The Winnipeg Jets\’ season last year was not a good one. They were the only non-competitive team in the Central division but in the end, the Jets won the draft lottery and had the 2nd overall pick in the draft. Their only notable acquisition in the off-season besides the draft was the signing of C/LW Shawn Matthias. Matthias will help on their bottom 6. Drafting RW Patrik Laine with the second pick can change their franchise around but not 100%.
C Mark Scheifele, RW Blake Wheeler and C Bryan Little lead a solid offensive core. Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers lead a solid defensive core. Surprisingly, goalie Ondrej Pavelec was sent down meaning that Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson will be the goalies
In the 2016 NHL draft, the Jets selected RW Patrik Laine with the 2nd overall pick and D Logan Stanley with the 19th overall pick. Laine can be a franchise right winger for the Jets and Stanley can be a top 4 defenseman.
The Jets\’ projected lines look like this:
Nikolaj Ehlers- Mark Scheifele- Blake Wheeler
Kyle Connor- Bryan Little- Patrik Laine
Shawn Matthias- Mathieu Perreault- Drew Stafford
Brandon Tanev- Adam Lowry- Joel Armia
On defense is:
Toby Enstrom- Dustin Byfuglien
Josh Morrissey- Tyler Myers
Mark Stuart- Ben Chiarot
In net is Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson.
C Alexander Burmistrov, RW Chris Thorburn and D Paul Postma are scratched.
Finally, for my prediction, the Winnipeg Jets, a team on the rise, will not make the playoffs in 2016-17.
The Vancouver Canucks were winners in the Loui Eriksson sweepstakes but the question is: did that really help them? Their 2 best players, Henrik and Daniel Sedin are both 36 and not getting younger. They traded away their top prospect (Jared McCann) and that\’s not helping a rebuilding team. Goalie Ryan Miller is also 36 and aging so 26 year old Jacob Markstrom is their future goalie.
Defensemen Alex Edler, Chris Tanev and Erik Gudbranson lead a solid defensive core. Behind Eriksson and the Sedin\’s isn\’t much. Jake Virtanen is the only member with a super bright future on the team. Miller and Markstrom shouldn\’t be terrible but are not as good as some other tandems teams have.
In the first round of the 2016 NHL draft, the Canucks selected D Olli Juolevi with the 5th overall pick. Juolevi should be a solid d-man for Vancouver but they already have some good defensemen and passing up on LW Matthew Tkachuk is something they will come to regret.
The Canucks\’ projected lines look like this:
Daniel Sedin- Henrik Sedin- Loui Eriksson
Markus Granlund- Brandon Sutter- Jannik Hansen
Sven Baertsci- Bo Horvat- Jake Virtanen
Alexandre Burrows- Brendon Gaunce- Emerson Etem
On defense is:
Alexander Edler- Chris Tanev
Ben Hutton- Erik Gudbranson
Luca Sbisa- Phillip Larson
In net is Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom.
D Alex Biega, LW Derek Dorsett and Nikita Tryamkin are scratched.
Finally, for my prediction, the Vancouver Canucks, a team on the decline, will not make the playoffs in 2016-17.
The Toronto Maple Leafs\’ off-season is one that Leafs\’ fans will remember. The signings of LW Matt Martin and D Roman Polak is not the big part. The big part was when the Leafs drafted C Auston Matthews with the first overall pick to be their franchise Center. They also finally got a legitimate starting goalie when they acquired Fredrick Anderson from the Ducks. Both their goalies from last year, James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier are gone, Anderson and newly acquired G Jhonas Enroth will be the goalies.
Youngsters Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner are looking to have good rookie years. Veterans James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri and Leo Komarov lead an offense that mostly is depth. Anderson and Enroth should have good first years in Toronto.
In the first round of the 2016 NHL draft, the Maple Leafs selected C Auston Matthews with the first overall pick. Matthews impressed many at the world cup and he is going to be a franchise center for the Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs\’ projected lines look like this:
Milan Michalek- Nazem Kadri- Leo Komarov
James van Riemsdyk- Tyler Bozak- Mitchell Marner
Zach Hyman- Auston Matthews- William Nylander
Matt Martin- Peter Holland- Connor Brown
On defense is:
Morgan Rielly- Martin Marincin
Jake Gardiner- Roman Polak
Matt Hunwick- Connor Carrick
In net is Fredrick Anderson and Jhonas Enroth.
