We have talked about the North Division, near to death, even though I can't wait for our games to start. Checking in on San Jose, since they picked up Balcers and Claessen, has me wondering the path to playoffs, for team that in a traditional Division season might not do well. San Jose is one that I believe benefits greatly from this realignment, but what about the other division.
Tampa, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas - seem to be a class ahead of Detroit, Florida, Nashville and Chicago. Surprises could happen, but that's how I would pencil it, as a out of division bystander. Chicago/Nashville could benefit the most from moving out of a very tough Central division, but the top 4 are going to be tough to beat.
East Division: Hardest to predict division
Boston, Caps, Philly and Pittsburgh would be my tempted picks, but NYI, Rangers and Buffalo seem much improved, with New Jersey being the obvious team out of contention unless everything goes their way.
West Division: The division that benefits and gets hurt the most.
Vegas, Colorado, St Louis are the teams to beat, with Pheonix, San Jose and Minni looking like the most likely to fight for the last spot. That being said Anaheim and LA both made good picks, moves this offseason and the NHL has shown some teams can do a good turnaround with a decent core.