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 PRETENDERS

Here's the next grouping of teams, that all have a shot at the playoffs, but would be longshots for the cup at this time. 

 

24.   NY Islanders   -   Key:   C+,   Core:   C-,   Depth:   C,   Offense:   C-,   Defense:   B,   Intangibles: C-,   Goaltending:   B+,   Salary cap:   C,   Assets: C+,     Hoover Grade:   C-   -   The Isles stars aren't as bright as they once were. Goaltending is solid, but there are too many holes on the Island to be a real threat this year without some significant trades. I would love to see Isles make some cool rebuild trades and get Long Island looking fresh again.

23.   Columbus   -   Key:   C-,   Core:   D,   Depth:   C-,   Offense:   D,   Defense:   A-,   Intangibles: F,   Goaltending:   B,   Salary cap:   A+,   Assets: C+,     Hoover Grade:   C   -   The Kucherov era has ended in, bringing in the Eichel era. A great deal to bring in a younger franchise forward. Dealing Lindholm as well, however, leaves the roster light on offense. They do have a ton of cap space if they choose to add, but they might be better off looking to building towards next season at this point.

22.   Buffalo   -   Key:   C-,   Core:   C+,   Depth:   A-,   Offense:   B+,   Defense:   C,   Intangibles: B+,   Goaltending:   C,   Salary cap:   B,   Assets: D,     Hoover Grade:   C+   -   With how much the Sabres management goes on about the greatness of their team, I did expect to find the formula slotting them higher, but upon closer review, and comparing rosters, they definitely are not as good as we've been told. I think they are maybe a playoff team, but nothing more at this time. And this year, the Hoover grade is raising, not dropping their rank.

21.   Tampa Bay   -   Key:   C,   Core:   C,   Depth:   B-,   Offense:   C+,   Defense:   C+,   Intangibles: B+,   Goaltending:   B+,   Salary cap:   C+,   Assets: C-,     Hoover Grade:   C   -   Some good work in UFA has made the Lightning a playoffs threat in the East. I don't know if they have enough assets to push far beyond that, and might be a team that we see become a seller half-way through the year.

20.   Toronto   -   Key:   C+,   Core:   C,   Depth:   C,   Offense:   C+,   Defense:   C+,   Intangibles: C-,   Goaltending:   C,   Salary cap:   A-,   Assets: A,     Hoover Grade:   C   -   After their tough luck last season, the Leafs did their blow up and started a rebuild. They still have themselves a pretty talented and deep backend, and after few key UFA signings, such as Bernier to start and Getzlaf to be 1st line center… The East is bad enough this year they might be able to find the playoffs while rebuilding.

19.   Carolina   -   Key:   B,   Core:   C,   Depth:   C-,   Offense:   C-,  Defense:   C-,   Intangibles: B-,   Goaltending:   C+,   Salary cap:   A,   Assets: B+,     Hoover Grade:   B-   -   Carolina has cap room and lots of prospects to try and upgrade if they choose to. They usually outperform their ranking as Stamkos/Tavares has proven to be a dangerous duo. I wouldn't be surprised to see them find the playoffs and with an add or two could shoot up the standings and quickly become a legit contender.

18.   Montreal   -   Key:   C-,   Core:   C-,   Depth:   C+,   Offense:   C-,   Defense:   B,   Intangibles: B,   Goaltending:   B,   Salary cap:   B,   Assets: B,     Hoover Grade:   B   -   Canadiens GM has done a great job of building the franchise up. They have assets, good cap situation, good goaltending, and good defense. The one thing you can't just manifest sometimes is star players. JT is a good player, but Montreal lacks a guy that can take the team on his shoulders when needed. I imagine they will be a playoff team again and continue to build the franchise upwards.

17.   San Jose   -   Key:   B+,   Core:   B-,   Depth:   B-,   Offense:   C,   Defense:   A,   Intangibles: A-,   Goaltending:   D,   Salary cap:   B+,   Assets: C,     Hoover Grade:   C+   -   Sharks are Ovi and Barkov, and not a whole lot more. Everyone loves Ovi, but they'll need more than that to make the playoffs in the very competitive western conference. They do have some cap room to play with if they do want to push.

16.   New Jersey   -   Key:   B,   Core:   A-,   Depth:   A,   Offense:   A,   Defense:   C+,   Intangibles: B-,   Goaltending:   C+,   Salary cap:   F,   Assets: D,     Hoover Grade:   C+   -   New Jersey had some big contracts to renegotiate and have found themselves in a tough spot against the cap. A couple creative deals could make a big difference for the Devils if they can remain a contending team, or if they go for a quick retool. The roster is still young, so a rebuild is unlikely needed here.

15.   Arizona   -   Key:   A-,   Core:   A,   Depth:   B+,   Offense:   A-,   Defense:   C,   Intangibles: B-,   Goaltending:   C+,   Salary cap:   B-,   Assets: F-,     Hoover Grade:   B-   -   Pac, Kane, and Tarasenko (while healthy) will put up a lot of goals. A good team, but lack assets of any kind, it will be tough for the Yotes to jump up much from middle of the pack I feel, and might be the season to retool in the desert.

14.   Detroit   -   Key:   C+,   Core:   B-,   Depth:   A-,   Offense:   B-,   Defense:   B-,   Intangibles: A+,   Goaltending:   A,   Salary cap:   D,   Assets: A-,     Hoover Grade:   B-   -   They've put themselves over the cap, but made a few important defense signings to round out their roster. Wings have top notch goaltending and bring the intangibles to the table. They look to be a time on the rise. 

13.   Florida   -   Key:   B+,   Core:   C+,   Depth:   B,   Offense:   A-,   Defense:   F,   Intangibles: C+,   Goaltending:   A-,   Salary cap:   D,   Assets: A-,     Hoover Grade:   B   -   They have a pretty thin lineup after their top stars, but still one of the league's top offenses, with a top notch goalie. They are over the cap, but have assets to play with. I think with a few good moves Florida could be serious contender yet again. Right now, work to do. We'll see what they do.

12.   Los Angeles   -   Key: A+,   Core:   B+,   Depth:   C+,   Offense:   C+,   Defense:   A-,   Intangibles: B,   Goaltending:   C-,   Salary cap:   B+,   Assets: B-,     Hoover Grade:   B   -   Zibanajed joins McDavid to put together what is likely the most dangerous duo in the league. Some nice restructuring of the cap to dump Carlsson's bloated contract. They are still four pro dmen away from being a real threat though.

11.   Winnipeg   -   Key:   A-,   Core:   B+,   Depth:   C+,   Offense:   B-,   Defense:   A,   Intangibles: C,   Goaltending:   B,   Salary cap:   B+,   Assets: F,     Hoover Grade:   B+   -   Winnipeg has dealt some assets to upgrade this season, trying to become a contender. Adding Kucherov instantly gives them some star power up front. They will, however, have a difficult time adding through the season if they need some upgrades as the asset jar is pretty much empty.