The 2019 offseason has been a busy one to date, with many of the free agents coming off the board, blockbuster trades and a 2019 NHL Draft that left some team’s fans shocked. It’s not over yet, but the regular season is getting closer and the countdown to puck drop is on.
For the 2019-20 season, I’ll be publishing weekly power rankings on all 31 NHL teams. Until then, why not take a look at how the teams are stacking up since the 2018-19 season ended? Lots of teams have changed their outlook over the last couple of months, some for the better and some for the worse.
There’s still time in the offseason and teams will still be making moves. There’s also a number of free agents still left to be signed. But for now, here’s how the NHL’s teams are looking in the middle of summer.
For future power rankings, I’ll include the change from the previous ranking. As this is the first edition, I’ll just note the direction that the team is trending based on the moves they’ve made.
1) Tampa Bay Lightning
2018-19 Finish: 62-16-4, lost 4-0 in Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Biggest Addition: Kevin Shattenkirk
Biggest Loss: Anton Stralman
Yes, this is the team that got swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in four games. However, they also put up 62 wins in the regular season. They have reigning MVP and Art Ross winner Nikita Kucherov locked up, along with Steven Stamkos, Viktor Hedman and a number of other stars. They extended Vezina-winning goaltender Andrei Vasililevskiy and now just need to sign RFA Braydon Point. This is a highly-skilled team with a lot to prove.
2) St. Louis Blues
2018-19 Finish: 45-28-9, Stanley Cup Champions
Biggest Addition: Andreas Borgman
Biggest Loss: Jordan Schmaltz
The St. Louis Blues are about to begin defending their Stanley Cup. Starting from the bottom of the league and going on to win the championship is no small feat. This team is basically still the same from that Cup run, with goaltender Jordan Binnington just making more money. He and Conn Smythe winner Ryan O’Reilly will be leading this team in 2019-20. They proved the whole league wrong last season, watch out for them this time around.
3) Boston Bruins
2018-19 Finish: 49-24-9, lost 4-3 in Stanley Cup Final
Biggest Addition: Par Lindholm
Biggest Loss:Marcus Johansson
The 2019 Stanley Cup finalists are still largely intact, with just RFAs Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy left to re-sign. With goaltenders Tuuka Rask and Jaroslav Halak holding down the fort in net, the trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pasternak, and young defenders like McAvoy, Carlo (once signed) and Torey Krug, it seems like the Boston Bruins are ready to take another run.
4) Toronto Maple Leafs
2018-19 Finish: 46-28-8, lost 4-3 in Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Biggest Addition: Tyson Barrie
Biggest Loss: Nazem Kadri
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the first team on this list to make some big changes this summer. Nazem Kadri, Patrick Marleau, Jake Gardiner, Conner Brown, Ron Hainsey, Tyler Ennis and Nikita Zaitsev are out. Instead, the Maple Leafs brought in Tyson Barrie, Alex Kerfoot, Jason Spezza, and Cody Ceci. The team still has superstars in Austin Matthews, John Tavares, Morgan Reilly and Mitch Marner (although Marner is still without a contract). Is this the year they get past round one?
5) Nashville Predators
2018-19 Finish: 47-29-6, lost 4-2 in Western Conference Quarterfinals
Biggest Addition: Matt Duchene
Biggest Loss: PK Subban
The Nashville Predators seemed to be on the losing end of a trade with the New Jersey Devils in sending PK Subban away, but it’s safe to say they made up for it by signing Matt Duchene to a very reasonable deal. This team is a perennial contender, and their new depth down the middle should only help that.
6) Vegas Golden Knights
2018-19 Finish: 43-32-7, lost in Western Conference Quarterfinals
Biggest Addition: Garret Sparks
Biggest Loss: Colin Miller
The Vegas Golden Knights may have lost Colin Miller, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Erik Haula and the highly-touted Nikita Gusev, and yet they remain near the top of this list. With Mark Stone, Marc-Andre Fleury, William Karlsson, Max Pacioretty and a number of other great players, this is still a dominant team entering just their third season in the NHL.
