For the third year now I've amused myself with an overview and ranking of all rosters. Line formations are rough estimations only, this is not about those. I've added teams' draft picks from the two first rounds over the past three years, for a quick overview of the prospect pools (that is rough to say the least, but gives some hint of prospect strength).
Consider it a combination of ranking of roster strength and prediction of standings, but slightly less the latter.
I'm sure I've missed a trade or two.
Here's last year's ranking:http://www.letsgopens.com/scripts/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=59470&hilit=roster+ranking#p21864702013/14 Roster Ranking:1: Anaheim Ducks
Perry – Getzlaf – Penner
Palmieri - Bonino - Holland
Belesky – Etem - Silfverberg
Winnik – Cogliano – Koivu
Staubitz, Maroon, Smith-Pelly, Selanne?, Rakell, Karlsson, Kerdiles, Sorensen
Beauchemin – Souray
Fowler – Sbisa
Allen – Vatanen
Lovejoy, Lindholm, Theodore
Cap space: 4,37 mil.
Beware of the duck. This is just a tremendous team. When I started with Anaheim my initial thought was “how did they end up third in points?” but holy cow, they’ve got some serious depth. Ryan who? Selanne who?* With the forwards they’ve got signed currently their fourth line might be Winnik – Cogliano – Koivu. As their fourth! Their numbers of up and comers who’s already proven themselves in the NHL or AHL is high and with tons of potential: Silfverberg, Holland, Etem, Bonino, Palmieri, Vatanen, Sbisa, Fowler and so on.
Speaking of the last three and their great upside on defense they’re combined with veterans Beauchemin, Souray and Allen. And this from a team that won’t need much offense from their defensemen.
In net then? Oh, yeah, they’re one of those teams with two very good keepers. Hiller and Fasth are both starters.
All this depth as well as a combination of youth, experience, skill and grit. And to top it off, they’re still very well of prospects wise. Lindholm, Rakell and Karlsson for starters. They have tons of trade assets, though they won’t have to make any trades. To some extent this depth will be hard to keep together long term, but they have some great signings for another few years and actually space left this year. Somewhere Bob Murray is smiling on a golf course. One of my top contenders for sure. Beware of the Duck.
*On Selanne: I don’t want to downplay his significance. A huge loss of course if he decides to retire. Given Anaheim’s stockpile of forwards and his decreased production last season my gut feeling is that’s what’ll happen, however. His career can’t be downplayed, but fact is they don’t need him.2: Boston Bruins
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Eriksson
Paille - Soderberg – Caron
Campbell - Kelly – Thornton
Chara – Seidenberg
Hamilton – Boychuk
McQyaid – Krug
Cap space: Minus 1.1 mil (so that should be 2.9 mil once Savard's on LTIR again).
Fantastic top six and very good bottom six. Soderberg will be miscast perhaps and might not play but that’s not a vital factor for them. Tremendous combination of skill, size and grit. They’ll miss Horton and Seguin but Iginla and Eriksson aren’t that shabby to say the least, and there must’ve been some truth to the rumors on Seguin’s attitude.
Their defense looks even better. Tremendous depth and edge. Among the best in the league.
Rask’s proven he’s elite. Big let’s-see-how-he-reacts-to-his-new-monster-contract year for him but it’s hard to weigh that in as a factor in this ranking.3: Chicago Blackhawks
Kane – Toews – Bickell
Sharp – Shaw – Hossa
Saad – Kruger - Bollig
Morin - Handzus - Hayes
Hartman, Teravainen, McNeill, Danault
Seabrook – Keith
Hjalmarsson – Leddy
Rozsival – Oduya
Brookbank, Clendening, Dahlstrom, Fournier
Cap space: 2 mil
Tremendous top six and nine. One of the very best top fours in the league offensively in Toews, Kane, Hossa and Sharp.
On defense they’ve got tremendous edge in their top three consisting of Keith, Seabrook and Leddy. The rest are very solid.
Crawford got it done and now they’ve got the old Bhulin Wall as backup. He did have a few spectacular games with the Oilers last year.4: Pittsburgh Penguins
Dupuis – Crosby – Kunitz
Bennet – Malkin – Neal
Jokinen – Sutter – D’Agostini
Jeffrey - Adams - Vitale
Glass, MacIntyre, Blueger
Orpik – Martin
Letang – Scuderi
Niskanen – Depres
Engelland, Pouliot, Maatta, Harrington
Cap space: Minus 1.1 mil
Roster looking better than going into last year, for sure. Offensively Bennet’s proven his worth, Dupuis took yet another step forward and they’ve added Jokinen and D’Agostini. Switch Adams with a more skilled guy and that’s four lines that could chip in goals.
