2016 Offseason Power Rankings


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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
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ANNOUNCEMENT: We Have Affiliated Accounts


By Bobby Bauders
Senior Writer/Editor

Today, Hockey Trade Central is proud to announce that we are starting affiliation accounts! Our goal is to make sure that each team gets all their news reported to all their great fans. We will be making an account for all NHL teams (one for Vegas when they announce their name). For now, we’re starting with 3, but all 31 will be added soon.

The Accounts:
Yotes Trade Central (Coyotes)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/yotestradecen

Pens Trade Central (Penguins)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/penstradecen

Hawks Trade Central (Blackhawks)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hawkstradecen

The reason we decided to make affiliations is that there are many fans who simply don’t care about other teams. They’d much rather just see news on their team. This is the perfect opportunity to do so!

Currently, we are looking for Admins/Writers for these pages. If you’re interested, please fill out the form above and we’ll get back to you! You can select any of the 31 NHL teams. Just write down which team you’d like, and we’ll discuss it.

Thank you so much for your support! We look forward to adding more affiliations in the future.

Metro 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

 

Carolina Hurricanes:

1st Round Picks: 2

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 9

Carolina currently needs offensive prospects in my opinion. All of their  offensive prospects are average excluding Victor Rask and Teuvo Teravainen. Their defensive crops are excellent with Justin Faulk, Noah Hanifin, and Ryan Murphy.

 

At 13th, Carolina has a wide variety of offensive players to choose from. If they’re available of course, those include Tyson Jost, Kieffer Bellows, Max Jones, Luke Kunin, and Michael McLeod. All of which would greatly improve Carolina’s prospect pool.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 5

With the acquisition of Seth Jones, Columbus looks set on defense. Selecting Jesse Puljujarvi and Tage Thompson in the 2nd Round could help that.

Unless Columbus trades the 3rd overall pick, which they have gotten impressive offers for, they’ll be selecting Puljujarvi.

 

New Jersey Devils:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 9

 

New Jersey is in the same boat as Carolina. They have a fairly young, productive defense. They just need that high end scoring forward to get their offense rolling.

 

Sitting at number 11 they have a lot of control. Lots of forwards everywhere at this point in the draft. Their goal will be to get either Clayton Keller, Logan Brown, or Kieffer Bellows.

 

New York Islanders:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 0

Total Draft Picks: 5

The New York Islanders are set down the middle, and they have a decent, young defense. They should look at wingers in the draft.

 

With the 19th overall pick, The Isles should hope that Riley Tufte, Max Jones, or Julien Gauthier are available because they’d be fantastic in Brooklyn.

 

New York Rangers:

1st Round Picks: 0

2dn Round Picks: 0

Total Draft Picks: 6

What a mess the Rangers have become. Can’t really say much about the Rangers because they’ve traded their 1st and 2nd Round Picks.

 

What they need is a new General Manager. Jeff Gorton has been proving he’s not fit to be running a front office. They acquired Keith Yandle from the Coyotes, and one of the assets moved in that trade was this year’s 1st Round Pick. Well, Yandle is no longer on the team and Arizona hasn’t even used the pick yet. Rangers management has been downright embarrassing for at least 4 straight years.

 

Philadelphia Flyers:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 2

Total Draft Picks: 10

The Flyers have a fairly young offensive core. Other than Shayne Gostisbehere, their defense needs help.

 

Expect Philly to select Dante Fabbro. He’s a defenseman with amazing offensive ability, like that of Gostisbehere. He once out up 78 points in 58 games. Incredible. Any team would be lucky to have that talent.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins:

1st Round Picks: 0

2nd Round Picks: 2

Total Draft Picks: 5

Pittsburgh just won the Stanley Cup, so they’re needs aren’t exactly dire. Although, an extra defensive prospect or 2 never hurts.

 

Currently sitting at the 55th and 61st picks, Pittsburgh may be able to draft Ryan Lindgren. This would be a decent pickup for Pittsburgh. He’s a defenseman that knows how to put up points, at one point posting 88 in Bantam.

 

Washington Capitals:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 0

Total Draft Picks: 6

Washington has needed an in your face scorer since they lost Joel Ward and Eric Fehr.They could get that at the 26th pick.

 

If the Caps are lucky enough, they could land German Rubstov. He’s in your face and let’s you know he’s on the ice, and he scores points, earning 26 points in 28 games with the U-18 Team Russia. He’ll have to work on his size to fill his role, but that shouldn’t be a problem in development. Tage Thomposon would also be excellent, standing at 6’5”.

 

Rick Nash Moving to Cali?


By Bobby Bauders
Senior Writer/Editor

Just like everyone else, I have no idea what’s going on in Jeff Gorton’s head. He’s made some pretty questionable decisions, like past Ranger management. But one has the assume the New York Rangers will be shopping Rick Nash who just hasn’t produced as they would like. The Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks are rumored to be front runners in the Nash sweepstakes. Also, keep in mind Nash’s modified No Trade Clause, which states he can accept a trade to 12 teams he lists. That lowers the number of suitors.

 

If Nash is traded, he’s going to need replaced. And in free agency I just don’t see how it can be done. It’s rumored that the Rangers are looking at Stamkos, but I just don’t see that happening with their cap and the fact that Buffalo is rumored to be offering $12M.

