The Nashville Predators entered the 2011 NHL Draft without a first-round pick – having dealt their pick to Ottawa late in the 2010-11 season. Even considering just the short-term gain — Mike Fisher, obtained from the Senators, was Nashville’s third-leading scorer and helped the Predators win a playoff series for the first time in franchise history — that trade would have to go down as one of the best in franchise history.
The New York Rangers have had a regular, steady graduation of excellent prospects to the NHL over the last five to seven years, which has accounted in part for the competitiveness of the team. When combined with free-agent pickups who are in or just past their prime, the prospects have helped make the team a Stanley Cup contender for the last several years. The goal of every organization is to win a Cup, and every player on the team has a window of opportunity to do so. Certainly, star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is within his window, and the Rangers have surrounded him with the players to win either this season or in the next two or three. Read more»
The Central Division isn’t home to as many radical changes as the Pacific Division, but it is part of the American Hockey League’s new landscape.
The Manitoba Moose have returned, while the Lake Erie Monsters have a new affiliate — switching from Colorado to the Columbus Blue Jackets — and the rest of the division is ripe with talent. Read more»
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