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Vegas Golden Knights
Los Angeles Kings
St. Louis Blues
San Jose Sharks
It comes as no surprise that last year’s Stanley Cup champions are once again favored to win it all. Despite the loss of Nazem Kadri, the Avs roster remained pretty much the same throughout the off-season. If this team can stay healthy, there is no doubt they’ll have everything they need to make another deep playoff run.
Despite losing leading scorers Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk in the off-season, the Calgary Flames were able to acquire Jonathan Huberdeau and the aforementioned Nazem Kadri. Their goaltending tandem - who allowed the third-fewest goals against last season - remains the same (with Jacob Markstrom finishing last season as the runner-up for the Vezina trophy).
The battle of Alberta is more exciting than ever as the Edmonton Oilers are also looking like Cup favorites this season along with their provincial counterparts. Connor McDavid led the league in points last season with 123 and Leon Draisaitl had the second-most goals with 55. They also re-signed winger Evander Kane. If there is an achilles heel here, it is likely to be in net.
This Vegas Golden Knights team will enter their first full season with star forward Jack Eichel. The team also added Phil Kessel to the roster. Vegas also hired Bruce Cassidy as the new head coach. The former bench boss of the Boston Bruins (and a former player himself) won the 2020 Jack Adams award as the coach of the year.
Two-time all-star and Vezina award winner Connor Hellbuyck is still between the pipes for the Jets and they brought in David Rittich to provide some proper back-up. New coach Rick Bowness looks to make the most of his time in Winnipeg, and will be able to utilize players such as Pierre-Luc Dubois, Mark Scheifele, and Kyle Connor.
Yes, the Vancouver Canucks have come out of the gate struggling - losing their first seven games in a row. But they aren’t a write off. Bruce Boudreau joined the team as head coach and that takes some getting used to. J.T. Miller is now locked up and goalie Thatcher Demko could still be set for a breakout year.
No Phil Kessel. No Anton Stralman. No Alex Galchenyuk. No Loui Eriksson. This team is set to rebuild and, therefore, set to finish in the league’s basement. Their starting goalie, Karel Vejmelka, is just 26 years old with 52 NHL games played. The Connor Bedard lottery favors the Coyotes.
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