 

In 60 games played this season, Nash scored 15 goals and 36 points. In the 5 games the Rangers played in the playoffs against the Stanley Cup Champion, Pittsburgh Penguins, Nash scored 2 goals and 2 assists.

 

Anaheim Ducks:

The Ducks are clearly interested in another forward. Rick Nash would be an interesting addition given his power forward style of play, which fits Anaheim’s style of play. But one has to wonder, with a new coach (sort of) and failures with the previous system, shouldn’t they go a different route?

 

The rumored price would be Cam Fowler. Straight up that makes sense for the Rangers. Not for the Ducks though. Fowler is pretty young and is still growing, and giving him up for an aging Nash who hasn’t produced, doesn’t seem likely. Maybe they could throw in a 3rd Round Pick. Although Gorton probably isn’t keen on that idea considering the Rangers have no 1st or 2nd Round Picks.

 

Hampus Lindholm’s name has come up as well. With the signing of Sami Vatanen to a 4-year $19.5M deal, that pretty much leaves Lindholm as the odd man out as an RFA against Anaheim’s struggling cap. That’s why Fowler is the most logical solution in a trade. Although, Lindholm’s rights could be traded away soon as a deal doesn’t seem very possible unless Anaheim decides to give up on forwards such as David Perron and Chris Stewart.

 

San Jose Sharks:

The Sharks are another team rumored to be interested. The defending Western Conference Champion is disappointed to say the least they couldn’t bring Lord Stanley to Northern California, and will be making changes to try and bring it home next year. Could this change also involve Nash? San Jose has a similar power forward system as Anaheim, only it seems to be working finally in San Jose. So they’ll be expected to stick with it.

 

The only player I can see San Jose wanting to trade is Paul Martin. He’s 35-years-old and has a cap hit of $4.85M. Not that he’s a bad player, but his cap hit is a little extreme. Plus, New York is looking for defense.

 

The other assets we should point most of our focus towards in San Jose’s 2nd Round Pick this year, and their 1st Round Pick next year. As stated previously, New York has no 1st or 2nd Round Picks this year. That means they may be looking for one. Maybe next year’s 1st plus Paul Martin for Rick Nash? Some might say that’s a bit pricey given Nash’s performance. They might also throw in this year’s 2nd if New York is willing to give up a 3rd. But then that leaves San Jose without 1st or 2nd Round Picks this year, which is something General Manager Doug Wilson would not want to do.

 

I don’t see any Nash trade happening very easily. I see Gorton wanting to shop him, but his value has gone down significantly, don’t expect the best return Ranger fans.

“Blackhawks Kicking Tires on Evgeni Malkin” That’s BS


 

By Bobby Bauders

Senior Writer/Editor

 

According to multiple reports, the Chicago Blackhawks are trying to acquire center Evgeni Malkin from the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. To put it bluntly, that’s complete BS.

 

The Chicago Blackhawks are venturing into cap hell. Yes General Manager Stan Bowman is a cap wizard, but there’s no spell he can use to swing Malkin.

 

The Hawks currently sit with $5M of cap room left BEFORE re-signing major players such as Andrew Shaw.

 

The only way I can see a Malkin trade happening is if one of the following players are involved: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, or Brent Seabrook. I can’t see Bowman trading any one of these players. Maybe, and that’s a huge maybe, Brent Seabrook, but still unlikely.

 

A rumored deal I saw was Marian Hossa and Niklas Hjalmarsson for Malkin. While I’m sure the Pens would love to acquire Hjalmarsson, no way they take back Hossa. Hossa’s days are numbered, they’d be trading Malkin for a player with 1 or 2 years left. That makes no sense.

 

Not to mention Malkin wants to stay in Pittsburgh and has a No Movement Clause that he would have to waive. It’s not even a limited NMC. Why would he want to leave? He just had a kid and will be getting married soon.

 

Oh, and he just won the Stanley Cup! Why would you win the Stanley Cup and then promptly leave the team, who by the way looks good enough to make a repeat. It makes no sense.

 

This rumor was probably started by an “insider” who wants more followers. Evgeni Malkin is not leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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.

Possible Edmonton Draft Day Trades


By Bobby Bauders

 

The Edmonton Oilers are probably going to be fairly active at the draft. Cam Talbot could be an Edmonton Oiler by Saturday

 

Edmonton gets:

Cam Talbot – Goalie

2016 2nd Round Draft Pick – New York Rangers

 

New York Rangers gets:

2015 1st Round Draft Pick – Pittsburgh

 

New York has said the price for Talbot is hefty, but Edmonton getting that 2nd round pick prevents it from becoming unfair. I’d say this trade has a 50% chance of happening.

 

 

Now Pittsburgh can spoil all their dreams. They may want their first round draft pick back.

 

Pittsburgh gets:

2015 1st Round Draft Pick – Pittsburgh

 

Edmonton gets:

2015 2nd Round Draft Pick – Pittsburgh

2015 7th Round Draft Pick – Pittsburgh

2016 2nd Round Draft Pick – Pittsburgh

 

This trade won’t happen. Pittsburgh doesn’t want to give that much up, but that’s about all Edmonton would accept.