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Standings Predictions (post your own in comments)

By Akash Asif (New Jersey Devils) On Monday 1st August 2022 / 4:17pm

$! Million in cash will be awarded to the GM who is the closest with their division predictions. Conference predictions will only be used if there is a need for a tie-break after the division predictions.

Here are my predictions, please feel free to post yours in the comments:

Smythe Division Prediction:

  1. Vancouver Canucks
  2. Edmonton Oilers
  3. Calgary Flames
  4. Seattle Kraken
  5. San Jose Sharks
  6. Anaheim Ducks
  7. Los Angeles Kings

Norris Division Prediction:

  1. Colorado Avalanche
  2. St. Louis Blues
  3. Chicago Blackhawks
  4. Winnipeg Jets
  5. Nashville Predators
  6. Minnesota Wild
  7. Dallas Stars
  8. Vegas Golden Knights

West Playoffs Prediction:

  1. Colorado Avalanche
  2. Vancouver Canucks
  3. St. Louis Blues
  4. Edmonton Oilers
  5. Chicago Blackhawks
  6. Winnipeg Jets
  7. Calgary Flames
  8. Nashville Predators

Adams Division Prediction:

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning
  2. Florida Panthers
  3. Toronto Maple Leafs
  4. Boston Bruins
  5. Montreal Canadiens
  6. Detroit Red Wings
  7. Buffalo Sabres
  8. Ottawa Senators

Patrick Division Prediction:

  1. Carolina Hurricanes
  2. New Jersey Devils
  3. Pittsburgh Penguins
  4. New York Rangers
  5. New York Islanders
  6. Columbus Blue Jackets
  7. Philadelphia Flyers

East Playoffs Prediction:

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning
  2. Florida Panthers
  3. Carolina Hurricanes
  4. New Jersey Devils
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs
  6. Pittsburgh Penguins
  7. New York Rangers
  8. Boston Bruins
View comments (1)
Kyle Haubrich (St. Louis Blues) On 12th August / 11:24am :

Blues Predictions for CAFHL Season 2:

Smythe Division Prediction:

  1. Edmonton Oilers
  2. Calgary Flames
  3. Vancouver Canucks
  4. Seattle Kraken
  5. Anaheim Ducks
  6. San Jose Sharks
  7. Los Angeles Kings

 

Norris Division Prediction:

  1. Colorado Avalanche
  2. Chicago Blackhawks
  3. Winnipeg Jets
  4. St. Louis Blues
  5. Minnesota Wild
  6. Nashville Predators
  7. Dallas Stars
  8. Vegas Golden Knights

 

West Playoffs Prediction:

  1. Edmonton Oilers
  2. Colorado Avalanche
  3. Calgary Flames
  4. Chicago Blackhawks
  5. Vancouver Canucks
  6. Winnipeg Jets
  7. St. Louis Blues
  8. Minnesota Wild

 

Adams Division Prediction:

  1. Florida Panthers
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning
  3. Toronto Maple Leafs
  4. Boston Bruins
  5. Detroit Red Wings
  6. Montreal Canadiens
  7. Buffalo Sabres
  8. Ottawa Senators

 

Patrick Division Prediction:

  1. New Jersey Devils
  2. Carolina Hurricanes
  3. Pittsburgh Penguins
  4. New York Islanders
  5. New York Rangers
  6. Columbus Blue Jackets
  7. Philadelphia Flyers

 

East Playoffs Prediction:

  1. Florida Panthers
  2. New Jersey Devils
  3. Tampa Bay Lightnings
  4. Toronto Maple Leafs
  5. Carolina Hurricanes
  6. Pittsburgh Penguins
  7. Boston Bruins
  8. New York Islanders

In the Western Conference, Minnesota and Nashville could suprise and Minnesota could end up higher in the conference, and Nashville could easily make the playoffs.  In the Eastern Conference, I think that 8th spot is going to be a battle between the 2 New York teams (Islanders/Rangers).

What say you?

New Comment

Pre-Season Predictions - Smythe Division

By Akash Asif (New Jersey Devils) On Monday 1st August 2022 / 4:05pm

Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks had a quiet off-season, but they did bring in some youth by drafting twice in the first round. The Ducks selected Conor Geekie at 4th overall and Pavel Mintyukov at 14th overall in the entry draft. Soon after the first round, the Ducks also selected Jagger Firkus and Dylan James, at 31st and 34th overall, respectively.