7) Pittsburgh Penguins
2018-19 Finish: 44-26-12, lost 4-0 in Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Biggest Addition:Brandon Tanev
Biggest Loss: Phil Kessel
It’s hard not to have a team that includes Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the lineup in the top-10. At the same time, they’re both getting older, and it seems to be getting increasingly hard to fill the spots around them. Trading Phil Kessel for Alex Galchenyuk and signing Brandon Tanev to a deal that isn’t looking great right now may be the beginning of the end for the team that has been extremely consistent for more than a decade.
8) San Jose Sharks
2018-19 Finish: 46-27-9, lost 4-2 in Western Conference Final
Biggest Addition: Jonny Brodzinski
Biggest Loss: Joe Pavelski
The San Jose Sharks have been a Stanley Cup contender year in and year out for a long time. The club still has Brent Burns, Logan Couture and they managed to re-sign Erik Karlsson. But the team just lost Joe Pavelski, Gustav Nyquist, and Joonas Donskoi while Joe Thornton remains unsigned. They haven’t made a lot of additions to fill these roles, but they may have some pieces internally to step up.
9) Washington Capitals
2018-19 Finish: 48-26-8, lost 4-3 in Easter Conference Final
Biggest Addition:Radko Gudas/Richard Panik
Biggest Loss: Matt Niskanen
The 2018 Stanley Cup Champions didn’t repeat like the Pittsburgh Penguins before them, but they are still a contending team. Alex Ovechkin could very well be chasing Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record, Nicklas Backstrom remains a high-end playmaker, John Carlson is one of the best defensemen in the league and Braden Holtby can still steal games. Don’t count them out.
10) Carolina Hurricanes
2018-19 Finish: 46-29-7, lost 4-0 in Eastern Conference Final
Biggest Addition: Ryan Dzingel
Biggest Loss: Micheal Ferland
After surging into the playoffs in 2019, the Carolina Hurricanes shocked the Capitals and outplayed the New York Islanders on their way to the Eastern Conference Final. While they couldn’t take down the big, bad Bruins, there’s a lot to like about this team. Sebastian Aho is locked in after the team matched the Montreal Canadiens’ offer sheet, and this is a very young team that looks to be at the beginning of something great.
11) Winnipeg Jets
2018-19 Finish: 47-30-5, lost 4-2 in Western Conference Quarterfinals
Biggest Addition: Neil Pionk
Biggest Loss: Jacob Trouba
The Winnipeg Jets didn’t have the finish that they were hoping for this season. And while the team is still largely intact, moving on from Jacob Trouba must sting a bit. That being said, and while they still have to re-sign young star Patrick Laine and Kyle Conner, this team is very skilled up front and on defence. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if they really make a push in the Western Conference. A bounce-back season for Laine would help that.
12) Dallas Stars
2018-19 Finish: 43-32-7, lost 4-3 in Western Conference Semifinals
Biggest Addition: Joe Pavelski
Biggest Loss: Mats Zuccarello
The Dallas Stars have a good, young team. Miro Heiskanen looks like an absolute stud and Roope Hinz could be right there too. That’s not even mentioning stars Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and 2019 Vezina finalist Ben Bishop. Adding Joe Pavelski and taking a chance on Corey Perry will only help this team.
13) New York Islanders
2018-19 Finish: 48-27-7, lost 4-0 in Eastern Conference Semifinals
Biggest Addition: Semyon Varlamov
Biggest Loss: Robin Lehner
The New York Islanders shocked the hockey world last season on the backs of new head coach Barry Trotz and goaltender Robin Lehner. One of those two is gone now, with Lehner heading to free agency and signing with the Chicago Blackhawks. To replace him, the team brought in Semyon Varlamov. The rest of the roster remains very similar to last season, but will the new goalie be able to fill Lehner’s skates?
14) Colorado Avalanche
2018-19 Finish: 38-30-14, lost 4-3 in Western Conference Semifinals
Biggest Addition: Nazem Kadri
Biggest Loss: Tyson Barrie
Nathan MacKinnon is one of the best players in the world, and hs line is one of the best in the league. The Colorado Avalanche still need to re-sign RFA Mikko Rantanen, but this team is looking better already. Adding Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky helped the team’s depth, and they have one of the best young defensive groups in the league after adding Bowen Byram at the draft and including the recently extended Sam Girard and rookie Cale Makar. They could be rising on this list very soon.
