Which team is the best heading into the 2013-2014 season?
Can the Blackhawks repeat? Can Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins finally live up to the expectation? Can a Canadian team finally win the holy grail?
So who’s #1 going into next season?
|Chicago Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews celebrate after winning the Stanley Cup last year.|
1. Chicago Blackhawks – Last year’s Stanley Cup Champion and President’s Trophy winner. They basically still have the same team from last year going into next season. Losing David Bolland would hurt but they have the depth to make up for it.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins – Most dynamic team in hockey. Sidney Crosby is still the best player in hockey and his teammate Evgeni Malkin in my opinion is the second best player in the game. If goaltender Marc Andre Fleury can regain his old form back. Watch out.
3. Boston Bruins – The Big Bad Bruins just got a whole lot better with the addition of Jarome Iginla.
4. LA Kings – Jonathan Quick is one of the best goaltender in the game if not the best. And they have a bunch of good young talented forwards and defencemen. If they can put it all together like they did two years ago. No one can stop them.
5. Vancouver Canucks – Goaltending controvery is finally over in VanCity. Roberto Luongo is back as the team’s #1 goaltender.
This is a big year for Bobby Lou as he hopes to earn a starting position on the Canada Olympic Squad.
6. St. Louis Blues – Probably the most underrated team in hockey. Blues arguably have the best defensive core in the NHL led by Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk and the newly acquired Jay Bouwmeester. And they have three very reliable goaltender in Halak, Elliott and Allen.
They say goaltending and defence wins championship. Blues certainly have those.
7. San Jose Sharks – One of the deepest and most talented team in hockey. They have three centers(Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski) capable of playing first line minutes on any other team.
8. Detroit Red Wings – You can never count out the Red Wings. They have an aging team. But Datsyuk and Zetterberg are still two of the most dynamic player in the game. And the addition of former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson should give them more firepower.
9. Anaheim Ducks – Ryan Getzlaf showed last season that he’s back. And the Ducks showed last season how mighty they are when Getzlaf is playing to the level that he’s capable of playing.
10. Ottawa Senators – Up and coming young team. They have a very underrated goaltender in Anderson. And they have arguably the best defenceman in hockey in Erik Karlsson. The acquisition of Bobby Ryan is huge. He’s a guy that can pot in 30+ goals a year. And if Jason Spezza can stay healthy. Watch out.
11. Toronto Maple Leafs – Made the playoffs last year for the first time in 9 years. And I don’t think it’s a fluke. Leafs are a good up and coming team and a team that is very well coached. The question in the “Center of the Universe” is, who’s going to play goal? Reimer or Bernier?
12. Minnesota Wild – Didn’t live up to the hype last year after the acquisition of Parise and Suter. But I think this is a team that will benefit from a full training camp.
13. New York Rangers – Whenever you have a goaltender like Henrik Lundqvist, who I think is the best in the game. You always have a chance to win. I’m also a big fan of the Alain Vigneault hire. Very underrated coach. His record speaks for itself.
14. New York Islanders – I should’ve put them higher in the rankings. I think the Isles are a team on the rise. They have a legit franchise player in John Tavares. And a bunch of really good young prospects led by Ryan Strome. If they can get some solid goaltending. They’re a team that I expect to make some noise come playoff time.
15. Montreal Canadiens – Carey Price. Carey Price. Carey Price. If Price can bring it every night. The Habs should be able to contend for a playoff spot.
16. Washington Capitals – Losing Ribeiro would hurt. But they still have one of the best player in the game in Alex Ovechkin.
17. Tampa Bay Lightning – Probably the most excting team in hockey. Jonathan Drouin is my pick to win the rookie of the year. And the Stamkos/Drouin combo will give opposing teams a lot of headache next season. Problem is, they don't have a true #1 goaltender.
18. Columbus Blue Jackets – Sergei Bobrovsky won the Vezina last year. And this team is all about Bobrovsky. If Bobrovsky can come close to the level that he had last year, the Jackets have a chance to compete for a playoff spot.
19. Phoenix Coyotes – Phoenix are a team that always finds ways to compete for a playoff spot regardless of what they have. I think next year will be no different.
20. Philadelphia Flyers – Claude Giroux is one of the best player in the game. And the Flyers have a lot of very talented players. The question is, who’s going to play goal? is Emery good enough?
21. Nashville Predators – I think the Preds are a team that could surprise a lot of people. They’re a team that underachieved last year. Can’t count out a Barry Trotz team.
22. Dallas Stars – Tyler Seguin’s time to shine.
23. Edmonton Oilers – Is this year the Oil break out?
24. Carolina Hurricanes – Another team that underachieved last year. If they can stay healthy. They’re a team that could surprise a lot of people.
25. Winnipeg Jets – Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian. They’ve got some good pieces there but I don’t think it’s enough to make the playoffs. Middle of the pack type of team.
26. Colorado Avalanche – Good young team with a lots of good young foundational players. Unfortunately, this is gonna be another rebuilding year in Colorado.
27. Florida Panthers – This is a team on the rise. Bunch of good young players/prospects everywhere led by last year’s Calder Trophy recipient Jonathan Huberdeau.
28. Buffalo Sabres – Gonna be a long year in Buffalo. If Ryan Miller continues his downside, the Sabres could compete with the Flames as the worst team in hockey.
29. New Jersey Devils – From backing up Roberto Luongo to backing up Martin Brodeur. I feel for Cory Schneider.
30. Calgary Flames – Calgary finally realize that they need to do a complete rebuid.