NHL Northeast Division Moves and Thoughts on The Coming Season.

Bob RandleContributor IAugust 23, 2009

Has the Northeast division in the NHL fixed the holes that plagued them last season? During this off-season those teams have been off making trades, signing free agents, and remaking their lines to improve offence, defence, goaltending, and of course goal production. Lets take a look and see what each team did.

We'll start with the Buffalo Sabres analyzing what they lost, gained, and what they still might have to do. The Sabres lost Jaroslav Spacek who is a decent defence man who had 8 goals and 37 assists for 45 points which is a decent number for them,  He went to the Montreal Canadiens. Buffalo also gained players such as Mike Grier for enforcement purposes, Cody McCormick who is also for enforcement purposes but doesn't do much else, Joe Dipenta who just returned to the NHL after a year with Frolunda HC a Swedish professional hockey team who play in the highest Swedish league Elitserien, Steve Montador who had split the season with the Anaheim Ducks and then the Boston Bruins. The Sabres also resigned Clarke MacArthur, Andrej Sekera, and Patrik Kaleta. I think the Sabres signed a bunch of decent players but if they get the goaltending from Ryan Miller plus a little more then the Sabres will be back in the playoffs. Of course they also need the same goal production from their players they will have a playoff team here and more wins.

Next we have the Boston Bruins. The Bruins had a great year winning the Northeast Division and the Eastern Conference. With goaltending from Tim Thomas, and goal production from many of their young players such as Phil Kessel, David Krejci, Marc Savard, Michael Ryder, Mark Recchi, Blake Wheeler, and Chuck Kobasew who all scored 20 goals or more.The Bruins lost Stephane Yelle to the Carolina Hurricanes Steve Montador to the Buffalo Sabres and Shane Hnidy to the Minnesota Wild. The Bruins did a good job of resigning players such as Tim Thomas, Mark Recchi, David Krejci, and Byron Bitz. They acquired Steve Begin from Dallas and Derek Morris from the Rangers which is a good pick up for the D-Line. If the Bruins can maintain everything the same from last season they can be a good contender for next season.

Next we have the Ottawa Senators. The Senators have been quiet in this off-season but they did sign a quality player in Alex Kovalev who will add some goal production to Ottawa's lineup. The other players they got were resigned, players such as Brain Elliot and Chris Neil. They lost one player in Brendan Bell to the St Louis Blues but they can easily get by that. The only problem will the Dany Heatley drama as it is heard that a few of his teammates aren't happy with him at all so we will have to see if it is a distraction during the season. But if they get by that then they will be a high scoring team. They didn't improve on goaltending although Brian Elliot is supposedly the goalie of the future but the goaltending will have to be consistent in order to get a winning team from the nations capital.

Next we have the Montreal Canadiens. They have lost alot but gained alot in this off-season. Losing players such as Saku Koivu, Tom Kostopoulos, Alex Kovalev, and Mike Komisarek is losing alot but what they gained it will be interesting to see if it will click in the coming season. Gaining players such as Travis Moen, Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, Mike Cammaleri, Hal Gill, and Jaroslav Spacek. They now have more offensive power and more new faces to test out in Montreal to equal a winning team which will try to get past the first round (as they were swept in 4 games by the Bruins last season). Resigning Gregory Stewart, Kyle Chipchura, Guillaume Latendresse, and Tomas Plekanec will hopefully equal to a better team and higher in the Eastern Conference.

Finally we have the Toronto MapleLeafs. The Leafs had another disappointing year with sub-par results and missing the playoffs for the 4th straight season. They have acquired Francois Beauchemin, Colton Orr, and Mike Komisarek who are quality players but they need to click with the rest of the team. Plus if Vesa Toskala is consistent this year after hip surgery then the Leafs might make the playoffs but that also counts on scoring goals also.