKeen’s Weigh In (Early)

NHL preseason predictions, as with all sports, are generally silly. With summer roster turnover dramatically changing teams and significantly altering team chemistry, picking season-ending positions at this point is like playing fantasy hockey–too much fantasy, not enough reality.
Nonetheless, The Hockey News and McKeen’s have published their 2007-08 predictions. Not surprisingly, the Capitals get no respect. Here are the Eastern Conference rankings:

The Hockey News
1. Ottawa Senators
2. New York Rangers
3. Carolina Hurricanes
4. Pittsburgh Penguins
5. Buffalo Sabres
6. Tampa Bay Lightning
7. New Jersey Devils
8. Atlanta Thrashers
9. Philadelphia Flyers
10. Washington Capitals
11. Toronto Maple Leafs
12. Florida Panthers
13. Montreal Canadiens
14. New York Islanders
15. Boston Bruins
1. Pittsburgh
2. Ottawa
3. NY Rangers
4. Buffalo
5. New Jersey
6. Toronto
7. Carolina
8. Montreal
9. Tampa Bay
10. Philadelphia
11. Florida
12. Washington
13. Boston
14. Atlanta
15. NY Islanders

While it’s somewhat gratifying that both sources see the newly-bolstered Flyers missing the playoffs, THN predicts a tenth-place Capitals finish, and McKeen’s sees the Caps in 12th. We don’t have Sports Illustrated’s ’07-’08 forecast yet, but as a reminder of the generally wildly erroneous status these evaluations carry, in 2005-06, SI predicted Carolina finishing 28th out of 30 teams. Cam Ward didn’t get that memo.

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10 Responses to The Hockey News and McKeen’s Weigh In (Early)

  1. TG says:

    I hope they’re right about the Flyers. I don’t understand the love for Toronto and Montral by McKeen’s. I also think it’s interesting that The Hockey News has THREE Southeast teams making the playoffs, while McKeen’s has only one. Are you sure The Hockey News didn’t accidentaly reprint their predictions for 2006-07?

  2. jess says:

    Also note that THN called the Caps the “dark horse” noting that they are “well-coached with good goaltending and two potentially dangerous lines. Plus Ovie must want some of that spotlight back from Sid.”
    I don’t really get McKeen’s list at all. Toronto? Montreal?

  3. OrderedChaos says:

    Good point Jess — basically THN says the Caps *could* be a playoff team, but they can only pick eight for the postseason so they use terms like “dark horse” to cover their @sses when they’re wrong. 🙂

  4. Chris says:

    Let’s look at the reality of the Flyers going from a bottom dweller to an almost made it team. but ranking them in 9th position, they are essentially saying that the Flyers will be in contention up until the end of the season (barring a lopsided situation like we had in the west last year). An amazing turn around for sure, but assumes that all of the teams who finished out of the playoffs won’t make significant progress this season as well. The next post makes a very good point about the reality and thought that goes into the pre-season rankings, and the value that fans should be putting on them.

  5. odessasteps says:

    Since pre-season rankings are often more about generating buzz and selling magazines, a large grain of salt should always been taken with them.
    that said, I would expect a bigger fall from everyone in DC’s least favorite visiting team, the sabres.

  6. capitalgoodie says:

    The confidence these publications have in New Jersey is something I don’t have. It’s rooted more in the history of the team, Brodeur, and Brent Suter coming in as coach I guess – rather than what they have on paper.
    They never found much of a replacement for Stevens, and now Rafalski is gone. That blueline is questionably average at this point and aside from a very inconsistent Paul Martin is lacking anyone resembling a top pairing d-man. Up front they lost Gomez…
    That team has been pilaged the past two seasons. I like Parise as much as the next guy, but Zubrus and Madden are their top two pivots, and White and Martin their top d-pairing. Beyond that the Devils don’t boast the kind of organizational depth they’ve always enjoyed and relied on.
    They’ve got 06-07 Capitals level depth on that team at this point, an injury or two among the few key remaining players could crush their playoff hopes IMO.
    Brodeur’s a legend, but he hasn’t played a season with less depth and talent in front of him for….maybe ever.
    That said, it feels wrong to predict they could possibly miss the playoffs even though on paper, comparitvely speaking – I don’t think they’re a playoff team short of Brodeur matching his career bests with arguably the worst d-corps he’s ever played behind.

  7. capitalgoodie says:

    Just to correct myself, Elias/Zuby and Madden are probably their top pivots with the other one of Zuby/Elias on the wing – but the point still stands.

  8. sabresnut says:

    I know this may sound crazy but its literally impossible for Pittsburgh and the Rangers to occupy the 1 and 3 seeds. Someone has to win the Southeast.

  9. OrderedChaos says:

    Sabresnut, you are correct, but the McKeen’s listing is a prediction of how the teams will finish in total points rather than playoff seedings. So for the playoffs just notch Carolina into the three-spot and bump the rest down one.

  10. Habs Fan says:

    As a Montreal fan, I love seeing these pre-season predictions showing them out of a playoff spot when they are first overall in the east going into the final day of the season. 🙂

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