The NHL season is not too far away and the free agency craze has all the fans of various teams excited for the new season. Whether it’s a new free agent signing or a huge trade that could alter their team’s chances at hoisting lord Stanley’s Cup this year, everyone gets excited. You cannot deny it’s a great time to be a fan of whatever team it is you cheer for.
The only other time in the NHL season that has the ‘what ifs’ and rumours going crazy is the trade deadline. With all the deals that have been inked and all the trades that have been finalized there are some clear winners and clear losers of any signing. Every fan from the hard-core experts to the noobs will always argue and debate every teams move. The only way that any arguments can be settled is to have the season and see, this list is comprised of teams that have made big moves, trades, and picks in the draft. This will list some teams that were winners and will be winners and some teams that will be clear losers that will be nowhere near the Stanley Cup this year. Will it be star power? Will it be grit? Will it be goaltending? Or will it be a new coach? No one can know for certain until the end of the season.
17 HEADED FOR THE CUP
16 Pittsburgh Penguins
15 Ottawa Senators
Let’s continue with a controversial entry on this list, shall we? The reason why the Ottawa Senators didn’t perform as well as they have in recent years is due to numerous situations, including a revolving door of coaches, drama behind different players like Spezza and their former franchise player Daniel Alfredsson, and mostly their special teams.
The recent hiring of Guy Boucher will boost the morale of the dressing room and will make the players play together better. With his no nonsense approach to special teams he will install a system that works much the way he did in his tenure in Tampa Bay. The system in Tampa Bay that he installed still works to this day as Tampa has been on a tear as of late. It is also the hiring of former Avalanche coach and Stanley Cup champion Marc Crawford that was met with the most controversy as he hasn’t coached in the NHL in a few seasons but has the same mentality as Boucher.
14 Montreal Canadiens
Yet another rather controversial entry on this list, with the disastrous season they had last year the Habs are very much contenders. They may have lost players like Norris trophy winner P.K. Subban in the biggest trade to hit the NHL in a very long time and they lost Lars Eller at the draft, however the return they got for those two deals plus the deal that brought Andrew Shaw to Montreal will be beneficial.
13 Dallas Stars
12 San Jose Sharks
11 Chicago Blackhawks
10 Washington Capitals
9 Tampa Bay Lighting
The day the Bolts inked Steven Stamkos to an 8-year deal is the day a lot of souls in Maple Leaf land were crushed. Stamkos is without a doubt the face of the Bolts franchise and will be for possibly the rest of his career much like the Bolts GM Steve Yzerman was the face of the red wings. Along with the signing of Stamkos and Hedman to 8 years they have their top 2 for the coming future along with the signing of Vasileskiy they also have their one two punch for goaltending with Ben Bishop being their starter. The lighting have been close on many occasions of obtaining their second Stanley Cup win with losing in the finals last year to the Hawks and coming up short with the Pens this year.
8 FINISH IN THE BOTTOM
7 Boston Bruins
6 Detroit Red Wings
5 Los Angeles Kings
4 Colorado Avalanche
3 Columbus Blue Jackets
2 Toronto Maple Leafs
A team where many would have thought would’ve been number one on this list, there is a lot of work for Lou Lamoriello to do in Toronto before they can be a contender. They have however taken the right steps by getting the right coach, trading away Kessel and Phaneuf, they are relying more on youth than experience with their draft picks this year. These steps have been taken for them to be a force in the future. The biggest questions with the Leafs stay the same as before when it comes to consistency and overall skill when it comes to winning games.
1 Edmonton Oilers
This pick and result should come to no surprise to anyone as the Oilers have been nothing but bad ever since their huge cup run 10 years ago, however they haven’t made the playoffs since. It is no question the skill in players they do have with the likes of McDavid, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins amongst others, on the other side of the argument is the fact that they are top heavy with forwards. The biggest problem plaguing the Oilers for numerous years is not having a star caliber goaltender and have little to no defence to speak of. The addition of Eric Gryba from the Sens last year was a definite step in the right direction but there is still a lot of work to be done. The locker room in Edmonton was definitely shaken when it was announced that former number one draft pick Taylor hall was traded to new jersey for defenceman Adam Larsson and definitely announce to the entire team that things are changing and no one is safe. Will Larsson be the missing piece to the Oilers puzzle? The answer is a huge no because there are a lot more problems like finding the top caliber goaltender they’ve been looking for and a number 1 and 2 defencemen. So for the next few seasons the Oilers will remain in the doghouse of the NHL.
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