2014/15 NHL Preview

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The 2014/15 NHL season faced off on Wednesday, October 8 and will see the regular season conclude on Saturday, April 11 with the playoffs starting shortly after. The Los Angeles Kings will be attempting to defend the Stanley Cup, but will have some stiff opposition from several legitimate contenders.
This is a look at all 30 teams in the 2014/15 NHL season and predicting where they’ll rank from first to worst.
1-Chicago Blackhawks-Central Division
Last Season’s Finish: 46-21-15-Seventh Overall-107 points Incoming Players: C Brad Richards Outgoing Players: C Michal Handzus, F Brandon Bollig, G Nikolai Khabibulin, D Sheldon Brookbank, and D Nick Leddy Head coach: Joel Quenneville General manager: Stan Bowman Chicago took the Los Angeles Kings to overtime in the seventh and final game of the Western Conference last year after finishing the season third in their division. The club has two of the league’s top attacking lines with players such as Brad Richards, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell, and Patrick Kane. The defense is solid with Duncan Keith leading the way and Corey Crawford is an underrated goalie. The Blackhawks are a very consistent team and are good enough to take top spot in the league this season if they can improve on the power play and penalty killing.
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2-Boston Bruins-Atlantic Division
Last Season’s Finish: 54-19-9, 83-First Overall-117 points Incoming Players: None Outgoing Players: RW Jarome Iginla, LW Shawn Thornton, G Chad Johnson, D Andrej Meszaros, and D Johnny Boychuk Head coach: Claude Julien General manager: Peter Chiarelli
The Bruins were first overall last season, but were beaten in the second round of the playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens. They didn’t acquire any notable players during the summer since they had no room left under the salary cap. However, they lost some good players for the same reason and could be slightly weaker this season. They still have solid leadership in place with forwards Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, and David Krejci, and Zdeno Chara leads the blue line corps. Goaltender Tuukka Rask is one of the best in the league and the Bruins will challenge for the top spot in the league once again.
3-Anaheim Ducks-Pacific Division
Last Season’s Finish-54-20-8-Second Overall-116 points Incoming Players:  C Ryan Kesler, F Nate Thompson, D Clayton Stoner, and RW Dany Heatley
Outgoing Players: G Jonas Hiller, D Stephane Robidas, C Saku Koivu, C Nick Bonino, RW Teemu Selanne, LW Daniel Winnik, D Luca Sbisa, and C Mathieu Perreault Head coach: Bruce Boudreau General manager: Bob Murray
Anaheim captured the Pacific Division in 2013/14, but the Los Angeles Kings knocked them out of the divisional final in the postseason. Ryan Kesler is a good addition at center, but veteran winger Teemu Selanne will be missed. Head coach Bruce Boudreau should guide this team to a strong finish, but he could be taking a chance in net with Frederik Andersen and John Gibson taking over the duties from the departed Jonas Hillier and Viktor Fasth.
You can find more of this article in our November 2014 issue of ModelsMania

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