1. Avalanche - The defending champs return a core group of forwards and defenders, in addition to Samuel Girard.
2. Lightning - After last year's Stanley Cup loss, the Lightning are motivated to reach the finals once again.
3. Maple Leafs - This talented team led by Auston Matthews and John Tavares are ready to move past the first round of the playoffs this season.
4. Oilers - Edmonton is preparing to make the next step in becoming one of the league's elite teams.
5. Rangers - The Rangers have elite goaltending and the necessary playoff experience to win it all.
6. Panthers - The Panthers won last year's President's Cup and are primed to rebound this coming season.
7. Bruins - The Bruins window of playoff opportunity is closing but can challenge every team on any night.
8. Kings - The Kings can make a move this year if they can find a way to score more to compliment their defensive stars.
9. Hurricanes - With an upgraded roster the Hurricanes are my "sleeper" team to go deep into the playoffs.
10. Wild - With a number of talented young players on their roster, the Wild will be a factor come playoff time.
Others to watch: Penguins, Golden Knights, Flames, Capitals, Blues, Stars and Predators.