2016 Offseason Power Rankings


We’re always looking to add to our team! If you’re interested in joining our team, Click Here

 

Hockey Trade Central

Hockey Trade Central Twitter:

 

Every month, Hockey Trade Central will be posting Power Rankings. They will be posted the 1st of every month during the regular season, and will reflect the previous month’s play.

 

The Power Rankings are voted on by the writers.

 

Offseason Power Rankings are based on how well the teams drafted, how well they did in Free Agency, and the trades the teams have made.

 

2016 Offseason Rankings:

 

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins /
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning +1
  3. San Jose Sharks -1
  4. Dallas Stars +1
  5. Washington Capitals +2
  6. Nashville Predators /
  7. Florida Panthers +4
  8. Chicago Blackhawks +2
  9. St. Louis Blues -5
  10. New York Islanders -2
  11. Anaheim Ducks -2
  12. Los Angeles Kings +3
  13. Philadelphia Flyers /
  14. Minnesota Wild -2
  15. Detroit Red Wings -1
  16. Boston Bruins +1
  17. New Jersey Devils +3
  18. New York Rangers -2
  19. Carolina Hurricanes -1
  20. Buffalo Sabres +3
  21. Ottawa Senators -2
  22. Montreal Canadiens /
  23. Calgary Flames +3
  24. Arizona Coyotes /
  25. Winnipeg Jets /
  26. Colorado Avalanche -5
  27. Edmonton Oilers +2
  28. Toronto Maple Leafs +2
  29. Columbus Blue Jackets -2
  30. Vancouver Canucks -2

 

Previous Rankings:

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. San Jose Sharks
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning
  4. St. Louis Blues
  5. Dallas Stars
  6. Nashville Predators
  7. Washington Capitals
  8. New York Islanders
  9. Anaheim Ducks
  10. Chicago Blackhawks
  11. Florida Panthers
  12. Minnesota Wild
  13. Philadelphia Flyers
  14. Detroit Red Wings
  15. Los Angeles Kings
  16. New York Rangers
  17. Boston Bruins
  18. Carolina Hurricanes
  19. Ottawa Senators
  20. New Jersey Devils
  21. Colorado Avalanche
  22. Montreal Canadiens
  23. Buffalo Sabres
  24. Arizona Coyotes
  25. Winnipeg Jets
  26. Calgary Flames
  27. Columbus Blue Jackets
  28. Vancouver Canucks
  29. Edmonton Oilers
  30. Toronto Maple Leafs
Advertisements

Pacific Division Draft Day: Team Needs


By Bobby Bauders

Senior Writer/Editor

 

We’ll have four team needs stories highlighting the draft needs of the teams in every division. Written on June 23rd, any trades that happened after this story was written will not be mentioned in this story, therefore some draft spots may be outdated.

 

Our Updated Mock Draft

 

Pacific Division:

Edmonton Oilers:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 9

The Edmonton Oilers need defense and goaltending desperately.

 

Basically the only defense prospects the Oilers have are Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart, and while their future looks bright, there’s no guarantee that they’ll develop into elite shutdown defenders. That’s something Edmonton need. Holding the 4th overall pick opens a wide variety for Edmonton to choose from: Olli Juolevi, Jakob Chycrhun, and Mikhail Sergachev. But at 4th overall, would it be more beneficial to take a forward like Matthew Tkachuk instead of a defenseman? Most scouts agree Tkachuk is better than all the defensemen listed. That would likely prompt the Oilers to trade down, say, to Montreal’s number 9? Montreal is known to want to trade up to acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois. At number 9, Juolevi and Sergachev will likely be gone as Arizona and Buffalo choose at 7 and 8 respectively, but they still have their choice of Jakob Chychrun, Jake Bean, and Charles McAvoy.

 

Should they stay at 4, they honestly should take Mikhail Sergachev. Nurse and Reinhart are both left handed defenders. That means they need a right handed defender. Both Chychrun and Juolevi are left handed, while Sergachev is right handed.

 

As for goaltender: Edmonton owns the 32nd pick in the draft. Arguably the best goaltender, Filip Gustavsson will likely be selected in the 50s. So if Edmonton wants they could trade down to the 40s/50s in order to select Gustavsson. Although they still have a wide variety of talent at 32, and could select winger Vitali Abramov, despite their loaded offensive prospect pool.

 

Calgary Flames:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 3

Total Draft Picks: 10

Calgary mainly needs goaltending and maybe an extra punch in offense.

