2013-14 NHL Season Preview: Ranking the Atlantic Division's Top 5 Contenders

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2013-14 NHL Season Preview: Ranking the Atlantic Division's Top 5 Contenders
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Pavel Datsyuk and the Red Wings are moving to the Eastern Conference

We're still months away from the 2013-14 NHL season, but that doesn't mean it's too early to take a look at the Atlantic Division's top contenders. Thanks to the league's realignment, the former Northeast Division teams are joined by the Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers under the new moniker.

Five of these eight teams made the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, but only three are guaranteed to return in 2014. Everyone else will battle it out for the Eastern Conference's final two wild-card playoff spots with the members of the Metropolitan Division.

In determining which of these teams is the best of the bunch, I'll approach my ranking in a matter-of-fact manner. I'll take a look at last year's performances, significant roster changes and internal development of younger players. 

They may not have been members of the division—or the conference, for that matter—but expect the Red Wings to give the Boston Bruins a run for their money.

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