Original Post via Philadelphia Sports Nation

Philadelphia Flyers

2018-19 Record: 37-37-8 (6th in Metro)

Playoff Outcome: Did Not Qualify

2019 NHL Draft Picks {8}:

1st Round – 11th overall; 3rd Round – 65th & 72nd overall; 4th Round – 103rd overall; 6th Round – 165th and 169th overall; 7th Round – 196th and 201st overall

Projected Cap Space (as of 6/19): ~23 million

Offseason Moves:

-Signed LW Michael Raffl to 2-year/$3.2 million contract

-Traded 2019 5th Round pick to Winnipeg for negotiating rights to C Kevin Hayes

– Traded D Radko Gudas to Washington for D Matt Niskanen

– Released D Andrew MacDonald via buyout

– Traded 2019 2nd Round pick and 2020 3rd Round pick to San Jose for D Justin Braun

-Signed C Kevin Hayes to 7-year/$49.9 million contract

Pending Free Agents: UFA – G Brian Elliott, G Michal Neuvirth, G Cam Talbot

RFA – D Ivan Provorov, D Travis Sanheim, LW/RW Travis Konecny, C Scott Laughton, LW/RW Ryan Hartman, RW Justin Bailey

Overview: The Flyers enter the 2019-20 season desperate to make some noise after a disappointing campaign last season. In the week leading up to the NHL Draft, Fletcher has brought in veteran defenseman Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun to pair with their young defensive core and signed top center free agent Kevin Hayes to a seven-year deal. Fletcher still has some work to do as Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, and Travis Konecny are all in need of a new contract.

On the ice, they will be under new leadership for the fifth time since 2013 with Alain Vigneault taking over behind the bench. The Flyers will also have an entire season with Carter Hart in net which they will hope can end their long struggle with goaltending. With their core of Giroux, Voracek, JVR, and Couturier in place on offense, the Flyers do have the talent. It’s just a matter of whether they can put it all together.

Washington Capitals

2018-19 Record: 48-26-8 (1st in Metro)

Playoff Outcome: Lost First Round to Carolina

2019 NHL Draft Picks {5}:

1st Round – 25th overall; 2nd Round – 56th overall; 4th Round – 118th overall; Round 5 – 129th overall, 7th Round – 211th overall

Projected Cap Space (as of 6/19): ~12 million

Offseason Moves:

-Signed C Nic Dowd to a 3-year/$2.25 million contract extension

-Signed C Shane Gersich to a 1-year/$700k contract extension

-Traded D Matt Niskanen to Flyers for D Radko Gudas

Pending Free Agents: 

UFA- C Brett Connolly, D Brooks Orpik, RW Devante Smith-Pelly

RFA- C Andre Burakovsky, LW Jakub Vrana, D Christian Djoos, C Chandler Stephenson

Overview: The Capitals hopes at a repeat were cut short by a Carolina Hurricanes team that would reach the Eastern Conference Finals. This offseason, Washington is a team up against the cap and will likely be looking to free up some cap space via the trade. They have already moved on from Matt Niskanen who carried $5.75 million cap hit next season and brought in Radko Gudas ($3.35 million cap hit) in a trade with the Flyers.

With their approximate 12 million in cap space, they will have to decide if they can bring back one of or both Brett Connolly and RFA Andre Burakovsky when they have Nicklas Backstrom and Brayden Holtby hitting the open market next summer.

The Capitals will once again be a favorite to win the Metropolitan and be a contender for the Stanley Cup in 2019-20 with most of their core from last year set to return.

New York Islanders

2018-19 Record: 48-27-7 (Second in Metro)

Playoff Outcome: Lost Second Round to Carolina

2019 NHL Draft Picks {5}: 1st Round – 23rd overall; 2nd Round – 57th overall; 5th round -147th overall; 6th Round – 178th overall, 7th Round – 209th overall

Projected Cap Space: ~22 million

Offseason Moves:

-Signed C Brock Nelson to a 6-year/$36 million contract extension

-Signed RW Jordan Eberle to 5-year/$27.5 million contract extension

Pending Free Agents:

UFA- C Anders Lee, C Valtteri Filppula, G Robin Lehner, RW Tom Kuhnhackl

RFA- LW Anthony Beauvillier, RW Josh Ho-Sang, LW Michael Dal Colle

Overview: The Islanders flourished under their new head coach Barry Trotz and went on to easily handle the Penguins in the first round before being swept by the Hurricanes in round two.

Before free agency, the team has locked down 50-point scorer Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle to long-term deals. The team still has decisions to make on captain Anders Lee and goaltender Robin Lehner. They have plenty of cap space to get both deals done or possibly upgrade and sign a Sergei Bobrovsky, Matt Duchene, or Artemi Panarin.

Regardless, the Islanders will be in prime position to contend for a Stanley Cup next season if they can play up to the standards they set last season.

