Lets wait and see where a few notable FAs land first... as of right now though I'll go on the record and say that the Canucks will rally around Luongo and win the cup, as long as they don't have to play Chicago at any point during the playoffs that is lol
I think it will be one of the final 4 from this year. Whichever team it is will have to get a break or two along the way and be playing great hockey, for example, Pittsburgh looked bad against Boston, their break may be that someone else beats Boston and they don't have to face them. The break one of these teams may need is just to be healthier than anyone else.
I don't think these will be the final 4 next year, there will probably be 2 different teams in there, but I think these 4 teams are really the cream of the crop and one of them will be the champs next year.
A lot of variables to be changed soon but off the top of my head from the changes made so far...
Division A Anaheim Ducks 2
Vancouver Canucks 4
Los Angeles Kings 5 Phoenix Coyotes 7
Edmonton Oilers 10
Calgary Flames 13
Division B Chicago Blackhawks 1 St. Louis Blues 3 Minnesota Wild 6 Dallas Stars 8
Colorado Avalanche 9
Winnipeg Jets 11
Nashville Predators 12
Division C Boston Bruins 2 Detroit Red Wings 4 Toronto Maple Leafs 5 Ottawa Senators 8
Montreal Canadiens 10
Florida Panthers 12
Tampa Bay Lightning 14
Buffalo Sabres 15
Division D Pittsburgh Penguins 1
New York Rangers 3
Philidelphia Flyers 6 Washington Capitals 7
New York Islanders 9
Columbus Blue Jackets 11
Carolina Hurricanes 13
I mean, a lot of this can change with any free agency moves.
From there I guess
Pitt vs Was... interesting. Pitt wins
NYR vs Phi... NYR
Pitt vs NYR -- Pittsburgh wins
Bruins vs Sens - Bruins
Red Wings vs Maple Leafs- interesting with the WC and all. I say Maple Leafs win
Bruins take on Maple Leafs and I think maple leafs win this time
Pitt vs Maple Leafs--- Surprisingly I can see Maple Leafs win this. Pitt plays its worse in the playoffs against teams that bang and hit. They get out of their game and play poorly. Even if its close or a blow out, I think Maple Leafs win it.
BH vs Stars - BH win
Blues vs Wild- Blues win
BH vs Blues- BH win it
Ducks vs Coyotes - I think Yotes shock everyone here
Nucks vs Kings - I think Kings are to much and Sutter beats Torts in what will be a great coaching match up
Kings vs Yotes- The LA Kings win it but not by much
Kings vs BH -- I think the Kings tweak a few things from last year and beat up on the BH
So we have a Kings vs Maple Leafs match up. Not exactly a American TV rating adventure nor a historic match up of any kind but two big brute teams. One of which who was in the finals 2 years ago and that will be discussed. In the end I think Kings win.
I'd be pretty surprised if it wasn't one of these teams:
I really don't know who else could do it. I know the NHL has lots of parity, but those 4 teams are head and shoulders above the rest. Some would say STL, I am doubtful. Some might say the Wings, who I guess would be my next pick. Idk. I just really feel it'll be one of those top 4 teams. Chicago repeats imo.