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There were only a few games this past week in the NHL so instead of doing a Buster’s Top-10, we will do a report on all 31 NHL clubs giving them grades for the first half of the hockey season. Buster’s Top-10 will be back on February 10th as we are in Miami for the Super Bowl next week. Buster Sports dominated the NHL last year with a record of 166-126-9, making their clients a PROFIT OF 115.68%.
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Buster’s NHL Mid-Season Grades
WASHINGTON CAPITALS: GRADE A+
This Washington club leads the NHL in points and that was definitely not expected out of this club this year. This is why they will get the best rating on our list of clubs. They have won 6 out of their last 8 games and they have all the tools to make a run to win another Stanley Cup. They have the second best PK in the NHL and come playoff time that will be a HUGE key to their success.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: GRADE A
All we can say is WOW. This has been a great coaching job by HC Mike Sullivan as the Penguins have had a ton of injuries including losing leading scorer Jake Guentzel and Sidney Crosby. There is a lot to like with this club moving forward. They have two solid goaltenders in Jarry and Murray and once everyone is healthy, they will be a team no one wants to meet in the playoffs. Their special teams are a concern but we believe that is solely because of all the injuries. The Penguins are one of many teams that could be hoisting Lord Stanley at the end of this season.
NY ISLANDERS: GRADE B+
The Islanders have had a great first half of the NHL season and no one expected this club to be in the hunt for the playoffs. Well everyone should remember they do have one of the best coaches in the NHL in HC Barry Trotz. Unfortunately for the Islanders not all the coaching in the world will solve the goal scoring problems with this club. They have been able to win games as Trotz has the Islanders playing excellent defense. Now as the season reaches the second half, the cream usually rises to the top. The Islanders will fight for a playoff spot but we believe they will come up short.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: GRADE A
Talking about doing a great coaching job, the Blue Jackets might have the coach of the year half way through the season with HC John Tortorella. This Blue Jackets club lost a ton of talent in the off-season. We had them with the Red Wings as going to be one of the worse clubs in the league. Well surprise surprise. This is why we gave them such a high grade. This club has an excellent system in place and they will continue to fight for a playoff spot as long as they keep getting excellent goaltending. In the end, we believe they just do not have enough talent to make it to the playoffs this year.
CAROLINA HURRICANES: GRADE B
We actually thought this club would perform much better than they have so far. You actually might see what we saw last year and this club will make a big push for the playoffs. They do have the talent and like the Capitals, they have a great PK that is so important when it comes to the playoffs. The question for the Hurricanes is, are they going to play better to make it. Time will tell.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: GRADE B
This club is as streaky as they come and they are 17-4-4 at home on the season. The problem for the Flyers is they have been terrible on the road coming into the All Star break. They have now lost 5 out of their last 7 on the road and if they do not start getting better in these spots they will find themselves on the outside of the playoffs. Have a feeling they will be fighting until the last week of the season for that playoff spot. Truthfully, not really sure if they make it or not.
NY RANGERS: GRADE C
We will have to say, not much was expected of this club and they are on the outside looking in on the playoffs. NY started the season on a rough note, but they have been playing much better as the year has moved forward. They have just too big of a hole to climb out of, as all the teams fighting for the playoffs will be better as well in the second half of the season. Goaltending is a bit of an issue but the future is bright in that spot with G Igor Shesterkin getting a few starts this year. Unfortunately, it will not be good enough for a playoff spot for the Rangers this year.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS: GRADE D
This team was touted as the up and coming club and now they will just play out the season and probably screw over a bunch of their rivals chances of making the playoffs. Having to play the spoiler midway through the season is never a good thing. They just do not have the makeup to be this years St. Louis Blues and come back from this terrible beginning. They are a point behind the Ottawa Senators at the break, that is all we have to say. They fired their coach and they are a brutal minus 47 in goal differential on the year. All in all just a bad year in Newark.
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