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Team assets value Pt 3 : Teams lagging behind and rebuilders

The last group of teams is a mixed one. There are teams there that are still trying to compete but are on the outside looking in for a playoffs spot. Then, there are the rebuilders.

The teams being outside looking in all have decent pieces. The Capitals lack a goaltender otherwise they would have likely made the 2nd group. Both Detroit and Columbus have good pieces but not enough to push past the two/three teams ahead of them for the last playoffs spot. Unlike some teams in the second tier, Washington and Detroit haven’t sold the farm to make the playoffs at all costs, which probably keeps them out this year but might pay over the longer term. Colombus spent a lot to keep up the past few years and unless they hit in the UFA market they seem out of ammo for this year.

The seven other teams are in different stages of rebuild. These are teams that are generally lacking in terms of pro talent but stacking up on drafted prospects and picks to give them the best chance to rebound.

Here is a detailed look about where each of those teams rank for their pro roster, drafted prospects and the value of their picks going forward (3 years):

Teams

Pro

Drafted

Picks

Total

NAS

47,9

54,5

16,5

118,9

ANA

32,5

35,3

18,8

86,5

DET

52,7

22,0

11,3

86,0

STL

44,5

21,8

18,0

84,3

WAS

43,9

25,3

11,0

80,1

VGK

24,9

29,0

19,5

73,4

PIT

25,7

32,5

15,0

73,2

CBJ

52,5

8,8

11,8

73,0

BOS

25,0

26,8

17,8

69,5

OTT

21,1

32,3

15,5

68,9

For the upcoming season, those teams rank from 22nd to last for the strength of their pro roster.

Below, you can find how each of these teams built their roster and their assets base.

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings had a pretty good run from 2010 to 2020, missing playoffs only 3 times. However, two of those misses were in the most recent years, in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, they were able to beat the Lightning to the finish line to grab the last playoffs spot. Most of the players on their current roster were acquired from trades or UFA.

Most of the best players on the Wings’ roster were acquired by trading. Their best player came from flipping multiple assets over time. Tracing it back, Joe Corvo and Fred the Goat became Jack Johnson, flipped with a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd for Abdelkader and Dekeyser. Later on, Dekeyser was swapped for DeHaan, then DeHaan + Chekhovich were changed into Stepan. Eventually, Stepan, Weegar (received in a trade for Shane Doan back in 2015) and Dal Colle (one part in a trade involving Luongo and Letang) became Kopitar. There’s also Palat who was acquired by trading Simmonds. The others came by trading youth or picks: Foligno and Anderson for a 1st and a 3rd, Fowler for Lavoie and Myers, Vatrano for Mastrosimone and a 2nd, Price for a 1st. Detroit also recycled Kessel along the way to turn him into a 1st, Kyrou and Cernak.

From the UFA pool, the Wings added Anisimov, Brassard and Martinez.

Looking at the draft, Detroit only has one prominent player that they drafted and kept: Sean Monahan. Otherwise, they do have a decent amount of young talent coming up, half of it the result of their multiple high selections in the 2019 draft. As to picks, they traded their 1st and 2nd for 2021 but they have three 3rd rounders.

For 2020-2021, the Wings will likely aim to grab one of the last playoffs spot in the East. To achieve that, they will probably need to do like last year and milk the last drop from their roster as they stand before UFAs in 11th place. As they stand right now, the Red Wings will need to wait for some of their prospects to graduate to shoot back up the rankings.

Columbus Blue Jackets

In the past 10 years, the Blue Jackets have made the playoffs at a 50-50 rate. They missed the playoffs three years in a row from 2012 to 2014 and then twice in a row in 2016 and 2017. Columbus has a mix of drafted players from the years they missed the playoffs and players acquired by trading futures.

The Blue Jackets still have a few good pieces from the draft on their roster. Up front, they have Kucherov and Teravainen. On the backend, they have Severson. They also still have their best remaining prospect in Bellows.

Their other better players almost all come from trading futures. They added Lindholm by trading Colin White, Tyler Madden and a 1st. TJ Oshie was acquired by trading Akil Thomas and a 2nd. Josh Bailey was added using a 2nd. Adam Larsson (+ Caggiula) were traded for Connor’s (Brown and McMichael). Connor Murphy was a result of a swap sending back Eller and a 3rd. Lastly, Skinner was acquired using Rakell.

On the UFA front, the Blue Jackets added Niskanen on defense and Varlamov as their goaltender.

Just like the Wings, Colombus will try to squeeze into the last few playoff spots in the East. However, unlike Detroit, the Blue Jackets don’t have much ammo coming up from their farm. They may be able to swap their futures to keep their roster competitive for a couple of years or else they will need to look into rebuilding.