On defense things look better as well. Martin was great last year and made Orpik a lot better as well. Letang grew even more elite offensively and Scuderi’s back to cover for him defensively. Niskanen and Despres is not too shabby as a third pairing.
Fleury’s back again but at least Vokoun is there as the reliable backup, or if Fleury’s woes continues; the starter. Hopefully a new goalie as well as mental coach gets Fleury going, however.
A contender as always these days. Malkin and Crosby’s health and Fleury’s mental status key factors.5: St Louis Blues
Backes – Oshie – Stewart
Tarasenko – Steen – Roy
Paajarvi - Berglund – Schwartz
Porter – Lapierre – Sobotka
Aucoin, Cracknehall, Reaves, Wannstrom, Carrier, Kurker, Rattie, Jaskin
Pietrangelo – Jackman
Bouwmeester – Polak
Shattenkirk – Leopold
Cole, Woywitka, Edmundson, Vanelli, Schmaltz
Cap space: 7,62 mil before re-signing Pietrangelo
I just love this squad. 109 points in 11/12 and now they’re two years older and have added a few pieces. Sick depth all over. Roy replaces McDonald with Steen and Tarasenko. Third line might not be composed like that but I love the potential. Last year they did not meet expectations but they were seriously plagued by injuries.
Defensive squad absurdly strong. Best group of defensemen in the league?
Best goalie tandem in the league as well? Two very, very good ones.
Love their cap approach overall. Tons of 3-4 mil players all over (and some of those would make more on other teams).6: Montreal Canadians
Briere – Plekanec – Gionta
Pacioretty – Desharnis – Gallagher
Eller - Galenchyuk – Bourque
Prust – Moen – Parros
White, Collberg, McCarron, De La Rose, Lehkonen
Emelin – Markov
Gorges – Subban
Bouillon – Diaz
Tinordi, Drewiske, Beaulieu, Thrower
Cap space: 3,39 mil
This is just excellent. Speed, skill, depth. Three scoring lines with a nice mix of veterans with gas left and young, strong prospects. I’ve got Eller and Galenchyuk on the third line here, for crying out loud. I think they’ll roll three productive lines pretty evenly. If things get chippy they’ve got the muscle on the fourth.
Looking at their defensive corps it’s just as strong. No weaknesses whatsoever. They’ve got elite two way defensemen in Markov, Subban and Diaz (soon at least) teamed up with defensively strong partners.
Price didn’t have his best year last season but they were still fourth in the league in points, and the capacity’s there for sure.
Things are looking very good in Montreal.7: Los Angeles Kings
Williams - Kopitar - Brown
Carter - Richards - Toffoli
Lewis - Stoll - King
Carcillio - Nolan - Frattin
Fraser, Clifford, Pearson, Zykov
Doughty - Regehr
Voynov - Mitchell
Greene - Muzzin
Martinez, Ellerby, Schultz
Cap space: Minus 0,87 mil
A contender. Awesome top six (it'll be interesting to see what Toffoli can do) and alot of competent grit among the bottom six. On defense there's a plethora of riches. I can definitely see them trading a defenseman for a forward, or just letting someone go for a pick/prospect. Quick was arguably the league's number one keeper again in the playoffs.
This might be higher than they’ll finish in the standings but once in the playoffs they’re a threat for sure.8: Vancouver Canucks
Sedin – Sedin – Burrows
Booth – Kesler – Kassian
Hansen - Schroeder - Higgins
Weise - Richardson – Sestio
Jensen, Gaunce, Mallet, Horvat, Shinkaruk
Edler – Hamhuis
Bieksa – Garrison
Weber – Tanev
Cap space: 4,35 mil before re-signing Tanev
As always over these few years looking very solid. Great depth all over. Offensively it’s the usual suspects but with better hopes of a great year as Burrows, Booth and Kesler should be healthy from the get go, and Hansen, Kassian and Schroeder are a year older. Richardson is a solid addition as third or fourth center. The material’s there for three producing lines. Also, I’m predicting a Sedin bounce back from great to elite again in the final year of their contracts and after a fantastic World Championships.
