31 teams; 31 reasons to post a random comment. Let's go.
Anaheim Ducks – The Ducks are a conundrum for me. They have a good roster. They’ve won the Pacific Division something like five seasons in a row. There was very little change to their roster this summer. It seems like they can make the final four group in the playoffs on any given season, but ultimately, this team is not a cup winner. They don’t have much cap room to work with, and their core players are all on the back-end of their careers, with maybe two or three prime seasons left. It is good enough to just keep challenging and hope you get lucky, winning a championship over the next three seasons, or should management be selling off the veterans while they’re still worth something?
Arizona Coyotes – I get the feeling the Coyotes are not 100% sold on Dylan Strome, for some reason. I heard their management talking the other day about needing to start winning. Trading Strome could bring back at least two quality immediate players, and the Coyotes have all the cap room in the world.
Boston Bruins – What in the world does David Pasternak get in his new contract? I’ve looked at his previous stats, and there’s nothing that indicated he’d turn into a 34g/70p player. He’s only 21 now. Will he sign a bridge deal at, let’s say, $6 million per season?
Buffalo Sabres – Speaking of contracts, I keep reading Jack Eichel is going to get an extension that pays $10 million per season on an eight-year deal. That’s confidence in a young player. Luckily, Eichel is a great player, so it should be a fair bet. I’m not sure who is better: Eichel or Matthews. Give that rivalry a few seasons to play out.
Calgary Flames – People are overrating the Flames chances this season. Yes, they have great defense. The offense offers a solid first line and very little scoring depth after that. The goaltending is suspect at best. It’s quite possible the Flames will finish fourth in the Pacific and miss the playoffs.
Carolina Hurricanes – Carolina needs a first-line center. They have Rask, Staal and Lindholm who are all decent centers, but none are top-line in quality. Thankfully for the ‘Canes, they have three things they can work with to acquire a center: Plenty of cap space, plenty of young talented players they can trade, and draft picks that could be sacrificed. Considering the Toronto Maple Leafs financial position, I wonder if Nazem Kadri could be moved, with a young high-end defenseman going back (Hayden Fleury or Jake Bean perhaps).
Chicago Blackhawks – With no Marion Hossa and only five defensemen listed on the current roster, maybe the Blackhawks lineup gets filled in with Jan Rutta, Gustav Forsling and David Kampf? Depth is the only thing that could ruin the Hawks season in 2017/2018.
Colorado Avalanche – You’ve got to think Matt Duchene to Montreal is going to happen sometime in the next couple of weeks. I can’t figure out why it hasn’t happened already. How complicated is Matt Duchene for Alex Galchenyuk? Get it done. Great trade for both teams.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Lots of RFAs still out there waiting for a deal. You’ve got to think Alexander Wennberg is a less complicated re-sign than players like Leon Draisaitl and Pasternak. Just give him $5.5 million per season for the next six seasons and be done with it.
Dallas Stars – I wonder if the Stars can pay someone to take Kari Lehtonen’s cap hit off their hands for this season. Maybe Vegas would do this. Give Vegas a second and a third-round pick for taking Lehtonen and giving up a prospect goalie like Maxime Lagace or Oscar Dansk. Doing so would open up enough cap room for the Stars to go get Mike Green from the Red Wings. The Stars are one defenseman away from a Stanley Cup Final.
Detroit Red Wings – Speaking of teams that need to blow things up… Trade everyone of value now for prospects and draft picks, Detroit. See you in ten seasons. What a mess.
Edmonton Oilers – The Oilers shouldn’t be interested in signing any UFA forward or defenseman unless Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is traded first. There’s about eight teams that would be interested in Nugent-Hopkins if he was made available. The question is, what would he bring in return? The Oilers can play McDavid, Draisaitl, Strome and Letestu as their centers for the next few seasons and they’ll be fine.
Florida Panthers – Thanks to some hilarious budget-cutting moves earlier in the summer, the Panthers find themselves going backwards with a pretty decent young team. If cap spending is such a problem, management should consider moving Jason Demers ($4.5mil cap hit and a good enough player that a few teams would be interested). He’s got a limited NTC, so it might not be automatic to trade him. After ridding themselves of Demers, well, the UFA market still has Iginla, Vanek, Jagr (snicker), Doan and Franson. You probably could sign all of them for $1.5 million per season or less at this point. Come on, Florida, fill those roster holes without taking on too much money.
Los Angeles Kings – Speaking of ancient free agents, the Kings have cap space still and a pretty meh roster. Maybe they should add Shane Doan up front, and maybe see if they can offer up a draft pick to get a defenseman from Vegas. The Kings are going to be better than Edmonton or Anaheim this season, but they could be a playoff team if they add a couple people.
Minnesota Wild – The Wild have a little over $3mil in cap space left and have Marcus Foligno yet to sign. They should be able to do that, right? The guy only put up 23 points last season, which is tied for his career high. The Wild are one of those teams you hate playing against in November but are thrilled to be facing in April, if you know what I’m saying.
