Nearly everyone returns, led by Jonathan Toews and a maturing Patrick Kane, and their hunger for another title will keep them focused.
June 23, 2014
[Los Angeles Kings]
They are poised to be the first cap-era dynasty. Just six players are over 30 and two of them (Marian Gaborik and Willie Mitchell) are UFAs.
They have the D to win. The offense (3.15 goals per game) is by committee, and winger Jarome Iginla (30 goals) may leave.
[St. Louis Blues]
The pieces are in place for another run. The Alex Pietrangelo--led defense is one of the best, but they could use a sniper up front.
Teemu Selanne retired; a few others will likely depart, leaving cap room for a second-line center (Ryan Kesler?) and a veteran D-man.
[San Jose Sharks]
They're retrenching. Centers Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture must become the leaders. They have the depth and skill to challenge.
Centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin anchor the middle. After that, only five forwards and five D-men are under contract.
Center Tyler Seguin and forward Jamie Benn led them to the playoffs. A second-line center and a puck-moving D-man will move them up.
[New York Rangers]
GM Glen Sather faces some cap-related challenges, with five restricted free agents and seven unrestricted, led by defenseman Anton Stralman.
Great young forwards, but the defense gave up 32.7 shots per game, 25th in the NHL, making goalie Semyon Varlamov's life difficult.