NHL Future Power Rankings: Grading all 32 teams on roster, prospects, cap situation, management

Teams at the bottom see the future as a way to climb higher than their current station. Teams in the middle see the future as a way to break through to reach the elite. Teams at the top see the future as a chance to sustain their success or stave off the inevitability of potentially returning to the bottom.

This is why the future matters. It can bring promise, it can bring results or it could bring a team to its knees if it's not careful.

With opening night of the 2022-23 NHL season approaching on Oct. 11, it's time for another edition of the Future Power Rankings.

To determine which NHL clubs are in the best shape for the next three seasons, we had a panel of writers and editors rate each team in four categories -- roster (with an emphasis on players 26 and under); prospects; cap situation and contracts; and front office, ownership and coaching -- using this scale:

  • 100: A+ (Elite)

  • 90: A (Great)

  • 80: B (Very good)

  • 70: C (Average)

  • 60: D (Very bad)

  • 50: F (Disastrous)

After averaging the results from the panelists, each of the four categories was weighted to create the overall score: roster (35%), prospects (25%), cap/contracts (20%) and owner/GM/coach (20%). The result is a comprehensive ranking based on how well each team is positioned for the future, plus insights on every team from Ryan S. Clark, Kristen Shilton and Greg Wyshynski.

Read through the entire file from No. 1 to No. 32, or jump ahead to your team by using the quick links below:

Jump to a team:
ANA | ARI | BOS | BUF
CGY | CAR | CHI | COL
CBJ | DAL | DET | EDM
FLA | LA | MIN | MTL
NSH | NJ | NYI | NYR
OTT | PHI | PIT | SJ
SEA | STL | TB | TOR
VAN | VGK | WSH | WPG

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1. Carolina Hurricanes
Overall score: 85.2

Why they're here: The No. 1 team in the ESPN Future Power Rankings has a championship-caliber roster, a strong pool of young reinforcements and an enviable managerial staff. The Hurricanes have the third-ranked current roster, having made the playoffs for four straight seasons and posting a points percentage above .700 in two straight. They rank ninth overall in prospects thanks to young players on the roster and others such as AHL forward Jack Drury and KHL defenseman Alexander Nikishin who are on the way. Coach Rod Brind'Amour and an analytics-driven front office ranked No. 7 overall, although the Canes' cap outlook was middle of the pack (16th). Still, it all added up to Carolina having the brightest future in the league. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Canes GM Don Waddell and his staff have decisions to make in the next two seasons. They have eight players who are pending UFAs at the end of the 2022-23 season, which will force decisions with Max Pacioretty and Jordan Staal. Determining a plan in goal will also be a priority because Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta are also UFAs at the end of the season. The Canes will have a projected $30.7 million next summer, yet must also remain prudent given Sebastian Aho, Brent Pesce, Brady Skjei and Teuvo Teravainen will be pending UFAs after the 2023-24 campaign. Meanwhile, Seth Jarvis will be coming off his rookie deal, whereas Martin Necas will be a pending RFA. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Carolina has achieved an enviable balance -- the Hurricanes are a great team now set up to be a great team later. What could be more appealing? The Hurricanes can maximize their limited cap space by drawing in players who want opportunity with a great coach, stable roster and chance to win every night. It's the core in Carolina doing the real work of holding top spots in the standings, and keeping Raleigh a desirable destination moving ahead. -- Shilton


2. Colorado Avalanche
Overall score: 85.1

Why they're here: The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup with this roster, which was built by the current management team and guided by the current coach. Hence, Colorado rated first in both categories, two big reasons it is second overall here. Another big factor: Salary-cap management, which ranked sixth. The Avalanche were able to build a champion under the cap while securing key players on long-term deals. All of it was in preparation of Nathan MacKinnon's massive extension, which Colorado got done before training camp. Despite the presence of Alex Newhook and Bowen Byram on the roster, our voters put the Avalanche 25th in prospects, essentially costing Colorado the top spot in the rankings. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Winning comes with a cost, and the price tag is draft picks and/or prospects. The Avs had only two picks -- their sixth- and seventh-rounders -- in last summer's draft because they traded the rest away. Promising prospects such as Justin Barron and Drew Helleson were moved to make the immediate roster better. There is also the fact that prospects and former first-rounders such as Shane Bowers and Martin Kaut have yet to make the desired impact at the NHL level. Hitting on prospects is vital for every franchise. It arguably means more for title contenders who must maximize their cap dollars because of their salary structure. The Avs are no different -- even more so now that Nathan MacKinnon will make $12.6 million annually over the next eight seasons. It makes the need to have prospects on cheap contracts succeed even more important. -- Clark

Reason for hope: This is the most exciting chapter for Colorado in decades. After slaying the dragon to deny Tampa Bay a three-peat, the Avalanche have a target on their backs -- but they're well-equipped to defend the throne. Colorado knows when, and how, to pivot. Promoting assistant general manager Chris MacFarland into the GM role and elevating Joe Sakic to president of hockey operations -- right after winning a Cup -- proves it. It's not about ego for the Avs. It's all about the collective goal of being champions. -- Shilton


3. New York Rangers
Overall score: 84.5

Why they're here: The Rangers' run to the Eastern Conference finals and their offseason addition of Vincent Trocheck was enough to earn them fifth overall in the current roster category. That they've built that roster under the cap and secured players such as Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox long term made them sixth in ownership/management and seventh in salary-cap outlook. The Rangers rated a respectable 12th in prospects, as many recent draft picks are contributing members of the main roster. New York's rebuild was short and effective. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Drafting prospects, developing them and capitalizing on the savings they provide with their entry-level contracts are how the Rangers reached their current stage. The potential challenge with said plan is that young players do eventually sign more expensive contracts, which forces teams to be strategic about spending cap dollars. Look no further than Adam Fox and the contract he signed worth $9.5 million annually over the next seven years. It is possible Fox could be the most expensive member of the Rangers' youth movement. But remember: Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, K'Andre Miller and Braden Schneider will all need new deals within the next two seasons. -- Clark

Reason for hope: New York came oh-so-close to downing Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals. Losing stings, but it can also be a spark. It pushes bubble players to improve and make the roster. It makes incumbent skaters allergic to complacency. What effect that has on New York's future could be major. Forget just the experience of postseason success. Falling just that short frustrates a dressing room in the right way. The Rangers won't be weighed down by a chip on their shoulder; they'll use it to get stronger. -- Shilton


