1. Pittsburgh - even with a different name they are still the class of the division. Of course they still have to wonder about Fleury in April. Just stay healthy Sidney.
2. New York Islanders - JT should have won the Hart last year and lot of key parts are growing together. I feel 95 points for the Isles and even more for Tavares.
3. New York Rangers - Lundqvist is the best goalie in this division; let's see how playing for Vigneault affects everyone else.
4. Washington - Ovi in this Olympic year is a huge wild card.
5. Columbus - On the cusp of contending.
6. Philadelphia - Have to wonder about the goaltending for about the 35th year in a row
7. New Jersey - Devils better not finish last; they lost their first round draft pick (Kovalchuk).
8. Carolina - Two Staal's and Cam Ward can only take them so far.
Under the new playoff system, at least three and as many as five teams from the division will make the playoffs. (After the top three in each division qualify it's the next two teams in the conference, based on points)
Do Washington or Columbus get in? I'll say yes for the Caps and no for the Jackets, making it a balanced 4 and 4 from the two divisions. That doesn't mean however that Washington would face Pittsburgh. The first place team with the most points will face the team with the fewest, while the other wild card team will face the other division champion, so you could get a Pittsburgh-Detroit or Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay first round series even if there are 4 teams qualifying.
What is clear is that the 2nd and 3rd place teams will face each other -- and that's where you'll need Sinatra -- because for the first time in 20 springs I see a Rangers-Islanders playoff series in our future. And wouldn't that be special?