By: Grayson R.
10. Los Angeles Kings
The LA Kings were one of the best possession teams last year and are expected to be in the same boat this year. Even though they lost 4-1 in the first round against the Sharks they, at least they lost to the western conference finalists. They ended up finishing the season last year with 102 points, Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli being the team’s top scorers being some of the leaders and bringing them to the top.
9. Florida Panthers
The Panthers were one of the underdogs last season because they are not known to be a top team in the past. They took a major step forward as a team as they broke the franchise record of most wins with 47 and ending up with 103 points. They also made their first playoff appearance in 4 years and are most likely going to be a top contender for the cup once again.
8. Tampa Bay Lightning
Throughout the season Tampa endured many injuries and even went through the playoffs without their star player Steven Stamkos. Despite the many injuries including their starting goalie, Ben Bishop, going down in game 1 of the eastern conference final, they made it to game six against the Penguins and sadly lost the series.
7. St. Louis Blues
St. Louis being a top team almost reaching a fifty win season (49 wins), they were also another team controlled by the injuries. They come super close to the central division title in 2nd with 107 points and Dallas stars took the title with 109 points. The team roster for the 2016-2017 is supposedly unknown but keep an eye out for Vladimir Tarasenko as he was one of the lead scorers for the Blues.
6. San Jose Sharks
The sharks had a scoring team, 3 of their players in the top 11 scorers in the league, this is what brought them success, especially Big Joe Thornton, he got a point a game last season which comes up to a massive 82 points. Not only did the Sharks have scoring but they stopped scoring as well, uniquely in the playoffs. Their goalie Martin Jones put of some great numbers in the playoffs which helped them reach the stanley cup final.
5. Chicago Blackhawks
Near the end of the season the Blackhawks sort of went downhill, their last 15 games going 6-5-4 and then losing first round of the playoffs to St. Louis. Although they did have the leading scorer on their team, Patrick Kane! With his art ross trophy is his back pocket he was also rewarded with the Ted lindsay award (Most Outstanding player), and the Hart Memorial trophy (Most valuable player). The blackhawks are looking to be solid contenders for the Stanley cup this upcoming year.
4. Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks all proved us wrong when they had a horrendous start to the season but managed to turn it around and come up with 46 wins, fewest goals against (196) and the best penalty kill percentage. Since the Ducks had an upset in the first round of the playoffs against the predators, the head coach Bruce Boudreau was released and they are set to have a new coach. With the new coach they are most likely wanting to have a better playoff run and work on creating a fully loaded team for the 2016-2017 season.
3. Dallas Stars
The Dallas stars were the Central Division champs, which is pretty impressive considering it was composed of 3 of the top 5 NHL teams. The Dallas Stars were masters of puck possession and used that ability to put the puck in the net. The Trio of damage doers, Sharp, Benn and Seguin were all reasons for great scoring and they are all under contracts for the next season.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins
One of the biggest factors on this team believe it or not is probably Mike Sullivan’s performance as a head coach, it definitely showed in the gameplay of the pens as they were the best team out there that year. Besides the fact of a good show of coaching, they did also have some of the best players in the league. Including Sidney Crosby, a good chance for him to go all the way to the hall of fame! The amazing part is that, they have all this experienced talent but they also have a group of young talent with major potential, the coming years for the Penguins look promising.
1. Washington Capitals
The 2015-2016 season for the Capitals was by far the most impressive performance out of any team. Their outstanding performance as a team brought them their 56 wins, which puts them in eighth for most wins ever. It was also the best season of any NHL team in 10 years. Alex Ovechkin, one of the key players on that team had over 50 goals, and their goalie Braden Holtby was a solid goaltender the whole season, racking up an amazing 48 wins. It was a huge upset for them to lose to the Penguins in the second round but you better expect this team to come back next year and rip up the whole league.