Part 2 of 3 – The Tweeners
20. NY Rangers
Key: C, Core: C+, Depth: B-, Offense: C, Defense: D,Goaltending: A+, Salary cap: B, Prospects: D, Gallant Grade: B, Hoover Grade: C+
NYR keep trying to remain relevant and I think the time has finally come where they can stop trying to be competitive. Their roster doesn't justify it. Similar rosters are gearing up for last place - it might be time to do the same Matt!
19. Los Angeles
Key: B+, Core: C+, Depth: C+, Offense: C+, Defense: C, Goaltending: C-, Salary cap: D, Prospects: B, Gallant Grade: B-, Hoover Grade: C+
Gone are the former glory days of LA. It seems the new GM has brought disgrace to this former proud franchise. Carter, you've ruined everything. Kings aren't good, but they aren't bad. What are they doing? Directionless! At least you've got McDavid - who is stuck on garbage franchises NHL and NEFHL. One love.
Key: B-, Core: B-, Depth: B-, Offense: B-, Defense: A-, Goaltending: D, Salary cap: C-, Prospects: A, Gallant Grade: C+, Hoover Grade: B
The Canadiens have made a ton of moves to try and be competitive, but, unfortunately, in the competitive Eastern Conference, they probably are not yet a playoff team. Big additions like Hornqvist and Koivu should keep them competitive, but not a contender.
Key: C+, Core: B-, Depth: B+, Offense: B, Defense: B, Goaltending: C+, Salary cap: B-, Prospects: D, Gallant Grade: B, Hoover Grade: C+
Kucherov highlights this roster. Not a lot of prospect depth, and not a contender. Adding Lindholm for their 1st+ earlier in the off-season was an interesting move as Lindholm is still only 25 and improving, but was the timing right for this roster?
16. Tampa Bay
Key: B-, Core: B+, Depth: B+, Offense: A-, Defense: C+, Goaltending: B+, Salary cap: F, Prospects: D, Gallant Grade: B-, Hoover Grade: B-
Tampa made some major improvements to their defense this off-season, from two different GMs, adding both Dumba in the non-Paul era, and Ristolainen in the Paul return era. They then also moved overpaid Spurgeon to free up some cap room. The Lightning are in a tricky position - they are probably a playoff team, especially if that becomes the focus, but also one of the weakest prospect pools in the league.
Key: C+, Core: C+, Depth: C, Offense: C+, Defense: B-, Goaltending: A-, Salary cap: A-, Prospects: C, Gallant Grade: B-, Hoover Grade: B
A good goalie tandem and OEL eating tons of minutes will keep the Oilers competitive. They have lots of cap space to play with; however, they would need to add a new top line without losing anyone to be a real threat in the West.
Key: A, Core: B-, Depth: C, Offense: B-, Defense: A-, Goaltending: B-, Salary cap: C, Prospects: F, Gallant Grade: B, Hoover Grade: B-
The Yotes have been busy this off-season, adding some key forwards to the roster. Malkin immediately steps in as a marquee player. Meier continues to develop and for under a million this season he becomes a very valuable asset to the team. Mark's put himself in a good position to be competitive this season as biggest miss is depth, which is easiest to add as the season wears on. Their core should be one of the better shut down teams. They don't have much in terms of future assets to do serious adding though.
13. NY Islanders
Key: B, Core: B, Depth: A-, Offense: B+, Defense: B+, Goaltending: C+, Salary cap: D, Prospects: C- , Gallant Grade: A-, Hoover Grade: B-
The Islanders are very deep, arguably with nine top six forwards. They do lack the star power to keep up with some of the more elite rosters in the East though. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a slight re-tool from Steve this season if they don't start the first half of the season strong.
Key: A-, Core: B+, Depth: B, Offense: B, Defense: C, Goaltending: C-, Salary cap: C, Prospects: B+, Gallant Grade: C+, Hoover Grade: B+
Carolina is sure to have lots of goals scored in their games this season, both for and against. I have often underestimated the abilities of Tavares and Stamkos to carry this team alone, and they likely will show their ability to lead again, so I'll make sure to bump Carolina as much as I can with my own ranking...
11. St. Louis
Key: B, Core: B, Depth: B, Offense: B-, Defense: A-, Goaltending: B+, Salary cap: C-, Prospects: B-, Gallant Grade: B+, Hoover Grade: B+
I like the addition of Joe Thornton for the Blues - gives some veteran leadership and great two way play to be used anywhere in the lineup. Landeskog of course deserves a mention for the Blues, and will drive that offense! St. Louis is certainly a team that with a savvy trade or two can go from playoff team to contender.