It's the best time of year!
Every week during the season we bring you Power Rankings. This off-season, we will update our rankings on the first Monday of every month. With the free agent frenzy in the books, here are this month’s rankings.
1. Vancouver Canucks
The Presidents’ Trophy winners will look very similar in 2011-12 and were able to re-sign some of their free agents for lower than market value.
2. Washington Capitals
GM George McPhee has had a helluva off-season. He got the deal of the summer in Tomas Vokoun, re-signed Brooks Laich, scooped up Joel Ward and got two high draft picks for Semyon Varlamov. Is it too early to hand out the 2012 GM of the Year award?
3. Boston Bruins
The Stanley Cup Champions stayed silent for the most part during the frenzy, but will have the entire core back.
4. Los Angeles Kings
Is it time to take the Kings seriously when it comes to contending for the Cup? Mike Richards and Simon Gagne will give them a jolt offensively.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins
There have been positive reports on injured stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. This team looks locked and loaded for a big run in 2011-12.
6. Buffalo Sabres
It didn’t take long for owner Terry Pegula to go on a spending spree. They don’t have any ‘stars’ outside of the crease, but are undoubtedly improved.
7. Chicago Blackhawks
The ‘Hawks did pretty well in free agency, adding some experience and grit to surround the young talent.
8. Detroit Red Wings
GM Ken Holland didn’t over-spend on a defenseman in the frenzy and re-signed most of his UFA’s. With Nick Lidstrom, they’ll be right there again.
9. San Jose Sharks
I don’t think too many people expected GM Doug Wilson to pull the trigger on some risky moves after a second straight conference final appearance; but that’s exactly what happened when he obtained Martin Havlat and Brent Burns from Minnesota.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning
Obviously, you-know-who still isn’t signed. The Lightning were, however, able to bring back Dwayne Roloson and Eric Brewer.
11. Philadelphia Flyers
Talk about rolling the dice! GM Paul Holmgren has shook up the Flyers in a big way. Ilya Bryzgalov and Jaromir Jagr add some personality to the locker room.
12. New York Rangers
The Rangers landed the biggest fish on the market, Brad Richards. Now can they sign RFA’s Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan?
13. Montreal Canadiens
Erik Cole was a quality pickup by the Habs, despite the overpayment. Will GM Pierre Gauthier be able to find a sucker to take on Scott Gomez’s contract?
14. Nashville Predators
Between the (possibly) botched RFA qualifying offers, Shea Weber still being unsigned and seeing six players off the playoff roster leave town, there hasn’t been much to cheer for in Music City this summer. Will that change in the coming days/weeks?
15. Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs made a smart, short-term signing of Tim Connolly. They were also able to obtain defensemen John-Michael Liles and Cody Franson in separate trades.
16. Anaheim Ducks
For the most part, GM Bob Murray has been dead quiet this summer. But when you look at the roster, not much needs to be done.
17. Minnesota Wild
The newly-hired Mike Yeo will have some added weapons in his artillery this season, with Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi on board.
18. Carolina Hurricanes
You have to give GM Jim Rutherford a lot of credit. He was able to retain Joni Pitkanen and Jussi Jokinen for less money than they would have received on the market. Rutherford also found bargain-basement deals on Alex Ponikarovsky and Anthony Stewart.
19. Columbus Blue Jackets
Are the additions of Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski, which came at a price, good enough to get the Jackets back in the playoffs? It was a certainly a step in the right direction.
20. St. Louis Blues
I think GM Doug Armstrong needs to bring in a veteran or two up front to round out a lineup that is littered with youngsters and potential.
21. New Jersey Devils
The Devils still don’t have a coach! Nevertheless, drafting Adam Larsson fourth overall was a major coup.
22. Calgary Flames
GM Jay Feaster got in on the Richards Sweepstakes at the last minute. Do they have something else up their sleeve after dumping the salaries of Robyn Regehr and Ales Kotalik?
23. Winnipeg Jets
The Jets have stood pat, rounding out the lineup with role/depth signings. They still need a couple top-nine forwards.
24. Dallas Stars
Michael Ryder and Sheldon Souray were smart additions during the frenzy, but the loss of Richards and the hiring of rookie coach Glen Gulutzan isn’t making a believer out of me.
25. Phoenix Coyotes
You can’t convince me the Coyotes took a step back this summer with Mike Smith taking over for Ilya Bryzgalov. Obviously, they need to get RFA Keith Yandle signed.
26. Edmonton Oilers
Ryan Smyth, a.k.a. Captain Canada, is back in town. So is No. 1 draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Things are on an uptick in Edmonton.
27. New York Islanders
GM Garth Snow swung and missed with Christian Ehrhoff, once again failing to recruit a top free agent.
28. Florida Panthers
Props to GM Dale Tallon for almost reaching the cap floor in a 10-hour span. Still, the Panthers have a ways to go.
29. Ottawa Senators
The Sens had a great draft and are seemingly sticking to their youth after watching the frenzy come and go.
30. Colorado Avalanche
I think GM Greg Sherman’s intentions are rights, but some of the trades he’s made in the last few months are major head-scratchers. Can the Avs really rely on two injury-prone goaltenders in Varlamov and J.S. Giguere?
Photo credit: Getty Images
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