After all the moving and shaking this offseason, the dust has finally settled to the point where we can produce some way-too-early NHL power rankings
The NHL expansion draft helped shape this season in a very different way. The NHL Entry Draft produced plenty of youngsters worth looking out for. The last prospect camp this offseason started Monday. With all of this in mind, these NHL power rankings are way too early.
Here are the teams Blackhawk Up’s Sean Fitzgerald ranked Nos. 20-11. You can see his picks for Nos. 30-21 listed here, with 10-1 appearing Sunday.
20. Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes shocked me with a flurry of moves this offseason. The direction of the Coyotes to start the offseason was clear. It was out with the old and in with the new. Shane Doan was not re-signed and Dave Tippett was let go.
After moving out the old guard of the “Phoenix Coyotes,” John Chayka pulled off two blockbuster trades. He acquired Antti Raanta and Derek Stepan from the Rangers. He then acquired Niklas Hjalmarsson from Chicago for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin.
Key additions: Antti Raanta (trade); Derek Stepan (trade); Niklas Hjalmarsson (trade).
First-round pick: Pierre Olivier Joseph. Good skater who can quarterback an offense from the blue line.
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Chayka brought in some veterans to supplement his core of Anthony Duclair and Max Domi. They need their young stars to be superstars for Arizona to make any noise during the season. The Coyotes also have a new CEO in Steve Patterson. Patterson is known for getting stadiums built.
Could they finally be getting a new building? I like the direction of the Coyotes.
19. Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames made one of the best trades and one of the worst trades of the offseason. Brad Treliving acquired Travis Hamonic from the New York Islanders for a boatload of draft picks. Treliving then took a step back in net. He also acquired Mike Smith from the Coyotes for picks.
Hamonic was a great pick-up and Smith was a bad a move. Hamonic is a top-four defensman in his prime years. Hamonic gives the Flames one of the best top-four defense pairings, but they are in front of a below average netminder in Smith. Their new backup goalie, Eddie Lack, also has been below average in recent years.
First-round pick: Juuso Valimaki. He has the potential to a top-pairing defenseman. He skates well, playing a simple but effective game on defense.
The Flames hope to get better on defense and in net next season. The real question is can their offense, led by Johnny Gaudreau, keep scoring enough goals for them to win.