1. Tampa Bay Lightning
The defending champions didn’t have to dismantle what they’ve built and another Cup run seems likely.
2. Dallas Stars
Not having Tyler Seguin for a large portion of the year could come back to hurt them. Thankfully their defense is their bread and butter.
3. Carolina Hurricanes
If they can get a consistent goalie during the playoffs, they’ll be tough to beat.
4. Columbus Blue Jackets
Just when you think they won’t be contenders they always find a way.
5. Florida Panthers
If goalie Sergei Bobrovsky can regain his Vezina trophy winning form, they should be a playoff team.
6. Nashville Predators
It looks like the days of ‘Smashville’ are just about over.
7. Chicago Blackhawks
There is no denying that they are rebuilding now and for the foreseeable future.
8. Detroit Red Wings
The growing pains will continue with some veterans being stopgaps for the prospects this season.