4. Detroit Red Wings
Overall score: 82.9

Why they're here: Detroit isn't just Hockeytown, it's also Tomorrowland. The Red Wings have the No. 1 ranked prospect pool in the NHL, with towering defenseman Simon Edvinsson and No. 8 overall pick Marco Kasper waiting to join Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider on the roster. GM Steve Yzerman, the architect of that rebuild and the overseer of the fifth best salary cap outlook, ranked No. 4 overall. The franchise's long-respected ownership group no doubt helped there, too. The only thing pumping the brakes on the team from Motown is the current roster, which ranked No. 24 overall. But not for long. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi are both entering the last season of their respective contracts. So is goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. One of the reasons this may not feel as dramatic as it sounds is the Red Wings have more than $41 million in available cap space. They will have the money to re-sign those players while being able to add the needed personnel who play a role in the Red Wings insulating their young players with experienced teammates. -- Clark

Reason for hope: After the offseason Yzerman put together, it finally feels like the Red Wings of old -- who famously made the postseason for 25 straight years between 1990 to 2017 -- are on their way back. Yzerman has done an admirable job rebuilding around the team's core, and what we saw from Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond & Co. last year showed Detroit's future may well have pulled in ahead of schedule. Across the board, the Red Wings are in excellent shape to start challenging the league again. -- Shilton


5. Minnesota Wild
Overall score: 82.0

Why they're here: Few teams have hit the sweet spot of having veterans and young stars shining at the same time like the Wild do. Their current roster ranks No. 12 while their prospect pool sits at No. 7 overall. Despite having some low-cost contracts with younger players, the Wild were ranked 14th in salary cap outlook, no doubt thanks to the dead salary space they're carrying. Coach Dean Evason, GM Bill Guerin and owner Craig Leipold are ranked 13th overall. All of it adds up to the Wild cracking the top five. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: The combined cost of the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts will rise from $12.743 million this season to $14.7 million in each of the next two seasons. It's cap space Guerin would like to have. But he is projected to have $17.1 million which will aid him and the front office in their attempt to sign pending UFAs Matt Dumba and Frederick Gaudreau. One item to consider is what sort of financial commitment Matt Boldy will force the Wild to make once his entry-level contract ends after this season. It is possible the figure could force Guerin and his staff to re-evaluate a few details. Still, the Wild are in a position in which they could turn to their prospects on team-friendly deals to fill holes should they be needed. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Minnesota knew the cap issues were coming. But what if the Wild's lack of offseason activity was really just the team taking a breath before it reloads? There is solid depth in the organization, among both current players and prospects, which is hardly a given for every team. It can make Minnesota better than expected. The Wild didn't go looking for help because maybe it's already on the way (or on the roster). Fallout from those contract buyouts might be impacting Minnesota's present, but its future won't necessarily be dulled. -- Shilton


6. Tampa Bay Lightning
Overall score: 81.7

Why they're here: Three straight trips to the Stanley Cup Final and two championship wins earned the Bolts second overall for their current roster. That success comes at a cost: They have the 31st-ranked prospect pool and were No. 20 in salary cap outlook, despite some under-market contracts handed out to their stars. Their greatest virtue? The holy trinity of coach Jon Cooper, GM Julien BriseBois and owner Jeff Vinik, who ranked first overall. At No. 6 in the Future Power Rankings, the Lightning's run isn't over yet. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Winning the Stanley Cup once every two or three years instead of winning every season? Jokes aside, it could be a stat involving Cal Foote and Andrei Vasilevskiy. They are the only first-round picks in the last decade who are on the active roster. No, really. Jonathan Drouin, Anthony DeAngelo, Brett Howden and Nolan Foote are all playing elsewhere, while the rest of their first-rounders who are not current prospect Isaac Howard were traded away to chase championships. In fact, they do not own their 2023 and 2024 first-round picks. So much of the discussion around the Lightning's success is centered around how they draft and develop beyond the first round. Continuing the trend of finding success beyond the first round could be key to the Lightning sustaining their Cup window. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Well, it's the Lightning. Tampa Bay has shuffled players on and off its roster the last five seasons while maintaining remarkable consistency (and winning a couple Cups). That loss to Colorado in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final will hurt enough to galvanize the club's veterans and youths alike. Losing veterans like Ryan McDonagh and Ondrej Palat only creates space for the Lightning to roll out new looks, and avoid becoming stagnant and predictable. Tampa's chance at another Cup? Still excellent, even if GM Julien BriseBois didn't go for splashy signings in the offseason. The Lightning's best hope is a united front among its established core, which will support newcomers in learning the Tampa Bay way. -- Shilton


7. Toronto Maple Leafs
Overall score: 81.3

Why they're here: While getting out of the first round has been a challenge ... for the last two decades ... the Leafs have a solid roster that looks to contend now and in the future. The current roster ranked fourth overall, thanks to reigning MVP Auston Matthews. Despite being maligned by the local media, GM Kyle Dubas and coach Sheldon Keefe rated eighth in their category, along with the Leafs' big media owners. Toronto has dealt with a salary cap crunch for the last few seasons, and they ranked No. 26 overall. Their prospect pool, led by forward Matthew Knies, rated 16th overall. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: For now, the future appears it could go in a number of directions. Maybe Dubas is at the helm. Maybe it is someone else. Nobody knows, and that is the point. Dubas has built a team that learned to consistently qualify for the postseason yet struggles to get out of the first round. It is possible Dubas could sign an extension. It is also possible ownership believes there is someone else who is better suited for the job. Whether it be Dubas or his replacement, they will be charged with trying to win now considering Auston Matthews and William Nylander have two years left on their current deals, while Mitchell Marner and John Tavares have three seasons remaining. -- Clark

Reason for hope: The Leafs are ride-or-die with their core, which includes a 60-goal scorer in Auston Matthews. Has this team found success in the playoffs recently? No. But that doesn't preclude them from future good fortune as some of Toronto's newer arrivals get settled. Michael Bunting had a terrific rookie season. Rasmus Sandin (when he's signed) has top-four potential. Prospects like Nick Robertson will compete hard for NHL playing time. The Leafs are heading into the final year of GM Kyle Dubas' contract. Dubas has publicly -- and frequently -- defended his team. This is when Toronto proves he was right to do so. -- Shilton


