The 2019–20 NHL season will be the 103rd season of operation (102nd season of play) of the National Hockey League. The League’s 31 teams will be vying for sixteen playoff positions in hopes of winning the Stanley Cup next June. What makes this season interesting going into training camp is the number of unsigned free-agents in the NHL. Youth is King in today’s NHL, but there are a number of team working to try and sign players under their remaining camp space.
Barring any crazy signing or major trades, here is how we see the season going for the 31 NHL teams.
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Boston Bruins
- Florida Panthers
- Montreal Canadiens
- Buffalo Sabres
- Detroit Red Wings
- Ottawa Senators
- Washington Capitals
- Philadelphia Flyers
- New York Islanders
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- New Jersey Devils
- Carolina Hurricanes
- New York Rangers
- Columbus Blue Jackets
Here is how we think the Western Conference will shake out.
- Dallas Stars
- Nashville Predators
- Colorado Avalanche
- Winnipeg Jets
- St. Louis Blues
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Minnesota Wild
- Vegas Golden Knights
- Calgary Flames
- San Jose Sharks
- Arizona Coyotes
- Edmonton Oilers
- Vancouver Canucks
- Anaheim Ducks
- Los Angeles Kings
Biggest Off-Season Moves by 31 NHL Teams
As of September 5, 2019
- Tampa Bay Lightning – after getting swept in the first round last Spring, through early September the Bolts were pretty quiet which is their biggest move this off-season will all due respect to the signing of Patrick Maroon (which we think is a great signing by the way).
- Toronto Maple Leafs – we want to say that the Leafs biggest move this off-season was the signing of Mitch Mariner, but as of the time of this writing the Leafs have yet to sign Mariner. No doubt this will be the biggest move out of T.O. when the deal gets done. For now the biggest off-season move was the Leafs acquiring Tyson Barrie and Alex Kerfoot from the Avalanche in exchange for Nazem Kadri, Calle Rosen and a pick.
- Boston Bruins – drafting centre, John Beecher with their first round pick (30th overall). Coming out of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team, the Bruins got a potential top-six forward with speed, size and the ability to dominate the puck.
- Florida Panthers – signing goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven year contract. This contract is a bit scary, but with Roberto Luongo retiring this moved made sense for the Cats.
- Montreal Canadiens – while the biggest move for the Habs is one that didn’t pan out for the team. The Habs tendered an offered sheet to Sebastian Aho of the Hurricanes for a five-year deal that was later matched by Carolina. You have to credit the Habs with this effort.
- Buffalo Sabres – the Sabres largest move was made at the NHL draft when they took centre Dylan Cozens from the Lethbridge Hurricanes with the seventh overall pick. Rated number five by Central Scouting, the Sabres have a pretty solid core of young centremen.
- Detroit Red Wings – Largest move out of Motown was the NHL’s worst-kept secret when the Red Wings named Steve Yzerman Executive Vice President and General Manager in April.
- Ottawa Senators – was a move that was actually made last season when the Sens decided to retain their pick and selected Brady Tkachuk, meaning that the 2019 pick they traded to the Avalanche trade for Matt Duchesne could have become a number one pick in this year’s draft. Thankfully for the Sens, the Avalanche ended up with the fourth overall pick and selected defenseman Bowen Byram out of the WHL.
- Washington Capitals – trading Matt Niskanen to the Flyers for Radko Gudas. The move to acquire Gudas, 29, who is a big, bruising defenseman was to help the Capitals replace some of the muscle they lost when Brooks Orpik retired.
- Philadelphia Flyers – signing Kevin Hayes to a $50 million, seven-year contract that’s worth $7.14 million a season. Yikes!
- New York Islanders – the biggest off-season moves for the Isles came in the guise of contract extensions for both Brock Nelson (six-year extension) and Jordan Eberle (five year extension).
- Pittsburgh Penguins – trading Phil Kessel to the Arizona Coyotes for Alex Galchenyuk and Pierre-Olivier Joseph.
- New Jersey Devils – some might argue that the biggest move the Devils made as drafting Jack Hughes, but they that was a no-brainer. New Jersey’s biggest move was acquiring PK Subban from the Predators. Another amazing deal made by Devils GM Shero.