Nashville Predators

After making the playoffs every year from 2009 to 2017, the Predators have missed them for the past three year. Those past three years have been spent rebuilding the franchise assets from the ground up. Nashville’s current roster is a mix of sorts: recycling, drafting, trading futures.

Since the Predators only leaned heavily towards the draft starting in 2018, they don’t have that many good players on their roster coming from the draft. The two standouts are Tyler Bertuzzi on offense and Dunn on defense.

Nashville also has “recycled” some players into younger assets. Cirelli came with prospects and picks from trading RNH. As well, Victor Olofsson, Eriksson-Ek and Dube were all direct and indirect returns for Jaden Schwartz.

Lately, the Predators also traded some youth for pro lineup reinforcements. At the last draft, they traded their 2nd overall pick (Quinton Byfield) for Ehlers and a later 1st round pick (JJ Peterka). They also trade Poolman over the summer for what turned out to be Vlasic. Other than that, they traded what amounts to Brendan Guhle and a 4th for what they have today in Tyler Myers, Zadorov and Anderson.

In the meantime, the Predators have gone hard after picks at the draft. This turned their bare prospect pool into one that’s full of upcoming talent: Kakko, Zadina, Hayton, Dellandrea, Wahlstrom, Krebs, Brink and Sanderson. Nashville also holds extra picks for the 2021 draft.

While the Predators have made some moves to improve their lineup this year, they are likely still not strong enough to get into the playoffs. Nashville will give it their best shot but their return to post season will likely have to wait another year. Assuming the Predators are able to their farm assets to their pro roster, they should be in a good position to join the top tier group in the next few years.

St-Louis Blues

The famed St-Louis franchise made the playoffs every year from 2006 to 2015, winning multiple banners and two Cups during that time. After missing the playoffs in 2016, the Blues came back strong to get into post season every year from 2017 to 2020. With their pre-UFA roster, the Blues will likely miss the playoffs in 2020-2021 for the 2nd time in the franchise history. Considering their lack of high draft selections through the years, St-Louis’ current roster is built mostly from trading.

Recently, the Blues have done a couple of moves to recycle some assets. In 2019, they acquired Bjorkstrand by trading Reilly Smith. That same year, they got Tyler Johnson, a 1st and Blais for Klefbom. In an attempt to recycle, they also received Anders Lee and Nolan Patrick in return for Scheifele and Hoglander. The future success of that one will depend on Patrick’s and Hoglander’s development over time. They also traded Vlasic to receive a slightly younger Dekeyser.

Otherwise, the other good pro players on St-Louis were traded for. In 2015, the Blues acquired Landeskog in return of Duchene. This summer, they received Dumba and a 3rd for Lehner. In 2017, they also added Shesterkin for picks including a 1st rounder.

Looking at the prospect pool and picks, the Blues are fairly well positioned. They do have some promising young talent coming up and they have two picks in every round for the 2021 draft. This is the result of trading players for picks. Recently the Blues traded MAF for a 1st in 2021. St-Louis also traded Vatrano this summer for a return of Mastrosimone and a 2nd in 2021.

Unless they hit big in the UFA market, which is unlikely due to the poor talent pool available, the Blues will likely miss the playoffs for the 2nd time in the franchise history. However, St-Louis looks to be one step ahead for a quicker rebuild, with a decent prospect pool along with extra picks for 2021. The Blues may be able to use the UFA market temporarily, along with futures, to stay competitive in the short term. Otherwise, they will likely rebuild their assets through the draft, which could see them missing playoffs for a few years in a row.

Washington Capitals

Over the past 10 years, the Capitals missed the playoffs 4 times. While they have a competitive roster up front, they are lacking a goaltender to compete which pushes them back quite a bit pre-UFA. Acquiring a goalie like Kuemper would push them back to contention for one of the last playoffs spots in the East. To assemble their current roster, the Capitals haven’t been shy on trading for pieces that they want.

First, the most impressive part of the Capitals lineup is their big three on defense. To acquire Karlsson, Doughty and Subban, Washington traded Myers, McNabb, Virtanen, two 2nds, a 3rd and a 5th round pick. Then, they did something similar for their forwards. For Duchene, they spent futures in Raphael Lavoie, Ishkakov and a 3rd. To acquire Kubalik, they traded DeAngelo, who had been acquired for two 2nd round picks. Lastly, to get Nick Suzuki, the Capitals didn’t shy away from trading a 1st round pick the year after.

The Capitals have also been doing some recycling the past few years. This summer, right before the draft, they even traded the face of the franchise in Ovechkin for Jamie Benn, Sandin and a 1st. In 2019, they traded Panarin and Holtby for a pair of 1sts, a 2nd and Calen Addison. That year, they also swapped Tyler Seguin for picks and prospects. They were able to add a 1st along with Frost, Schmaltz, Chytil and a 3rd.

