NHL Atlantic Division Preview 2022-23

by Scott Rickenbach

Atlantic Division 2022-23 Point Total Predictions

Boston Bruins – 107 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. Just such a consistent franchise for many seasons now. This team is built so well. Very strong top line many consider the best in the game and now the roster even stronger since David Krejci is back after going back to Czech Republic and missing last NHL season. With Patrice Bergeron also back for another season at age 37 this talented core group is trying to make one more run. There are question marks however as it is now a new coach in Jim Montgomery instead of Bruce Cassidy. Also, Bruins enter the season short-handed due to some guys still out after off-season surgeries. Boston could have some early season struggles but this team will be tough if everything comes together as the season goes along. 

Buffalo Sabres – 75 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to uppers 70s this season. This team is quite young and talented but did not make any big off-season moves. They will continue to languish at a level below the top teams like Boston, Tampa Bay, Toronto and Florida. The Sabres are exciting and developing young talent but still this team looks poised to be very similar to last season’s and that is just enough to be competitive but not next level. 

Detroit Red Wings – 74 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 80s this season. The youth rebuild has helped. The Red Wings are starting to make some positive steps after being patient with the youth rebuild. That continues this season and Detroit is getting close to being a playoff contender. Is unlikely they are there just yet but one has to like the additions of Copp and Perron and Husso. The team will continue to improve even more and should top last year’s improved point total. Have to like the hiring of a head coach (Lalonde) who was an assistant at Tampa Bay considering how strong the Lightning have been in recent season. 

Florida Panthers – 122 points last year. Predicting them to land right around the 100 mark this season. The Panthers surprised with how strong of a season they had last year but their goalie situation is a concern as Sergei Bobrovsky can run hot and cold and that continues from season to season. This team has to drop down some this season in my opinion after overachieving again last season. There was so much roster turnover too now and I know they brought in Matthew Tkachuk but they lost Jonathan Huberdeau in the process. Also, quite a few changes personnel-wise and how will new head coach Paul Maurice fit in with a roster that had so many off-season changes?

Montreal Canadiens – 55 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 70s this season. This is still a bad team but they should be better than last season as they did respond well to interim coach Martin St Louis and that is why he is no longer just an interim! Also, like the fact that Kent Hughes is now the GM rather than Marc Bergevin. But this team is still rebuilding with a lot of youth and has uncertainty at the goalie position. When your team captain (Nick Suzuki) is only 23 years old that says a lot about the youth of this hockey club. More growing pains this season but they will be better than last season at least. 

Ottawa Senators – 73 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 80s this season. If you like seeing goals you might want to tune into Sens games this season. They have a lot of talent offensively with young guys plus then added Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat in the off-season. Also, definitely like the Senators getting goalie Cam Talbot. However, this team still has a lot of youth and is weak on the blue line. Outside of the uber-talented Thomas Chabot there is just not a lot there. But Ottawa trying at least!

Tampa Bay Lightning – 110 points last year. Predicting them to land right around the 100 mark this season. Lost some good players so could drop a little but it is the systems in place here that make this team so strong each and every season in recent years. This season the losses of Ondrej Palat and Ryan McDonagh will be tough to overcome. Also, similar to Boston, the Bolts have a few guys that will be out for a period of time to start the season as they are recovering from off-season surgeries. Still one of the top teams in the NHL but this time they lost a little too much from the roster and the loss of assistant coach Lalonde (now head coach in Detroit) could hurt team a little too. 

Toronto Maple Leafs – 115 points last year. Predicting them to land right around the 110 mark this season. The core group is intact and they now have a goalie tandem of Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov but will one of them step up? Getting strong goalie work will be key because the Maple Leafs certainly have the talent up front to score plenty of goals on a regular basis. Also, Toronto got good news that John Tavares should only miss a couple weeks of time to start the season. He is already back and resuming skating. But this team has not won a playoff series in nearly 20 years and many are getting restless in Toronto to say the least. When a team plays with a lot of pressure it can be tough on them and they also have to see if Murray can stay healthy and if Samsonov can be more consistent. They must get better goaltending. Absolutely this is their division to lose this season. They should be the top team! Key word…should! 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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