Are power rankings in a sport with as much parity as hockey more or less a crapshoot? Is it a bit early to start looking at power rankings for 2019-20?
Yep. But is that going to stop us? Nope.
With most of the free-agency frenzy in the rearview mirror, let’s take a look at what teams stand as viable candidates for a deep Cup run in 2019-20 — as well as the clubs that, well, are looking at a looooong winter.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
After getting straight up punked by the Blue Jackets in a shocking first-round exit, the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to be awfully motivated going into 2019-20 — with a wagon of a roster likely set to go scorched earth on the competition once again. Now, they likely won’t be winning 62 games again, but the gang is all set to return in what is an absolutely loaded roster — with the lone remaining offseason task being a new contract for RFA Brayden Point (92 points over 78 games). As was the case last year, there really aren’t too many flaws on this team — whether it be up front with Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, etc., Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh on the blue line or the reigning Vezina Trophy winner in Andrei Vasilevskiy in net. Oh, and the top-ranked power play and penalty kill didn't lose too many pieces as well. Yeah, this team is terrifying.