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2010-11 Montreal Canadiens NHL Predictions and Odds

The Montreal Canadiens improbable playoff run last season raises a few questions. How did Montreal manage to win two Game 7s on the road, one against top-seed Washington and another against defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh? Where had that Montreal team been all regular season when it struggled just to get into the postseason? And then how did that same Montreal team get blown away by No. 7 seed Philadelphia in five games?

And, of course, the question most pertinent to this season, why is the hero of those playoffs, Jaroslav Halak, now suiting up for the St. Louis Blues?

The answer to the latter question is Carey Price. The 23-year old netminder signed a two-year contract extension in early September this year. Montreal is putting their faith in the netminder for the second season in a row. Price was the No. 1 goalie last season, but as the season wore on Halak began to handle more and more games before completely taking over in February and in the playoffs where Price only saw one game of action.

More so than any other team in the NHL, the situation in net could define this Montreal season. Behind Price will be veteran Alex Auld, who presents an ideal situation. The 29-year-old is a veteran and capable backup, but his job is to spell Price at times, not to have Price constantly looking over his shoulder. Auld has played 20-plus games in a season four times with four different teams, and the plan is for him to see around 20 starts this season.

The pressure will be on prospect Lars Eller to produce on either the second or third line. The pressure to produce comes from the fact that Eller was one of the pieces St. Louis sent to Montreal in exchange for Halak.

Tomas Pelkanec returned to his 2007-08 form last season when he scored 25 goals and added 45 assists. While Pelkanec was producing, center Scott Gomez was regressing. His 12 goals were the fewest since his third season in New Jersey. His 59 points were the fourth lowest of his 10-year career.

The Montreal Canadiens schedule opens at Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 7 and then they return to Pittsburgh, where they closed down Mellon Arena for good back in May. Montreal has one of the longest road swings in the NHL with a seven-game trip in late December that winds from Colorado to the East Coast and to Florida. Montreal gets its rematch against Philadelphia when it plays the Flyers twice in a four-game span in late November.

Offseason Moves
Losing Halak and gaining Auld is by no means a wash for Montreal. but when considering what Auld will be asked to do this move has the potential of helping the goalie situation. Eller and left winger Ian Schulz represent the return for Halak, and both have received high marks in training camp so far. Forwards Sergei Kostitsyn (Nashville) and Gregory Stewart (Edmonton ) and defenseman Shawn Belle (Edmonton) were the major notable departures from Montreal in the offseason.

Montreal Canadiens Predictions: Outlook
Montreal has the makeup of a playoff team, but to improve on its No. 8 seed from last season it will have to improve on an offense that averaged 2.6 goals per game last season (25th in the league). The Habs hope they have the postseason-like efforts of Mike Cammalleri, who scored 13 goals in 21 games compared to the regular season when he scored only 26 goals all season. The Halak trade could end up being addition by subtraction in the goalie situation and expect Montreal to resemble the team we all remember for their unprecedented playoff run last season and not the one who barely snuck into the playoffs.

Montreal Canadiens Futures Odds
Montreal’s NHL betting odds to return to the Eastern Conference finals are +700. To win the Northeast Division Montreal is listed at +400. Their odds to win the Eastern Conference are +1400 and their odds to win the Stanley Cup, +2500. The Habs ‘over/under’ for total season wins is 40.5. Odds are courtesy of BetUS.

NHL Predictions for Montreal Canadiens
Their playoff run was not a fluke last season. Montreal has the personnel in place to make another run. They won 39 games last season and an improvement should be expected, so take ‘over’ 40.5 wins.

Doc Moseman is one of the pioneers of the NHL handicapping industry. Check out his Web site for up-to-the-minute NHL Odds and his famous winning hockey picks.

2010-11 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL Predictions and Odds

I’m starting my NHL Central Division previews at the bottom, as the Columbus Blue Jackets finished the 2009-10 season with 35 wins and just 79 points, 11 behind fourth-place St. Louis. It was the first time the team had finished in the Central cellar since 2003 and the campaign was considered a huge disappointment after Columbus reached the playoffs the season before. That cost Coach Ken Hitchcock his job last winter, as a result Scott Arniel is the new coach.

