Chicago Blackhawks- Record 47-26-9, 103 points. 3rd Place
The Chicago Blackhawks finished the season by not playing their best hockey at the end. Then they were eliminated by St. Louis in the quarterfinal round. They still have one of the best core groups in the NHL with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith. But they are costing a fortune.
The Blackhawks are under another a salary cap crunch with many defensive holes to fill. They are trying to fill holes cheaply with the likes of Michal Kempny of the KHL. They just dumped salary by trading Brian Bickell and very promising young forward Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina for 2nd and 3rd round picks. They shed $4 million in cap space but lost a good player.
This team couldl also lose a lot of their depth. The Blackhawks more than likely will lose Andrew Ladd, Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise. They will let go of Brandon Mashinter and Christian Ehrhoff. They may be able to sign one or more of these but also have to extend Artemi Panarin.
They also have seven players with No Movement Contracts including three defenseman meaning they have to protect those players in the Expansion draft. That leaves at least one good defenseman and possibly more available for Las Vegas. It could be a couple of tough years for this team.
Next: St. Louis Blues