ESPN recently released their NHL preseason power rankings after the entertaining free agency frenzy that occurred all on one day. Three big events events that will impact the 2016-2017 NHL season all happened in a span of 24 hours:
- Stamkos resigned with Tampa Bay. WOW. I thought this was not going to happen.
- Peter Chiarelli completed another controversial deal when he traded Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson. Overall, when you look at the big picture (i.e. Milan Lucic signed with the Oilers), I think the Oilers are little better.
- P.K. Subban traded for Shea Weber. This reminded me of when Chris Chelios was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks. I personally like Shea Weber. I think he will have a good time in Montreal once the fans see him play. Montreal finally has there own slightly shorter Zdeno Chara. Seriously, Shea can beat up Chara. He is a beast.
ESPN included Tampa Bay Lightning as the #1 team. Honestly I do not disagree. They now have Stamkos locked in, they have Jonathan Drouin who finally broke out, a dynamic Russian named Kutcherov, a quick and agile player in Tyler Johnson, a fantastic Swedish defenseman and 2 really good goalies. With what happened with Drouin and Stamkos, Steve Yzerman should get the GM of the year award. He definitely learnt a couple of things from Scotty Bowman and the Detroit Red Wings organization.
2nd is the Florida Panthers which I do not agree with. I think 2nd should be with no doubt the Pittsburgh Penguins which are ranked 3rd. Florida has just made the playoffs after missing them for so many years and the Pittsburgh Penguins have pretty much retained the same team. I think there is going to be another conference final between Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay once again.
In 4th place is the San Jose Sharks. The team has not changed much after free agency season so there is no reason to think they cannot make the finals again. However, the West is very strong so anything can happen. But on that note, I think the strength has finally shifted to the East for the 2016-2017 season.
We recently ran a Twitter poll regarding who will win the next Stanley Cup based on the top four selections. After 95 votes, Pittsburgh seems to edge out Tampa Bay by a little bit.
The 2016 – 2017 NHL season
is going to be an entertaining hockey season with the Stanley Cup up for grabs. Personally, I would have picked the Washington Capitals to be in the top 4. The team is intact and should be better next year. They also have something to prove in the playoffs. Maybe Lars Eller will have a breakout season or maybe it’s time to trade Ovechkin. Malkin for Ovechkin straight up??? No way. But who would of thought PK for Weber straight up.