2005_10_snhllogo.jpgThe Rangers are not going to sneak up on anyone this year. Last year, they were the surprise of the league, surging to first place in the Atlantic Division before collapsing late in the season to lose the division and get swept out of the playoffs. In the offseason they added players who know how to win in Brendan Shanahan, Aaron Ward and Matt Cullen to their solid core of Jagr, Nylander, Lundqvist, Straka and Prucha. Expect them to return to the playoffs and advance a couple of rounds.

The Devils managed to get under the salary cap thanks to a doctor’s decision and they used the relief to lockup Brian Gionta for the next three seasons. With Gionta, Elias and Gomez, the Devils will be able to score and they have the best goalie in the world, Martin Brodeur to keep them in games. They should make the playoffs, but unless Lou Lamoriello can engineer some more trade magic, they will have to be happy with that,

It might be better for everyone if the Islanders just stopped playing. Having suffered through years of lousy play on the ice, Islanders’ fans now have to suffer with complete incompetence off of it. Neil Smith was the GM for 40 days before being replaced by the backup goalie, Garth Snow. Pat LaFontaine quit the organization in disgust and then owner Charles Wang decided to give Rick DiPietro a ridiculous15-year contract. The question is, will the Islanders make it back to the playoffs in the next fifteen years?