There was certainly more than one reason for Columbus’ slide, but goalie Steve Mason took a huge step back after being a Vezina finalist in his 2008-09 rookie year when he led the NHL with 10 shutouts. Last season Mason’s save percentage of .901 was 37th out of 44 qualified goaltenders, while his goals against average of 3.08 was 38th. The Jackets dropped from ninth in the NHL in goals allowed (223) in 2008-09 to 24th (249) last season. Earlier this week, the Jackets locked up the 22-year-old with a two-year extension, keeping the goalie under contract for the next three years. The deal is for $ 5.8 million total. He reportedly lost 15 pounds this offseason and is in the best shape of his young career.

The Jackets still don’t have enough offense around superstar Rick Nash, who also took a step back in overall production last season with 33 goals and 34 assists. Everyone keeps waiting for him to turn into a 50-goal scorer. Thanks to solid seasonsfrom Antoine Vermette, Kristian Huselius, R.J. Umberger and Jakub Voracek, the Jackets had five 50-point scorers for the first time in franchise history. Yet the Blue Jackets sunk to 20th in the league in scoring last season, netting just 214 goals. Supposedly the Jackets will have a much more offensive system this year under Arniel.

Columbus Blue Jackets’ Offseason Moves
In all honesty, the team really didn’t make any big splashes in either direction (Ethan Moreau?) in offseason additions other than an entirely new coaching staff. Arniel, the fifth coach in franchise history, joins the Jackets after spending four seasons as coach of the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate. Veteran goalie Mathieu Garon was brought in to back up Mason. But the key move could be the return of 2008 first-round pick Nikita Filatov. After floundering early last year, he was allowed to play with CSKA Moscow of the KHL. In 26 KHL regular season games, Filatov had nine goals and 13 assists.

Columbus Blue Jackets Predictions: Outlook
Is this the surprise team of two seasons ago or the bottom-feeder of last year? A lot of that could depend on the new offensive system and Filatov and Derick Brassard stepping up. The latter had an impressive rookie season two years ago but then scored only nine goals in a tough third season. The hope is that he can end up next to Nash on the No. 1 line, which was the plan last season. But the Jackets really have the bad misfortune to be stuck in arguably the best division in hockey with powerhouses Chicago and Detroit, up-and-coming St. Louis and always-overachieving Nashville. Last place looks likely again. The Columbus Blue Jackets schedule starts out tough as they open the season at home against the defending Stanley Cup champs.

Columbus Blue Jackets Futures Odds
The NHL lines to win the Central Division or ‘over/under’ win odds weren’t active at press time for Columbus. Its odds to win the Western Conference are +5000, which are tied with Edmonton and Minnesota for the longest. The Jackets’ odds to win the Stanley Cup are +10000. Needless to say, it would not be wise to take a longshot on this team.

NHL Predictions for Columbus Blue Jackets
Hopefully this will at least be a more exciting team now that it won’t be under the complete defensive strategy favored by Hitchcock. And maybe Nash can carry the team to 85 points or the like. Columbus needs an infusion of something because fan support is waning, with season-ticket sales down more than 25 percent from last year.

Doc Moseman is one of the pioneers of the NHL handicapping industry. Check out his Web site for up-to-the-minute NHL Odds and his famous winning hockey picks.

2010-11 Buffalo Sabres NHL Predictions and Odds

Last season Buffalo got away from its all-offense, all-the-time mentality and found themselves back in the playoffs. Leaning on their defense while scoring the fewest goals since the 2004 NHL lockout, the Sabres returned to the playoffs after a two-year absence.

The 207 goals Buffalo allowed were the fewest since 2001-02 thanks to Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller. The United States Olympic hero had a career year, winning 41 games and posting a 2.22 GAA, both career highs to go along with his silver medal.