15) New York Rangers
2018-19 Finish: 32-36-14, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: Artemi Panarin/Jacob Trouba/Kappo Kakko
Biggest Loss: Kevin Shattenkirk
Trending: Way Up
There are two teams that you could argue won the offseason, and the New York Rangers are one of them. They used every path to bring in new talent to their advantage. Kappo Kakko was drafted second overall, Jacob Trouba was acquired via trade, and the team landed the best player in free agency in Artemi Panarin. The Rangers are looking strong heading into 2019-20.
16) Calgary Flames
2018-19 Finish: 50-25-7, lost 4-1 in Western Conference Quarterfinals
Biggest Addition: Milan Lucic
Biggest Loss: James Neal
In a trade of the bad contracts, the Calgary Flames sent James Neal to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Milan Lucic. The teams also swapped goaltenders via free agency, with the Flames signing Cam Talbot. There’s still work to do though, as RFA Matthew Tkachuk is without a contract. The 2018-19 season saw the Flames finish second in the league, but will they be able to do it again?
17) New Jersey Devils
2018-19 Finish: 31-41-10, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: PK Subban/Jack Hughes
Biggest Loss:Eric Gryba
Trending: Way Up
The other team where it could be said they won the 2019 offseason, the New Jersey Devils are looking immediately better for the upcoming season. With the first-overall pick in the draft, they added Jack Hughes. Then, they went out and traded for former Norris-winner PK Subban and the highly-touted Nikita Gusev. They also didn’t have any big losses. Like the Rangers, the Devils are looking to make a big jump this season.
18) Florida Panthers
2018-19 Finish: 36-32-14, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: Sergei Bobrovsky
Biggest Loss: Roberto Luongo
It didn’t take long for the Florida Panthers to replace the retired Roberto Luongo. They landed the top goaltender in free agency, Sergei Bobrovsky, while also adding Anton Stralman. This is a team looking to let in a lot fewer pucks, while the team, led by Aleksander Barkov, looks to get back into the playoffs.
19) Arizona Coyotes
2018-19 Finish:39-35-8, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: Phil Kessel
Biggest Loss: Alex Galchenyuk
The Arizona Coyotes made a big move this offseason, adding Phil Kessel via trade. Giving up Alex Galchenyuk in the trade was the biggest loss for the club so far. They traded up in the draft to select Viktor Soderstrom, who could crack the lineup as early as this year. This is a young team that looks to continue to improve. Expect young winger Clayton Keller to take a big step forward as well.
20) Buffalo Sabres
2018-19 Finish:33-39-10, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: Colin Miller
Biggest Loss: Jason Pominville/Alex Nylander
Trending: Slightly Up
The Buffalo Sabres were looking strong last season, but then the wheels came off and they missed the playoffs and finished sixth in the Atlantic division. They’ve made some moves though, adding forward depth with Marcus Johansson, and re-tooling the defence by adding Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju. With the changes and captain Jack Eichel and star Jeff Skinner in the lineup, the Sabres should be an improved team in 2019-20.
21) Vancouver Canucks
2018-19 Finish: 35-36-11, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: J.T. Miller/Tyler Myers
Biggest Loss: Ben Hutton
The Vancouver Canucks have one of the best young players in the NHL in Elias Pettersson and the team should expect a big jump from him this season. The team made some moves that seem like they are trying to win now, and on paper, this team is better. But signing Tyler Myers to a deal that is likely an over-payment, and adding J.T. Miller are quick fixes, which may hurt the team in the long run. For now, they are trending up but I’m wary of them this season.
22) Chicago Blackhawks
2018-19 Finish: 36-34-12, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: Olli Maatta/Robin Lehner
Biggest Loss: Henri Jokiharju
The Chicago Blackhawks have one of the best players in the league in Patrick Kane who finished last season with 44 goals and 110 points. Even so, they missed the playoffs in 2018-19, but don’t count them out for 2019-20. The team added Olli Maata and Robin Lehner to bolster their goals against numbers but made a questionable trade sending Henri Jokiharju to the Sabres for Alex Nylander. Maybe they think they have another Dylan Strome on their hands.
23) Montreal Canadiens
2018-19 Finish: 44-30-8, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: Ben Chiarot
Biggest Loss: Jordie Benn
The Canadiens haven’t made many moves this offseason, which is surprising considering they tried to steal Sebastian Aho from the Hurricanes. Instead, the Habs made some depth additions that could prove promising. This is a team getting younger that has a pretty solid cupboard of prospects right now. They could be poised to make a quick turnaround.