On defense they might have the best top four in the league. Finally getting rid of Ballard who just didn’t click with them gives them some cap flexibility as well.
What affects that last part (cap flexibility) the most though is the departure of Schneider. A surprise move, very likely because no one wanted a piece of Luongo’s contract. Much depend on him bouncing back to elite or at least a very solid level. My gut feeling tells me he will.
On paper a contender yet again, but much will have to fall into place for them to hoist the cup. This the last huzzah with this core group?9: San Jose Sharks
Marleau - Thornton - Burns
Pavelski - Couture - Havlat
Hertl - Burish - Kennedy
Torres - Shepard - Wingels
Desjardins, Nieto, Tierno, Bouedrau
Boyle - Stuart
Vlasic - Demers
Braun - Hannan
Cap space: Minus 0.4 mil
As always a very strong top six on paper. Also familiar is a bottom six with question marks, however. They'll go where their top six and power play takes them. If Hertl is a hit and Kennedy has a strong showing they could see some third line offense, in which case they could be a threat for sure.
On defense they look great, no doubt, and Niemi's proven he's legit.
Huge off season next year with their big three in Thornton, Marleau and Boyle all on expiring contracts. On the other hand, those key guys all on contract years could be a very good thing this season.10: Detroit Red Wings
Zetterberg – Datsyuk – Alfredsson
Samuelsson – Weiss – Franzén
Bertuzzi – Jarnkrok - Nyquist
Abdelkader – Helm – Miller
Tatar, Andersson, Emmerton, Eaves, Totoo, Mantha, Nastasiuk, Bertuzzi, Frk, Jurci
Kronwall – Ericsson
Quincey – Kindl
Smith – DeKeyser
Lashoff, Ouellet, Sproul
Cap space: 0,31 mil
Tons of forward depth. Three scoring lines. This assuming Jarnkrok plays. Time to sit Bertuzzi. Don’t get why he got that last year on his current deal. Love my suggestion for the fourth line. A lot to like here for sure.
The defense’s nothing special after Kronwall. I can really see them trying to add another reliable defenseman.
Howard’s established himself as a top goalie. He was absolutely spectacular during their late season playoff push and almost upset of the Hawks.
Last year I said they’d finally miss the playoffs. It was close but they rallied, and now they look a lot stronger again. The old filthy Wings are back. If they add a good defenseman or really get their current squad come together they’re among the contenders. Love their move to the East. More hot matchups with the Pens and they really make the battle for the low playoff spots more of a throng for teams like the Caps, Islanders, etc.11: Philadelphia Flyers
Hartnell – Giroux – Voracek
Schenn – Lecavalier – Simmonds
Read – Couturier – Laughton
Rinaldo – Hall – Talbot
Rosehill, Morin, Cousins
Timonen – Meszaros
Schenn – Streit
Grossman – Gervais
Bourdon, Pronger, Coburn, Gustafsson, Hagg
Cap space: Minus 2.05 mil
That’s a tremendous top nine and especially top six. Nice defensive edge and depth as well. They do seem to rely on Emery or Mason having a good year in net, however, which is a gamble for sure.12: Ottawa Senators
Ryan – Spezza – Michalek
Conacher - Turris – Zibanejad
Latendresse – Greening – MacArthur
Neil – Smith – Condra
Pageau, Kassian, Noesen, Puempel, Prince, Lazar
Karlsson – Philips
Wiercioch – Methot
Cowen - Corvo
Cap space: 11,31 mil before re-signing Cowen
A lot to like here, no doubt. On offense they’ve got great depth. They really don’t have one forward who’s not a decent to good hockey player. Neil’s one dimensional but good at his thing, and the rest are moderately to very skilled players. My suggestion for first line is definitely a candidate for say the top five or ten lines in the league. Tons of prospects still. I’ve got Pageau in the stands despite his nice performance last year. Youth and depth, love it.
Defensively it’s the same story. Good depth and edge. 25 minutes a game of healthy Karlsson changes the dynamic of any team, but the rest of the squad is good and skilled as well.
Andersson has proven himself as a solid starter, and Lehner has tons of potential. This much strength despite 11,3 mil of cap space lying around. They’ve got tons of great contracts.