Strengths: The Ducks have started to rebuild after letting some notable players leave in free agency. However, there is some youth that fans can look forward to being developed. In addition to their draft picks above, Anaheim is patiently developing Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras, Barrett Hayton, and Mason McTavish

Weaknesses: The Ducks are currently rebuilding and will not be competitive during this season. They lack players with offensive abilities as well defense abilities and Vitek Vanecek is not a starting goalie.

Prediction: The Ducks will be fighting for a lottery pick during this upcoming season.

 

Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames biggest off-season move was perhaps bringing in a GM who is experienced and can provide a clear direction for this team. Additionally, the Flames signed Vladislav Namestnikov and Tyler Ptilick to 3-year deals worth $9.6 million and $6.6 million, respectively.

Strengths: The Flames forward group is led by Elias Lindholm, Johnny Gaudreau, and Matthew Tkachuk. This trio is supported by Mikael Backlund, Jonathan Toews, and Blake Coleman. A major strength for this time is their elite starting goalie, Jacob Markstrom.

Weaknesses: The Flames are weak on defense with Christopher Tanev, Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin, and Nikita Zadorov patrolling the blueline. There is limited depth on defense and few skaters on the roster who are universally known to be able to play a solidified shutdown role.

Prediction: Calgary Flames will fight for a playoff spot.

 

Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers had a relatively quiet off-season as they made one pick in the entry draft when they selected, Vinzenz Rohrer, as the 89th pick. Other than that, the Oilers kept it simple as they are going into this season with a similar roster as last year.

Strengths: The Oilers major strength is their ability to dress two of the best skaters in the entire league with Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. These two players are supported by Logan Couture, Zach Hyman, and Phillip Danault. On defense, the Oilers top-four consists of Darnell Nurse, Duncan Keith, Cody Ceci, and Ryan Graves.

Weaknesses: The biggest weakness on this roster is the lack of depth on offense as the quality of players in the forward group dips considerably after the first 7-8 players. With no significant back-up, the Oilers can be in a lot of trouble if 40-year-old, Mike Smith, struggles or gets injured.

Prediction: Edmonton Oilers will fight for a playoff spot.

 

Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings were busy this off-season as they went up to the podium three times in the first round. The club selected Denton Mateychuk as the 9th selection, Isaac Howard as the 24th selection, and Danila Yurov as the 26th selection in the entry draft. The Kings selected many more players in later rounds of the draft.

Strengths: The Kings are currently rebuilding so the team does not have many strengths on the roster. However, there are many prospects the team is developing, such as Arthur Kaliyev, Quinton Byfield, Brandt Clarke, and Dylan Holloway. These are just some of the players in addition to their draft pick selections in the latest entry draft.

Weaknesses: The team is currently going through a major transition and there are weaknesses across the roster. The Kings are currently not set-up to compete for a playoff spot this season.

Prediction: The Kings will be fighting for a lottery pick during this upcoming season.

 

San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks are currently in a rebuild and that is the direction they maintained over the off-season. In the entry draft, the Sharks may have found their next franchise player when they drafted Logan Cooley with the 3rd overall pick. San Jose also made a big trade late in the off-season when they traded Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Michael McLeod to New Jersey in exchange for Tyler Bertuzzi, JT Compher, and a 1st round pick.

Strengths: Two bright spots on the current roster are Timo Meier who leads the offense and Mario Ferraro who leads the defense. The team will continue to wait patiently for their prospects to develop, such as William Eklund, Philip Broberg, and Fedor Svechkov.

Weaknesses: The Sharks are currently rebuilding so there are glaring holes across the roster. However, the biggest weakness may be that the Sharks do not currently own their first round pick in the upcoming entry draft.

Prediction: The Sharks will be fighting for a lottery pick during this upcoming season.

 

Seattle Kraken

The Seattle Kraken currently do not have a GM so I will not be writing a lengthy analysis. The Kraken drafted Kevin Korchinski as the 17th selection in the entry draft.

Strengths: Seattle is led by Patrick Kane on offense and supported by Jordan Eberle, Jaden Schwartz, and Jared McCann. Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak lead the first defense pairing. The Kraken do have one of the highest rated goalies in the league in Philipp Grubauer.

Weaknesses: Seattle is currently a team with no direction. A motivated GM would be able to decide whether the team needs to rebuild or compete as currently it is not doing either.

