Overtime: Ranking the NHL’s elite 8 teams

OvertimeI don’t claim to be an expert on the NHL. If I were writing this during my run as one of the top five regional NHL Hitz 2002 players, maybe it’d be a different story.

But those days are over. I can no longer justify Paul Kariya being my favorite hockey player. Scott Stevens hasn’t dismantled anyone’s collarbone lately. It’s the post-Pronger era, and I’m still trying to adjust.

Now that I’ve built up my credentials, take a look at who I think are the eight most dangerous teams heading into the 2013-14 season.


8. Boston Bruins

The Tyler Seguin trade is a heartbreaker. I’d hate to see that much potential walk away, despite how committed he seemed to becoming a tragic story. It appears Boston got equal value, though — at least equal value for the mess Seguin is today.

Zdeno Chara is 37 years old, but remains the NHL player most likely to kill someone on the ice. That’s a good guy to have on your roster.

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The whole is greater than the sum of its parts in Boston, which is the perfect formula for another run at the Cup.


7. New York Rangers

I’m going to be the only person downgrading the Rangers due to the loss of John Tortorella. I get that the entire team hated him. I get that he was a pretty horrible coach. I get it.

With that said, the Rangers will a tough out. They are deep and have Henrik Lundqvist in front of the net, who some believe is the league’s best goalie.


6. Detroit Red Wings 

Figure it would be sacrilegious not to include them on the list. They are America’s Team. They are the team of every 20-to-25-year-old who didn’t choose the Colorado Avalanche instead.

The Wings also have an elite goalie in Jimmy Howard and a lethal combo of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. They’ll be contenders in the shallow Eastern Conference.


5. Ottawa Senators 

The team lost its captain of 12 years, Daniel Alfredsson, when he inked a deal with the Red Wings. The good news: There are plenty of options in Ottawa to replace him as leader.

A healthy Jason Spezza should take over the role and help propel the Sens deep into the playoffs.


4. St. Louis Blues 

I’m a big fan of teams that don’t give up a lot of points.

“Teams with good defenses and premier goaltenders are at a big advantage,” said my Hockey for Idiots guide.

The Blues fit that mold. Derek Roy’s effect on the offense could be the deciding factor next May.


3. Los Angeles Kings 

A well-rounded team will win many games and probably make another conference finals.

I’m getting Dallas Mavericks-type vibes from the Kings. They’ll stay in the hunt for some years, but that 2012 title won’t get a friend in trophy case any time soon.


2. Pittsburgh Penguins 

The great rapper and poet Webbie once said, “if ‘if’ was a fifth, we’d all be drunk.” Well, Penguins fans certainly would be.

If Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby could spend a season in full health, another Cup would be in sight. And if Marc-Andre Fleury went to a sports psychologist and learned how to play in the postseason, multiple Cups would be in sight.

Pittsburgh might be using too much of its magic dust on the Pirates right now. Save a little for the Penguins.


1. Chicago Blackhawks 

The Blackhawks won the last game of the 2013 NHL season, making this an easy choice.