The other leader of the Buffalo defense, Tyler Myers, picked up some hardware of his own. He won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie last season. Unfortunately for Miller, Myers, and the rest of the Buffalo defense, keeping a D that ranked fourth last season in the league intact was not a priority of the front office this offseason.

Lindy Ruff, the longest tenured coach in the NHL, returns for his 13th season. Ruff has led the Sabres to the playoffs only three times in the last eight seasons, and if Buffalo fails to get into the postseason or even out of the first round again the angst in Buffalo will grow even larger.

The Sabres finished 45-27-10 last season with 100 points to win the Northeast Division and earn the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. In the playoffs they were dealt a tough blow when leading scorer Thomas Vanek was lost in the first round series against Boston.

The Buffalo Sabres schedule keeps them at home for four consecutive games after opening the season at Ottawa on Friday Oct. 8. A critical stretch for Buffalo comes in December when it meets Boston three times in three weeks.

Offseason Moves
The thinking of GM Darcy Regier must have been that the defensive success from last season had everything to do with Miller and Myers. Regier let defensemen Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman leave via free agency. Those two losses will have the greatest impact on the Sabres, but defenseman Jordan Leopold was brought in after a short stint with the Penguins and Shaone Morrisonn was signed after six years in Washington to help fill defensive holes. Center Rob Niedermayer (New Jersey) and winger Tim Conboy (Carolina) were two other low-risk free agent signings Regier oversaw this offseason.

Buffalo Sabres Predictions: Outlook
The heart and soul of last season’s team took a hit in the offseason when Tallinder and Lydman left, but this will still be a squad that makes its living by preventing goals, not by outscoring the opponent. Even though they are defending division champs, the Northeast division is Boston’s to lose. The Bruins proved that in a first round series win over Buffalo last season. Buffalo appears to have taken a step back from last season and this team will be forced to lean heavily on its goalie.

Buffalo Sabres Futures Odds
The reigning Northeast Division champions are not expected to repeat. Buffalo’s NHL betting odds are +450 to win the division, behind Boston (-150) and even Montreal and Ottawa (+400). The Sabres’ odds to win the Eastern Conference are +1800 and their odds to win the Stanley Cup are +3000. Their season win total ‘over/under’ is 43.5. Odds are courtesy of BetUS.

NHL Predictions for Buffalo Sabres
A lot will be asked of Miller and a lot will be asked of Myers, who is only a second year player. The defense will certainly regress and another 45-win season does not look to be in the books. Expect Buffalo to get close to 40 wins but stay ‘under’ the total of 43.5.

Doc Moseman is one of the pioneers of the NHL handicapping industry. Check out his Web site for up-to-the-minute NHL Odds and his famous winning hockey picks.

2010-11 New York Islanders NHL Predictions and Odds

There are two ways to look at the New York Islanders current situation. There is the positive of an 18-point increase from the 2008-09 season to last year, but a third straight Atlantic Division last-place finish also lets you know just how far the Islanders have to go.

Under GM Garth Snow the Islanders have been moving in the right direction over the course of the past few years. Even with the positive steps that have been taken the Islanders still have a long road to travel and tangible postseason results are still off in the distance.

The first overall pick in the 2009 draft, John Tavares, is the unquestioned future of this team. He scored 24 goals last season including 11 power-play goals, best on the team. He finished with 54 points and another major step forward in his career should be expected this season. Matt Moulson scored a quiet 30 goals last season to lead the team and winger Kyle Okposo is another young talent with a lot of potential.

The offense was not exactly great last season (21st in the NHL), but it was far from the Islanders biggest problem. Allowing 3.15 goals per game last season, New York finished a dismal 28th in defense in the league.

The goalie situation is also an area of concern. Rick DiPietro is as fragile as they come in the NHL. The Islanders still want him as the goalie of the future, but until he proves he can last an entire season, or at least half a season, New York will lean on 40-year old veteran Dwayne Roloson. He played in 50 games last season, considerably more than the Islanders wanted to. However, they had no choice.