Prediction: The Kraken will be fighting for a lottery pick during this upcoming season.

 

Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks made a plethora of trades this off-season to improve their roster. First, the Canucks made a multi-player deal that sent Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser to Chicago in exchange for Alex Ovechkin and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Vancouver then traded a first-round pick to bring in Calvin Petersen followed by another move that sent newly acquired Pierre-Luc Dubois to Buffalo in exchange for Tage Thompson and Ryan Chesley.

Strengths: There is no shortage of star power on the Canucks roster with Alex Ovechkin, JT Miller, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Elias Pettersson leading the way on offense. This spectacular top-end group of forwards is further complimented by a top pairing defense of Brent Burns and Roman Josi. With Thatcher Demko as the starting goalie, the Canucks can beat teams in more than one way.

Weaknesses: One weakness on the Canucks roster is the inability for many forwards to play a two-way game. The farm roster is also bare and can pose some issues if Vancouver goes through injuries.

Prediction: The Vancouver Canucks will win the division title.

 

Overall Division Standings Prediction:

  1. Vancouver Canucks
  2. Edmonton Oilers
  3. Calgary Flames
  4. Seattle Kraken
  5. San Jose Sharks
  6. Anaheim Ducks
  7. Los Angeles Kings
New Comment

Pre-Season Predictions - Patrick Division

By Akash Asif (New Jersey Devils) On Sunday 31st July 2022 / 1:56am

Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes started the off-season by being busy during free agency as they signed Ian Cole, Thomas Hickey, and Nick Paul to name a few. Like some other teams, Carolina also traded picks in the entry draft to St. Louis in exchange for prospects. Recently, the Hurricanes sent goaltender, Antti Raanta, to Nashville in exchange for a fourth-round pick.

Strengths: The Hurricanes forward group is led by superstars, Mark Stone and Sebastian Aho and further complimented by Vincent Trocheck, Andrei Svechnikov, Jordan Staal, and Martin Necas. In addition to the depth in the forward group, Carolina’s defense is led by Jacob Slavin, Ian Cole, Nick Holden, and Brett Pesce. There are also other quality defensemen on the depth chart who can help in case there are any injuries.

Weaknesses: The one glaring weakness on the roster is their current goalie situation. Frederik Andersen continues to be a wildcard as he has struggled with consistency and establishing himself as an elite starting goalie. A 37-year-old, Jaroslav Halak, is the back-up for this team and it would be a lot to ask him to step-in for any significant amount of time if Andersen gets injured.

Prediction: The Carolina Hurricanes will challenge for the division title.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets currently do not have a GM so I will not be writing a lengthy analysis. The Jackets drafted David Jiricek as the 8th overall selection in the entry draft. The Jackets also signed Brayden McNabb, Justin Braun and Phil Kessel from free agency.

Strengths: The strength of the Blue Jackets team is their defense with a top-four consisting of Brayden McNabb, Justin Braun, Zach Werenski, and Vladislav Gavrikov. Another strong spot on the roster is the goalies with Elvis Merzlikins as the starter and Joonas Korpisalo as the back-up.

Weaknesses: The forward group is led by Boone Jenner, Jakub Voracek, and Patrik Laine. However, there is limited depth to compliment this trio on the roster. The Blue Jackets are going to have a significantly difficult time scoring goals this season and although their defensive group is strong, the division is too strong for them to be competitive.

Prediction: The Blue Jackets will be fighting for a lottery pick during this upcoming season.

 

New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils made zero selections in the entry draft as they traded all their picks for cash and future assets. The Devils added a few players to the roster via trades including Tyson Jost, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Michael McLeod. The Devils also made a significant splash via trade market as they moved Vladimir Tarasenko, Filip Hronek, and picks in exchange for Moritz Seider. The Devils also played a major role in free agency as their signings included Hampus Lindholm and Sergei Bobrovsky.

Strengths: The Devils roster is full of depth and players who can play both ends of the ice. The team is led by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Tomas Hertl, Dylan Larkin, and Nico Hischier. This group is supported by Teuvo Teravainen, Pavel Buchnevich, and Jesper Bratt. The defense is led by Justin Faulk and Hampus Lindholm while TJ Brodie and Moritz Seider will play on the second pair. The Devils also have a strong goaltending duo with Sergei Bobrovsky backed up by James Reimer.

