The Boston Bruins were, arguably, the best team in the NHL last season. Sure, they did not hoist the Stanley Cup, and in fact they were eliminated in the second round by the Montreal Canadiens, but that only means that the postseason didn't go their way. In the regular season, they won the President's Trophy, and their goal differential, plus-84, was almost 30 better than any other team. Sure, the East is not as tough as the West, but that's worth something. Anyway, Boston was great, and they still play in the East, and Tuukka Rask still exists.
No team in the East was better at goal prevention last season, and only the Los Angeles Kings, who won the Cup, were close. That's a nice reminder that not letting in goals is a good thing for an NHL team. Rask won the Vezina, deservedly. Patrice Bergeron won the Selke for best defensive forward. Zdeno Chara was the runner up for the Norris. I don't agree with that last one, but he's still great, and he's still tall. Rask's numbers may drop a tinge this season, but only because they were so good last year. We're talking about a guy with a .928 save percentage on his career, after all. He has a new backup now, and Chad Johnson was good, but Rask was a backup once. The Bruins will be fine in net.
The defense has some promising young players like Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton to pair with the defensive stoutness of Chara. The only real question with this team is scoring. David Krejci led the team with a mere 69 points. The Bruins do have depth, but one of their two 30-goal scorers, Jarome Iginla, is gone. On the other hand, I expect Loui Eriksson to really improve his numbers this year. I don't know if he can replicate Iginla's 30 goals and 61 points, but I bet he can get close.
I'd tell you more, but the dude behind Extra Skater got hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, so that site is down. Good for the Leafs, not good for guys like me.
Anyway, in short, the Bruins will make the playoffs. The Bruins probably will win their division again, although Tampa Bay does intrigue me. I'll take Boston as the favorite in the East, once again. Boring, but the truth. They might not make it to the Cup. They didn't this season, after all. However, they are the team to beat, and if their offense sees any uptick, this year could be theirs once more.