Scott Gordon is in the final year of his three-year contract and he may not see the next calendar year if this Islanders season starts the way so many before it have.

The New York Islanders schedule is tough enough considering 24 of their games are against Atlantic Division rivals: New Jersey, New York Rangers, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In addition to that the Islanders play 12 of their first 17 games on the road, an unbelievably tough stretch for a team who went 11-23-7 on the road last season.

Offseason Moves
The key moves this offseason were aimed at bolstering the third worst defense in the NHL. The Islanders signed Mark Eaton, formerly of Pittsburgh, and dealt a draft pick for James Wisniewski, a four-year veteran fresh off a career year (30 points in 69 games) with Anaheim. They will join veteran holdover Mark Streit as leaders of a defense that at the very least will be an upgrade from last season.

The Islanders parted ways with backup goalie Martin Biron (New York Rangers), which could come back and bite the team if Roloson or DiPietro are forced to miss extended time. There is no other goalie on the roster with NHL experience. Former Lightning enforcer and highlight of most hockey fighting compilations, Zenon Konopka, is another noteworthy addition to the Islanders. He led the NHL with 265 penalty minutes last season.

New York Islanders Predictions: Outlook
Another 30-goal season seems to be a lot to ask from Moulson, but Tavares and Okposo are capable of taking that next step in their development. The defense will improve, but the goalie situation has the potential to deteriorate and derail this season.

New York Islanders Futures Odds
The Islanders NHL betting odds for season wins total ‘over/under’ is the lowest in the NHL at 32.5. They are long shots to win the Atlantic Division (+2500), the Eastern Conference (+5000) and obviously the Stanley Cup (+10,000).

NHL Predictions for New York Islanders
Give credit to the Islanders for having a plan and sticking to it. If Snow and Gordon are given time the Islanders could make another step in the right direction this season, but a drastic improvement off of their 13th-place Eastern Conference finish last season should not be expected. If New York is blessed with healthy goalies they should be able to surpass 32.5 wins.

Doc Moseman is one of the pioneers of the NHL handicapping industry. Check out his Web site for up-to-the-minute NHL Odds and his famous winning hockey picks.

How Soccer Predictions Are Made

Soccer
by WSDOT

Making correct soccer predictions is easier said than done. It is a skill that many people would like to have but few have managed to get right with any degree of consistency. There are so many variables to the game and depending on the rules at the least, three outcomes to every game. This does not include how many goals are scored or what the half time score is. Neither does it take into consideration how may goals could be scored by each team at the half time break.

Some important factors that can and do influence the outcome of the game are which team has the home advantage, the records of both teams in terms of wins, losses and draws, how many goals each team has scored thus far, how many goals that each team has conceded, what position each team is currently holding in the league.

Other factors include whether any key players are currently injured. One or both of the teams could have recently bought a star player that is going to be playing in the game. Even if one has all this information and much analysis is done, one can still incorrectly predict the outcome of the game.

There are websites that one can visit to see what predictions these sites make in terms of outcomes of selected games. One can log onto the site to check the predictions. It is natural that one will have to pay to be privy to these predictions. For people who are involved in sports betting this could be a very viable option. That is only if they predict the correct outcomes more often than not.

In certain countries, there are bet types where one has to predict the outcome of six games over a weekend. There are three outcomes that one is able to select. Either a home win, a draw or an away win. One is also able to take a permutation of the bet. This is where more than one result can be predicted for each game.

Permutations of the bet can become quite expensive however. If it costs six dollars to predict one result in each of the six games then one would spend six dollars to take what is referred to as a straight-line bet. This is simply selecting one result for each of the games. The results could vary for each game. One might select a draw in two of the games, home wins in two of the games and away wins in the remaining two games. This is simple enough.

In the case of a permutation it could work out somewhat more expensive. One might select outright results in three of the games. These could for example be three home wins. In the other three games, one could select all three results in two of the games and two results in the last game.