 

Calgary is basically set on defense for now. They could use an extra prospect or 2, but the ability to draft the likes of Alexander Nylander will likely overshadow that need.

 

That is if they even keep their 6th overall. Pittsburgh Penguins have told Calgary that Fleury’s price is a 6th overall. That would solve their current goaltending problem. If that price is too high, maybe they’ll figure out a way to package two of their many 2nd round picks plus a prospect.

 

Should Calgary stay at 6, they’ll likely select Nylander. They could also use on of their 2nd round picks to select Filip Gustavsson or Carter Hart.

 

Arizona Coyotes:

1st Round Picks: 2

2nd Round Picks: 2

Total Draft Picks: 8

Arizona’s needs are defense and goaltending.

 

With a late 2nd round pick, they should definitely consider drafting Filip Gustavsson or Carter Hart. They’re some of the top goaltending prospects in this draft, and have the potential to develop into something great, or at the very least could be cornerstones in a trade.

 

Arizona currently holds the 7th overall pick. They’re certainly hoping that Olli Juolevi falls to them. Imagine a future defensive pairing of Juolevi and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Sick. They’re need for a puck-moving defender to compliment Ekman-Larsson justifies Juolevi, but what about their need a for a shut down defenseman? This can come in the way of Mikhail Sergachev. Should Juolevi not be available at number 7, Sergachev is a great 2nd choice. He’s 220 lbs. and loves to be involved. He’s a dominant two-way defender who can shut down opponents, and also contribute on offense.

 

They also hold the 20th overall pick. They could have their choice of Logan Stanley, Riley Tufte, or Julien Gauthier. Gautheir’s stock has fallen, but is still expected to be a great player. Many believe that he’s ready to jump into the AHL, and once he’s eligible, the Coyotes would likely play him in Tucson. Coyotes would be smart to select any one of those 3.

 

Vancouver Canucks:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 0

Total Draft Picks: 6

Vancouver has excellent forward prospects in Jake Virtanen, Bo Horvat, and Emerson Etem, and formally Jared McCann (way to go Benning), and a need for more prospects in their defensive pool.

 

The problem (if you want to call it a problem), Matthew Tkachuk and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Should either one of Tkachuk and Dubois be available at 5, Vancouver may overlook their need in defense for the tremendous talent in those 2 forwards.

 

While they do need more defensive prospects, it’ll be hard passing up on Tkachuk and Dubois. They should also look into a good goaltending prospect, but all the goaltending prospects this year are in the 2nd round. And Vancouver doesn’t have a 2nd Round Pick (once again, way to go Benning).

 

Anaheim Ducks:

1st Round Picks: 2

2nd Round Picks: 0

Total Draft Picks: 6

Anaheim should look to forwards in this year’s draft.

 

The Ducks have a solid young defensive core and a promising young goaltender. That leaves offense, and Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are only getting older.

 

They do have a promising prospect by the name of Nick Ritchie. With the 24th and 3oth picks in this year’s draft, Anaheim could always stock up more on some offensive prospects. Say Brett Howden? Also, these prospects could end up being key pieces in future trades.

Los Angeles Kings:

1st Round Picks: 0

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 4

LA has an aging defense. Defense is definitely something they need to look for.

 

Luckily, this year’s draft is loaded with defensive prospects. Currently, the Kings hold the 51st pick. Maybe a player like Ryan Lindgren will be available. He’s shown great promise and could be a top-six defenseman in 5 years.

 

Drew Doughty is young at 26-years-old, but he can lead the LA defense on his own. Especially when Matt Greene and Rob Scuderi are both in their 30s. Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin are both in their primes, but a young defense is something no one can argue with.

 

Although, with the fact that Milan Lucic is leaving, and Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, and Kris Versteeg all in their 3os, it might be a good idea to restructure for the future of offensive in LA. Maybe Adam Mascherin would be a good choice. Noah Gregor is a hard-nosed center who would also fit great in the LA system.

 

San Jose Sharks:

1st Round Picks: 0

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 5

San Jose’s core is aging, and they’re running out of time to win the Stanley Cup. They came close this year, but fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the final.

 

The Draft is not the place to look for the Sharks in my opinion. Their draft picks are too low, and they need to win now. Trades will be San Jose’s saving grace.