Alfredsson and Gonchar are heavy veteran departures but somehow I like the timing. Time for the younger Senators to rule.13: New York Rangers
Nash – Stepan – Callahan
Zuccarello – Richards – Brassard
Hagelin – Boyle – Pouliot
Kreider – Moore - Dorsett
Powe, Asham, Miller, Nieves
McDonagh – Del Zotto
Girardi – Staal
Moore – Stralman
Cap space: 2,18 mil before re-signing Stepan
Hard to get a grasp on I think. This is the roster that last year looked extremely promising minus Gaborik but plus Moore, Brassard and Pouilot. On paper they have one very strong top nine on forward and top four on defense, no doubt. Lundqvist is there as always as one of the top (if not the top) goalies. So how come they fail? Then again this is ranking of roster strength, so they must be relatively high on the list.14: Toronto Maple Leafs
Van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Kessel
Clarksson - Kadri – Lupul
Kulemin – Bolland – Colborne
McClaren - McClement - Orr
Smith, Biggs, Gauthier
Phaneuf – Gunnarsson
Liles – Fraser
Gardiner – Ranger
Holzer, Percy, Rielly, Finn
Cap space: 4,9 mil before re-signing Kadri (Komarov and Franson are likely goners)
Looking good. Offensively really good. That’s three productive lines and a tremendous top six.
On defense they look solid as well.
They don’t have an established stud in net but two good ones and Bernier might just finally be the answer in net they’ve wanted so badly.
They might be hard pushed to have the space to re-sign Kadri so expect some moves. 15: Edmonton Oilers
Eberle – Nugent-Hopkins – Hall
Perron – Gagner – Yakupov
Hemsky – Gordon – Smyth
Jones – Lander – Brown
Roy, Joensuu, Moroz
J Schultz – N Schultz
Smid – Ference
Potter – Petry
Grebeshkov, Nurse, Kleftbom, Belov, Larsen, Musil
Cap space: 1,35 mil
Speed and skill up front. Then some more speed and skill. They’ll need to outplay their opponents, possess the puck and use their creativity to win. They don’t really have an option, as I don’t see much grit on forward. Perron’s sweet alright, but more of the same. I’m sure they would’ve loved a Horton instead. Still, there’s depth for sure, and their young guys are now at a very good level (Hall elite even).
On defense there’s mobility, skill but also some grit with Potter and Petry. Now some depth as well, with several additions. I can even see them trading a D-man.
Prospect pool is still strong despite all that’s been relayed onto the main roster already. Imagine this team when Schultz, Nurse and Kleftbom start approaching their prime. Scary.
In net Dubnyk better stay sharp.
I really hope they’ll be in contention for a low playoff spot. It’ll be tough, but the roster is really starting to come together I think. They’ll be great for many years to come, but they should start mentally approaching their seasons as they’re in win now mode. It starts now, no more tons-of-promise-you’ll-see-next-year.16: New York Islanders
Moulson – Tavares – Okposo
Nielsen – Cizikas – Grabner
Clutterbuck – Bailey – Bouchard
Lee – Regin - Martin
McDonald, Boulton, Strome, Sundstrom
Strait – Hamonic
Visnovsky – Carkner
Hickey – MacDonald
Finley, Mayfield, Pokka, Reinhart, Pulock
Cap space: 15.65 mil
Things are starting to look up for sure. That’s a very good top nine offensively and a nice top four on defense as well. This with almost 16 mil in cap space. Probably the team with best roster strength in relation to cap space spent.
Nabokov is solid if not spectacular.
Lots of great contracts overall. They’re not this cheap just because of rookie deals, but rather look to be able to keep this core while adding a strong player or two (if they have the money and want to). Wouldn’t be surprised to see Boyle back which adds to their offensive depth and edge. Great speed. Nice additions in Clutterbuck and Bouchard. Interesting for sure.17: Minnesota Wild
Parise - Koivu – Heatley
Niederraiter - Granlund – Pominville
Cooke – Brodziak – Coyle
Mitchell – Dowell - Rupp
Zonopka, Philips, Lucia, Bussieres
Suter - Spurgeon
Brodin – Ballard
Stoner – Scandella
Prosser, Dumba, Olofsson
Cap space: 2,78 mil
Offensively they have a great top line but after that some question marks. For secondary scoring Granlund, Niederraiter, Brodziak and Coyle better produce.