8. Los Angeles Kings
Overall score: 80.9

Why they're here: The Kings enter the top 10 thanks to one of the better prospect pools in the NHL and the management team that has allowed them to slowly ripen. Los Angeles ranked eighth overall in prospects, including 2020 second overall pick Quinton Byfield, while GM Rob Blake, coach Todd McLellan and ownership earned 10th overall. The current roster only ranked 16th, despite the Kings breaking a three-season playoff drought last season and improving over the summer. Their cap outlook ranks 13th overall, with Anze Kopitar's $10 million hit coming off the books in summer 2024. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Kevin Fiala will be 33 years old when his seven-year contract worth $7.875 million annually comes to an end. What the Kings are counting on is that what Fiala displayed in his final season with the Wild can be replicated. Fiala was a three-time 20-goal scorer who had only one 50-point season prior to bursting through to score 33 goals and finish with 85 points. That is the version the Kings are counting on having as they continue to develop their prospects, harvest cap space and continue their ascension in the Western Conference. -- Clark

Reason for hope: The Kings have one of the NHL's deepest prospect pools. L.A. also has a number of fine young players already in the lineup, who earned valuable playoff experience last season in a hard-fought first-round series against Edmonton. That type of opportunity matures a team's core quickly. If that's the momentum in L.A. from here, the rest of the Pacific best be on notice. The Kings could be stronger than we thought, ahead of schedule. -- Shilton


9. Ottawa Senators
Overall score: 80.8

Why they're here: With the arrival of Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat, have the Senators finally arrived? "Not yet!" exclaimed our voters, who ranked the Senators 20th overall in current roster. But the future is glaringly bright: Their collection of young players rated Ottawa fourth overall in prospects. Smart contracts to some of those core players, and good cap flexibility going forward, ranked them a spectacular third in contract management. GM Pierre Dorion, coach D.J. Smith and the Melnyk family ranked 21st in their category. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: It's possible the most notable item to monitor is how the potential transition could work for some of their prospects. The Senators have seven players who will be pending UFAs. Re-signing some of them remains a possibility. So does trying to replace them with the prospects who are part of the club's long-term plans. It has worked with Drake Batherson, Thomas Chabot, Josh Norris, Tim Stutzle and Brady Tkachuk to this point. Extending that type of success would give the Senators' development model more momentum while also allowing them to spend their money on homegrown talent instead of in the market. -- Clark

Reason for hope: What can D.J. Smith do with all the new players GM Pierre Dorion's brought in? It's the most talent Smith has had to work with since Dorion hired him in 2018. Will it also bring out the best in Smith? Cultivating chemistry through the right line combinations and defense pairings is one thing. Smith's job includes giving the Senators confidence they'll be tough to play against and a belief that playoffs are not only possible -- but an expected goal. This feels like a moment for Smith to shine as Ottawa hopefully tries to scale the standings. -- Shilton


10. Buffalo Sabres
Overall score: 80.3

Why they're here: The post-Jack Eichel era looks to be a promising one for the Sabres, as our voters ranked their prospect pool first overall in that category. Buffalo has two previous first overall pick defensemen on the roster: Owen Power, 19, a rookie this season; and Rasmus Dahlin, who is still just 22 years old. The Sabres rank fourth overall in cap and contract outlook -- what a difference one productive season from Jeff Skinner makes, eh? Their current roster is ranked 25th overall, and their management group is ranked 23rd overall, as Buffalo has yet to make the playoffs since Terry Pegula bought the team in 2011. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Last season was the fourth time Jeff Skinner tied his career high in points. The last time he did it was in the first season of his oft-discussed eight-year extension carrying a $9 million annual cap hit. Skinner, who has five years remaining on that deal, is the only long-term contract belonging to a Sabres player older than 30. In fact, Skinner is just one of three players older than 30 under contract with the Sabres. Craig Anderson (41) and Kyle Okposo (34) will both be free agents at season's end. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Buffalo may be nursing the longest playoff drought in NHL history, but the Sabres have some seriously strong young talents ready to change that. Dylan Cozens, Peyton Krebs, Tage Thompson, Owen Power, Rasmus Dahlin -- they're on the fast track to eventually put Buffalo in contending territory. The Sabres surged to end last season on the strength of those same burgeoning skaters; that forward momentum is key. And they'll roll out this year without oversized expectations or pressures that have yet to land on this climbing club. -- Shilton


11. Anaheim Ducks
Overall score: 79.9

Why they're here: It's clear the future is bright for the Ducks as they're ranked No. 4 in quality of prospects and young players. Because of that youth movement, Anaheim's cap situation is pretty choice -- only five players under contract in 2024-25! -- ranking them second overall in cap outlook. Well, until some of these young stars get off their rookie deals, at least. But it's also clear our voters aren't enamored with the present Ducks. The current roster ranked 23rd overall as did their combination of owner, general manager and coach. In fairness, GM Pat Verbeek just got there. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Cam Fowler, John Gibson and Ryan Strome each have three more years remaining on their contracts after the 2022-23 season. Gibson and Strome are 29, while Fowler is 30 which may not be an issue should they remain consistent. Beyond that? The Ducks appear to be in a position of strength. They currently have $16.5 million in available cap space, a number of expiring deals they can use to create more space while their prospects base featuring Mason McTavish and Olen Zellweger, among others, appear ready to step up. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Trevor Zegras. No, really. Zegras emerged as a must-watch, highlight-generating, goal-scoring machine last season and wound up a Calder Trophy finalist. Anaheim is clearly well-positioned with a number of other up-and-coming talents too, but Zegras is the one who can make them better right now. Since Ryan Getzlaf hung up his skates there is a true changing of the guard in Anaheim, and Zegras will be at the forefront of the Ducks' next wave. Credit to Anaheim's patience in rebuilding the organization; it could start paying off sooner rather than later. -- Shilton


