Getty ImagesYou knew this was coming. Yesterday's look at the West probably tipped you off. So without further ado — well, actually just one ado: a shameless plug. Join my free playoff pool and if you feel completely helpless at drafts year after year, then give my Interactive Playoff Draft List a shot.
Now without further ado, here are my thoughts on the Eastern Conference, with a fantasy slant.
New York Rangers (1)
The obvious: Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan and Michael Del Zotto.
Dark horses: Brandon Dubinsky had eight points in his last 11 games. He may not be a potential 65-point player, but he's certainly not the 34-point guy who showed up this season, tying the likes of Shawn Horcoff in scoring. He could very well be that player who posts 15 points in 18 playoff games. ... Brian Boyle ended the season with seven points in nine games and he boasts the big body that teams will often use in the postseason to plant in front of the net on the power play (see Byfuglien, Dustin).
Could let you down: Carl Hagelin is a speedy rookie who shows a lot of promise. He made a big splash this campaign, posting 38 points in 64 games while posting a eye-popping plus-21. But he is a rookie, and Torts loves to lean on his vets. He also has just one point in his last 10 games… Dan Girardi, the team's minute muncher, has just three points in 32 career playoff games.
Keep in mind: Del Zotto still shows his inexperience by suffering through cold spells. He finished the season pointless in his last four, and went a stretch in January pointless in eight. On the flip side, that means he got his production this year during some pretty impressive hot runs. ... Richards' reputation as a playoff warrior is well-founded. He has 57 points in his last 52 playoff games. ... Gaborik has just seven points in his last 16 playoff contests.
Boston Bruins (2)
The obvious: Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara.
Dark horses: Rich Peverley was better and better as the postseason wore on last year. He carried that on into this season and were it not for injuries he would have posted career highs. If you like Boston, Peverley is almost as good as the players listed above… Benoit Pouliot has shown a lot of improvement throughout the season. Granted, as the fourth overall pick in 2005 this was expected of him five years ago, but better late than never. He has 30 points in his last 58 games and shown great chemistry with Brian Rolston to give the Bruins a third scoring line down the stretch… Speaking of Rolston, he has 14 points in his last 12 games.
Could let you down: In terms of offense, the numbers weren't there for Lucic last year. He had just 12 points in 25 playoff games after posting 18 points in the prior 23. He was used in a role where offense wasn't his prime directive, and judging by the latest Stanley Cup engraving, Coach Claude Julien will probably use him in the same manner this time around, too. So while the PIM will be high, the points may be low.
Keep in mind: Nathan Horton (mild concussion) is still not skating and may not get into any playoff action at all, even if Boston goes all the way…Krejci led all players in postseason scoring last year with 23 points…In each of his last two postseasons, Chris Kelly's points-per-game average was higher than it was during the preceding regular season.
Read More »from Fantasy Hockey: Breaking down the Eastern Conference for playoff pools