The NHL is a completely different league then it was back in the day. Every team had superstars that remained with the same team for their whole career. Then you had the superstars who remained with the same team for the majority of their career. Now-a-days superstars play where they think gives them the best chance to win a Stanley Cup. The NHL as a whole has changed since the 2000’s.
The National Hockey League is one of the more interesting leagues out of the four major sports, due to the fact that anybody can win any game. Yes, there are the dominant teams that seem to make the playoffs every year, but once the playoffs start it is a completely different game. The atmosphere of a playoff hockey game is unlike any other that we have seen in the history of sports. Every single NHL player wants to play in the playoffs, they want to play in that atmosphere, they want to be able to hoist the Stanley Cup when it is all said and done.
With the players going with the full Stanley Cup Final craze it is creating some teams that you would think that you can only imagine. For example the Pittsburgh Penguins have a big offensive trio in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel who have won back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals. Now the question that is on everybody’s mind is “is this going to be the new trend?” Should we start getting accustomed to seeing star talent wanting to play on one team? I strongly believe so and with that being said here are 15 players that will join a new team before their career ends.
15. Chris Kreider – Boston Bruins
Chris Kreider is from Boxford Massachusetts, and the idea of him playing for his hometown Boston Bruins sounds like a realistic chance. Kreider is a former first round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, and went to school at Boston College. He has been a solid all-around player for the New York Rangers currently and is under contract until the 2020-2021 season. At the end of his contract he is going to be 29 years old and will look to join the Boston Bruins.
In his career Kreider has played in 323 games while tallying 83 goals to go along with 93 assists for a total of 182 points. When Kreider becomes a free agent they will still have the majority of their core under contract in Krejci, Marchand, Bergeron, and Backes, and with other young talent that they will have under contract Chris Kreider can help bring a Stanley Cup back to his hometown.
14. Tyler Toffoli – San Jose Sharks
Tyler Toffoli is a young and talented wing that looks like he would be a great fit for the San Jose Sharks before his career is over. Toffoli is under contract until the 2020-21 season, and imagining a core of Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Tyler Toffoli sounds pretty good to contend in the Western Conference. Pavelski and Couture are both unrestricted free agents after the 2018-2019 season and should look to remain with the Sharks.
In Toffoli’s career he has played in 293 games while tallying 84 goals to go along with 91 assists for a total of 175 points. In his young career Toffoli has shown flashes of superstar potential, and has a long career ahead of him. He has won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2014, and if he goes with San Jose before his career is over, he just might have another chance of winning another one before he retires.
13. Semyon Varlamov – Buffalo Sabres
Semyon Varlamov is definitely looking for a new home due to the fact that he has not been to happy with Colorado. One spot that would be perfect for him to play not only before his career is over, but for the remainder of his career is the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo has not had a true number one goaltender since they had Ryan Miller. The former first round pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, has shown some serious star goaltender qualities and he can still be “the number one guy” that a young team like Buffalo could use.
In Varlamov’s career he has played in 348 games and has posted a 169-134-35 record to go along with a 2.65 Goals Against Average. Buffalo being able to get Varlamov at any point before the end of his career is a good move for Buffalo, and Varlamov with their young core on offense can help make a playoff push.
12. Tyler Bozak – Vegas Golden Knights
Tyler Bozak to the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2018 off season sounds like a perfect match. Bozak is set to become a free agent after next season, and his value to a team like Vegas could lead him to sign there. With the Toronto Maple Leafs being a good solid young team, they look like they will move on from Bozak. The former undrafted player 2009 NHL Draft has been a great player since entering the league, but his time in Toronto is slowly coming to a close.
In Bozak’s career he has played in 513 games and has tallied 125 goals to go along with 197 assists for a total of 322 points. Vegas has a lot of players that will be free agents after this season and in the off season the Golden Knights should look to acquire Tyler Bozak to become a member of the Vegas Golden Knights.