12. Florida Panthers
Overall score: 79.9

Why they're here: The Panthers are coming off their most successful regular season in franchise history, in which they led the NHL in scoring. Following the Jonathan Huberdeau/Matthew Tkachuk swap, Florida has the sixth-ranked current roster and ninth-ranked management/ownership collective, which includes new coach Paul Maurice. That Tkachuk contract gives the Panthers three cap hits at $9.5 million AAV or over, ranking them 18th overall in cap outlook. Florida has mortgaged the future, including considerable draft capital, putting them 24th in the prospect category. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Carey Price being on injured reserve means the Seattle Kraken have spent more on goaltending than anyone else in the NHL, per CapFriendly. The Panthers are in second place, but have the chance to claim the No. 1 spot after this season. Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight have given them the sort of tandem teams want to build in this contemporary NHL, in which depth in net means everything. But at what price? Knight is a pending RFA after this season, while Bobrovsky is owed $10 million annually for three more seasons after the 2022-23 campaign. Having the money to re-sign Knight does not appear to be an issue. They will have a little more than $15 million in cap space. But what steps will they take to remain a Cup contender who wants to improve their squad while balancing the significant investment in net? -- Clark

Reason for hope: Florida is in big-swing mode. GM Bill Zito isn't wasting the Panthers' window to compete, and that's what will make the next couple seasons exciting in Sunrise. It's the cyclical nature of the game, and this is Florida's moment. The time for acquiring more draft capital and restocking the prospect cupboards can wait. First, Florida can continue to cultivate a winning culture that pays dividends for not just a year or two, but many. -- Shilton


13. New Jersey Devils
Overall score: 78.4

Why they're here: When Jack Hughes is the face of your franchise, the future is going to be exciting. The Devils have a parade of prospects behind their young star, including his brother Luke and No. 2 overall pick Simon Nemec, both defensemen, to rank the franchise third overall in that category. The current roster and the team's ownership and management both rank No. 26 respectively. But thanks to their youth movement and a Hughes contract that's going to age as well as he will as a player, the Devils are 10th overall in cap outlook. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: As for the salary cap, the Devils have $2.2 million in buyouts this season and another $2.325 million in 2023-24. After this season, they will have two more of the Ilya Kovalchuk recapture penalty at $250,000 in each campaign. They will have seven UFAs and six RFAs next summer, which will keep the front office busy. All of this places the Devils in a position to have $36.530 million in cap space next offseason. Financially, it appears as if the Devils could go in a number of directions. -- Clark

Reason for hope: The Devils' deluge of injuries last season forced them to pivot. What might have been if they hadn't? And now, what could be if they're not? New addition Vitek Vanecek will help stabilize New Jersey's goaltending. Ondrej Palat will bring big veteran energy to complement the Devils' wide range of rising performers, and a healthy Dougie Hamilton steadies the blue line. There's plenty of hope moving into the future for these Devils when their best ability is availability. -- Shilton


14. St. Louis Blues
Overall score: 78.2

Why they're here: GM Doug Armstrong built a Stanley Cup champion and kept the Blues competitive for several years while making tough roster decisions. Hence, the Blues management/ownership ranked fifth overall in that category -- thanks in part to coach Craig Berube as well. The current roster ranked eighth overall, coming off the best offensive season in franchise history. The Blues have some big names on expiring contracts, and some contracts to big names that might not have been the best ideas in hindsight -- that's a lot of money on the back end -- which earned them 19th in salary cap outlook. The graduation of some of their best young players to the NHL left the prospect pool a little shallow, rating out at No. 19. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Ivan Barbashev was part of the 2014 draft class that saw seven players appear in at least one NHL game. He is the only member of that class who remain with the Blues. It's not that the Blues have struggled to find success with draft picks. But finding a way to develop those prospects into becoming key pieces was a major component in a Stanley Cup run that featured homegrown talents such as Jake Allen, Jordan Binnington, David Perron, Joel Edmundson, Colton Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, Robert Thomas, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, among others, on the roster. -- Clark

Reason for hope: The Blues leaned into their future signing Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas to identical eight-year, $65 million pacts. Based on past performance, those contracts could age superbly for St. Louis, providing not only the team's foundation for on-ice success, but drawing in more talent wanting to play alongside them. Cap space might be at a premium now, but the Blues are in a great position to win. Kyrou and Thomas are the Blues' present and future, insurance against having to take a step back when other contracts start expiring and GM Doug Armstrong has to retool towards what's next. -- Shilton


15. Nashville Predators
Overall score: 78.2

Why they're here: The Predators aren't bad, aren't great and end up right in the middle of the rankings as a result. Their roster ranked No. 14 overall as did their ownership and management. Their prospect pool, which includes goalie of the future Yaroslav Askarov, ranked 19th. But that was counterbalanced by a salary cap outlook that ranked eighth overall, with key players like Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi locked in long term. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: There is the annual $2 million buyout penalty they will encounter over the next five years because of the Kyle Turris situation. Next summer may become hectic given the Predators are projected to have a little more than $12 million in cap space while trying to re-sign pending RFAs Alexandre Carrier, Dante Fabbro and Tanner Jeannot to new contracts. It could make being an active player in free agency difficult next summer in the event they do not move money via trades. Otherwise, the Predators' long-term cap outlook is one that projects them to have more than $21 million after the 2023-24 season and more than $39 million following the 2024-25 season. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Nashville has a veteran core in place. It has potential stars on the rise, too. But what about those young players right on the cusp of breaking out? The 20-somethings like Cody Glass, Eeli Tolvanen and Philip Tomasino? Nashville's lineup isn't locked in yet. The fight for ice time will be fierce, and that should be a rallying cry for those up-and-comers. Could Tolvanen or Tomasino crack the top six? The possibility alone is exciting for the Predators' present, and future, prospects. -- Shilton


16. Edmonton Oilers
Overall score: 78.2

Why they're here: The current roster received the highest ranking from the voters, which is to be expected when one has two of the greatest players in the world. With Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl leading the way, the Oilers ranked seventh in that category. GM Ken Holland and coach Jay Woodcroft helped Edmonton to 17th overall in management/ownership. The voters were less enamored with the Oilers' prospects (20th) and salary cap management; although given their current crunch, 23rd overall in contract outlook might be generous. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Part of the Oilers strategy this summer has been to sign core players who helped them reach the Western Conference finals. Or in the case of Jack Campbell, it is getting a long-term contract for a player who they believe can help them not just return to the conference finals, but win the whole thing. It's an approach that is expected to create flexibility issues when it comes to the decision to re-sign certain players. That is what makes their ability to find success with their prospects on cheaper contracts more vital. Oilers GM Ken Holland will have cap space over the coming years. But having prospects who can continue the trend set by Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod, Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto by being contributors on team-friendly contracts could prove crucial. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Edmonton has the best player in hockey -- that would be Connor McDavid -- on their side; he alone is reason for hope any season. It took time for Edmonton to rebuild prospect depth after certain first-round picks didn't pan out. That internal competition for jobs makes Edmonton even better -- although Ken Holland will be wise not to rush anyone until they're ready. The other perk of homegrown depth is that, when facing a cap crunch, it's a little cheaper off the hop. And it helps set the Oilers up for consistent success well into the coming years. -- Shilton


