Atlantic Division team trends

As free agent frenzy cools, some Atlantic Division teams have improved, others are due for a fall.
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Less than a month into the off-season and already the landscape has changed in the NHL. The draft, free agency and a couple of franchise-altering trades have shifted the balance of power, setting up some teams to take the next step in 2016-17... and others to drop into the abyss.

We'll take a look where each team stands, starting with the Atlantic Division, home of a couple of big winners and some very clear losers. Here are our takes on the Metro and Central.  

• Free agent signings tracker

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1. Florida Panthers

PREVIOUS: 2015

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2. Tampa Bay Lightning

PREVIOUS: 2015

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4. Boston Bruins

PREVIOUS: 2015

The only possible bright spot? Khudobin has the potential to start 20 games. If he can do that and get Tuukka Rask back to the 60-game range that he played in his Vezina Trophy-winning season of 2013-14, there's a slim chance the B's might sneak into the eighth spot.

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5. Ottawa Senators

PREVIOUS: 2015

It'll be interesting to see how they handle RFA winger Mike Hoffman. He filed for arbitration on July 5, setting the stage for a one-year deal that could see the 29-goal man become a UFA next summer. Dorion can't let afford to waste an asset like that.

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6. Montreal Canadiens

PREVIOUS: 2015

Players don't want to play for the Montreal Canadiens? That paints a dire picture of this franchise … and of the man running it.

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7. Buffalo Sabres

PREVIOUS: 2015

Kulikov brings some much needed physicality to Buffalo's blue line, along with a left-handed shot to balance out a back end that has a chance to take a step forward next season.

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8. Toronto Maple Leafs

PREVIOUS: 2015

The decision to sign Islanders fourth-liner Matt Martin a four-year, $10 million deal is impossible to defend, but that's the only obvious misstep so far in a summer that should have Toronto fans geared up for opening night.