11. Mike Hoffman – Columbus Blue Jackets
Mike Hoffman has been one of the better players on the Ottawa Senators since 2014-2015, and is currently under contract until the 2020-21 season. He has been a 25 plus goal scorer since the 2014-2015 season, and is looking like he will become a star player in the National Hockey League. The former fifth round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft will look to finish his career elsewhere besides Ottawa, and one place that would be the perfect fit for him is Columbus. The Blue Jackets have a good young foundation, and an addition like Hoffman can help take Columbus to the next level.
In Hoffman’s career he has tallied in 85 goals to go along with 89 assists for a total of 174 points in his 260 career games played. Hoffman playing with guys like Nick Foligno, recently acquried Artemi Panarin, Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson, and company makes Columbus not only a favorite in the Eastern Conference, but a favorite to win the Stanley Cup Final.
10. Jeff Skinner – St. Louis Blues
Jeff Skinner is a former number seven overall selection in the 2010 NHL Draft, and has been a great all-around player for Carolina. Skinner is from Toronto so a team that he would play for before his career is over is the Maple Leafs right? Well he could very well play for Toronto, but one team that I know that Skinner will play for before his career is over is the St. Louis Blues.
Yes, the St. Louis Blues seem like the perfect fit for Jeff Skinner who is set to become a free agent in 2019. The style of play that the Blues play makes myself believe that a Jeff Skinner as a St. Louis Blue can happen sooner rather than later. In Skinner’s career he has played in 497 games while tallying 180 goals to go along with 150 assists for a total of 330 points. Mark my words Jeff Skinner is a member of the St. Louis Blues before his career is over.
9. Sami Vatanen – Edmonton Oilers
Sami Vatanen is a good defensmen for the Anaheim Ducks, but it doesn’t look like he will be a member of the Anaheim Ducks forever. With that being said Sami Vatanen will definitely be wearing an Edmonton Oilers jersey by the time his career is over. The former 4th round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, has been a good defensemen in his career with the Ducks, but Vatanen having a chance to play with the likes of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisatil, and the likes of the Oilers sounds like a dream come true for Sami Vatanen.
In Vatanen’s career he has played in 265 games while tallying 32 goals to go along with 90 assists for a total of 122 points. With a guy like Vatanen on the blue line the Oilers can become a dynasty in the National Hockey League that will be tough to beat for years to come.
8. Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Tampa Bay Lightning
The Oliver Ekman-Larsson out of Arizona train is definitely one worth riding on, especially when he is under contract until the 2019-20 season. When Ekman-Larsson finally becomes a free agent he is out of Arizona for good, and the team that he will wish to sign with is the Tampa Bay Lightning. The former sixth overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, is one of the best offensive defensemen in the game today, and is wasting the prime of his career with a mediocre team like the Arizona Coyotes. Just think of the possibility of playing with Victor Hedman on defense, and the thoughts of having a superstar in Steven Stamkos playing in front of you is scary.
In Ekman-Larsson’s career he has played in 494 games while tallying 88 goals to go along with 160 assists for a total of 248 points. Look for Ekman-Larsson in a Tampa Bay Lightning uniform before he decides to call it quits.
7. Taylor Hall – Pittsburgh Penguins
Taylor Hall must really wish that he was playing with Connor McDavid right about now huh? Well the former number one overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, is entering the prime of his career on a mediocre New Jersey Devils team, and should look to want out as soon as possible. Unless its via a trade Hall does not become a free agent until 2020, and one team that sounds like it is in Hall’s wheelhouse is the Pittsburgh Penguins. Imagining Taylor Hall in a Pittsburgh uniform sounds like music to Penguin fans ears.
In his career Hall has played in 453 games while tallying 152 goals to go along with 229 assists for a total of 381 points. Hall’s talent is being wasted in New Jersey and you best believe the first chance he gets to play with somebody like Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin that he will snatch that chance real quick.
6. Rick Nash – Los Angeles Kings
Rick Nash has one year left on his contract with the New York Rangers then he becomes a unrestricted free agent. Now where is the perfect fit for Rick Nash after this upcoming season? Well it is in Los Angeles, as the Los Angeles Kings are the perfect fit for Rick Nash. The former number one overall pick in the 2002 NHL Draft, has been a great player throughout his illustrious NHL career, but his time in the Big Apple seems to be over and done with.