The cost of the bet would be quite a bit more than six dollars. This bet would be calculated using the following formula 6x 1x1x1x3x3x2. This bet would then cost one hundred and eight dollars. Many people feel that this adds an element of fun to the art of soccer predictions.

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Baseball Predictions For Today – 2010 MLB Baseball Predictions

Baseball Predictions For Today

These aren’t the Cleveland Indians from a few years ago. This team has been gutted by trades, from Cy Young winners C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee to dealing Victor Martinez to the Boston Red Sox. The 2010 edition of the Cleveland Indians will be very young and not very deep.

Pitching

Lee threw 22 games for the Indians last year before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, and if you take away his efforts, then this team had a 5.75 ERA. Overall they were second-to-last in the majors with a 5.06 team ERA, so this year things could get ugly on the mound.

Fausto Carmona is the team’s top hurler, but after posting ERAs of 5.44 and 6.32 the last two seasons, fans can’t be excited about that. Justin Masterson, who came over from Boston in the Martinez trade, and Aaron Laffey will be two young arms this team is counting on to eat up innings. Baseball Predictions For Today

Jake Westbrook missed last season coming back from Tommy John surgery, but how effective will he be now? The No. 5 starter is slotted to be David Huff, but his ERA was 5.61 in 2009. When it comes to the bullpen a lead does not guarantee a win. Kerry Wood, Chris Perez, and Rafael Perez are going to have to do a better job of locking down close games if this team wants to move up the standings.

Lineup

The Indians won’t be scaring opposing pitchers this year either. Instead of veterans like Martinez or Kelly Shopach behind the plate, you’ll find inexperience. The infield is composed of Russell Branyan, Luis Valbuena, Jhonny Peralta, and Asdrubal Cabrera.

Branyan displayed some power a year ago but hit.251. Cabrera hit over.300 but hit just six home runs. Travis Hafner is one of those guys who you have to wonder about performance enhancing drugs with, due to the steep dropoff and injuries he’s sustained the past couple of years.

Out in the outfield there are a couple of players I like, with Grady Sizmore poised for a bounce back year and Shin-Soo Choo an under the radar star who hit over.300 with 20 home runs. Matt LaPorta will be given his shot out in left. Baseball Predictions For Today

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2010-11 Minnesota Wild NHL Predictions and Odds

If the NHL were a color wheel, the Minnesota Wild would be grey. They aren’t offensive or brash. They aren’t anything really. You just hardly notice that they are around. They are kind of like the Minnesota Timberwolves—it must be something in the water in Minneapolis.

The Wild went through a transition last year—or at least that was the original plan. After Jacques Lemaire had led the team throughout their history to play a system in which defense was all that mattered and offense was an afterthought, new Coach Todd Richards was supposed to turn the team into a far more effective offensive threat.

It didn’t really turn out that way. They dropped from No. 2 to No. 21 in the defensive rankings in the league, and yet had only the 22nd best offense. It’s no wonder that they weren’t very good. Needless to say, Richards has some work to do this year.

One interesting development with this team is their renewed focus on conditioning in the offseason. Lemaire is an old school guy, so he didn’t place a lot of importance on offseason workouts. When Richards tried to turn up the speed on offense last year, he found a team that wasn’t up for the challenge. Players were worked with much more in the offseason, and have been held much more accountable for their physical preparedness in the fall. The impact of that, if it was done well, should show up on the ice.

Minnesota Wild Offseason Moves
The Wild cut some fat from the roster, including ancient forward Owen Nolan and useless tough guy Derek Boogaard. They replaced those guys with a couple of veterans in Matt Cullen and John Madden. They added a younger player in Eric Nystrom, who showed some promise with Calgary. Cullen and Madden are both centers who will help the team both up the middle and in the dressing room.

Minnesota Wild Predictions: Outlook
I don’t think that this is a playoff team, but they could be in the mix. To do that, though, they will need a lot of things to go right for them. Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who missed all but one game last year with concussion issues, will have to prove himself healthy and productive.