Weaknesses: One weakness on the roster is the lack of a true superstar player who can take over the game on their own. The Devils team needs to work by committee and although there are several star players, they will not be able to simply rely on one player.

Prediction: The New Jersey Devils will challenge for the division title.

 

New York Islanders

The Islanders were a busy team during the entry draft as they made several trades to add prospects to their roster right away. With the 16th selection, the Islanders selected, Noah Ostlund. The Islanders also bolstered their defense unit by bringing in Dmitry Orlov and Brett Kulak.

Strengths: One of the bright spots on the roster is the Islanders starting goalie, Semyon Varlamov followed by Ilya Sorokin. The forward group is led by Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, and Zach Parise. The Islanders top.4 defensemen is comprised of Dmitry Orlov, Ryan Pulovk, Adam Pelech, and Scott Mayfield.

Weaknesses: The Islanders have depth in their forward group but there are few players on the roster who can make a significant impact every single game. The Islanders will be a team that needs to rely on all players to play both sides of the ice. Additionally, there is limited depth on the farm if any of the Islanders players face significant injuries.

Prediction: New York Islanders will fight for a playoff spot.

 

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers had a steady off-season as they took care of signing their own free agents. For instance, the team inked Ryan Strome for 4 years at $6,000,000 per year. The Rangers also selected Lian Bichsel with the 20th overall pick in the draft.

Strengths: The Rangers have one of the strongest goalie duos in the league led by Igor Shesterkin and Jordan Binnington. Malcolm Subban and Alexandar Georgiev are the farm goalies, so that is significant depth for the team in the goaltending department. The Rangers forward group is led by Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Artemo Panarin. Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba lead the defensemen alongside many other quality defensemen.

Weaknesses: The biggest weakness on the Rangers roster is the lack of scoring abilities with their forward group. Although, there is significant depth across the roster, the Rangers are going to have a difficult time scoring goalies in the upcoming season.

Prediction: New York Rangers will fight for a playoff spot.

 

Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers currently do not have a GM so I will not be writing a lengthy analysis. Unfortunately, due to a lack of attention, the Flyers had an incredibly quiet off-season. Philadelphia did select Jonathan Lekkerimaki with the 18th pick in the draft.

Strengths: The Flyers forward group is led by Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Cam Atkinson with some additional depth from players, such as James van Riemsdryk and Travis Konecny. On defense, Ivan Provorov and Ryan Ellis will be on the top pair.

Weaknesses: The Flyers have limited depth after their top 8-9 forwards. The Flyers defense is also one of the worst in the league with few quality players and no depth. Carter Hart is also one of the worst rated starting goalies in the league.

Prediction: The Flyers will be fighting for a lottery pick during this upcoming season.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins had a non-existent off-season as they made one trade with the St. Louis Blues as they exchanged draft picks for cash. The Penguins made no other trades or free agency signings. However, the team was incredibly successful last season so maybe many changes were not required.

Strengths: The Penguins have no shortage of superstars with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin leading the forward group and being supported by Jake Guentzel, Evander Kane, Bryan Rust, and Sam Bennett. On defense, Dougie Hamilton, Erik Karlsson, Ryan Suter, and Brian Dumoulin make up the top-four.

Weaknesses: The Penguins lack of depth is their biggest weakness that can land them into a lot of trouble. There are barely any players on the farm roster and if there are injuries, Pittsburgh will be in a lot of trouble. The evidence for a lack of depth is further supported with 23-year-old, Alex D'Orio, as the back-up. If Jarry gets injured for any significant amount of time, it will be detrimental for this team’s success during the season.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins will fight for a playoff spot.

 

Overall Division Standings Prediction:

  1. Carolina Hurricanes
  2. New Jersey Devils
  3. Pittsburgh Penguins
  4. New York Rangers
  5. New York Islanders
  6. Columbus Blue Jackets
  7. Philadelphia Flyers
New Comment

Top 80 NHL Prospects Under 23

By Andrew Don (Colorado Avalanche) On Thursday 28th July 2022 / 10:49pm

This list is released by the Athletic, and is a ranking of the top 80 (non-goalie) NHL prospects under 23 who have not played at least a half season's worth of NHL games. In brackets is the CAFHL team who owns their rights.

