There are a few more days until the NHL awards are handed out and a week until the entry draft is being seriously discussed. That's not stopping The Hockey News' Ken Campbell from opining on next season already. Well, next spring to be precise:
"If you liked what you saw from this year's Stanley Cup final - and if you didn't you're either a Detroit Red Wings fan or you might want to check to see that you have a pulse - you might want to consider getting used to seeing these teams steal the show at the NHL's annual spring dance.
There's no reason to believe the Pittsburgh Penguins and Red Wings won't be treating the hockey world to lots of deep playoff runs in the next couple of years. And who knows? Perhaps we'll all be back here watching the Red Wings wrest the Stanley Cup back from the Penguins?"
Looking at both teams and their salary cap situations, the Penguins have their core players locked up for a while. The other free agents, Bill Guerin(notes), Petr Sykora(notes), Ruslan Fedotenko(notes), Miroslav Satan(notes), Craig Adams(notes), Hal Gill(notes), Phillipe Boucher, and Mathieu Garon(notes), could join the annual list of players who won't be on the roster when the Stanley Cup banner is raised the following fall. Rob Scuderi(notes) will be highly desired after his play in the Finals, especially his Game 6 goaltending clinic.
Marian Hossa(notes) will be at the top of the summer to-do list for Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. Rumors have Detroit ready to offer him a long-term deal, something that the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson brought up in his column this morning. Should Hossa be signed, that could be the end to a number of long-time Wings such as Kris Draper(notes) and Tomas Holmstrom(notes) to free up cap space.
Who could challenge both Detroit and Pittsburgh in their respective conferences? The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins will surely be reloaded for a chance at long playoff runs in the Eastern Conference. Can Martin Brodeur(notes) give New Jersey one more run? Will Carolina rebound from a disappointing exit?
Out West, you'd have to think the Chicago Blackhawks learned from their defeat at the hands of the Red Wings and will take that with them into next season. Will the Sedin twins stay and provide the offense in Vancouver? And San Jose? Nevermind. We know how that'll end.