The Lightning may have ended the season short of its second ever playoff berth in the then-26 team league, but the promise for the future was there in a lot of ways. The Bolts had just played their first season in their new arena (then known as Ice Palace, now known as Amalie Arena) with roster talent a solid mix of NHL veterans and up-and-coming young talent, such as #77 Chris Gratton.
Want to make your brain hurt a little? Try to narrow down the New York Rangers’ forward group to a mere 12 after the whip-smart signing of Brandon Pirri became official. To start, you have the obvious guys: Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller, Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes. Then you add new arrivals in Pirri, Jimmy Vesey, Nathan Gerbe, Michael Grabner and Josh Jooris. The list above includes 12 mostly-viable options and we haven’t even discussed the likes of Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast and fringe types such as Tanner Glass. Throw in prospects such as Pavel Buchnevich and Marek Hrivik and … well, it sure becomes such a strength that things feel pretty crowded
After a miserable 2015-16 season, the Canadiens needed fixing. This offseason, it became clear that Montreal wanted to be bigger, tougher and meaner. It’s an interesting time to take that approach, especially when the NHL seems to be moving in a different direction. The Pittsburgh Penguins used speed and skill to their advantage during their 2016 Stanley Cup journey and we should expect to see more teams try to emulate that this season. But GM Marc Bergevin clearly isn’t interested in following the latest hockey trends. Bergevin made two trades on draft night. He sent Lars Eller to Washington for a pair of draft picks and he acquired Andrew Shaw from the Chicago Blackhawks. “Two Stanley Cups