24) Philadelphia Flyers
2018-19 Finish: 37-37-8, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: Kevin Hayes
Biggest Loss: Radko Gudas
The Philadelphia Flyers started the offseason making some big moves, bringing in Kevin Hayes, Matt Niskanen, and Justin Braun, but it’s been fairly quiet since. This core group is still strong, with Claude Giroux, Jakub Vorachek, Sean Couturier, and James van Riemsdyk, while holding a solid group of young players like Nolan Patrick, Carter Hart, and Travis Konecny (who is still an RFA) among others. This group has the potential to turn it around this season.
25) Edmonton Oilers
2018-19 Finish: 35-38-9, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: James Neal
Biggest Loss: Milan Lucic
It’s been a low-key offseason for the Edmonton Oilers, but don’t expect it to stay that way. The organization has a new face steering the ship in general manager Ken Holland, and he’ll likely be making some moves throughout the season once he sees what he has. He’s already traded Milan Lucic to the Flames for James Neal, which one-for-one, looks like a good deal for the Oilers. Plus, this team does still have the best player in the world in Connor McDavid.
26) Columbus Blue Jackets
2018-19 Finish: 47-31-4, lost 4-2 in Eastern Conference Semifinals
Biggest Addition: Gustav Nyquist
Biggest Loss: Artemi Panarin/Sergei Bobrovsky/Matt Duchene
Trending: Tumbling Down
Three of the biggest names on the free-agent market came from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Panarin, Bobrovsky and Duchene all headed out of Ohio, while the club brought in Gustav Nyquist and Marko Dano. It’s definitely a team that looks much worse on paper, and they still have to re-sign RFA Zach Werenski. It’s not looking too bright for the Blue Jackets.
27) Minnesota Wild
2018-19 Finish: 37-36-9, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: Mats Zuccarello
Biggest Loss: Eric Fehr
Trending: Tumbling Down
This is a team that hasn’t really made a lot of moves this offseason – and based on their finish last season that isn’t a good thing. It doesn’t help that they recently fired GM Paul Fenton after one year on the job. They are currently searching for his replacement, who will have his work cut out for him. The core of this team is getting older, and the team isn’t looking any better.
28) Anaheim Ducks
2018-19 Finish: 35-37-10, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: Michael Del Zotto
Biggest Loss: Corey Perry
Another team that had a rough season, and it doesn’t really look like it’s going to improve anytime soon either. There haven’t been many moves for the Anaheim Ducks, it seems like they may start handing the reins over to the younger players. Players like Troy Terry, Maxime Comtois, and Sam Steel should represent the next wave of Ducks’ stars. Will we see them all this season?
29) Detroit Red Wings
2018-19 Finish: 32-40-10, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: Valterri Filppula
Biggest Loss: Niklas Kronwall?
The new man in town is looking to get the Detroit Red Wings back into contention. Steve Yzerman has been named the general manager and has fans looking forward to a bright future. But, it doesn’t look like that future will be coming this season. The team will be getting younger, led by star Dylan Larkin, and we should see some of those young players appear this season. Longtime defender Niklas Kronwall is still deciding on his future and the Red Wings are giving him the time he needs.
30) Los Angeles Kings
2018-19 Finish: 31-42-9, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: Martin Frk
Biggest Loss: Dion Phaneuf
It seems strange to have a team with Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick way down on this list, but here we are. The Los Angeles Kings were bad last season, and they haven’t really done anything to improve aside from buying out defender Dion Phaneuf. It’s an ageing lineup that may have some tough choices to make on their core pieces moving forward.
31) Ottawa Senators
2018-19 Finish: 29-47-6, did not qualify for playoffs
Biggest Addition: Nikita Zaitsev
Biggest Loss: Cody Ceci
The Ottawa Senators continue to make big changes to their lineup. They’ve added veteran leaders in Ron Hainsey, Tyler Ennis, Artem Anisimov, players that could help long-term in Connor Brown and Nikita Zaitsev, while moving out Cody Ceci, Zach Smith, Mike Condon, and Ben Harpur. The Senators aren’t close to finishing this rebuild, but they have been filling the prospect cupboard. Unlike the teams just above, they are at least making moves… right?
What teams do you think should have been higher? Which should be lower? Leave your comments below!
Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.