We’re back!  After a month-plus hiatus, Reid joins me to start looking at the upcoming season.  Today, our focus is on the entire Atlantic Division.  We discuss each team through a wide array of topics.  Which teams are better than last year, who is around the same and who are worse?  What player(s) on each team is due for regression, either positively or negatively?  In what order will the teams finish this year?  All of that and more are discussed on the newest Razzball Hockey Podcast brought to you by League Safe!

You can use League Safe for your fantasy leagues by going to leaguesafe.com/razzhockey

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It’s nice to have a bunch of superstars and a lot of luck on your side.  The Penguins became the first team in almost two decades to win back to back Stanley Cups.  On top of their usual fantasy studs, they had a few wingers emerge that look at the verge of becoming elite fantasy assets.  Not much has changed on the whole but hey, why change a team that keeps winning?  Let’s take a look at the Penguins’ roster and see what they’re working with for fantasy hockey:

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Another year, another Capitals heartbreak.  Once again, Washington had the most points in the NHL during the regular season only to lose to the Penguins in the second round of the playoffs.  I feel pretty safe in saying that last season’s Capitals was the best version of them all.  They still remain one of the best teams in the league but they lost plenty of talent in the offseason and their window is starting to close.  They have as much elite talent as anyone in the league but they desperately need some young players to produce to give them necessary depth.  Let’s take a look at what the Capitals are working with:

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There were plenty of positives and negatives for the Buffalo Sabres last season.  Injuries were a big reason why they stayed at the bottom of the Atlantic Division.  Their defense was as bad as anyone’s in the league.  Sam Reinhart failed to take a step forward.  On the other hand, they had the best power play in the league, Jack Eichel was outstanding and their goaltending, notably Robin Lehner, was excellent.  Out went Dan Bylsma and Tim Murray, in comes Phil Housley and Jason Botterill.  It’s time for a return to the playoffs for the Sabres and they have the talent to make it back.  How the team improves tactically under Housley and how much the defense improves will be the major factors.  Let’s see what my hometown team are working with:

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The streak has finally ended.  After 26 consecutive seasons of making the playoffs, the Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs last season.  They are a team that seems to be stuck in no man’s land.  They have an exciting young forward core in place (although some of them disappointed last season) but they also have a older set of players that are approaching the end.  Additionally, they have one of the worst bluelines in the league.  In a division full of teams on the rise, Detroit seems to be lagging a step behind.  Let’s take a look at what Detroit is working with:

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The Florida Panthers were the biggest surprise of 2015-16 as they went from near the bottom of the league to winning the Atlantic Division.  They entered last season with lofty expectations but an injury-riddled season saw them miss the playoffs.  Despite last season’s disappointment, the Panthers enter this season as a favorite to get back into the playoffs.  Their young core remains intact but there are plenty of new supplementary pieces around them instead of Jonathan Marchessault and Jaromir Jagr.  They have no superstar fantasy players but there are plenty of top end talents and intriguing pieces.  Let’s take a look at the Florida Panthers roster for the 2017-18 NHL Season:

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The Tampa Bay Lightning head into the 2017-18 season looking to get back into the playoffs following an extremely disappointing 2016-17.  After two deep runs in the playoffs, the Lightning couldn’t overcome a plethora of injuries, causing them to miss the playoffs by a single point.  Picking them to make the Stanley Cup Finals in the presesason didn’t work out so well for me.  Anyways, a healthy team should have no problem making the playoffs again but some puzzling offseason moves leave me a bit concerned of their overall upside.  From a fantasy perspective, Tampa has their usual set of elite options with some new supplemental pieces.  Additionally, we finally have a clear goaltending situation with Andrei Vasilevskiy, one of my favorite targets, getting full time duties.  Let’s take a look at what Tampa Bay is working with:

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The Toronto Maple Leafs went from the basement to the playoffs as one of the biggest surprises of the season.  Rookies, Mike Babcock, Frederik Andersen, the vets, everyone contributed to this massive turnaround.  Now, the Leafs are looked at as a perennial playoff team with future aspirations of a true Stanley Cup contender.  I don’t expect them to be a real contender this season, mostly because their blue line still needs a piece or two, but they should be a solid playoff team with plenty of fantasy contributors.  Let’s take a look at the riches Toronto is working with:

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The Boston Bruins returned to the playoffs on the back of their first line.  I would argue that Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak were the best trio in the league.  Injuries hurt them immensely in their first round loss to the Senators but thankfully for them, they get a chance to run it back.  Boston’s roster is almost identical to last season’s except for some young players that are ready to make a full time leap.  They don’t have many interesting pieces from a fantasy perspective but they have a few elite options and some top end prospects.  Let’s take a look at what they’re working with:

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