Montreal Canadiens – If the Habs don’t acquire Matt Duchene they are so, so stupid. For one thing, he’s an actual top line center. When’s the last time the Canadiens had a legit top line center? And Duchene is a French last name, so that’s important. And if they made the move, sending Alex Galchenyuk to Colorado, they would be reuniting Galchenyuk with Nail Yakupov. Everybody loves a happy ending. Thanks to inept management, if the Habs have injury troubles on D or in net, this season will end before it begins.
Nashville Predators – Here’s the reality the Nashville Predators are facing: Even though they were in the Stanley Cup Finals last season, they will finish behind the Stars, Blackhawks, Blues, and perhaps even the Wild this season. Oh, they’ll make the playoffs because the Pacific Division is not very good… But that’s the last Stanley Cup Final the Preds will see for a long, long time.
New Jersey Devils – Maybe the New Jersey Devils should consider moving Taylor Hall to acquire a #2 defenseman. Because this team is going nowhere without finding a few high-end young defensemen.
New York Islanders – John Tavares should get a long-term deal that pays $10 million per season, and Islanders ownership should just such it up and pay the man. I’ll suggest Eberle plays with Tavares this season, and Eberle will be renewed. I’ll give him 30 goals this year. The problem won’t be scoring in Brooklyn; it will be keeping the puck out of their own net.
New York Rangers – The Rangers should fire their scouts. What an awful list of prospects they possess. This is yet another of those teams that you can’t figure out what the point is. Are they playoffs-good? Yes, they should make the playoffs in 2018. Can they beat the Penguins or Lightning? No chance. So mediocre.
Ottawa Senators – Every time I look at the Senators roster I have no idea how these team is competitive. It’s a very bad roster. And figuring that out tells me how the Senators win: His name is Erik Karlsson. Karlsson can negotiate a new contract starting next summer, and if I were him, I would ask for close to McDavid money. If McDavid is worth $12.5 million per season, Karlsson is at least $11 million per on a long-term extension.
Philadelphia Flyers – The Flyers are so close to being a good team… I’d love to be able to cheer for them. But then you see Brian Elliott is their starting goalie and you know this is going nowhere. Is it really a good idea to start Nolan Patrick in the NHL this season? I hate it when kids get rushed.
Pittsburgh Penguins – A player I am excited to see this upcoming season is Zach Aston-Reese. He was, apparently, the best prospect available from the NCAA free agency group, and could easily start the season as the Penguins’ third-line center. The Penguins defensive group is solid, and with Crosby and Malkin in their primes, the Penguins will continue to challenge for cups. This roster has three more chances at least in it.
San Jose Sharks – I wonder if Joe Thornton would have re-signed with the Sharks if he knew Patrick Marleau was jumping ship? This team is going nowhere because it’s too old and there aren’t any decent prospects in the system, so it confuses me greatly why Thornton stayed.
St. Louis Blues – How long do Blues management continue to hit the Jake Allen piñata until they realize goaltending is what is holding these team back from succeeding in the playoffs? There has to be a move at some point to bring in someone good.
Tampa Bay Lightning – I saw the other day an NHL line making website that had Ryan Callahan listed as a third-line winger. That should tell you something about the roster depth on the Lightning. I’m still trying to figure out if Yzerman drugged Palat and Johnson’s agents to get them to sign those new contracts. I have no idea how any team beats the Lightning this season, provided they stay healthy.
Toronto Maple Leafs – I mentioned trading Kadri earlier. I like Kadri in a “I hate it when my team plays against him) sort of way. The Leafs build two lines that are so solid: Van Riemsdyke, Marleau, Bozak, Matthews, Nylander, and Marner. Management should do what they can to keep these six together for the next three seasons. The Leafs do need a defenseman though, and they need to open some cap space. Trading Kadri is their best option.
Vancouver Canucks – You hear very little Bo Horvat contract talk coming out of Vancouver and I’m not sure why. He should be a $6 million per season on an eight-year contract sort of signing. This should be complicated at all. He’s the franchise now.
Vegas Golden Knights – I see Vegas still has too many defensemen and not enough forwards, and I’m wondering if management’s expansion draft strategy has backfired. The defensemen they do have, with the exception of Shea Theodore, have very little trade value.
Washington Capitals – Are the Capitals planning on acquiring more players, or are they only going to play 16 per game this season? Maybe they think they’re so good at the regular season that they don’t need more players. I keep thinking someone needs to go because the math simply doesn’t work. Most likely to go? Would there be any market at all for Brooks Orpik, even if the Caps just gave him away? A $5.5 million per season cap hit for a 36 year-old left-pairing defenseman… If they could unload Orpik, the Caps at least would have the cap space needed to hire a few UFA chumps to fill-out the roster.
Winnipeg Jets – Edmonton Oilers management took the summer off because most of the pieces are there already. So why did Winnipeg Jets management take the summer off? This team is nowhere close to being good, and management did nothing this summer to help them. I’m not saying this is the worst team in the league – More like 20th out of 30. They play is a rough division though, with about five teams better than they are. Sad news for Jets fans, again. Management should have been active, especially in trying to find a starting goalie.