from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
Many teams have question marks, and a couple (along with the Wings) are still in rebuilds. That gives the Wings hope for a few more victories and being more competitive than they've been in recent seasons.
Here's a thumbnail look at the teams in the Atlantic Division, with training camp approximately a month away:
- Tampa Bay — The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions are still going to be awfully good, and be a legitimate threat come playoff time to three-peat.
It's just that during the regular season, the Lightning may not quite as dominant.
They'll win enough to be one of the top three seeds in the division. But Tampa lost its entire superb, third-line of forwards, the depth doesn't look as first-rate as it has been in the past. They're going to ask some prospects to graduate and become relevant NHL players.
Having played so much hockey within short periods of time could bring on injuries, and more slumps than these past two seasons.
The front-line talent remains jaw-dropping, and there's a lot of it. But for various reasons, the Lightning will lose a few more games this season.
- Buffalo — The Sabres were awful last season, have been for a while now, and sure don't appear better heading into this season.
The future of star forward Jack Eichel remains hazy, as he's requested for a trade but the Sabres don't seem interested in dealing him. Eichel's neck injury only makes the situation cloudier.
There is so little competitive NHL talent on this roster, that victories will be few and far between this regular season.
For the Wings, and the rest of the NHL, if they don't earn two points playing Buffalo next season, it's been an unproductive evening.