Washington Capitals 2016-17 season preview

     The Washington Capitals are coming off a presidents trophy win last season but once again they flopped in the second round and didn\’t make the conference finals. Besides the playoffs, the year was amazing for them. As I already said, the Capitals won the presidents trophy for best team in the NHL for the regular season. Also, LW and captain Alex Ovechkin won the Maurice Richard trophy (most goals) again. Goalie Braden Holtby won the Vezina trophy (best goalie). Plus center Evgeny Kuznetsov had a breakout year leading the team in points with 77. In the off-season, their main loss was when forward Jason Chimera signed with the Islanders. They signed RW Brett Connolly and traded for C Lars Eller.
     Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, C Niklas Backstrom and RW T.J Oshie lead an amazing offense. John Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Karl Alzner lead a nice defensive core. Holtby is a top 3 goalie in the league but Philipp Grubauer isn\’t the greatest backup to have but he\’s okay.
     In the first round of the 2016 NHL draft, the Capitals selected D Lucas Johansen with the 28th overall pick. With Karl Alzner\’s contract up this year, the Capitals went out and drafted another defenseman. Johansen will most likely be a top 4 defenseman in the future.
  The Capitals\’ projected lines look like this:

 Alex Ovechkin- Evgeny Kuznetsov- T.J. Oshie
 Marcus Johansson- Niklas Backstrom- Justin Williams
 Andre Burakovsky- Lars Eller- Zachary Sanford
 Daniel Winnik- Jay Beagle- Tom Wilson

 On defense is:
 Nate Schmidt- John Carlson
 Karl Alzner- Matt Niskanen
 Dmitry Orlov- Brooks Orpik

 In net is Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer.
 RW Brett Connolly and D Taylor Chorney are scratched.
 Finally, for my prediction, the Washington Capitals will make the playoffs in 2016-17.

Winnipeg Jets 2016-17 season preview

 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.

Vancouver Canucks 2016-17 season preview

    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.

Toronto Maple Leafs 2016-17 season preview

 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.

Tampa Bay Lightning 2016-17 season preview

     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.