Strong top four on defense and they are going to have to be. The top four and Backstrom must really deliver if this team’s offense is to be enough for this team to get into the playoffs.
Not that impressive roster in relation to cap space spent.18: Washington Capitals
Ovechkin – Backstrom – Johansson
Laich - Perreault - Brouwer
Chimera – Fehr – Ward
Volpatti – Beagle - Erat
Kuznetsov (not yet however), Wilson, Burakovsky
Alzner – Green
Erskine – Carlsson
Hillen – Oleksy
Cap space: 5,67 mil before re-signing Johansson
Not at all as bad as expected. Pretty good, unfortunately. They have two elite forwards, and then like another six or seven really good ones. Erat is miscast above but I can’t see him replacing any of the right wings above him (well possibly Ward). Giving up Josefsson for him is so very, very bad.
Their defense looks alright. Not too punishing but they’re solid overall.
Holtby actually settled nicely in net last year after a shaky start of the season.
They struggled last year and wouldn’t have smelled the playoffs if not for the Southeast division. That free help is now gone, and they must be more consistent. I say they miss the playoffs, but looking at roster strength they could grab a spot.19: Columbus Blue Jackets
Anisimov - Dubinsky - Gaborik
Horton - Johansen - Foligno
Umberger - Letestu - Atkinson
Boll - Mackenzie - Skille
Comeau, Calvert, Jenner, Wennberg, Rychel, Dano
Johnson - Murray
Wisniewski - Tyutin
Nikitin - Erixon
Cap space: 2.02 mil
Not too shabby but not that great either. They made a surprise playoff push last year and had a number of low profile forwards doing better than expected. They'll need that again plus solid play from their two stars in Gaborik and Horton.
On defense they're pretty strong. Good veteran presence combined with a Johnson seemingly finding his game again and great talents in Murray and Erixon.
Bobrovsky will have to be stellar again, and for the team's sake I hope he's not too comfortable now with his new contract.
They have a ton of interesting prospects. Interesting time for this franchise for sure. Blue Jackets on the rise?20: Carolina Hurricanes
Semin – Staal – Tlusty
Lindholm - Staal – Skinner
Bowman - Ruutu – Dwyer
Welsh - Staal - Westgarth
Rask, McGinn, Di Giuseppe
Pitkanen – Gleason
Harrison – Sekera
Faulk – Komisarek
Cap space: 4,88 mil
Interesting for sure. Their top line was one of the best last year, and they should really get some support scoring as well thanks to Staal, Skinner and the additions of Lindholm as well as a healthy Ruutu. They need to add another forward or two (or try Rask or McGinn) and if they’re good ones they’ll be able to field three producing lines.
On defense they’re not great but not bad either. I’ve got Murphy as their number seven here but count on him nabbing a spot.
Ward’s always solid and Khudobin’s an interesting option. He’s done very well in the limited NHL action he’s seen.
If they add another solid forward or two I can see them fighting for a low playoff spot.21: Buffalo Sabres
Vanek – Hodgson – Adam
Foligno – Ennis – Grigorenko
Leino - Ott – Flynn
Scott – Porter - Kaleta
Armia, Girgensons, Bailey, Hurley, Compher
Myers – Tallinder
Ehrhoff – Weber
Mcbain - Pysyk
Sulzer, Ruhwedel, McCabe, Zadorov, Ristolainen
Cap space: 10,5 mil before re-signing Hodgson
Vanek, Hodgson, Ennis, Grigorenko, Foligno. There’s a lot to like here. If Flynn, Adam, Ott, Leino and someone else has a good season this is not a bad squad of forwards.
Defensively they look solid as well. Hopefully the Tallinder reunion gets Myers back on track.
Miller better step up, or Enroth will see more starts for sure. His numbers were actually better than the veteran’s last year, and he was absolutely spectacular in the World Championships. Ask team Canada who fielded like two thirds of their Olympic forwards.
