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Analyzing the Detroit Red Wings’ New Divisional Opponents

Yahoo Contributor Network
Analyzing the Detroit Red Wings’ New Divisional Opponents
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Bobby Ryan will add some scoring punch and grit to an already dangerous Ottawa Senators team.

COMMENTARY | As summer starts to wind down, teams are gearing up for the 2013-14 season. NHL realignment saw the Detroit Red Wings move to the Eastern Conference and gain some new divisional opponents.

Here's what to expect from the teams the Red Wings will be seeing the most this year in the Atlantic Division:

BOSTON

2013 record: (26-17-5), 62 points, fourth in Eastern Conference

Playoffs: Lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final

Key additions: F Jarome Iginla, F Loui Eriksson

Key losses: F Tyler Seguin, F Rich Peverley, F Jaromir Jagr, F Nathan Horton, D Andrew Ferrence

Analysis: Boston was 10 minutes away from an early playoff exit, but turned it into a memorable run to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Bruins will be at the top of the Atlantic Division by mid-April. They gained a top-six forward in Loui Eriksson and also added Jarome Iginla, who contributed nicely during his short stay in Pittsburgh (23 points in 28 games).

The Bruins also locked up goalie Tuukka Rask with an eight-year extension. Rask proved he can be the team's No. 1 goalie, and he got handsomely rewarded for it.

The losses of Nathan Horton and Andrew Ferrence will hurt, but it won't be anything the Bruins can't replace.

BUFFALO

2013 record: (21-21-6), 48 points, 12th in Eastern Conference

Playoffs: Didn't clinch playoff berth for second straight year

Key additions: D Henrik Tallinder, D Jamie McBain

Key losses: D Andrej Sekera, LW Nathan Gerbe

Analysis: The Sabres were sellers this past season, trading defenseman Jordan Leopold and winger Jason Pominville at the deadline. They haven't made any marquee moves this offseason, and I expect they'll be near the bottom of the division again.

They still have winger Thomas Vanek and goalie Ryan Miller, but those two alone aren't enough to carry this team. Miller's performance in the 2010 Winter Olympics seems like a lifetime ago, but suspect defense is more to blame for Buffalo's shortcomings than Miller's performance.

FLORIDA

2013 record: (15-27-6), 36 points, 15th in Eastern Conference

Playoffs: Didn't clinch playoff berth

Key additions: F Scott Gomez, F Jesse Winchester, Joey Crabb, D Matt Gilroy

Key losses: F Stephen Weiss, F Peter Mueller, F George Parros, D Filip Kuba, G Jose Theodore

Analysis: The Panthers lost longtime center Stephen Weiss to the Red Wings, but picked up another veteran in Scott Gomez. Gomez won't have the season Weiss will, but it's good to get an established veteran on a team full of youngsters.

With talent such as Jonathan Huberdeau, the Calder Trophy winner, the Panthers have a promising future, but they'll be near the bottom of the division in 2013-14.

MONTREAL

2013 record: (29-14-5), 63 points, second in Eastern Conference

Playoffs: Lost in five games to the Ottawa Senators in Eastern Conference quarterfinals

Key additions: F George Parros, F Danny Briere

Key losses: F Michael Ryder, F Colby Armstrong, F Blake Geoffrion, D Tomas Kaberle

Analysis: Went from dead last in the Eastern Conference in 2011-12 to second place last year. However, they got out-muscled once playoff time came and fell to the No. 7 Ottawa Senators.

They took care of the lack of grit by getting George Parros and while Danny Briere's production dipped in 2013, he'll get his fair share of points.

The Canadiens will be battling with Detroit and Ottawa for the second spot in the Atlantic Division, but they are certainly not a Cup-contending team.

OTTAWA

2013 record: (25-17-6), 56 points, seventh in Eastern Conference

Playoffs: Lost in five games to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Eastern Conference semifinals

Key additions: F Clarke MacArthur, F Bobby Ryan, D Joe Corvo

Key losses: F Daniel Alfredsson, D Sergei Gonchar, D Andre Benoit

Analysis: Losing defenseman Erik Karlsson for 31 games in a 48-game season really hurt the Senators chances of a higher seed. They took care of Montreal, but couldn't get past the scoring machine that was the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Bobby Ryan is a huge addition to this team. He's a gritty forward who is starting to hit his stride in the NHL. He'll help a Senators team that was 27th in the league last year in goals scored per game at 2.3.

They do lose longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson, but Alfredsson clearly had checked out of Ottawa after saying the Senators probably would not come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Penguins. The Senators will be hovering around the No. 2 or No. 3 spot in the Atlantic Division.

TAMPA BAY

2013 record: (18-26-4), 40 points, 14th in Eastern Conference

Playoffs: Didn't clinch playoff berth for second straight year

Key additions: F Valtteri Filppula, F Jonathan Drouin

Key losses: F Vincent Lecavalier, F Benoit Pouliot, G Mathieu Garon

Analysis: Shaky goaltending was Tampa Bay's Achilles' heel in 2013. Anders Lindback and Mathieu Garon each had a 2.90 GAA. Lindback sported a .902 save percentage and Garon had an .897.

They brought in Ben Bishop from Ottawa last season, and he could win the starting job from Lindback. Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis will continue to produce, but they do lose captain Vincent Lecavalier.

Tampa Bay will hover around the bottom of the division. The Lightning have the capability of putting up goals on the scoreboard, but can't keep their opponents off of it. Bishop will be an improvement, but he isn't the long-term answer.

TORONTO

2013 record: (26-17-5), 57 points, fifth in Eastern Conference

Playoffs: Lost in seven games to the Boston Bruins in Eastern Conference quarterfinals

Key additions: F David Clarkson, C Dave Bolland, G Jonathan Bernier

Key losses: F Mikhail Grabovski, F Clarke MacArthur, D Mike Komisarek

Analysis: After missing the playoffs for the past seven years, Toronto was 10 minutes away from clinching a spot in the Eastern Conference semifinals. However, a late meltdown caused the Maple Leafs to exit the playoffs early.

Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri will get their points this season, and the Maple Leafs addressed their goalie issues by trading for Los Angeles' Jonathan Bernier, who should be the starting goalie in October. David Clarkson will add some toughness and goal scoring as well.

The Maple Leafs are on the rise and should make the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who covers the Detroit Red Wings for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He also is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can follow Tom on Twitter.

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