BOSTON (CBS) — The ESPN hockey predictions are in. And there’s not much excitement surrounding the Boston Bruins.

That’s warranted, of course. The Bruins were the third-best team in the Atlantic Division and the seventh-best team in the Eastern Conference last season, and they didn’t undergo any massive changes in the offseason. They’re adding some youth, but overall, there’s not tremendous reason to believe with great confidence that they should fare better in 2017-18.

Still, considering just eight points in the standings separated Boston from Montreal atop the Atlantic last year that someone might see a Bruins division crown forthcoming. Alas, that is not the case.

ESPN paneled seven of its hockey experts — those who are left, anyway — to predict all six division winners for the upcoming season. None of them picked Boston.

Four picked the Toronto Maple Leafs, who finished last year with the same number of points as Boston but lost the ROW tiebreaker to finish fourth in the Atlantic. Two picked the Tampa Bay Lightning, who finished a point behind Boston and Toronto after getting just 17 games from Steven Stamkos. And one expert picked Montreal to repeat as division champs.

The immediate future may not look incredibly bright for the Bruins, but the longer-term future looks better when examining the experts’ picks for Calder this year. Four of them picked Charlie McAvoy, while John Buccigross picked Anders Bjork.

  1. David Tuttle says:

    It’s ok, I would hardly call ESPN professional when it comes to hockey. This is the same group who though the Nashville Thrashers were a team. Im sure they predict Lebron James and Lavar Ball will be the leading scorers in the NHL this year too

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