 

If they do find a hidden gem in the draft, they need to hope it’s a forward. San Jose’s offensive core has 2 maybe 3 seasons left before it collapses. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton are both 36 and Joel Ward is 35. Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Tommy Wingels can hold the team together, but it won’t be the same without Pavelski and Couture.

Fleury to Calgary: Rumor Mill


By Bobby Bauders

Senior Writer/Editor

 

With the emergence of Matt Murray for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the expected expansion draft, Marc-Andre Fleury’s days in Pittsburgh seem numbered.

 

Matt Murray becomes a RFA at the end of next season, and he’s expected to sign a bridge contract that could be worth up to $2.5 million, and with Fleury’s current cap hit and the expected flat salary cap for next season, there are some problems for the 2016 Stanley Cup Champions. There’s no way they’re going to pay for both salaries.

 

While having a strong goaltending tandem can be strong in the National Hockey League, it’s difficult in the salary cap era. With the Pens’ current cap situation, it’s all but impossible.

 

Marc-Andre Fleury is a fantastic goaltender, truly elite, don’t get me wrong. But if he isn’t traded, either Murray or Fleury will be taken at next year’s expansion draft. Which goaltender would you rather have for your future: the 22-year-old Matt Murray with tons of elite potential, or the 31-year-old aging and already elite Marc-Andre Fleury? Are the Penguins a strong team now? Obviously. But they need to think about their future as well.

 

I understand the reservations some may have about making Matt Murray the new starter for the Pens. But Matt Murray just brought the Stanley Cup back to Pittsburgh. That’s absolutely insane for a 22-year-old rookie. Even when things became rough in the playoffs, including giving up 3 sloppy goals in the Stanley Cup Final to San Jose, he kept his cool. He’s incredibly mature for his age.

 

One problem I noticed was that he became fatigued in the final. But anyone’s going to be fatigued playing all the way into June, it’s a long playoff run. Still, that raises questions about his durability during the 82 game regular season. The answer? A backup goaltender. All 29 other clubs seemed to have figured that out. Everyone has their backup for when their starter needs a break. The Penguins problem is their backup is Jeff Zatkoff. Although he did show promise in his 2 games against the New York Rangers. I still don’t trust Zatkoff. He failed the Penguins regularly during the regular season, having very few good games when he rarely played. If a Fleury trade should happen, the Pens will need a better backup who can be called on when Murray needs him.

 

Some options for the Penguins in free agency include Anders Lindback, Ben Scrivens, Chad Johnson, and even Alex Stalock. This is actually a great free agent crop for backup goaltenders.

 

I believe Pittsburgh’s asking price will be a mid 1st round draft pick and a prospect since the Pens don’t own a first round pick in this year’s draft (Their pick belongs to Toronto as part of the Kessel trade). Calgary doesn’t own a mid 1st round pick, they own the 6th overall. Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford has proved to be a genius with his previous trades, so maybe he can make a move for the 6th overall?  Crazier things have happened.

 

Calgary’s goalie problems are fairly desperate. Calgary’s top 3 goalies are Karri Ramo (UFA on July 1st), Joni Ortio, and Niklas Backstrom. Not exactly the best goaltending situation giving that Ramo is expected to walk. Ramo, 29, played 37 games last season, and let in 94 goals with a 2.63 Goals Against Average. Backstrom, 38, played 4 games and let in 13 goals with a 3.35 GAA. Ortio, 25, played 22 games letting in 55 goals with a 2.76 GAA. Ortio definitely shows promise for the future in Alberta, but Fleury could be a transitional piece.

 

The Flames have the ability to be competitive, but they need a more stable goaltending situation. Fleury can provide that stability as he played 35 games and let in 132 goals with a 2.29 GAA.

 

The only way I see a Fleury trade to Calgary going through is if Rutherford can work his magic and go after their 6th overall. Although, given the expansion and cap situation, Pittsburgh may have to settle for 2 of Calgary’s 2nd rounders and a prospect. Maybe someone like Emile Porter or Tyler Wotherspoon? Either way, after winning his 2nd Stanley Cup, Rutherford has some difficult decisions to make.

BREAKING NEWS: Flames trade picks for Dougie Hamilton


By Bobby Bauders

 

The Calgary Flames have acquired Dougie Hamilton from the Boston Bruins for the 16th overall picks, and two 2nd round draft picks.

 

I don’t like this trade by Boston. When you look back on it 5 years from now, you’ll see that they gave up Seguin, Kessel, and Hamilton. Not the best track record.