Martin Havlat will have to prove that the big contract he got last year wasn’t a total waste of money. Mikko Koivu needs to take another big step forward. The team needs to learn how to be at least somewhat competent on the road—last year they were hopeless.

Minnesota Wild NHL Odds
Minnesota is 80/1 to win the Stanley Cup. Only the Islanders and the Blue Jackets are longer shots. They get scarcely more respect in the conference, where they are 50/1, or in their division, where they are 20/1. The season point total is set at 85.5.

Minnesota Wild NHL Predictions
The Wild could be in the playoff mix, and a second-place finish in the division and an eighth-place in the conference (and the playoff berth that goes with it) aren’t out of the question, but I sure wouldn’t bet on it. I don’t think that Richards is a great coach, and he doesn’t have a whole lot to work with here. If everyone played at their best this still isn’t a very good team.

As a hockey handicapper my best guess is that they will finish third in the division ahead of Calgary and Edmonton, but behind Colorado and in a different universe than the Canucks. That would put them 10th or so in the conference.

The season points total is pretty tight, but I would lean slightly to the “over.” They had 84 points last year and are healthier and fitter to start the season. I don’t look for a big move forward, but the neighborhood of 88 points would be achievable.

Doc Moseman is one of the pioneers of the NHL handicapping industry. Check out his Web site for up-to-the-minute NHL Odds and his famous winning hockey picks.

Philadelphia Flyers 2010-11 NHL Predictions

The Flyers 2009-10 regular season came down to a shootout in the final game of the season. The Flyers won that shootout, earned a No. 7 seed and proceeded to shock the world and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

After that improbable run Philadelphia will certainly not be sneaking up on anybody this season. The Flyers remain one of the more physical teams in the league, but in last year’s postseason their skill players showed that this team has that added offensive dimension to make an extended postseason run.

Mike Richards and Jeff Carter both surpassed 30 goals and 60 points last season. There is a ton of depth behind them with Daniel Briere (26 goals and 27 assists last season) and youngsters Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk. Chris Pronger has meshed right in with the Philadelphia defensive rotation.

Anybody who just watched Philadelphia in the playoffs might think that the goaltending situation is a strength of the team, but entering the season it appears to be the biggest question mark. Waiver-wire acquisition and former third-fiddle goaltender Michael Leighton emerged as one of the more valuable commodities in the playoffs. After Ray Emery and Brian Boucher were sidelined with injuries, Leighton took the reins. He certainly had his moments, but he was far from consistent. Despite catching lighting in a bottle and carrying Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup Finals, his career record in the NHL remains 34-40-10. The defense will need to do its best to cover up for Leighton’s shortcomings.

The Flyers hit the road to open the season as they have the unenviable task of helping the Penguins christen their new arena on Thursday, Oct. 7. The Flyers and Penguins will actually meet three times in October. After a road trip to St. Louis for Game 2, the Philadelphia Flyers schedule eases up with a five-game homestand.

Offseason Moves
Arron Asham is suiting up for division rival Pittsburgh while former Penguin, veteran winger Bill Guerin has a decent shot of earning a roster spot in Flyers’ training camp. Simon Gagne is off to Tampa Bay and goon Riley Cote is retired and replaced by enforcer Jody Shelley. The Flyers are the latest team to take a chance on journeyman forward Nikolai Zherdev, it is a low-risk gamble on the fourth-overall draft pick in the 2003 draft, but there is a high reward to be had.

Philadelphia Flyers Predictions: Outlook
They were two games away from the Stanley Cup, but they were also one shootout loss away from missing the postseason. That needs to be remembered when setting honest expectations from this group. Philadelphia has weapons and the bodies to play the physical brand of hockey Philadelphia fans have become accustomed to. There is plenty of potential amongst the second and third liners, but for the most part it is unproven.

