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Ranking The Atlantic Division Bluelines

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2. Ottawa Senators

May 14, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Ottawa Senators defenseman Marc Methot (3) checks Pittsburgh Penguins center Joe Vitale (46) along the boards during the third period in game one of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

POTENTIAL PAIRINGS

Erik KarlssonMarc Methot

Jared CowenPatrick Wiercioch

Joe CorvoChris Phillips

Eric Gryba

WILD CARD – Cody Ceci

Obviously a return to health for Karlsson is needed for the Senators to maintain this ranking, but Methot showed that his is truly a top pairing defenseman on his own, even without Karlsson.  Cowen also has to show he can stay healthy, and after those three, the pairings could take any form with the other 4 blueliners.  Ceci probably needs a full year in Binghamton before he will be considered to fill a full time roster spot.

1.  Boston Bruins

Feb 28, 2013; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) talks with defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (44) during the first period at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

POTENTIAL PAIRINGS

Zdeno CharaDennis Seidenberg

Johnny BoychukTorey Krug

Dougie HamiltonAdam McQuaid

Matt Bartkowski

Although Chara is getting up there and his days of Norris Trophies are probably behind him, he is still a dominant presence on the ice and will eat up minutes while the younger players get an opportunity to learn on the job. The loss of Ference cannot be understated, and the Bruins roster will have 3 very young players.  It will be interesting to see if Krug can continue his playoff performance or if it was just a case of catching lighting in a bottle.