1. Owen Power (BUF) 

2. Luke Hughes (BUF) 

3. Shane Wright (OTT) 

4. Simon Nemec (BUF) 

5. Logan Cooley (SJ) 

6. Matty Beniers (SEA) 

7. Kent Johnson (CLM) 

8. Cole Perfetti (WIN) 

9. Matthew Savoie (DET) 

10. Juraj Slavkovsky (VGK) 

11. Jake Sanderson (OTT) 

12. Brandt Clarke (LA) 

13. Mason McTavish (ANA) 

14. Simon Edvinsson (DET) 

15. Quinton Byfield (LA) 

16. Marco Rossi (TOR) 

17. Alexander Holtz (BUF) 

18. David Jiricek (CLM) 

19. Joakim Kemell (CAL) 

20. Jonathan Lekkerimaki (PHI)  

21. Dylan Guenther (DET) 

22. Brad Lambert (DET) 

23. Danila Yurov (LA) 

24. William Eklund (SJ) 

25. Isaac Howard (LA) 

26. Frank Nazar (DET) 

27. Olen Zellweger (ANA) 

28. Denton Mateychuk (LA) 

29. Liam Ohgren (VGK) 

30. Kevin Korchinski (SEA) 

31. Chaz Lucius (WIN) 

32. Wyatt Johnston (DAL) 

33. Brennan Othmann (NYR) 

34. Rutger McGroarty (VGK) 

35. Cutter Gauthier (DET) 

36. Jack Quinn (BUF) 

37. Kaiden Guhle (MON) 

38. Logan Stankoven (DAL) 

39. Mavrik Bourque (DAL) 

40. Peyton Krebs (VGK) 

41. Lukas Reichel (TOR) 

42. Matt Coronato (CAL) 

43. Conor Geekie (ANA) 

44. Lukas Cormier (SJ) 

45. Bobby Brink (PHI) 

46. Lane Hutson (NYI) 

47. Nick Robertson (TOR) 

48. Dylan Holloway (LA) 

49. Xavier Bourgault (LA) 

50. Thomas Harley (DAL) 

51. Calen Addison (MIN) 

52. Jonathan Berggren (COL) 

53. Zachary Bolduc (NJ) 

54. Brendan Brisson (VGK) 

55. Philip Broberg (SJ) 

56. William Dufour (NYI) 

57. Luke Evangelista (NJ) 

58. Brock Faber (EDM) 

59. Sean Farrell (COL) 

60. David Goyette (LA) 

61. Jordan Harris (MON) 

62. Ville Heinola (WIN) 

63. Zac Jones (NYR) 

64. Marco Kasper (VGK) 

65. Matthew Knies (TOR) 

66. Jiri Kulich (CLM) 

67. Carson Lambos (MIN) 

68. Nils Lundqvist (NYR) 

69. Fabian Lysell (BOS) 

70. Filip Mesar (DET) 

71. Pavel Mintyukov (ANA) 

72. Noah Ostlund (NYI) 

73. Jakob Pelletier (CAL) 

74. JJ Peterka (CAR) 

75. Shane Pinto (BUF) 

76. Joshua Roy (MON) 

77. Victor Soderstrom (WIN) 

78. Jordan Spence (LA) 

79. Alex Turcotte (SJ) 

80. Cam York (PHI) 

 

Top prospects per team ranking. Ties are broken by the team with hte highest rated prospect

1. Los Angeles - 9 

2. Detroit - 7 

3. Buffalo - 6 

4. Vegas - 6 

5. San Jose - 5 

6. Winnipeg - 4 

7. Anaheim - 4 

8. Toronto - 4 

9. Dallas - 4 

10. Columbus - 3 

11. Calgary - 3 

12. Philadelphia - 3 

13. NY Rangers - 3 

14. Montreal - 3 

15. NY Islanders - 3 

16. Ottawa - 2 

17. Seattle - 2 

18. Minnesota - 2 

19. Colorado - 2 

20. New Jersey - 2 

21. Edmonton - 1 

22. Boston - 1 

23. Carolina - 1 

24. Chicago - 0 

25. Florida - 0 

26. Nashville - 0 

27. Pittsburgh - 0 

28. St. Louis - 0 

29. Tampa Bay - 0 

30. Vancouver - 0

 

New Comment

Pre-Season Predictions - Norris Division

By Akash Asif (New Jersey Devils) On Thursday 28th July 2022 / 6:11am

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks have had a busy off-season. On the trade-front, Tyson Jost was moved and prospects, Ryan Suzuki and Noah Juulsen were brought in. Perhaps, one of the biggest trades this off-season was made by the Blackhawks that sent Alex Ovechkin and Pierre-Luc Dubois to Vancouver. In return, the key players coming back to Washington included Quinn Hughes, Brock Boeser, and Kasperi Kapanen. The roster has been shaken up.