Philadelphia Flyers Futures Odds
A year after winning the Eastern Conference, the Flyers’ hockey odds of repeating are +700. Their odds to win the Stanley Cup are +1200. Within the division they have the third best odds (+350) to win the Atlantic. Their season win total ‘over/under’ is 42.5. Odds are courtesy of BetUS.

NHL Predictions for Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers have the talent and experience to separate themselves from the Rangers and Islanders in the Atlantic Division, but likely will not be able to hang with the Penguins and Devils for an 82-game season. Do not be surprised if Philadelphia’s playoff future is still in jeopardy as the season winds down. Philadelphia ‘under’ 42.5 wins looks to be one of the strongest NHL future plays right now.

Doc Moseman is one of the pioneers of the NHL handicapping industry. Check out his Web site for up-to -the-minute NHL Odds and his famous winning hockey picks.

New York Rangers 2010-11 NHL Predictions

NHL
by toff63

Their postseason fate came down to a shootout with Philadelphia in the final game of the regular season. The Rangers were on the wrong end of the result and sent into the offseason to wonder ‘what if’ while the Flyers came out on the right side of things, reached the playoffs and eventually the Stanley Cup Finals.

Management realizes how close the Rangers were to reaching the postseason for the fifth consecutive season. Their careful wading into the offseason free agent waters was evidence that management likes the makeup of this team.

Training camp got off to a rocky start. Captain Chris Drury has been ruled out for the preseason and at least the first week of the season after his left hand got in the way of a hard shot during a scrimmage. The 34-year old winger had been one of the most consistent players in the Rangers lineup.

Entering his second full year with the Rangers, Coach John Tortorella recently received a vote of confidence from management after just missing the playoffs last season.

The New York Rangers schedule is a friendly one, sending them on only one road trip longer than three games. New York opens the regular season at Buffalo and then visits the Islanders before hosting Toronto in their home opener.

Offseason Moves
The Rangers brought in backup Martin Biron to Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist who played a career-high 73 games last season. That was a New York Rangers single season record, but not a record the team wanted to break. Biron finally gives the Rangers a legitimate second option behind Lundqvist. Winger Derek Boogaard comes over from Minnesota to replace the departed Jody Shelley (Philadelphia) in the role of enforcer.

New York’s most significant move was bringing in winger Alexander Frolov from Los Angeles. He scored 19 goals and added 32 assists last season and could be in store for a huge season if he ends up playing on the same line with Marian Gaborik.

Another offseason move of sorts was the Rangers coming to terms with 2008 second-round draft pick Derek Stepan back in July. There is a chance Stepan could make the NHL roster and be paired with Gaborik and Frolov on the top line.

The Rangers made one of their most important offseason moves when they came to terms with No. 1 defenseman Marc Staal on a five-year deal, thus preventing a potential holdout and headache.

New York Rangers NHL Season Predictions: Outlook
The Rangers realized how close they were to the playoffs last season and they avoided an offseason shakeup. Their biggest moves included bringing in a backup goalkeeper and coming to terms with a top draft pick and a top defenseman. While the Rangers were tweaking minor things, Atlantic Division rivals New Jersey, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were involved in an arms race. Competing in the Atlantic Division will be an uphill climb for the Rangers.

New York Rangers Futures Odds
Rangers are a longshot to win the Atlantic Division. Consider this: their NHL odds to win the division (+2000) are the same as their odds to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Their odds to win the Eastern Conference are +4000 and +5000 to win the Stanley Cup. After winning 38 games last season, the Rangers season win total ‘over/under’ is 40.5.

NHL Predictions for New York Rangers
The Rangers will have a hard time breaking into the top three of the Atlantic Division. They are not a legitimate division title contender, but the playoffs are certainly a possibility. They won 38 games last season and they will be lucky to reach that mark again. Expect the Rangers to stay ‘under’ 40.5 wins.

Doc Moseman is one of the pioneers of the NHL handicapping industry. Check out his Web site for up-to -the-minute NHL Odds and his famous winning hockey picks.