Pittsburgh Penguins

2018-19 Record: 44-26-10 (3rd in Metro)

Playoff Outcome: Lost in First Round to Islanders

2019 NHL Draft Picks {6}: 1st Round – 21st overall; 4th Round – 98th overall; 5th Round – 145th and 151st overall; 7th Round – 203rd and 207th overall

Projected Cap Space: ~$6.5 million

Offseason Moves:

-Traded Olli Maatta to Chicago for C Dominik Kahun

Pending Free Agents:

UFA- D Chris Wideman, C Matt Cullen, RW Garrett Wilson

RFA- C Zach Aston-Reese, D Marcus Petersson, C Theodor Blueger

Overview: As it stands, the Penguins look like they will return almost the same exact lineup in 2019-20 minus Olli Maatta. Even after moving Maata and clearing up over $4 million in cap space, they still have the second least cap room in the NHL and will likely look to open up cap room by moving someone like Erik Gudbranson ($4.5 million cap hit) or Bryan Rust ($3.5 million) or possibly Phil Kessel ($6.8 million).

With Crosby, Malkin, Letang, and Murray all certainly coming back next season, the Penguins will still be dangerous. Their only real need is to upgrade their bottom line which struggled for most of last season. The trio of Matt Cullen, Riley Sheahan, and Garrett Wilson was underwhelming and while the midseason call-up of Teddy Blueger helped, the Penguins could use some help to fill out the bottom of their lineup.

Carolina Hurricanes

2018-19 Record: 46-29-7 {4th in Metro}

Playoff Outcome: Lost Eastern Conference Finals to Boston

2019 NHL Draft Picks {10}: 1st Round – 28th overall; 2nd Round – 36th and 37th and 59th overall; 3rd Round – Pick 90; 4th Round – 121st overall; 5th Round – 152nd overall; 6th Round – 181st and 183rd overall; 7th Round – 216th overall

Projected Cap Space: ~28 million

Offseason Moves: None

Pending Free Agents:

UFA- RW Justin Williams, LW Michael Ferland, D Hadyn Fleury, G Petr Mrazek, G Curtis McElhinney

RFA- LW Sebastian Aho, LW Brock McGinn

Overview: After a run to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Hurricanes will have much to do this offseason if they hope for a repeat performance in 2019-20. They are currently sixth in projected cap space with just around $28 million but have plenty of key players set to hit free agency.

The most notable of them being their leading scorer Sebastian Aho who notched 83 points at just 22 years old. It’s safe to say that Aho has played himself into quite a wealthy contract that should be somewhere around 8-9 million a year.

Along with Aho, the Canes have vets Justin Williams, Michael Ferland, and both goaltenders in Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney who both well-exceeded expectations last season.

With just around 20 million to play with after Aho is signed, Carolina could choose to bring back most if not all of their free agents or could choose to chase after one of the top names on the free agent market like Bobrovsky if they believe that Mrazek overachieved in 2018-19.

New York Rangers

2018-19 Record: 32-36-14 {6th in Metro}

Playoff Outcome: Did Not Qualify

2019 NHL Draft Picks {8}: 1st Round – 2nd Overall; 2nd Round – 49th and 58th overall; 3rd Round – 68th overall; 4th Round- 112th overall; 5th Round – 130th overall; 6th Round – 161st overall; 7th Round – 205th overall

Projected Cap Space: ~19 million

Offseason Moves:

-Traded Neal Pionk and 2019 20th overall pick to Winnipeg for D Jacob Trouba

Pending Free Agents:

RFA – D Jacob Trouba, D Anthony DeAngelo, LW Pavel Buchnevich, LW Branden Lemieux

Overview: The Rangers rebuild is going, well, really great. After trading away much of their core over the past two seasons, New York is back on track to be a playoff team in a few seasons. The trade for Jacob Trouba gave them a great piece for the future and their unlikely draft lottery odds landed them the second overall pick which will either be Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko.

With $19 million in cap room, the Rangers will still have to ink Trouba to a contract which should end up around 7-7.5 million AAV. The rest will be used to bring back their other restricted free agents in defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, Brendan Lemieux, and Pavel Buchnevich.

The Rangers could also explore the option of moving Kevin Shattenkirk’s $6.65 million cap hit if any team is willing to take it on. If not, they may have to bite the bullet and buy him out if they are going to make a run at a Panarin or Duchene in free agency.

New Jersey Devils

2018-19 Record: 31-41-10

Playoff Outcome: Did Not Qualify

2019 NHL Draft Picks {10}: 1st Round- 1st overall, 2nd Round – 34th, 55th, and 61st overall, 3rd Round – 70th and 80th overall, 4th Round- 96th overall, 5th Round – 127th overall; 6th Round – 158th overall; 7th Round – 189th overall

Projected Cap Space: ~35.5 million

Offseason Moves: None

Pending Free Agents: 

UFA – LW Kenny Agostino, RW Drew Stafford

RFA – D Will Butcher, D Connor Carrick, C Pavel Zacha, RW Stefan Noesen, D Mirco Mueller

Overview: After a season to forget, the Devils have an opportunity to be big-time buyers this summer with over $35 million in cap space. But before they go spending on outside free agents, it would be smart to lock down Taylor Hall who is set to become a free agent next season. The former Hart Trophy winner won’t come cheap but GM Fred Shero must know that Hall is the centerpiece of this franchise.

With Hall, Kyle Palmieri, Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, and Travis Zajac all key cogs set to return next season, the Devils should be aggressive in finding another star. With all that cap space, they have many options. All the top free agents should be in play for this Devils team that could use help on defense and in goal.

Oh, and the Devils also won the draft lottery and will have their pick of either Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko.

This should a big summer for Fred Shero and the Devils.

Featured Image: Hooked On Hockey Magazine


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