The recent recycling has left the Capitals with a prospect pool in good shape, featuring potential stars to replace the ones they lost in 2019 and 2020.

For 2020-2021, the Capitals will need to add at least one good goaltender if they want to compete for the last playoffs spot. Otherwise, they may continue with their recycling strategy until their younger prospects come bolster their pro roster.

Anaheim Ducks

Since 2008, the Ducks have made the playoffs three times: 2013, 2016 and 2017. As of today, it looks like Anaheim will be keeping that trend this year. This may not be all that bad though as the Ducks are right in the middle of their rebuild. Anaheim’s roster looks exactly that part: a lot of assets received through recycling and a deep prospect pool.

About half of the better Ducks roster players were part of recycling trades. Ducks received Faulk, Brodin, Gostisbehere and Sanford in return for older players: Bouwmeester, Vatanen, Suter (recycled from Oshie) and Daniel Sedin. Anaheim also recycled other players into futures. Price was traded for a return of a 1st and Tage Thompson while Saad was traded for a 2nd round pick.

Anaheim has also tapped in the UFA market to fill the gap while doing their recycling and grooming their younger prospects. They have added Carter and Kovalchuk on that market.

Ducks also start seeing results from their efforts at the draft table. In fact, their best player this year might just be Quinn Hughes. They also have many other great prospects coming up: Lafreniere, Perfetti, Farabee, Podkolzin, Romanov, Norris, Bourque.

Their other player worth mentioning here was acquired through by trading futures, something rare for the Ducks. They spent a 1st round pick to acquire Nick Leddy.

Anaheim will likely miss the playoffs once again in 2020-2021. However, they have a good prospect pool maturing plus extra picks for the 2021 draft. Their rebuild is in fast progression and could see them rise up quickly in two or three years.

Pittsburgh Penguins

In the past 10 years, the Penguins have been competitive pretty much the whole time through. However, despite being competitive, they missed the playoffs in 2011, 2014, 2016, 2019 and 2020. Yet, they did achieve what all teams fight for… a Cup in 2018. After that Cup, they might well be en route to a full rebuild.

There aren’t many players left on the Pittsburgh roster worth writing about. On their pro roster, the Penguins pretty much only have Crosby, Horvat, Virtanen and Murray. Virtanen was recently acquired by offering him a mountain of gold on the UFA market. Crosby was acquired back in 2009 for Toews and Datsyuk. Horvat was drafted by Pittsburgh. Lastly, Murray was acquired for futures as Pittsburgh paid two 1sts, Raanta and Ilya Samsonov to get him.

The Penguins have been in full recycle mode since their Cup. They have traded Nelson and Toffoli for what ended as Liam Foudy, a 2nd and two 4ths. They leveraged McElhinney into a 2nd round pick before the trade deadline in 2018-2019. They were able to monetize Giroux into an after further recycling package of a 1st, 2nd, 4th and Howden. They also received a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and David Gustafsson. Lastly, they traded Seth Jones for a 1st, a 2nd and Evan Bouchard.

For 2020-2021, it’s up to Crosby, Horvat, Virtanen and Murray to win games as right now the rest of the roster is lackluster. Pittsburgh will probably miss the playoffs. Still, the Penguins have a good prospect pool that includes the likes of Newhook, Lucas Raymond and Holtz. They also have all their picks going forward, so they could end up with lottery picks in the short term. Like Anaheim, they are another team in full rebuild. They will probably need another two or three years until they see their team moving back up.

Boston Bruins

After making the playoffs in 2014 (and winning the Cup) and 2015, the Bruins have been on a dry spell since 2016. From 2016 to 2018, they were a bubble team that barely missed. Then in 2019, they tumbled to the bottom of the standings. In 2020, there was an effort made to get back into the post season, which didn’t work the way it was planned. Now, before the 2021 season, the Bruins are looking like a team that’s going to miss the playoffs once again.

On the pro roster, there’s not much to talk about. They have a couple older guys that they traded for other players or got pretty much for free. Thornton and Seabrook were both added for literally nothing. Haula was part of a swap for Dzingel. Simmonds and a 4th were acquired for Palat.

Other than those veterans, the Bruins have done some recycling lately. During the summer before 2019, the Bruins traded Connolly, Panik and Lewis which yielded back Carlo, a 1st, a 3rd and a 4th. Close to the 2018 deadline, Boston also traded Lucic for Kasperi Kapanen and a 1st. Right before the draft this year, they traded JT Miller for a 1st, a 4th and Jokiharju. Other trades include sending away Ekblad and Perron for picks including 1sts. However, part of the loot they got doing those trades were used for the push in 2020 when the Bruins acquired Duchene and Dzingel.

The Bruins do have a decent prospect pool with Bean, Poulin, Soderstrom and Mercer. However, they may lack a potential all-star player in their system at the moment. Unfortunately, they lost their 1st for 2021 in their push to make the playoffs in 2020, which might cost them in that regard.