- Carolina Hurricanes – this one is easy matching Montreal’s offers sheet on Sebastian Aho.
- New York Rangers – Rangers made a ton of moves this off-season, but none was larger than signing UFS Artemi Panarin to a seven year $81.5 million deal.
- Columbus Blue Jackets – after what seems like as mass exodus of talent in Columbus, the Blue Jackets were reeling, but managed to sign forward Gustav Nyquist to a four-year deal with an AAV of $5.5 million.
- Dallas Stars – the Stars look to get back to glory with veteran experience. The Stars went out and signed some serious veterans in Joe Pavelski, Andrej Sekera and Corey Perry.
- Nashville Predators – while trading PK Subban to the Devils was a big deal, the Preds still have a strong defensive core. Freeing up some salary allowed the Predators to sign coveted free-agent Matt Duchesne to a seven year deal in Music-City.
- Colorado Avalanche – the Avalanche made a number of transaction with a few free agent signing but they also made a pretty big trade acquiring Nazem Kadri from the Leafs.
- Winnipeg Jets – the biggest move for the Jets may be yet to come as Patrik Laine is still not signed at the time of this writing. The Jets have some work to do as they lost Tyler Myers to free agency. When your biggest move is signing free-agent Gabriel Bourque to a one-year contract you know that your hands are tied or you simply have not been able to make the moves necessary to make your team better.
- St. Louis Blues – after coming together as a team of destiny and winning the Stanley Cup, the Blues biggest move was signing goaltender Jordan Binnington to a two-year bridge deal.
- Chicago Blackhawks – the Blackhawks had their highest draft pick in years with the number three overall selection. They made good on it by selecting centre Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades. He could be the Hawks number two centre behind Johnathan Toews in the not-to-distant future.
- Minnesota Wild – this is a team that appears in disarray. That’s why there biggest move this off-season was hiring Bill Guerin as the team’s General Manager. This is a good move for a team that could use a little direction. As the new Minnesota Wild GM, Guerin is facing quite the uphill battle. Prior management saddled Guerin with a salary cap disaster, with expensive long-term contracts and little immediately available help in the prospect pool with an aging roster.
- Vegas Golden Knights – In May, the Vegas Golden Knights announced that assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon would be promoted to general manager, effective Sept. 1 of this year, while current general manager George McPhee will continue in his role as president of hockey of operations. This was a good move as it was rumored that a number of teams, including the Edmonton Oilers were interested McCrimmon as a potential suitor for vacant GM positions.
- Calgary Flames – Oilers South? What’s up with the Flames and them looking to the Oilers for an infuse of players? This summer the Flames acquired former Oilers Cam Talbot, Milan Lucic and invited Tobias Rieder to training camp on a PTO. Flames do know that between these three players they scored a combined six goals last season right? Talbot and Rieder tied with zero goals each. As an Oilers fan this puts a smile on my face.
- San Jose Sharks – the biggest moves the Sharks made was committing to Erik Karlsson as they signed the defensemen to an eight year, $92 million deal.
- Arizona Coyotes – signing Clayton Keller to and eight-year contract extension ranks up there, but The Desert Dogs biggest move this past off-season was acquiring Phil Kessel from the Penguins for Alex Galchenyuk in late June.
- Edmonton Oilers – wow, just wow, finally a bit of a regime change in Edmonton with Ken Holland coming in as General Manager and hiring Dave Tippet as Head Coach. A new GM and Head Coach were expected but it will takes years to undo the damage that former GM Peter Chiarelli inflicted on this team. At least Holland was able to rid the team of Milan Lucic and his terrible contract in a trade with the Flames for James Neal.
- Vancouver Canucks – signed free agent Tyler Myers to a five year contract.
- Anaheim Ducks – coaching staff changes. In late June, Dallas Eakins became the Anaheim Ducks’ new coach having served as head coach of their AHL affiliate in San Diego. Possibly a more important move is that former Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter joined the Anaheim Ducks as an adviser to coach Dallas Eakins’ staff.
- Los Angeles Kings – in April the Kings announced the Todd McLellan would become the team’s new coach. This is a great move for both McLellan and the Kings who are now in rebuild mode.