Coyotes 4 Wild 3         Stars 2 Devils 3         Avalanche 5 Rangers 1         Panthers 3 Flyers 4         Canucks 2 Penguins 3         Hurricanes 4 Lightning 5         Sabres 6 Knights 5         Oilers 1 Jets 5         Islanders 3 Ducks 2         Bruins 1 Flames 2         Blues 4 Canadiens 1         
Anaheim Ducks Arizona Coyotes Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Calgary Flames Carolina Hurricanes Chicago Blackhawks Colorado Avalanche Columbus Blue Jackets Dallas Stars Detroit Red Wings Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers Los Angeles Kings Minnesota Wild Montreal Canadiens Nashville Predators New Jersey Devils New York Islanders New York Rangers Ottawa Senators Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins San Jose Sharks St-Louis Blues Tampa Bay Lightning Toronto Maple Leafs Vancouver Canucks Vegas Golden Knights Washington Capitals Winnipeg Jets

The categories this year are key (top 5 skaters), core (top 10), depth (top 20), offense, defense, intangibles, goal, salary, assets, and Hoover grade. 

Teams were ranked 1-31 in each category and given a letter grade. For each category there are 2 A+s, 2 Fs, and 3 of every other grade.
Your score was adding up the ranking points for each team.
Key, Goaltending, and Hoover grade all are worth double.
Intangables only gets a half value.

All categories are new fine tuned formulas, thanks to evolving the process from review and learning, and also helpful feedback, so please feel free to continue offering feedback. I do consider all of it. 

The 'Assets Grade' was quickly and rudementally done by looking at each team's assets and giving them a score.
There was no review or comparison study completed.
It was more based on, 'do you have lots of assets that you can easily move?', than who has the top prospects.
And by assets, I mean farm roster, prospects, and available picks.

Hoover grade I gave more weighting this year, as that's the whole idea, to give me some say, right?
As my grade had more impact on the final rankings, I did not bump any team down because of obnoxious GMs. I treid to do a more careful personal review of each team because of this.

Is the rating system perfect? Yes. Your complaints are invalid. :)

It's a little big, so I'll leave this preamble to this post alone. I'll do tankers, pretenders, and contenders separate from each other. Along with anticipated west and east standings based on the rankings. The rankings were bit suprising to me in review, will post some thoughts in a conclusions as well. 

Here are the tankers. Hopefully they all know that they fall into this category. 

THE TANKERS

31.   St. Louis   -   Key:   F,   Core:   D,   Depth:   D,   Offense:   D,   Defense:   F,   Intangibles:  D,   Goaltending:   D,   Salary cap:   C+,   Assets:  A+,     Hoover Grade:   F   -   St. Louis will be in tough to win many games. They have a ton of assets to upgrade, but they are playing the smart, patient game and soon the Blues will be restored to former glories.

30.   Pittsburgh   -   Key:   D,   Core:   F,   Depth:   F,   Offense:   F,   Defense:   C-,   Intangibles:  F,   Goaltending:   F,   Salary cap:   A+,   Assets:  B,     Hoover Grade:   F   -   Crosby is hoping for the Pens to lower their demands so he can get out of Pittsburgh and have a chance to win some games! In the meantime, playing in the East, Sid alone will probably win them more games than they'd like.

29.   Boston   -   Key:   F,   Core:   F,   Depth:   D,   Offense:   D,   Defense:   B-,   Intangibles:  D,   Goaltending:   B-,   Salary cap:   C,   Assets:  C,     Hoover Grade:   D   -   Disappointing to see a team with their first gone again still being such a bottom dweller. The assets are short as well. Right now, sorry Boston fans, worst franchise in NEFHL at the moment. Somebody has to have the title. They seem to have a plan and hopefully can build themselves out of it. 

28.   Vegas   -   Key:   D,   Core:   D,   Depth:   D,   Offense:   F,   Defense:   A-,   Intangibles:  A-,   Goaltending:   F,   Salary cap:   A,   Assets:  C-,     Hoover Grade:   D   -   Golden Knights still need to build their stock up before they are ready for the playoffs. Lots more to do in sin city.

27.   Ottawa   -   Key:   D,   Core:   C-,   Depth:   C-,   Offense:   C,   Defense:   D,   Intangibles:  D,   Goaltending:   C,   Salary cap:   A-,   Assets:  B-,     Hoover Grade:   D   -   Sens were busy in free agency and added a new 2nd line, a new top pairing on defense, and are now just short a new 1st line if want to make the playoffs. Start of a journey out of rebuilding.

26.   Anaheim   -   Key:   C,   Core:   C+,   Depth:   B,   Offense:   B,   Defense:   D,   Intangibles:  C+,   Goaltending:   D,   Salary cap:   C-,   Assets:  B+,     Hoover Grade:   C-   -   Interesting timing on a Seguin deal for Anaheim. I don't think it makes them a playoff team this year, but with many players that could re-rate upwards, he might play a big part next season.

25.   Edmonton   -   Key:   C,   Core:   B-,   Depth:   F,   Offense:   C,   Defense:   B,   Intangibles:  A,   Goaltending:   B-,   Salary cap:   C+,   Assets:  C-,     Hoover Grade:   C-   -   A good duo in net, and 3 good dmen could have them sniffing at a playoff spot, but I don't think that's the direction they'll be heading.