With not enough assets to even try to make the playoffs this year, the Canucks (who hold the Bruins 1st in 2021) will likely be the benefactors of this down year for the Bruins. The Bruins do have multiple picks in the 2nd and 3rd round for 2021, as well as extra picks for 2022. However, considering they might need stars and their current low total assets, they are likely set on the road for a long rebuild of 4 or 5 years. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be another potential alternative for Boston.

Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights have only been in the league for two years. Both years, Vegas has finished at the bottom of the standings. This was expected considering the results of the expansion draft. The Golden Knights seem to have started in the league with a build from the draft approach, which means with only two drafts behind them they are still at the starting block.

The Knights don’t have a lot of talent on their pro roster. Their best player, Weber, was acquired by trading Martinez. However, due to his high salary, he may be a hard player to recycle and get a ton of value back. Vegas also has McDonagh, acquired with Grimaldi and DelZotto, added by trading Connauton. Between the pipes, Francouz might have a bit of value. The Golden Knights paid a 4th for him.

The Golden Knights have done the recycling that they could. Over their short lifespan, they traded Grabner to get a 1st round pick and Khudobin to receive a 2nd rounder. They were also able to add various later picks.

Over their two first years, the Golden Knights were able to add top prospects to their system. They have Hughes, Byram and Stutzle on the fast track. They also went hard at young goalies, adding Knight and Askarov in successive years. They also hold two 1sts and two 2nds for the 2021 draft, one which will likely be top 5.

Vegas is set to finish at the bottom of the standings once again this year. However, they may already have the foundation for their future roster in the pipes from the strength of their prospect pool. They should also have excellent draft picks in 2021 and 2022. Considering this, their build-up seems to be well started and they could be moving up the standings in the midterm.

Ottawa Senators

In the last 10 years, the Senators have missed the playoffs three times. They missed twice, in 2012 and 2013, right before their ascension to the top for two Cups in 2015 and 2017. Then, they missed again last year. It seems that the Senators thought that a reset was required after their run.

For 2021, there isn’t much left on the pro roster. The Senators have Neal which they acquired by trading Gudbranson, whom was himself added this summer for Oleksiak. They received Okposo in exchange for future considerations. They added Goligoski and a 2nd in return of King Henrik. Finally, they are still holding on to Cam Atkinson who was acquired back in 2010 for Corey Perry.

Otherwise, the Senators have been busy moving their players for futures. The most prominent players they have traded are Lindholm, Burns, Tatar, Josi and Krug. For them, they have received Colin White, Tyler Madden, Rem Pitlick, Jon Dugan, K’andre Miller, Nils Lundkvist, two 1sts and a 2nd round pick. They have also moved less significant players by trading Reaves, Bellemare and Bozak. For those players, they got Dal Colle, Cam Morrison and Boo Nieves.

Due to the trades they have done and their recent draft selections, the Senators already have a good and diversified prospect pool. They also have a good number of picks for the forthcoming drafts.

The Senators are in the middle of a reset. With their current prospect pool, they will likely be able to rebuild within a few years. Depending on the development track of their prospects, they could be back to playoffs contention around 2023.

Conclusion

After having assessed all teams, it looks like there are only 7 teams in the middle of a rebuilding process. The other teams that will likely miss the playoffs, perhaps even by 10 or more points, aren’t really tanking. They face the hard choice of trading their future lifeblood for current assets which would probably not even guarantee them a spot in the post season dance. It’s a very tough spot to be in, with very little help available. Other than the draft, the only other way to add net assets would be the UFA market but as seen in this tier and others, there are hardly many valuable players available there.

The Boston Bruins are a good example of a team that tried to steer off the rebuild but wound up even deeper into it. They paid a lot to try to play and squeeze into the playoffs in 2020. In the end, their attempt failed and they ended their season far from the last spot. However, that attempt might force them to a much longer rebuild.

Why are the Bruins forced to tank now? They simply lack assets to build up a good enough pro team to qualify for the playoffs. Even if they traded all their prospects and their picks for players right now, they would likely still miss the post season. Even worse, it might decrease their assets value for the next year, meaning they would have to spend longer at the bottom to grow back that value.

That bit is also true for most of the other teams rebuilding, they don’t have the dry powder to turn it around other than by adding net assets through the draft. Plus, once a team suffers through a rebuild, they probably want to make sure they won’t go there for a bit of time or until they won a Cup.

Looking up to the top tier teams, all with a pro roster worth about 80 points or more and going all the way to over 110 points, the rebuilding teams have a long hard road ahead. Other than the Predators, all teams in this tier have assets worth 86 points or less, which means they would have to convert ALL their prospects AND their picks for the next three years into roster players to join that tier.