Welcome to Part 3 of the Stanley Cup window. This is an annual blog series. I (try to) evaluate each NHL team’s position on the road to the Stanley Cup. Some are in their glorious years, some are close to desperate victory, some are watching their cup hopes fade away, and some are obviously rebuilders.
So what about the cup window landscape in 2021-22? Give the snowball a powerful shock. This will give you what to expect from the NHL ranking: confusion. For the first time since March 2020, NHL’s departments will be adjusted according to their traditional structure: Atlantic, Central, Metropolis and Pacific. Which teams will become alpha? It’s hard to know that so many people haven’t faced each other in a year and a half. The Seattle Sea Monsters also joined the competition as the 32nd team in the league.
So, this year’s Stanley Cup Windows practice should be particularly challenging. But this is also part of the fun. We will continue to maintain a highly competitive Central Division, where more teams have ambitions for the 2021-22 season.
Windows wide open
(Ability to compete for multiple seasons)
Of course, losing the starting goalkeeper Philip Grubbauer, six wingers Brandon Thad and Jonas Donskoy and defender Ryan Graves is not ideal in this offseason. Last season was the last chance before top-line left-wing winger Gabriel Landskog and star guard Kalmakar needed a lucrative new contract, so when Colorado lost to the Vegas Golden Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs At this time, this was a missed opportunity. Now, Colorado has entered the top-heavy tight lineup that has plagued star-studded teams. This is why it must allow Grubauer to walk as a UFA. Looking to the future, General Manager Joe Sakic will have to increasingly cunningly find bargains to fill the deep roles in his roster, just like Stan Bowman, Jim Rutherford, and Julian Bliss Boyce did. Like that.
However, it’s no big deal. Avs still has the superstar core of center Nathan MacKinnon, right winger Mikko Rantanen and Makar. They also have two better two-way defenders, Deventus and Samuel Gillard. They have useful second-line support from centers Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky. They haven’t finished providing high-end prospects for their lineup. Center Alex Newhoek and defenseman Bowen Byram gritted their teeth last season to represent the next wave. Well, Avs still has many years of elite level competition… as long as they can find MacKinnon’s next contract. In two more seasons, he will steal a steal for $6.3 million. He will double AAV in the next agreement.
Win and cash window
(Now there is an urgent need to win, if the team fails, the consequences will be serious)
I would love to put the star team that has just missed the playoffs and has the oldest average age among Western teams in the “Window Wide Open” category, because their most important players are at their peak or have not even reached their peak. The team now belongs to guard Milo Heskanen, center Rupp Sintz and left forward Jason Robertson, and Jack Ottinger looks like a firm bet as Dallas’ future goalkeeper. On the other hand, signing the 36-year-old Ryan Suter (Ryan Suter) sent a message that the star team hopes that the previous core regime members Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Tyler Seguin Alexander Radulov has shined before, not to mention the timeless miracle Joe Pavelski. Key point guard John Klinberg is also in his final season of the trade.
Dallas has another hint of a sense of urgency: Because Ben Bishop may miss the entire season due to knee surgery, the star team can easily hand the net to Jack Ottinger, who looks like his rookie year. Instead, they squeezed their advantage by signing 32-year-old Braden Holtby and 35-year-old Anton Khudobin. General manager Jim Nill seems determined to return this team to the playoffs and immediately dive into the playoffs. Given that Pavelsky, Radulov, and Holtby are all waiting for the UFA, the list of stars for the 2022-23 season may look very different from this one, and Neal will not be able to lavishly replace resigners. Robertson and Gulyanov will need a new contract as an RFA, and Hintz will be eligible for approximately one year in his next RFA year.
Stop making excuses. Since entering the 2017-18 Western Conference Finals, the Jets have had the opportunity to make noise with their most balanced lineup. Their high-end forward team is still very attractive, with center Mark Schaefer, left-wing Kyle Conner and right-wing winger Nicolas Ehlers all in their best form. In Connor Hellebuyck, they have one of the few top goalkeepers on the planet. Finally, they strengthened their blue line in the past offseason by trading Nate Schmidt and Brendan Dillon. In the past two seasons, the Jets ranked third in expected goals per 60 people, and ranked second in scoring opportunities per 60 people in a 5-on-5 situation. If they can make up for their defensive dilemma, they will be very dangerous. It is not surprising to see the young center Pierre-Luc Du Bois rebounded sharply after the turbulent 2020-21 season. He was traded during the season and went through a long period of isolation.
