It seems every year in the NHL, a team mired in years of rebuilding finally turns corner and becomes a legitimate contender again while a team that has been successful for so long finally decides they need to start over and goes into rebuilding. . One would think that the 2022-23 season would be no exception, but while there are several teams that appear to be turning the corner, such as the Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators, it is not immediately clear who is heading towards an imminent rebuilding. . Sure, some teams that were in the rebuilding phase ramped up their efforts a bit, like the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks, but their process has already begun. Before looking at the teams that might be in this unenviable position, we’ll try to rank the rest of the group.
The window remains open: CAR, CGY, COL, DAL, EDM, FLA, NYR, TBL, TOR
Up and coming: ANA, BUF, CBJ, DET, LAK, NJD, OTT, VAN
Already rebuilding: ARI, CHI, MTL, PHI, SEA, SJS
After trying to locate a significant portion of the league in its structures, that leaves nine teams in somewhat of a limbo. These teams could, in theory, win the Stanley Cup this year, or they could be a team on the fringes of the playoff picture, or they could find themselves needing to start things over. Again, the remaining teams appear to fall into one of three categories in their case:
Proven winner with maven core:
The best teams here will be the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals. With their current build, three teams have won at least one Stanley Cup (Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Washington), one has reached the cup final, in Boston, and the fifth is the Islanders, holding back-to-back Conference Finals. All five of these teams, for the most part, have a core group of players who are in the late stages, if not out of their prime, and all have a significant portion of that core signed for at least two more seasons.
A team like Islanders that has one of the older groups, also has the bulk of that long-signed group. This, plus their lack of a Stanley Cup will make it look like they’re going to try at least two more times to be a winner. But the implications for age and maximums can have a fickle effect. On the contrary, Pittsburgh and Washington achieved the end goal, so rebuilding when necessary would be easy to bear. But, unlike Capitals, the Penguins have recently signed two players in their mid-30s for long-term extensions. Either way, the two teams still have many veterans at the top of their game.
Boston is in a unique situation of their own, having few players in or entering, like To David BusterAnd the Charlie McAvoyAnd the Humpus LindholmAnd the Jeremy Swayman And that group did not win a cup with the team. But time may be running out for veterans and past cup winners, Patrice BergeronAnd the Brad MarchandAnd the David KrigseyNot to mention the looming Pasternak Free Agency.
Finally, St. Louis have a relatively smaller core, which they have won, but they will face nearly all of their key players making it to the UFA market in the next two seasons. If they can hold these pieces while also managing their lid they can easily fit into the open window assembly but if not then rebuilding may be an understated option.
The two teams included in this division, the Minnesota Wild and the Vegas Golden Knights, have impressed in recent seasons and boast a roster that looks like they can compete in the future. But managing the cap will not only be cumbersome, but it has already imposed a number of moves that are a step backwards for the enterprise. Firstly, Vegas sacrificed a lot to instantly compete and maintain himself during his first five years in the league. That was evident as always last season when they replaced the Vezina Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury For a minor league player, this is off season when they traded the star forward Max Priority for future considerations. The team had to make sacrifices of real talent in order to stay committed to the hat and keep the rest of their group intact, which could lead to disaster.
The Minnesota Wild have managed their cap fairly well, but they have put themselves in a tight spot with the acquisitions. Zach Barris And the Ryan Sutter, which will put $12.74 million against its ceiling this year and $14.74 million in the next two years. Wild already had to trade dynamism Kevin Viala To make things work for 2022-23 and things are going to get tougher over the next three seasons. On the bright side, the group they are currently adapting to with penalty kicks has shown that they are just as capable of performing as anyone else.
Of note, one might think Tampa Bay Lightning would fit right in in this section, but recent extensions of Eric Cernack,, Anthony CirelliAnd the Mikhail Sergeachev It shows that the organization has no plans to change course for a very long time.
The Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets provide two of the most amazing examples of teams that can rebuild, can break out, or simply can survive as a halfway team. Both teams have a number of exciting names, many of whom have been signed for at least a few years, but none of them seem to be among the best. This off season predators re-sign Philip Forsberg and gained Ryan McDonagh, to show their desire to maintain their competitive edge and improve. However, since their 2017 Stanley Cup Final appearance, the team has made it past the first round once, again in 2018. Even with outstanding performances from Forsberg, Matt DucheneAnd the Ryan Johansson Combined with the all-time performance of roman josethe Predator reached the playoffs, losing to Stanley Cup champions, the Colorado Avalanche, in the first round.
Winnipeg, like Nashville, holds many star players including Kyle ConnorAnd the Nicholas EhlersAnd the Josh MorrisseyAnd the Mark Shevel Together with the previous winner of Vezina Connor Hellbuick. However, that group has passed the first round once since its appearance in the Western Conference Finals in 2018, and has failed to make the post-season completely this year. Now with the elderly Blake Wheelerplus Scheifele an Hellebuyck every two years away from free agency, Winnipeg may need to reevaluate her build if she can’t regularly compete for the Stanley Cup with this group.
Given the teams that seem ready to rebuild, who’s most likely to blink first and rip things off? Could it be a team that has done well but needs to get younger? A team that just needs to be reset from a salary cap perspective? A team that has not been able to achieve its goals? Or an unexpected filter?
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