Where do you see the New York Rangers finishing in the Metropolitan Division? — @thewriteben
The Rangers are the best scorers in the division. You could argue that it should be enough considering they are good in scoring, special teams, defense and coaching, but what separates New York from the other seven teams in the division is their scoring.
Igor Shesterkin It’s not a one-season wonder. Following in the footsteps of Mike Richter, Henrik Lundqvist is the current generation of Rangers goaltenders. When the Rangers scramble in their own zone, Shesterkin sacks them. When they struggle to score, Shesterkin wins a 1-0 or 2-1 game. If the power play is declining, the penalty kill won’t be because of Shesterkin. He is the biggest difference maker in the NHL. Yes, the Rangers have a top-10 center. Mika Zibanejadscored 50 goals. Chris KreiderThe best player in Artemi PanarinNorris Cup winner in Adam Fox And an old-school physical defender at Jacob stoveBut it’s Shesterkin’s team and no one else can say that about the player in the most important position on the ice in the Metropolitan Division.
I hear you New York Islanders fans. You are shouting. Ilya Sorokin, shouting his name in my direction. And you have a point. He also has a chance to compete in the Vezina Trophy. But the Islanders don’t have the same top offense or top-six defense as the Rangers or Carolina Hurricanes, who finished first in the division last season and second this season. Carolina’s one issue after the loss is center depth. Vincent Trocheck He went to New York in free agency and did not replace him, which creates pressure Paul Stastny36, or Jesperi Kotkanimi, 22, to provide in that place. It is a concern.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will be strong again. The Washington Capitals will be fighting for a Stanley Cup Playoff spot, although I’m not sure they’ll make it this season. The Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils improved on paper during the offseason. But it’s Rangers’ division to win. They have Shesterkin. The other seven teams do not.
Will the Avalanche repeat? — @Mister_Teague
If I’m playing the odds, I’d have to say the Colorado Avalanche won’t repeat as Stanley Cup champions. They’re not the same team as they were a few months ago, and it’s generally tough to replicate.
Nazem KadriColorado’s former No. 2 center is poised to play a similar role with the Calgary Flames. Darcy KuemperThe Avalanche’s former No. 1 goalie is the new No. 1 in Washington. it is Alexander Georgiev Up to the task? He was a backup to Lundqvist and then to Shesterkin in New York. He is entering training camp as the top goalie for the first time on the depth chart. With that comes a different kind of pressure that Georgiev has to prove he can handle. It’s one of the biggest questions going into Colorado camp. Who else will take on Cadre’s role as No. 2? JT Comp And Alex Newhoek Have an inside line, but part of what made the Avalanche special last season was the depth they had using Comper and Newhoek in different roles. They should be replaced Andrey BurakovskyA reliable and effective top-six forward who signed with the Seattle Kraken.
Colorado should get a boost from the defender’s return Samuel GirardIn Game 3 of the Western Conference second round against the St. Louis Blues, he fractured his chest and missed the rest of the season. The Avalanche have the best defenseman in the NHL (Kale Makar) and one of the top two or three centers (Nathan McKinnon). Devon Toews He is one of the best defenders but he doesn’t get enough credit because he plays with Makar. This is a loaded team even without Kuemper, Kadri and Burakowski, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Avalanche repeat as Stanley Cup champions. They were built for a sustained run of excellence, counting on McKinnon entering the final season of a seven-year contract as a long-term signing. But I’ll gamble the odds and say they won’t do it again. In fact, my gut is telling me to pay close attention to the Edmonton Oilers, who the Avalanche eliminated in the Western Conference finals last season.
Do you think the Islanders’ younger core is good enough to get them back into the game and pull off a Patriots stumble? There are certain players in mind Matthew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Oliver Wahlstrom, Noah Dobson And Alexander Romanov. — @johnfiorino97
Barzal should return to being a point-per-game center. I’ll buy that Barzal has been a better all-around player over the past four seasons under former coach Barry Trotz, but he’s also one of the best playmakers in the NHL and without question one of the best in the open ice. It should be seen in the fault. The Islanders will not be a playoff team in the Metropolitan Division that scores less than three goals per game. The division is excellent. Barzal, who had 59 points (15 goals, 44 assists) in 73 games last season, should be around the same 85 points as a Calder Trophy-winning rookie in 2017-18. They have improved.
Beauvillier and Wahlstrom should be consistent scoring threats with at least 20 goals each. Wahlstrom had 13 goals in 73 games and Beauvillier 12 in 75 games last season as the Islanders missed the playoffs. They haven’t added from outside this season so they are banking on internal development to get back into the game. That should come from Wahlstrom and Beauvillier. They should combine for at least 40 goals this season.
If they play together, Dobson and Romanov should be a reliable and effective second pairing Adam Pelek And Ryan Pollock. Dobson had 51 points (13 goals, 38 assists) in 80 games last season. If he stays there and improves his defensive play, the Islanders will be better. After scoring 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 79 games with the last-place Montreal Canadiens, Romanov should be more productive than the best players around him. If the islands can, they will be in a strong position defensively Scott Mayfield with both on the third pair Sebastian Aho, Robin Salo, Denis Cholovsky Or a potential left-handed veteran could still add.
If all of that comes to fruition and there are no other relegations, the Islanders will once again be a playoff team.
Video: NHL Tonight talks Islanders offseason
What is the next step for Canadians? Are they teaming up with the Rangers, clearing the cap? — @seebs66
A full rebuild means going in the same direction the Rangers did 4 1/2 years ago: trading away veteran players to get draft picks and prospects, developing and supplementing in the draft, free agency and trade. That’s the right approach for the Canadiens, so the first targets are players on expiring contracts. Sean Monaghan, Jonathan Drouin, Evgenii Dadonov And Paul Byronand goalkeeper Jake Allen. All could be unrestricted free agents after this season, but it’s too soon to say they’ll all be traded. What if Monahan regains his ability to be a first or second line center? He’s 27 years old and it’s not out of the question whether Montreal could re-sign him. But those are targets to watch for the Canadians’ next move(s).
At the same time, Canadians should look forward to continued growth Nick Suzuki, Cole Caulfield And Kirby Roof (still an unsigned unrestricted free agent). Let’s see what effect it has Juraj Slafkovsky He could come in as an 18-year-old with the pressure of being the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NHL draft. Will any of their top defensive prospects make an impact? Kaiden Guhle20, Justin Barron20 and Jordan Harris, 22, should get opportunities to make the team in training camp. Suzuki, Caufield, Dach, Slafkowski, Guhle, Baron and Harris should comprise the core of the future.
Montreal is a destination market and Martin St. Louis should be a destination coach, which means NHL players want to play for the Canadiens. Some growth and patient rebuilding from everyone will pay off this season.
Listen: A new part of the NHL @TheRink