Best guess at this year’s crop.
Year after year this team runs roughshod over the competition in regular season play, but fails to get past the Conference semi-finals. With late season acquisition Kevin Shattenkirk likely headed to an Eastern Conference rival this offseason and little in the way of rookie help on the way, Capitals GM Brian MacLellan could be in store for a busy offseason.
The much anticipated Marc-Andre Fleury chip has finally fallen in Pittsburgh...well at least partially. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford will have to scour the market for a return on the three-time Stanley Cup Champion. With little left to give after flower, could he instead use the draft to rid himself of a much-maligned defacement?
It would come as no surprise to see yet another year of success in Ohio from one of the leagues deepest rosters. But will this collection of forwards in the 40-60 point per season range take them over the top in the playoffs? Hard to say, for a team in the leagues toughest decision. All we know for sure, is that a team like Blue Jackets will be loosing an impact player through expansion.
A combination of aging vets and young RFAs will keep GM Chuck Fletcher busy this summer as he tries to evaluate which players give his team the best shot to win now, as well as keep the team competitive for years to come. No an easy task for a manager already starring down the barrel of the expansion gun. Does he have anything up his sleeve to prevent Vegas from pulling the trigger?
After a disappointing 2015-16 campaign, the Canadiens managed to vault themselves to the top of the Atlantic division in 2016-17. Questionable trade tactics aside, this team continues to develop viable young talent internally. Could we see Marc Bergevin use this prospect depth to his advantage in the expansion process?
After capturing the Art Ross trophy in just his second year in the league, Connor McDavid has the Oilers on a rapid ascent to the top of the Western Conference. With his and fellow budding star Leon Draisatl's contract's a pressing concern, can the Oilers streamline their roster to make way for the future?
This team surely only has two seasons left in it before a major overhaul is forced upon them. GM Doug Wilson has kept this team in contention since 2003, will he continue to go 'all-in' or begin to think about the future of this team without its perennial All-Stars in the lineup? Thankfully, if played correctly, expansion will allow Wilson to delay this decision a bit longer.
Boring hockey wins games. Well not always, but that's the mindset of Sens coach Guy Boucher. Ottawa surprised a lot of us and took Pittsburgh to the brink of elimination with a roster built around depth not star power. With so few protection spots, how do the Sens weave through the expansion process unscathed?