17. Calgary Flames
Overall score: 78.1

Why they're here: The voters aren't necessarily sold on GM Brad Treliving and his "Plan B" for the Flames after the departures of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. The current roster ranks 10th overall while the management and coach rank 11th -- that's despite coach Darryl Sutter winning the Jack Adams. They rank 10th overall for the current roster and 11th in their contract outlook, with Milan Lucic coming off the cap next summer. But their prospect pool ranked 26th overall ... which, again, is why Treliving executed "Plan B." -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Finding a new deal for MacKenzie Weegar appears to be the biggest challenge currently facing the front office. Even then, the Flames are projected to have a little more than $10 million in available cap space going into the summer. Prospects such as Matthew Coronado, Jakob Pelletier, Dustin Wolf and Connor Zary are expected to be contributors within the next few seasons, if not sooner. It's just a matter of what the Flames can do to develop more prospects. But this is the same franchise that has found results with draft picks made beyond the first round with Rasmus Andersson, Dillon Dube, Oliver Kylington, Andrew Mangiapane and Adam Ruzicka. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Calgary has gone through a glow up -- and looks shinier than ever. That's what happens when you land a key free agent like Nazem Kadri and land Jonathan Huberdeau in trade (before signing him to a long-term extension). The Flames don't need to think too hard about what's next; it's all happening now. And there are more than a few reasons to believe the next couple seasons will spell great things for Calgary, and extinguish concern about lacking in future capital. -- Shilton


18. Columbus Blue Jackets
Overall score: 77.6

Why they're here: Even the addition of Johnny Gaudreau couldn't elevate the Blue Jackets' roster above 19th overall in the eyes of our voters, but the future is bright in Columbus. The Jackets have the 11th best prospect pool in our rankings, with a handful of those young standouts already on the roster. Coach Brad Larson and GM Jarmo Kekalainen, along with supportive ownership, rank out at No. 15 overall. But with four contracts north of $8 million annually, Columbus ranked No. 17 in salary cap outlook. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: It is a roster that appears to have promise. It also appears to have questions that come with that promise. For example, can Jack Roslovic continue to build upon his first 20-goal, 20-assist season to be a firmly entrenched top-six center? Can Adam Boqvist further establish his identity as a puck mover to give the Blue Jackets another facilitator on the back end beyond Zach Werenski? And how will Daniil Tarasov's recovery play into whether or not the Blue Jackets are in a position to retain or move on from UFA-to-be Joonas Korpisalo? -- Clark

Reason for hope: Columbus has an impressive group of players coming up the ranks. There is added motivation to reach the NHL level when, once you're there, Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine are waiting to be your line/teammates. The depth these Blue Jackets could boast (and rapidly at that) might be staggering. Kekalainen has found a happy medium of going for it now, and protecting his team's outlook long term. -- Shilton


19. Washington Capitals
Overall score: 77.4

Why they're here: The Alex Ovechkin era still has some runway, as the Capitals rank 11th in current roster and 21st in their prospect pool. Despite an advantageous salary cap situation next summer, some of their long-term deals gave voters a bad taste, putting the Capitals at No. 25 in contract outlook. Coach Peter Laviolette and GM Brian MacLellan are one of the better duos in the league, backed by the respected ownership of Ted Leonsis. They rated at No. 12 overall. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: The Caps have 11 players who will be UFAs after this season, and nearly $24 million in cap space. It leaves them in a position to re-adjust a good portion of their roster to find the right combination that can aid Ovechkin and the rest of their experienced core toward another Cup run. One thing that would also help would be the ability to tap into their farm system, which has proved to be an issue. They have had only eight draft picks since the 2015 draft class who have played in at least 10 games. Two of those eight -- Ilya Samsonov and Jonas Siegenthaler -- are now elsewhere. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Washington is light on players under contract after this season, which makes it the perfect time to shine. Ovechkin will chase goal No. 800 (and more) with fervor, and new additions Connor Brown and Dylan Strome are on show-me one-year pacts that demand elevated performance. The reality is the Capitals' hopes lie in the here and now; it's how they're constructed. Darcy Kuemper -- fresh from a Stanley Cup win -- provides the veteran netminding Washington didn't get a year ago. The Capitals have a solid blue line to deploy in front of him. When the pieces are in place, and experience is there, Washington won't catch anyone by surprise with an early surge. Momentum like that can take them into the future, too. -- Shilton


20. Dallas Stars
Overall score: 77.4

Why they're here: The Stars ranked 18th overall in both current roster and current ownership/management, the primary reasons they rank No. 20 overall. That's despite the emergence of Jason Robertson and the addition of Pete DeBoer as head coach. Considering the hand wringing over some of their veteran contracts, it's a surprise that Dallas managed to rank No. 15 in cap outlook. The most highly ranked portion of the team was its prospect pool, which has produced a few impact players for their roster already. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: In 2017-18, Jamie Benn had his fourth 30-goal campaign in five seasons, which was also the first of an eight-year contract worth $9.5 million annually. That was the last time Benn has hit the 30-goal mark. He scored 27 the following season, but has scored no more than 19 goals in each of the last three. Benn has three more seasons left on his deal at a stage in which the Stars appear to need more offensive contributions in order to go further. Even though they captured a wild-card berth, the Stars scored 238 regular-season goals, and that was the fewest of any team that qualified for the postseason. -- Clark

Reason for hope: There should be palpable excitement about where the Stars are going -- and who will lead them there. Jason Robertson has superstar potential. Jake Oettinger looks like a cornerstone in goal. Mason Marchment has hit his NHL stride. And Miro Heiskanen will keep getting better. Dallas has its base for the future playing right now. The organization believes in GM Jim Nill's vision -- hence the recent extension -- and if he keeps adding around the edges properly Dallas will resume being a perennial playoff contender. -- Shilton


