Breaking Down Each BRHL Organization - Part 1
Who will make a run, who will aim for top pick?
Avalanche – Expect another big year from the Avs, this time taking a step forward in the playoffs. This team has all of the tools it needs to compete, and should be considered one of the cup favourites.
Blackhawks – Finally, a step back for the Hawks. Dave has done a good job re-tooling and I’d expect that to continue into this season. Look for a bottom 10 finish from Chicago with most veteran assets being moved out for futures.
Blue Jackets – This team is very, very good. One of the brightest futures in the BRHL and the future could very well be now. We’ll see how they do throughout the season, but if preseason told us anything, this is a team that could do some serious damage in the East.
Blues – This season is going to go one of two ways for the Blues. I would expect a bit of a disappointing season in St. Louis, but Eric seems unwilling to accept that. We’ll see how far he goes throughout the course of the season to compete, but as of now, this is at best a bubble team.
Bruins – Saying that this team is dynamic would be an understatement. This is one of the better, most well-rounded teams in the BRHL and it should be expected that the Bruins lead the East. Anything less would be a major upset.
Canadiens – One of the most well rounded organizations in the BRHL should once again compete for a top 4 seed in the East this year. The Habs have a good roster, a bright future, an extra high-end, young starting goalie and some good prospects in the system. It’s really up to Steve how far he goes (or doesn’t) this season, but riding it out wouldn’t be a bad thing in this case either.
Canucks – Another year of rebuilding seems to be in the cards for Vancouver. Rob is slowly, quietly accumulating some very good young players and it shouldn’t be too many more years before the Canucks are competing for playoff contention. With that said, this team is still quite a ways off. Expect a bottom 5 finish from the Canucks this year.
Capitals – The self-proclaimed greatest expansion GM in BRHL history seems to be embracing the rebuild and will likely try a little less to compete this year. With that said, who really knows? Either way, a bottom 10 finish is a sure thing for Washington this year, as Larry continues to accumulate any young assets for the future that he can. Slow and steady wins the race. The Capitals will one day be great. One day.
Coyotes – Joel has gone on record saying that he’d move his top guys for futures. With that said, he needs to act on that in order to tank properly and fully embrace the rebuild. A DYNAMITE pre-season from Nugent-Hopkins and Wilson has shown that the Coyotes will likely be on the outside looking in, but not from nearly as far as a rebuilding team would like. Right now, this is a bubble team thanks largely in part to a very weak division.
Devils – Tim not owning his first this year is just flat out rough. Ouch. The idea for New Jersey this year will likely be to try and stay away from giving a top 5 pick to Rumpy. In order not to, Tim will likely need to hold all veteran assets. This is not an ideal spot for any organization either way you slice it. A rough couple of years are ahead for the Devils.
Ducks – Finally, things are looking up in Anaheim. This team should compete for a division title, but should definitely make the playoffs either way. It’s worth noting the Golden Knights handed Anaheim 2 of their 3 losses in pre-season. The future is bright in Anaheim, and this year should be a giant step forward. But who really ever knows?
Flames – Without a goalie, this team should still make the playoffs or at least compete thanks to a weak division. With that said, this is the worst looking Flames roster in a few years. Regardless of which direction Kevin takes this year, the future has been and always will be ever so bright in Calgary.
Flyers – Despite a strangely good pre-season, Anthony knows his Flyers are a couple years away from competing. I expect him to continue to embrace the rebuild and finish in the bottom part of the standings.
Golden Knights – Joe’ Vegas squad is definitely the team to beat in the Pacific. Once again, this is a great, well-rounded Knights team that would be a tough out for any team in a seven game series. There are a lot of high end, young players on this roster and it should be very competitive both this year and down the road.
Hurricanes – Another year of not knowing what to expect in Carolina. The team is good and deep on paper, but didn’t have the greatest of pre-seasons. While pre-season means pretty well nothing, the lack of success is cause for some concern. However, I expect the Hurricanes to earn a spot in the playoffs. If the season doesn’t start well, GM Rich might be willing to accept a step back this season while turning his attention to next year’s squad.
Islanders – Featuring the league’s best player and a Vezina winning goalie with one of the best contracts in the sim, this team should once again be very good. I expect Joe to set his lines, while remaining quiet activity wise, and cruise to a top 4 seed in the East. The sky is the limit for this team, and the future remains bright.
Jets – Coming off a stellar pre-season, Jordan’s Jets appear to be on track for a playoff appearance. While I don’t expect Winnipeg to compete for a division title, this team is quietly good and should have a fairly successful regular season.
Kings – With division rival Anaheim owning his first, Rumpy will try and compete for a playoff spot this year. The future is very bright for this team, but a majority of the core are coming off of fairly poor seasons compared to their usual standards. This team is decent and won’t be bottom 10, but don’t expect anything big from LA this year.
Lightning – Led by maybe the best group of centres in the BRHL, the Lightning can match up against any team in the BRHL. This team is deep everywhere, and if Khudobin stays healthy, could find themselves representing the East in the Stanley Cup once again. While there are other great teams in the conference, Tampa will be a tough out for any of them. Tampa looks great this year.
Maple Leafs – Garrett has really turned a corner over the past couple of years. While the team is no where close to competing, there are now some elite young players in the pipeline. This rebuild is shaping up to mirror that of the NHL Maple Leafs organization, which means very good things for Garrett. Watch out for this group in 2022.