• Made the playoffs last year for the first time in eternity and followed it up by hopefully settling their erratic goalie situation in acquiring Jonathan Bernier.
7. NEW YORK ISLANDERS
2013: 24-17-7, 8th in East (55 points)
• New captain John Tavares put up an MVP-type season last year, and look for him again to lead this up-and-coming team.
8. WASHINGTON CAPITALS
2013: 27-18-3, 3rd in East (57 points)
• Alex Ovechkin got off to a slow start last season before pouring it on en route to his third Hart Trophy. No slow start this season.
9. MONTREAL CANADIENS
2013: 29-14-5, 2nd in East (63 points)
• Was a surprise out of the East last season, but last season’s Carey Price was nothing like the Carey Price of three years ago.
10. PHILADELPHIA Flyers
2013: 23-22-3, 10th in East (49 points)
• Ilya Bryzgalov and his idiosyncrasies were purged in the offseason, but the jury’s out as to whether Ray Emery and Steve Mason will solve Philly’s eternal goaltending issues.
11. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
2013: 24-17-7, 9th in West (55 points)
• Hard-working team that should score more with a full season of Marian Gaborik, but goalie Sergei Bobrovsky will be asked again to carry the load.
12. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
2013: 18-26-4, 14th in East (40 points)