I overestimated the Sabres last year, but I really think this is decent. I see them doing better than last year’s 0,500 record.22: Colorado Avalanche
McGinn – Duchene – Parenteau
Landeskog – Stastny – MacKinnon
Tanguay – O’Reilly – Downie
McLeod – Mitchell – Bordeleau
Vincour, Olver, Heard
Johnson – Hunwick
Hejda – Barrie
Wilson – Sarich
Benit, Elliot, Siemens, BIgras
Cap space: 10,29 mil before re-signing Vincour
By far the team that’s surprised me the most when doing this survey. I say they’re the team that’ll improve the most this year. And I’m not caught in just the MacKinnon hype, it’s because of tons of guys. They have great talented youth. Seriously, a lot of scoring depth. How about Tanguay, O’Reilly and Downie as your third line? That’s pretty sweet. Building on a core of Duchene, Landeskog, MacKinnon, Stastny and Johnson and complementing them with O’Reilly, Downie, Parenteau, McGinn etc is not bad at all.
Their defensive corps does not look as good, but it’s decent I’d say. Hopefully Johnson can become himself again (though I admit that’s a big if at this point).
Neither Giguere or Varlamov shone last year, so that’s a questions mark, but looking at their forward squad alone I think the Avs can take a leap from last year’s 29th place, and be a serious threat in a year or two.23: Tampa Bay Lightning
Malone - Stamkos - St Louis
Drouin - Filppula - Purcell
- Killorn -
- Thompson - Crombeen
Labrie, Tyrell, Pyatt, Kucherov, Namestniknov, Hart, Erne
Hedman - Brewer
Salo - Carle
Ohlund - Gudas
Aulie, Blujus, Koekkoek
Cap space: 2.61 mil
Pretty sweet top six even if I think they were too generous with Filppula. Stevie Y must see yet unshown gold there. Filppula's good no doubt. But that good? Nonetheless, that's one great top six. St Louis and Stamkos together will always make their first lines one of the league's best, Malone's solid and Purcell is starting to look really sweet. Drouin is a great pick of course and Killorn did well last year. I feel they're a couple of forwards shy of three producing lines, however, and Killorn's an offensive guy who’d be miscast with two checkers. Conacher might've been given up on too easily, and they couldn't get Pouilot to stay? He was good last year.
Defense looking very strong, especially the top four.
Definitely question marks in net. Lindback has great potential but wasn't consistent last year. He did alot of flopping around. Shaky. Unless he settles they have to land another goalie somehow.
They're really close to a very impressive roster but the goalie situation and the bottom six squad has me wondering. Among the East’s bottom six is my guess.24: Phoenix Coyotes
Boedker – Ribeiro - Vermette
Doan – Hanzal – Vrbata
Klinkhammer – Chipchura – Moss
Korpikoski – Yip - Bissonnette
Lessio, Ruuttu, Martinook, Samuelsson, Dauphin, Domi
Yandle – Michalek
Ekman-Larsson – Morris
Klesla – Schlemko
Cap space: 6,91 mil before re-signing Boedker
Looking at their forward squad there’s nothing too fancy but not much bad either. They’re balanced and should get some evenly spread out production. They’ve got three average second lines, kind of.
On defense they look very strong. Two top pairings and a third pairing that’d be a second pairing on many teams.
Smith couldn’t follow up on his fantastic 11/12 season (after cashing in nicely) but wasn’t bad either.
I’ve always kept saying Nashville and Phoenix has over performed these past few years. They haven’t had spectacular rosters but done well with good D, goaltending and systems. Finally they both missed the playoffs last year. Nashville will do so again, definitely. Phoenix probably as well, but I like their chances better. Stellar defense and decent but balanced offense gives them a chance.25: Winnipeg Jets
Ladd – Little – Wheeler
Kane – Jokinen – Setoguchi
Frolik - Scheifele – Tangradi
Peluso - Slater - Thorburn
Wright, Sutter, Petan
Bufyglien – Enstrom
Bogosian – Stuart
Hainsey - Trouba
Postma, Pardy, Kulda, Morrissey
Cap space: 2,32 mil before re-signing Kulda
Decent top six and nine. Some potential there for a balanced offense. They’re really investing in this core, so they better hope for some improvement.
Defense looking pretty good. An elite top three could be a four soon with Trouba on the rise.
Pavelec’s good if not spectacular.