21. Seattle Kraken
Overall score: 76.1

Why they're here: The second-year franchise has made impressive strides in its prospect pool, ranking 10th overall after this year's strong draft. While they have their share of veteran contracts, especially among their forwards, the Kraken ranked ninth in salary cap outlook. The current roster ranks out at No. 27 overall while management ranked 22nd, with questions about coach Dave Hakstol counterbalancing the love for GM Ron Francis and the team's ownership. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Prospects and young players such as Matty Beniers, Ryker Evans, Ryan Winterton and Shane Wright are why the Kraken are optimistic about their future. Yet the thing about those prospects is they are going to be coming through a development system that is still under construction. The Kraken plan to add more personnel to their developmental staff, with the hopes they can lead to the franchise becoming the next organization who uses the farm-to-table approach to build the core of their roster. But that's just the thing about the Kraken's development goals. It's not about finding success with this current group. It is about creating a foundation that will serve the club in the years to come. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Seattle has the luxury of low expectations. It's an expansion team's right to take their time building something special (the 2016-17 Golden Knights be damned). And the Kraken can give their young players an opportunity like nowhere else -- which could be really fun. Shane Wright and Matty Beniers are dynamic teens that might easily start out in Seattle's center mix. Their production may not be pretty out of the gate, but this is the foundation for the future. Seattle endured some lows in Year 1. The team's rising stars will add punch in Year 2 and provide a preview of more fruitful campaigns later. -- Shilton


22. Winnipeg Jets
Overall score: 75.9

Why they're here: Despite a core of well-known names, the Jets' current roster was ranked 21st overall in that category. But their cap management has been strong through the years, making that their strongest ranking, at No. 12. Their prospect pool, led by forward Cole Perfetti, rated well at No. 14 overall. But there's little faith in GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and coach Rick Bowness, who ranked 27th overall. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Removing the captaincy from Blake Wheeler does create questions about the leadership group going forward. Wheeler has said he does not require a letter in order to be a leader in the dressing room. That said, he does have two years left on his contract. Another player who also has two years remaining on his current deal is Mark Scheifele, who has publicly questioned the franchise's direction after missing the postseason. New Jets coach Rick Bowness said the team will use alternate captains this season. The players who could be part of the Jets' captaincy dynamic have yet to be selected. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Winnipeg hasn't overextended itself in the flat cap era. The Jets also aren't hurting for talent. The trick has been getting the most out of its core -- hello, coach Rick Bowness. Winnipeg's defending has held them back recently, so bringing in the defense-minded Bowness was a crucial first step in getting these Jets back off the ground. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has left himself wiggle room to add players who help the team win in the present and future. If he also hits right on the Bowness hire there's hope Winnipeg makes a sharp turn upwards, and the likes of Pierre-Luc Dubois, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and others are convinced to stick around long term. -- Shilton


23. Pittsburgh Penguins
Overall score: 74.5

Why they're here: The Penguins kept the band together, and that was good enough to earn ninth overall in the current roster rankings. But their greatest strength is in coach Mike Sullivan, GM Ron Hextall and the Fenway Group, which purchased the franchise last year. They ranked third overall, and face a bit of a conundrum: The Penguins ranked 30th in salary cap outlook, thanks in part to keeping the aforementioned band together. The Pittsburgh prospect pool has been shallow for years and ranks 28th overall in that category. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: It's a roster built with the objective of trying to win right now with Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin in the later stages of their careers. More players are playing into their late 30s and having success in a league that is geared toward getting younger with every season. The Penguins appear to be optimistic their trio can replicate what the NHL has recently seen, with players older than 35 remaining significant contributors. Crosby, 35, has three more seasons left on his deal. Malkin, 36, has four while Letang, 35, just signed a six-year extension.

Another item to consider with the Penguins' win-now mentality is they have not owned their first-round pick in six of their last eight drafts. The byproduct in taking that approach has left the Penguins relying on finding success with prospects taken after the first. It is an area in which they have struggled. The most prominent non-first rounder selected since 2015 was Dominik Simon, who has played 228 of his 256 career games with the Penguins. Furthermore, those Pens players taken beyond the second round since Simon was drafted have combined to play 53 games. Forty-five of those games belong to former prospects Calen Addison and Filip Gustavsson, who never played for the Pens and are elsewhere. -- Clark

Reason for hope: There's a reason Pittsburgh has made the playoffs every year since 2006-07 (and won three Stanley Cups in that span): The Penguins have an incredible core. Keeping it intact has cost them top prospects, and their lack of depth in that area is reflected accordingly. But the Penguins' window to win now is still open. Coach Mike Sullivan continues to do an admirable job maximizing the team's talent. The key elements at play combine for many hopeful nights in the near future -- and potentially further beyond that too as Pittsburgh has a nice stable of draft picks to wield over the next couple of years that will restock their cabinets. -- Shilton


24. Vancouver Canucks
Overall score: 74.7

Why they're here: Despite a core that includes Elias Pettersson (23) and Quinn Hughes (22), our voters were cynical about the future of the Canucks. Their current roster ranked No. 17 while their prospect pool was 18th overall. Some of the contracts they have on the books, like the one handed to J.T. Miller, and the ones they still have to hand out, like a new one to Bo Horvat, have the Canucks ranked 26th in salary cap outlook. Their front office and coach Bruce Boudreau earned 20th overall in their category. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: There was a time when Oliver Ekman-Larsson was good for at least a dozen goals throughout the regular season. Yet OEL has scored a combined 12 goals in the last two seasons across 125 games. Ekman-Larsson's ability to score goals and move the puck is what made him so coveted. He can still log minutes on a penalty and a power play. He can also log heavy minutes like he did last season, when averaging a little more than 22 minutes per game. It's just that getting the version of Ekman-Larsson who could score those goals and be good for at least 44 points a season in addition to his two-way prowess would soften the blow of having a 31-year-old defenseman who has five years left on a deal worth $7.26 million annually. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Quinn Hughes said coach Bruce Boudreau is someone you'd "run through a wall for." Is there a better compliment? Boudreau is the Canucks secret weapon. He's already stated not making playoffs this season would be "a disaster" for the team and him individually; that's how strongly he believes in the Canucks' potential. It's that type of bold willingness to achieve which brings out the best in players. Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser can thrive under Boudreau. And Ilya Mikheyev was an underrated free agent pickup. But hope rests in the hands of the club's veteran bench boss who will push all the right buttons to help the Canucks excel. -- Shilton