Strengths: The Blackhawks have one of the strongest defensive cores in the league, which is led by a top four of Morgan Rielly, Josh Morrissey, Quinn Hughes, and Jakub Chychrun. The bottom pair is made up of Colin Miller and Erik Gudbranson while the depth extends to other defensemen who can also play on the pro roster. In addition to a strong defense, Chicago has an elite goalie in John Gibson who can steal wins on his own.

Weaknesses: The forward group for Chicago is older and not as skilled as some other teams around the league. TJ Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, and Brock Boeser lead the group followed by Ryan Johansen and Anthony Mantha. However, the depth quickly disappears, and the Blackhawks can get in a lot of trouble if one of their top forwards is injured for an extended period.

Prediction: Chicago will fight for a playoff spot.

 

Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche had a quiet off-season with minimal draft selections. The Avalanche did make some minor depth signings, including Michael Stone and Jay Beagle. Colorado also acquired defensemen Cal Foote from Tampa Bay in exchange Jake Leschyshyn, Drew Helleson, and a fourth-round pick.

Strengths: The Avalanche have one of the best rosters in the entire league. Their incredible forward talent is led by Anze Kopitar, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen. This group is further complimented by Alex Tuch, Valeri Nichushkin, and Andre Burakovsky. Cale Makar and Devon Toews patrol the blueline followed by Erik Johnson and Samuel Girard. Colorado is a team that has excellent depth amongst both their forward and defense skaters.

Weaknesses: One weakness with this Avalanche team is their goaltending with Darcy Kuemper in net and Pavel Francouz as the back-up. Kuemper is not an elite starting goalie and if he struggles, the Avalanche may be in trouble.

Prediction: The Colorado Avalanche will win the division title.

 

Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars have been quiet for some time, however, that may change as the team has finally found a new GM. The Stars selected Owen Pickering with the 15th overall pick in the draft and picked up forward, Dominik Kubalik, in a trade.

Strengths: The Stars have a quality forward group that is led by Joe Pavelski, Roope Hintz, and Tyler Seguin. The forward group is complimented by youth, such as Kirby Dach, Jason Robertson, and Denis Gurianov. Dallas’ defense is led by Esa Lindell, Miro Heiskanen, and John Klingberg. Jake Oettinger is the starting goalie for this team with a ton of potential.

Weaknesses: If the Dallas Stars get into injury trouble, they have very limited depth to compensate for the losses. The team can also use more goal scorers and forwards that can play defense. The defensive group is also lacking experience and leadership. The team has potential, but more work is required to mould the roster into shape.

Prediction: The Stars will be fighting for a lottery pick during this upcoming season.

 

Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild were relatively quiet this off-season but they did make a few significant moves. First, they traded away a valuable forward in Joel Eriksson Ek in exchange for Ryan O’Reilly. The Wild also signed goaltender, Ville Husso to a four-year deal.

Strengths: The team is led by Ryan O’Reilly, Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello up front. On defense, the top-4 consists of Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin, and Shea Theodore. With Alex Goligoski and Dmitry Kulikov rounding out the defense, this defensive group is strong. The team is backstopped by two veteran goalies in Robin Lehner and Jonathan Quick.

Weaknesses: The Minnesota Wild are an older team and there aren’t many younger players spotted on the roster. There is also limited depth with the forward group as the quality of players significantly drops after 8 or 9 forwards. Scoring may also be an issue for the entire roster.

Prediction: Minnesota will fight for a playoff spot.

 

Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators had a quiet off-season as they made a small trade to acquire defensemen, Jan Rutta. The Predators did not make a draft selection until pick #141, at which time, they selected, Sergei Ivanov.

Strengths: The Nashville Predators have a lot of depth with their forward group, which is led by Alex DeBrincat, Matt Duchene, and Filip Forsberg. The forward group is further complimented by Mikael Granlund, Clayton Keller, and Reilly Smith. There are also some viable options on the farm roster in case injuries get in the way. On defense, the team is led by Drew Doughty and Mattias Ekholm while Juuse Saros is the starting goalie.

