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.
1. Florida Panthers
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
4. Boston Bruins
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.
5. Ottawa Senators
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.
6. Montreal Canadiens
Players don't want to play for the Montreal Canadiens? That paints a dire picture of this franchise … and of the man running it.
7. Buffalo Sabres
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.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs
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.