1. Carolina Hurricanes (102.5):
Brent Burns should fit like a glove on this team, which got more dangerous by adding him and former Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty (once he recovers from an Achilles injury). Carolina looks primed for a strong season.
2. New York Rangers (101.5):
A lethal power play and Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin got this club to the Eastern Conference final last year. It might be difficult to repeat that formula, but there is a lot of young talent.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins (100.5):
Center Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang re-signed to keep chasing Cups with center Sidney Crosby. The Penguins still have a group that can contend, if they reach the playoffs healthy.
4. Washington Capitals (95.5):
Alexander Ovechkin continues to age like a fine wine after recording his ninth 50-goal season. The question is how the rest of this older roster will fare. Darcy Kuemper should at least solidify things in net.
5. New York Islanders (93.5):
A 13-game season-opening road trip and COVID-19 delays doomed this team last season. New coach Brad Lambert will try to right the ship, but predecessor Barry Trotz left huge shoes to fill.
6. New Jersey Devils (87.5):
There are plenty of things to get excited about with this forward group, starting with center Jack Hughes. The goaltending could be the issue if starter Mackenzie Blackwood doesn’t improve.
7. Columbus Blue Jackets (82.5):
Johnny Gaudreau should provide another jolt to a team that showed it had some firepower last season. But it’s not clear who is going to step up defensively for this group, which allowed the fifth-most goals in the NHL.
8. Philadelphia Flyers (73.5):
This team should get tougher to play against with the addition of coach John Tortorella. But Philadelphia feels light on scoring after finishing with the second-fewest goals in the league last season.