25. Montreal Canadiens
Overall score: 73.8

Why they're here: The Canadiens are in a rebuild, so naturally their prospect pool is Montreal's greatest attribute. Bolstered by 2022 first overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky, the Habs' prospects rank seventh overall in the NHL. After that ... sacre bleu. The Canadiens rank 29th in current roster, 25th in ownership and management and 31st in salary cap outlook -- even with Carey Price's NHL future potentially residing on long-term injured reserve and the cap relief it would bring. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: As it stands, the Canadiens are going to have $18.266 million in projected cap space next summer. Jake Allen, Paul Byron, Jonathan Drouin and Sean Monahan are among the pending UFAs. Then there's the fact Cole Caufield's entry-level contract will expire, and he will be in need of an extension that could get costly depending upon- how this season fares for the former University of Wisconsin star. Carey Price is expected to be moved to LTIR this season with the understanding his future still comes with questions. Moving Price and his $10.5 million cap hit to LTIR creates space this season. As for what happens going forward? That appears to be the big question facing the Canadiens when it comes to their cap considerations. -- Clark

Reason for hope: The Canadiens are stacked with young skill players who can jockey for lineup roles right now. Montreal needs its future pillars to gain experience, so hopefully they're primed to eventually lead the way. GM Kent Hughes inherited a cap conundrum, and he's methodically working to unravel it. At the same time, Montreal is increasingly well-positioned to blossom down the road. Hughes has draft picks to play with. He's got a stable coach in Martin St. Louis. Piece by piece, the Canadiens are laying their yellow brick road to brighter days. -- Shilton


26. Boston Bruins
Overall score: 72.5

Why they're here: The Bruins are trying to keep their window of contention open as long as they can -- welcome back, David Krejci -- but our voters believe some dark days are ahead. Boston's prospect pool ranks 29th in the NHL. Surprisingly, their cap situation didn't get much love, ranking 29th overall. It's a bit of a mess now, but the Bruins have just seven players inked beyond the 2023-24 season. Their current roster ranked No. 15 overall while their management and ownership ranked 19th in the league, which is perhaps a byproduct of the popular Bruce Cassidy being swapped for Jim Montgomery as head coach. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: The Bruins' average forward age is 29.9 years. They have 11 players who are on expiring contracts. Nine of those 11 players are pending unrestricted free agents, and six of them are older than 30. David Pastrnak, while just 26, is one of those players heading into the last year of his contract. Brandon Carlo, Charlie Coyle, Hampus Lindholm and Charlie McAvoy are the only players with contracts with at least three more years remaining after this season. McAvoy and Jeremy Swayman have found success as former prospects. Where it becomes complicated is the Bruins have not had a prospect taken after that 2017 class who has played at least one NHL game. Everyone else in the Atlantic Division has had at least three prospects reach the NHL in that timespan. The Bruins have also owned their first-round picks in two of the last five drafts with their highest selection being Fabian Lysell at No. 21 in 2021. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Pastrnak is saying all the right things about remaining a Bruin well past his current contract expiration in July. Yes, Boston's cap situation is complicated, but figuring out how to keep Pastrnak will be the priority (however it has to happen). Boston is built to win right now, anyway. It's why Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are back. They know there's still a chance. And while the Bruins' prospect pipeline isn't exactly flowing, Pastrnak's long-term commitment makes Boston a good team and an attractive spot for other players to land, too. -- Shilton


27. New York Islanders
Overall score: 72.0

Why they're here: Take a look at the Islanders roster and count how many players are under the age of 25. That's why New York ranked 30th in prospect pool among our voters. Check out how many contracts extend beyond this season for a team that finished outside the playoffs in 2021-22. That's why they're ranked 21st in current roster and salary cap outlook. There's some faith in GM Lou Lamoriello to figure this out, as Islanders management and ownership ranked 16th overall. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Place the Mathew Barzal contract discussion on hold for a brief moment. The Islanders have not had a first-round pick in the last three drafts. It has forced them to become an organization that wants to maximize the prospects they have selected beyond the first round. But the Isles have faced a challenge in that regard. They have struggled to have a non-first rounder reach the NHL since their 2017 class; that group yielded Sebastian Aho and Robin Salo, who have combined to play 82 career games thus far. The most successful examples who have found long-term success came in the 2014 draft, with Devon Toews (who was traded to Colorado) and Ilya Sorokin. -- Clark

Reason for hope: GM Lou Lamoriello is nothing if not strategic (and secretive). It might look like New York's lack of turnover (outside swapping Barry Trotz for first-time coach Lane Lambert) could hurt them. But it could also be part of a broader plan still unfolding. The Islanders are a veteran-laden group that turned up the heat later last season. A new voice behind the bench could bring even more out of them, and encourage Lamoriello to be active at the deadline. There's hope of a long game playing out here for the Islanders that promotes more success. -- Shilton


28. Vegas Golden Knights
Overall score: 71.8

Why they're here: Over its short life as an NHL franchise, Vegas has gone from being the Golden Misfits to being in the red against the salary cap. Their future contract outlook ranked last in that category, as the Knights have pruned their roster every offseason to get under the ceiling. That's impacted their current roster, which ranks only 13th overall, and the reputation of management, which ranked 28th. They've mortgaged so much of their future that their prospect pool ranked 28th as well. For a franchise this new to be ranked 28th in the Future Power Rankings is a stunner. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Can they find more players like Nicolas Hague and Zach Whitecloud? They are a duo who represent how the Golden Knights found success with prospects on cheap contracts who became immediate contributors. Getting more of that not only sets up the Golden Knights for the future. But it could potentially play a role in solving their salary cap woes, by lessening the figure over time by trusting homegrown talent instead of paying a premium to find that talent elsewhere. -- Clark