Weaknesses: Although, the Predators have significant depth with their forward group, they are missing a legitimate superstar. Another weakness is the lack of players who can play strong defense. Juuse Saros is going to need to bail out this defensive group on a consistent basis.

Prediction: Nashville will fight for a playoff spot.

 

St. Louis Blues

It was quite evident that the St. Louis Blues GM was not happy with results last season as the team had an incredibly busy off-season. Although, many trades were made for depth players and draft picks, two transactions standout the most. First, the Blues acquired Jack Eichel from the Florida Panthers in a deal that sent out Ivan Barbashev and Robert Thomas. The Blues were not done shaking up their roster as they also traded Ryan O'Reilly in a 1-1 deal for Joel Eriksson Ek. The Blues also signed defensemen, Rasmus Ristolainen, to a 5-year deal worth over $36 million dollars. Other notable free agent signings included Robert hagg, Ilya Mikheyev, and Noel Acciari. Finally, the Blues made a record-setting 37 picks in the draft with Christian Kyrou being their first selection at 28th overall.

Strengths: A major strength of the St. Louis Blues is their depth across both their forward and defensive group. The forward group is led by Joel Eriksson Ek, David Perron, Sam Reinhart, and Jack Eichel. This group is complimented by valuable role players, such as William Karlsson, Brayden Schenn, Brandon Saad, Ilya Mikheyev, and Jordan Kyrou. The defensive group is led by Alexander Edler, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Colton Parayko. The farm roster is full of players who can step up and play on the pro roster if needed, so depth is this team’s biggest strength.

Weaknesses: Their starter is Mackenzie Blackwood who is still looking to establish himself as an elite goalie in the league. If Blackwood struggles, the Blues backup is Kevin Lankinen, which doesn’t boast a ton of confidence.

Prediction: St. Louis will fight for a playoff spot.

 

Vegas Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights are clearly a rebuilding team that used this off-season to continue bringing in youth into the organization. The Golden Knights had five first round picks, which included the first overall pick. Vegas selected Juraj Slafkovsky (1st), Marco Kasper (11th), Liam Ohgren (12th), Rutger Mcgroarty (13th), and Maveric Lamoureux (25th). This was followed by numerous picks in the following rounds. The team also dipped their toes in the free agency market as they signed multiple players, including Martin Jones, Milan Lucic, Cal Clutterbuck, Robert Bortuzzo, and Devan Dubnyk.

Strengths: The Golden Knights have a ton of youth on their roster, and this will be a year in which they will patiently wait for their prospects to develop. Matt Boldy, Nolan Patrick, and Bowen Byram are three players who can start on the pro roster. In addition to the draft picks selected above, the team also has some other terrific prospects, such as Dawson Mercer and Peyton Krebs. Vegas will be a team to watch as they progress over the next few seasons.

Weaknesses: This is clearly a rebuilding team that is going through the motions. The roster consists of players who could turn into potential tradeable assets at the deadline.

Prediction: The Golden Knights will be fighting for a lottery pick during this upcoming season.

 

Winnipeg Jets

After a tremendous playoff run, the Winnipeg Jets had a relatively busy off-season as they went out and signed Mason Marchment to a 5-year deal worth $12.5 million dollars. The team also signed Alex Stalock and Ryan Carpenter. The Jets made a few trades that sent out picks for cash and prospects. For instance, Winnipeg traded their first-round pick in the draft to Detroit for a 2nd round pick as well as prospects Robert Mastrosimone and Theodor Niederbach.

Strengths: The Jets have a talented forward group that is led by Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. In addition, Alex Iafallo, Paul Stastny, Tom Wilson, Andrew Copp, and Conor Garland are some of the players that make up this offense with a tremendous amount of depth. The roster also consists of one of the best goaltenders in the entire league with Connor Hellebuyck.

Weaknesses: Winnipeg has a weak defensive core. Although, Dylan DeMelo, Neal Poink, and Brendan Dillon are talented defensemen, it can be argued whether any of them would be a top pairing defenseman on a championship winning team. Additionally, the entire skater group may have some difficulties around stopping the puck from reaching Hellebuyck with few defensive specialists.

Prediction: Winnipeg will fight for a playoff spot.

 

Overall Division Standings Prediction:

  1. Colorado Avalanche
  2. St. Louis Blues
  3. Chicago Blackhawks
  4. Winnipeg Jets
  5. Nashville Predators
  6. Minnesota Wild
  7. Dallas Stars
  8. Vegas Golden Knights
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