Four points out of the playoffs last year but they’ll have a tougher time in the West. I see them in 8th to 10th place somewhere.26: Florida Panthers
Fleischmann – Huberdeau – Versteeg
Kopecky – Barkov – Upshall
Bergenheim – Matthias – Goc
Bjugstad - Shore – Howden
Crabb, Butler, Grimaldi, Pinizzotto
Campbell – Gudbrandson
Kulikov – Jovanovski
Weaver – Gilroy
Mottau, Bengtsson, Matheson, McCoshen
Cap space: 11,98 mil
Meh. A whole lot of meh. One could argue the forward squad is evenly balanced, but the edge is just not there. And are they going to roll out offensive young talents as fourth line? Elite prospects Huberdeau and Barkov along with other good young talents make things interesting but they’re just not there yet.
Not a bad defensive corps, can’t say otherwise, and Markstrom should be legit as starter. Future looking great, but the 13/14 season could be a long one for Florida.27: Calgary Flames
Cammalleri – Hudler - Jones
Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
Baertschi – Backlund – Galiardi
Horak – McGrattan - Hanowski
Jones, Jackman, Granlund, Jankowski, Monahan, Poirier, Klimchuk
Brodie – Wideman
Giordano – O’Brien
Butler – Russell
Cap space: 7,7 mil
I thought I’d write them off completely but this is a semi decent top nine. No real edge though, unless they see some surprises.
Defensively nothing to write home about. They always used to have a good D at least but nah, not anymore.
What’s the deal with Kiprusoff. He’s playing?
Tons of good prospects. Very nice draft this year for example. See you in three years.28: New Jersey Devils
Elias – Zajac - Jagr
Clowe – Henrique - Ryder
Bernier – Loktionov – Gionta
Barch – Zubrus – Carter
Olesz, Tedenby, Josefsson, Matteau
Volchenkov – Zidlicky
Salvador – Greene
Fayne – Larsson
Harrold, Severson, Santini
Cap space: 7,88 mil before re-signing Henrique
Not as bad as I expected, but still not very good. Solid but without any edge really. No playoffs.29: Nashville Predators
Legwand – Fisher – Hornqvist
Stalberg – Wilson - Smith
Bourque - Cullen – Nystrom
Spaling - Gaustad – Hendricks
Forsberg, Beck, Clune, Aberg, Sissons, Salomaki
Weber - Jones
Josi – Klein
Ekholm – Ellis
Cap space: 4,67 mil before signing a backup goalie (unless they promote Hellberg)
Finally my long announced over performing ended last year. The departure of Suter and forwards not being better than they should finally got to them. Stalberg, Nystrom, Cullen and Gaustad are new faces but that won’t helpt them that much offensively. This is mediocre up front. Kindly put. Without hot talents as well really, counting those who’s made their debuts already. Forsberg’s the lone exception. Him for Erat will be remembered as a steal.
Defense a whole other story, however. One of the very best in Weber and defensive stalwart Klein is a good start, and when you add big talents like Josi, Ellis and Jones things get interesting. Their D could be great this year already, but definitely should be elite in a couple of years.
Rinne’s just a stud. Elite. He and his defense will have to be for the Preds to win a few games now and then. Definitely out of the playoff picture.30: Dallas Stars
Benn - Seguin - Whitney
Roussel - Eakin - Chiasson
Peverly - Horcoff - Nichushkin
MacDermid - Garbutt - Cole
Gonchar - Robidas
Goligoski - Daley
Rome - Benn
Cap space: 2,54 mil
It's a bit tricky to rank the Stars with so many untested semi to good prospects. I love my idea of a first line with Benn, Seguin and the ever productive Whitney. The two first is the team's future. Then there's a group of young interesting guys I hope they'll give a decent amount of responsibility: Roussel, Eakin, Chiasson, Nichushkin, MacDermid and Garbutt. I don't think they have a choice, as Cole, Peverly and Horcoff wouldn't be much of a second line.
Luckily, their defense doesn't have as many question marks. The top four is proven solid, and Lehtonen's great in net.
If a majority of their young forwards succeed, Been becomes the franchise player they need him to and Seguin gets his act together maybe they could make some noise, but there are alot of things that have to fall into place for that. Hopefully they'll try to build on this with some consistency, they can't just re-build every year. Cole, Horcoff (and maybe Peverly) should really just be roster fills that they let go as their young guys improve. Horcoff and especially Cole signed for another year after this one is brutal.Standings:Western Conference:
St Louis Blues
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks
Dallas StarsEastern Conference:
Detroit Red Wings
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders
Columbus Blue Jackets
Tampa Bay Lightning
New Jersey Devils