Reason for hope: Vegas' cap situation can't get worse, really. That's a positive right there. The Golden Knights were dealt a tough blow losing starting goaltender Robin Lehner before this season started, but it opens the door for Logan Thompson to maybe emerge faster as Vegas' No. 1 of the future. The Golden Knights have great talents to roll out in front of him who are not only healthy (which many haven't been in recent years) but also confident in building chemistry. If there's one thing Vegas has consistently pushed towards its immediate winning. Every gambler knows a table can go cold -- and then heat right back up. A healthy Golden Knights' lineup carrying a little chip-on-their-shoulder energy and rallying around a new starter? That might be the golden ticket! -- Shilton


29. Arizona Coyotes
Overall score: 70.5

Why they're here: First the good news, which is that the Coyotes ranked first overall in one of our categories. They have the best cap and contracts situation of any NHL team. Granted, the roster has been stripped down to the skate laces in an attempt to draft a generational talent, but that's the positive byproduct. Now the bad news: Arizona ranked last in current roster and second-to-last in owner/GM/coach, although their prospect group rated out at No. 15 overall. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: It appears the Clayton Keller contract is at something of a crossroads. He went from 0.63 points per game in the first year of his contract to a career-high 0.94 the following season. Maintaining that level of performance for the next few seasons at $7.15 million annually could play a pivotal role in the Coyotes' future plans. A similar discussion could also be had when it comes to Lawson Crouse netting his first 20-goal season knowing he is on the books for four more seasons after this one at $4.3 million annually. Having Logan Cooley and Conor Geekie offers the franchise a starting point. But developing a farm system that can rank among the best in the league is the long-term objective for an organization that has had only five top-five picks since moving to Arizona in 1996. -- Clark

Reason for hope: The Coyotes aimed to build around their young core, and that's exactly the right move. Keller had 28 goals and 63 points in 67 games before fracturing his leg last season. Nick Schmaltz had 23 goals and 59 points in 63 games. Crouse's 20-goal campaign was strong, too. Barring further injury troubles this season all three of them should be not only fun to watch, but give the Coyotes some competitive juice as the team's long-term rebuild rolls on. -- Shilton


30. San Jose Sharks
Overall score: 70.3

Why they're here: The Sharks' best days are behind them, even with some big names of playoff runs past still on the roster. The current incarnation of the team ranks 28th overall, while coach David Quinn and first-year GM Mike Grier rated out at No. 29. Slowly but surely, the Sharks' cap outlook (23rd) is getting better while their prospect pool is getting deeper, ranking No. 22 overall. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Moving on from Brent Burns meant retaining three years of his contract at $2.72 million annually. They are on the hook for the Martin Jones buyout for the next five years, which ranges from $2.41 million in the first year to $2.91 million in the second year with the remainder costing $1.666 million annually for the rest of the term. Erik Karlsson has five more years left at $11.5 million a year while Marc-Edouard Vlasic has four more years at $7 million annually.

The Sharks have hoped Karlsson could replicate what he achieved in Ottawa when he finished with six straight seasons with more than 60 points. The closest he has come to that is when he scored 45 points in his first season in San Jose. Vlasic's underlying metrics at 5-on-5 throughout 2021-22 were similar to the ones he had when he signed his extension in 2017. Yet the most notable difference is Vlasic played less than 1,100 minutes last season, whereas he consistently played more than 1,200 minutes previously. Furthermore, last season was the first time Vlasic finished with less than 100 minutes of short-handed ice time in his career. -- Clark

Reason for hope: San Jose has a rookie about to blossom in forward Thomas Bordeleau. He tallied five assists in eight games for the Sharks (not to mention that stunning shootout winner against Las Vegas) as their season wound down. The 20-year-old may not make the Sharks' opening night roster, but count on him to hop in at some point. What's really exciting is how good Bordeleau will make San Jose in future seasons. -- Shilton


31. Philadelphia Flyers
Overall score: 67.3

Why they're here: When it comes to success in Philadelphia ... well, there's always Joel Embiid. The Flyers were second-to-last in our Future Power Rankings: No. 30 in current roster, salary cap outlook and their ownership/management. Not even the arrival of John Tortorella could sway our voters. The only highlight was Philadelphia's prospect pool (No. 23), which has recently drafted forward Cutter Gauthier and defenseman Cam York in the mix. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: Seven players are under contract for more than four years. A fact like that can be assessed in one of two ways. The first being it gives the Flyers the opportunity to have some sense of continuity in the event they are able to change their recent fortunes. The second being those continued struggles could make it more difficult to unload players and hit the reset button. -- Clark

Reason for hope: John Tortorella does not like to lose. He won't allow the floundering Flyers any pity parties. Tortorella is Philadelphia's best hope of being competitive and physical, and making the most of what they are. If Tortorella can show the Flyers their potential and hold faith in that, the future may not feel so bleak. -- Shilton


32. Chicago Blackhawks
Overall score: 66.5

Why they're here: The Blackhawks rank No. 31 in current roster strength, in what could be the final season of the Patrick Kane-Jonathan Toews epoch. Their prospect pool ranks 16th and their contract outlook ranks 22nd, no doubt the result of that long-term commitment to Seth Jones. In the wake of last year's sexual assault investigation, and with a newly hired GM and coach, the ownership and management ranked worst in the NHL. An incredible fall from grace for a team less than a decade removed from a Stanley Cup dynasty. -- Wyshynski

Points of concern: How will Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson manage the assets he has now to build toward what he and the organization hope is a brighter future? That appears to be one of the biggest questions needing to be answered. Andreas Athanasiou, Max Domi, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are each in the final season of their contract before hitting the open market this offseason. It is possible all four could be traded in return for young players and/or picks. It is possible at least one of them decides to re-sign to be part of the rebuild in Chicago. It is also possible the Blackhawks could lose at least one of them in free agency and receive nothing in return beyond clearing cap space. It leads to the Blackhawks having options. But what path will help them achieve long-term success? -- Clark

Reason for hope: There's nowhere to go but up (eventually) for the Blackhawks! First, they will go down (and down) in the standings, but with the goal of drafting No. 1 overall in June and selecting (maybe) Connor Bedard. Adding a high-caliber prospect will be the start of Chicago rebuilding towards a new legacy. That's galvanizing. It can bond a team together when young players come in on the ground floor and scale a mountain. The Blackhawks have draft capital and patience to spare forging ahead. It's a potentially winning combination for the future. -- Shilton