However, after successive disappointments in the playoffs, Winnipeg’s situation became urgent. The 35-year-old Captain Black Wheeler’s good years are running out, while the sixth-ranked Paul Stastney and Andrew Cope are UFA. If the Jets do not make further progress this season, general manager Kevin Cheveldave may have to consider a discordant lineup reorganization.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues are a veteran team and have not won the cup in several seasons. They have the ability to remain competitive in the next few seasons because most of their cores are long-term contracts. Defenders Colton Parajko, Tori Kruger and Justin Falk renewed their contracts for nine, six and six seasons, respectively. Center Brayden Schenn’s contract is still 7 years away, and the newly joined Brandon Saad and Pavel Buchnevich signed a five-year and four-year contract respectively during the offseason. Even starting goalkeeper Jordan Binnington signed a six-year contract extension starting this season. Their next generation of influential players also began to penetrate. Fast right-wing winger Jordan Kairou made a major leap last season, and smart two-way forward Robert Thomas still has enough time to get back on track if he can stay healthy.
This is good news. The bad news: Many of these contracts have short durations. Considering their big size and physical competition, how effective will people like Schenn, 30, and Parayko, 28, be six or seven years from now? Binnington is an extraordinary rookie, but the next two seasons are just average. The Blues don’t know what they will get from the right-wing Vladimir Tarasenko who offered the deal, and top center Ryan O’Reilly’s contract has only two seasons left, so this incarnation of the Blues may have been reach the peak. They remind me of the Los Angeles Kings around 2015 or 2016. After winning the Stanley Cup, they signed a lucrative long-term contract to their veteran, but they were prepared for their gradual decline.
The Eagles? Anxious to win now? But they just signed an eight-year contract with Seth Jones. Yes, but they sacrificed two first-round picks and high-blood blue line player Adam Boqvist in the process. Right-wing star Patrick Kane is still two years away from unrestricted free agency and may start to decline at some point, and the health of center Jonathan Toss is a question mark, even if he succeeds in recovering from chronic immune response syndrome. To recover. Defending Vizina Cup goalkeeper Mark Andre Fleury’s amazing deal may also be a one-off, as he is in the final season of his contract.
If the Hawks fail this season, then they may have to take a step back and start rebuilding again. At least they have some players to build around Jones, left forward Alex De Brinkart and Dominique Kubalik, and center Kirby Dach.
(Start a new stage of playoff competition, with low pressure and moderate expectations of fans)
Obviously, the premise for placing Wild in this category is that Calder Trophy won this season’s left-wing winger Kirill Kaprizov. His shining debut marked an exciting change in Minnesota’s identity. The Wild Team’s defense is still solid and good at limiting high-crisis meetings. They have a responsible two-way forward core led by Joel Eriksson Ek, but they are also becoming a more compelling one. Excited and dangerous offensive club. Left-wing Kevin Fiala broke out in the 2019-20 season. Kaprizov did it last season. Maybe left-wing Matt Boldi and center Marco Rossi, the first round of the wild team’s draft in 2019 and 2020, let The team continues to pour in young and energetic talents.
Because of their strong goalkeeper and depth, the Wilds have been effective last season, but the prospect of the kids taking over gives them some helium for their long-term prospects.
(Showing some rebuilders’ behavior while still trying to stay competitive)
There is no doubt that Preds’ offseason decision indicates that they want to be younger. They traded right-wing winger Victor Avidson for the draft pick and traded top guard Ryan Ellis in a three-team trade, allowing them to acquire guard Philip Myers and center Cody Glass. By not adding a direct replacement for Arvidsson, they have retained their depth chart for Eeli Tolvanen, and there may be hope for Phil Tomasino to climb.
In other words, Preds is not exactly a rebuilder. They still have stallion guard Roman Josi anchoring their D team. Juuse Saros was one of the best goalkeepers in the NHL last season. Due to their huge hit rate and short remaining tenure, center Matt Duchene and Ryan Johnson will not go anywhere. Then, Nashville’s positioning is a more competitive reconstruction. If he moves south quickly this season, Predes will attract a frenzy of offers to left-wing forward Philip Forsberg and defender Matthias Ekholm. Moving any of them will mark the transition of the Music City to a real reconstruction.
(To lay the foundation for the future, I am not interested in chasing the cup now)
You know, when you trade a top six striker, the rebuild is unabashed. He led your team in a few minutes last season and had a standoff purely for the future of the first few weeks of training camp. This is what general manager Bill Armstrong did when he traded Christian Dvorak to the Montreal Canadiens on September 4 for the first round of 2022 and the second round of 2024. Armstrong also kicked starting network administrator Darcy Kuemper to the Colorado Avalanche this summer to get the pick. He also traded one of his top two guards, Oliver Ekman-Larson, and his best shooter, Connor Garland, to the Vancouver Canucks. As part of a long-term pay cut deal, the Arizona team won First round pick. They used it to draft a legitimate and exciting prospect for right-wing winger Dylan Guenther.
The Coyotes do not even have a venue for the 2022-23 season. They are currently less concerned about victory than any other team in the NHL. Armstrong recognized that, with the exception of emerging star guard Jacob Chichiron, this team has almost no long-term contenders. Considering the amazing talent at the beginning of the first round of the draft in 2022 and 2023, now is the ideal time to disband the roster. Arizona has a staggering eight picks in the first and second rounds of next year’s draft, including three first-round picks.