F Josh Leivo and D Nikita Zaitsev and F Seth Griffith are scratched. RW Joffrey Lupul and D Stephane Robidas are injured.
Finally, for my prediction, the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team quickly on the rise, will not make the playoffs in 2016-17 but will have a bright future.
The Tampa Bay Lightning\’s biggest moves of the off-season by far was re-signing their players. Their face of the franchise, Steven Stamkos signed an 8 year deal to stay in the bay. LW Alex Killorn and RW Nikita Kucherov also re-signed with the club. The only real notable loss was when depth player Jonathan Marchessault signed with the Panthers. To replace him, they signed Michael Bournival to a one year deal.
Stamkos, Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson lead a very potent offense that can score. Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman are the heads of a solid defensive core. Tampa Bay has 2 good goalies in Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Bishop is the older goalie even though he\’s 29 and he\’s entering a contract year so a possible trade could come.
In the first round of the 2016 NHL draft, the Lightning selected C Brett Howden with the 27th overall pick. With centers Stevan Stamkos and prospect Brayden Point, picking a center was questionable but Point and Howden are on the same WHL team (Moose Jaw) so the Lightning wanted some chemistry on the team.
The Lightning\’s projected lines look like this:
Alex Killorn- Steven Stamkos- Jonathan Drouin
Ondrej Palat- Tyler Johnson- Nikita Kucherov
Vladislav Namestnikov- Valtteri Filppula- Ryan Callahan
J.T. Brown- Brian Boyle- Brayden Point
On defense is:
Victor Hedman- Anton Stralman
Jason Garrison- Andrej Sustr
Brayden Coburn- Nikita Nesterov
In net is Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy.
C Cedric Paquette and D Slater Koekkoek are scratched.
Finally, for my prediction, the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team on the rise, will make the playoffs in 2016-17 and contend for the cup.
The St. Louis Blues\’ off-season was about in the middle of the pack. Their captain, David Backes left for Boston and RW Troy Brouwer went to Calgary plus C Steve Ott went to Detroit. While the loss of Backes was hard to replace, the Blues signed David Perron to replace Brouwer and Landon Ferraro to replace Ott. During pre-season, the Blues acquired former first overall pick Nail Yakupov from the Oilers for practically nothing. Last year\’s Blues\’ had Jake Allen and Brian Elliot fighting for the starting job. When the Blues traded Elliot to the Flames, the Blues then signing Carter Hutton to replace Elliot as the backup.
C Paul Stastny, LW Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko lead a very solid offense that can score. When your defensive core has Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jay Bouwmeester and Colton Parayko then you know it\’s amazing. The Blues\’ defense can shut down any team\’s offense whether it\’s Ovechkin\’s Capitals or Kane\’s Hawks, this defense is elite. In net is Jake Allen and Carter Hutton. Allen has shown to be a good goalie in the past and time will tell if he can be an actual starter.
In the first round of the 2016 NHL draft, the Blues selected C Tage Thompson with the 26th overall pick. The Blues had a bad feeling that they were going to lose Backes so they drafted another center. Thompson can turn out to be a solid player for the Blues in the future.
The Blues\’ projected lines look like this:
Alex Steen- Paul Stastny- Robby Fabbri
Vladimir Tarasenko- Jori Lehtera- David Perron
Dmitrij Jaskin- Patrik Berglund- Nail Yakupov
Scottie Upshall- Kyle Brodziak- Ryan Reaves
On defense is:
Jay Bouwmeester- Alex Pietrangelo
Carl Gunnnarson- Kevin Shattenkirk
Joel Edmundson- Colton Parayko
In net is Jake Allen and Carter Hutton.
LW Magnus Paajarvi, RW Ty Rattie and D Robert Bortuzzo are scratched and Jaden Schwartz is injured.
Finally, for my prediction, the St. Louis Blues, a good team on the rise, will make the playoffs in 2016-17.