In his career Rick Nash has played in 989 games while tallying 416 goals to go along with 355 assists for a total of 771 points. Now he is a perfect fit for the Kings because like they did with Jeff Carter, Rick Nash can come in as a veteran and become a great player again with the Kings and can help lead them to another Stanley Cup Final appearance. The thought of Rick Nash as a Los Angeles King is more of a reality than just a dream.
5. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Calgary Flames
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has not fit into the new core that the Edmonton Oilers want to build around, and it seems like his time in Edmonton is coming to a close. With that being said the team the Nugent-Hopkins will play with before his career is over is the Calgary Flames. The former number one overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, has been a good center for the Oilers, but he looks to be their third line center going into next season.
In Nugent-Hopkins’ career he has played in 395 games while tallying 95 goals to go along with 170 assists for a total of 265 points. The Flames seem like a great fit for him, due to the fact that he would be a part of not only their top six, but they would build around not only him, but Johnny Gaudreau, and Sean Monahan.
4. Matt Duchene – Montreal Canadiens
Matt Duchene has been an all-around talent for the Colorado Avalanche since he entered the league. The former 3rd overall selection in the 2009 NHL Draft, has been a part of some trade rumors of the past season, and with Duchene being under contract for two more seasons the chances of him leaving Colorado increase every year that he is there. The team where Duchene should take his talents is none other than Montreal. Imagining Matt Duchene playing for the Montreal Canadiens is definitely something that peaks some interest.
In Duchene’s career he has played in 572 games while tallying 174 goals to go along with 244 assists for a total of 418 points. While Colorado is in their rebuilding phase Duchene should look to take his talents to Montreal, where he will not only help increase their chances of winning a Stanley Cup, but he just might be able to hoist one as a Montreal Canadien.
3. Tyler Seguin – Toronto Maple Leafs
Tyler Seguin has been one of the better players since he entered the league in 2010, and has two years left on his contract and looks like he will leave Dallas the first opportunity that he gets. One team Seguin is interested in playing for that might not happen till later in his career, but he will definitely play for them nonetheless is the Toronto Maple Leafs. The former number two overall selection in the 2010 NHL Draft, has a Stanley Cup and has been an elite player in the National Hockey League.
In his career Seguin has played in 508 games while tallying 189 goals to go along with 238 assists for a total of 427 points. Will Seguin definitely play for Toronto I believe so, but I can’t tell you when in his career that he will. If he can play while Auston Matthews and that young core is there, Toronto will be a threat year in and year out for a very long time.
2. Nicklas Backstrom – Minnesota Wild
Nicklas Backstrom has been Alexander Ovechkin’s right hand man since he entered the league, but with Backstrom now getting close to his 30’s and having zero Stanley Cup rings to show means that he could be out of Washington fairly soon. Backstrom is under contract until the 2020-2021, and should be thinking about where he is going to win a Stanley Cup if Washington still has yet to win one. One team that seems like a very perfect fit for Backstrom is the Minnesota Wild. The Wild have Zach Parise under contract until the 2025-2026 season which would mean that Nicklas Backstrom gets five solid years in Minnesota with him, and that group of individuals.
In his career Backstrom has played in 734 games while tallying 188 goals to go along with 540 assists for a total of 728 points. Minnesota and Nicklas Backstrom will definitely happen before Backstrom decides to retire due to the fact that they have a good foundation that can help him win a Stanley Cup before he retires.
1. John Tavares – Toronto Maple Leafs
John Tavares has been talked about seriously considering leaving the New York Islanders after the 2017-18 season, and one team that has been linked to John Tavares is his hometown team the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Toronto Maple Leafs are a very young team, that has some serious promise for the next five seasons if they can keep their young core together. If they can add the former first overall selection in the 2009 NHL Draft, the Maple Leafs can be the first Canadian team to make the Stanley Cup Final since Vancouver did in 2011.
In Tavares’ career he has played in 587 games while tallying 235 goals to go along with 302 assists for a total of 537 points. John Tavares as a Toronto Maple Leaf should scare every team in the National Hockey League because it will be an effective team that will contend year in and year out.
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