NHL Power Rankings: Biggest Off-Season Priority Edition

Fourteen teams will already be in off-season mode by Sunday, and that list will continue to grow as the days get longer.

So with our final power rankings of the regular season, we cast an eye to the future and estimate what the front office of your favourite club should be most concerned with as it prepares for the 2017-18 campaign.

It’s the NHL Power Rankings: Biggest Off-Season Priority Edition.

Teams are ranked according to current strength, but the write-ups focus on the greatest focus of each club, be it a trade, a signing, the draft, or finding a new coach.

There’s always next year.

Rank Team
1

Mapping out the parade route… and then convincing T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov to re-sign for reasonable rates.

Previous: 1

2

Carefully negotiating raises for must-keep RFAs Justin Schultz and Conor Sheary, both of whom will be coming off show-me-the-money seasons.

Previous: 4

3

Restocking the bottom half of the blue line, again. Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell turn UFA, and Trevor van Riemsdyk is in danger of getting plucked by Vegas in the expansion draft.

Previous: 3

4

Priority No. 1: Making a call on Alex Galchenyuk — Is he a future top-line centre or not?
No. 2: Re-signing Carey Price ASAP (imagine the rumours if this one lingers).
No. 3: Not going overboard on term and dollars on a new Alex Radulov deal.

Previous: 6

5

Getting a good, young forward in return for one of their good, young defencemen.

Previous: 5

6

Convincing Alexander Wennberg’s agent that one big season doesn’t necessarily equal a home-run contract.

Previous: 2

7

Please, Mr. McDavid, will you take less than the maximum and leave some money left over for the others?

Previous: 10

8

Convincing RFA David Pastrnak to leave some money left over for an upgrade on defence.

Previous: 19

9

Trying to slide RFA defenceman Colton Parayko’s cap hit under that of Jay Bouwmeester’s $5.4 million while still buying a bunch of UFA years.

Previous: 9

10

Re-signing forwards Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and Erik Haula without going over the cap.

Previous: 13

11

Convince Kevin Shattenkirk to take a hometown discount.

Previous: 7

12

Make a plan regarding James van Riemsdyk well ahead of his 2017-18 contract year. In effort to improve our defence core, do we trade him now, or do we value his hands around the net too much?

Previous: 15

13

Extending GM Brad Treliving so he can hire a goalie or two and set about working on new deals for Sam Bennett, Micheal Ferland, Alex Chiasson, Michael Stone and Kris Versteeg.

Previous: 11

14

Did you hear? John Tavares can sign an eight-year contract extension on July 1. Kinda like a big deal in Brooklyn.

Previous: 17

15

Find the smart answer to the tough question: How badly do we really need Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to retire in teal?

Previous: 14

16

Keep top-line forwards Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson (both RFA) motivated after you hand them significant long-term deals.

Previous: 8

17

Solving the riddle that is Jonathan Drouin, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson all becoming restricted free agents on the same day. (And, looky here, UFA Yanni Gourde appears to be a real NHL player, too.)

Previous: 16

18

Filling out the bulk of the bottom six and trying to keep backup goalie Mike Condon around for a reasonable rate.

Previous: 12

19

Making sure Claude Giroux gets healthy and Shayne Gostisbehere gets appropriately (but not grossly) paid.

Previous: 21

20

Do everything in power to ensure the 2017-18 edition of this team can’t use poor goaltending as an excuse for not making the playoffs.

Previous: 24

21

Ditto.

Previous: 26

22

Top-down evaluation. Is the same loyal GM who overpaid Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik, Mike Richards and Dustin Brown the same man you want negotiating critical extensions for Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson?

Previous: 20

23

Turning all those draft picks (seven in the first three rounds) into a real player or two, preferably one who can put the puck in the net.

Previous: 18

24

Find the right coach to lead this young, talented group.

Previous: 22

25

Draft well. For the first time in 25 years, the Red Wings will not only have a chance to win the first-overall pick, but they’ll have 10 picks total.

Previous: 25

26

Sign some goalies (bringing back Robin Lehner is not a bad idea) and defencemen.

Previous: 23

27

Use all of those draft picks (10 in the first six rounds) and all of that cap space (Marc Savard comes off the books) to find that elusive puck-moving defenceman and some scoring help.

Previous: 28

28

Resolve this arena mess once and for all.

Previous: 29

29

Keep RFA Bo Horvat’s new contract within reason, as his will likely serve as the internal ceiling for the next wave of Canucks forwards.

Previous: 27

30

Win the draft lottery. Strike that smart, core-shaking trade they’ve been eyeing for months.

Previous: 30