New York Hockey: ESPN The Magazine

Mag rankings place Isles 28th in NHL

September, 27, 2010
The positive playoff vibes coming into the season took a hit with the shoulder injury to Mark Streit, but according to the Puck Prospectus projections used to compile ESPN The Magazine's 2010-11 power rankings, maybe Streit isn't missing much.

The Islanders place 28th in the NHL in the rankings, just ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are tagged as the East's worst team.

According to a note in the article, the numbers were crunched before the team's top defenseman went down, so it doesn't even account for Streit's absence from an already meager power play.

But let's not dwell on the dark side. Puck Prospectus also provides point total projections for young star John Tavares. While some are looking for a Steven Stamkos-like breakout season, Prospectus isn't quite so bullish, but they do see a very successful campaign.

"The Islanders would like nothing better than for John Tavares' sophomore season to resemble that of Steven Stamkos. This is unlikely, if only because so few players break out so dramatically. It's more realistic to expect 70 points from Tavares, as he and the Islanders' other young guns are still a year from contention ..."

Before anyone discounts the Prospectus scoring projection out of hand, you may want to know that the outfit accurately predicted Sidney Crosby's net-scorching season last year. They're not just pulling this stuff out of thin air. And while the projection doesn't match the epic season of Stamkos, 70 points is nothing to sneeze at.

Devils top Atlantic in Mag projections

September, 27, 2010
The ESPN The Magazine 2010-11 preseason power rankings were released today, with the Devils beating out the Penguins for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.

The rankings, powered by the VUKOTA projection system of Puck Prospectus, break down each team into eight categories, weighted by importance. The Devs score a little over 6 on the 10 point scale, good for third in the East. Most interestingly though, the only get a 5 (out of 10) in the scoring category, despite acquiring Ilya Kovalchuk this summer.

Division foe John Tavares was a little more wary of the new-look Devils. From the article:
"They've always been a hardworking team," [Tavares] says. "They're one of the few teams in the league that plays as a five-man unit. And now, in addition to being tough defensively, they're going to have a huge weapon that can score at any time."

It's an Insider article (though free for ESPN The Magazine subscribers), so I can't divulge too much, but it serves as a nice teaser for the rest of the day's reading.

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