SportsPulse: The St. Louis Blues have made history in winning their first ever Stanley Cup. As Kevin Allen puts it, no city in America deserves it more. USA TODAY
Now that the NHL has crowned the St. Louis Blues its Stanley Cup champion, here’s what’s next for the 31 teams as the offseason begins:
Anaheim Ducks: Still need to hire a head coach and are likely to trade or buy out veteran forward Corey Perry.
Arizona Coyotes: General manager John Chayka is looking for scoring help, maybe through a trade for someone like Phil Kessel or a free-agent signing like Matt Duchene.
Boston Bruins: Re-signing restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo will eat up most of their available cap space.
Buffalo Sabres: Even with Jeff Skinner signed, the Sabres are in the market for another top-six forward.
Calgary Flames: The Flames would like to sign Matthew Tkachuk, a restricted free agent, to a long-term contract extension and add a top-six scorer to be the guy that James Neal wasn’t. T.J. Brodie and/or Michael Frolik could be dealt.
Carolina Hurricanes: Looking to re-sign Justin Faulk and Sebastian Aho, a restricted free agent, and get their goaltending squared away. They have to re-sign unrestricted free-agent goalies Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney or look at the free-agent pool.
Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks must decide how important Erik Gustafsson is to their future. He can be an unrestricted free agent in 2020. How much should they pay him? They have four quality young defensemen in the pipeline. The Blackhawks also will be looking at the middle class of free-agent forwards.
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Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets would like to talk Duchene into staying in Columbus rather than testing his free-agent value in the marketplace. With Sergei Bobrovsky an unrestricted free agent, they will look at the free-agent goalie pool.
Colorado Avalanche: Even with Cale Makar aboard, the Avalanche are looking to add a free-agent defenseman. How long have we heard trade rumors about Tyson Barrie?
Dallas Stars: Mats Zuccarello changed the look of the Stars offense in the playoffs and they want to re-sign him. He can be an unrestricted agent July. 1.
Detroit Red Wings: With an intriguing collection of young forwards, new GM Steve Yzerman will be looking to add a defenseman or two.
Edmonton Oilers: Moving Milan Lucic’s contract and acquiring another proven scorer have to be GM Ken Holland’s priorities.
Florida Panthers: GM Dale Tallon is expected to be a player in the free agent marketplace, with Artemi Panarin expected to be a primary target.
Los Angeles Kings: Probably will decide to buy out Dion Phaneuf’s contract if they can’t trade him.
Nashville Predators: Need to find a scorer to help the second line and power play. Willing to trade a defenseman for a forward. Defensemen P.K. Subban or Ryan Ellis are possibilities to move. The Predators are also interested in Duchene. Trading center Kyle Turris is a possibility if GM David Poile can find a creative way to get another team to accept his contract. Forward Mikael Granlund could also be on the move.
Minnesota Wild: The Wild were among the NHL’s worst scoring teams and they need to find a scorer through free agency or trade. Forward Jason Zucker could be dealt.
Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens might look at UFA defenseman Jake Gardiner. They are also interested in acquiring a top-six scorer.
New Jersey Devils: In theory, they still have to decide whether to draft Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko with the No. 1 pick. But it would be surprising if they don’t take Hughes. They also must get winger Taylor Hall re-signed this summer or begin thinking about trading him before next year’s deadline. He can be an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
New York Islanders: The Islanders’ priority is to get winger Anders Lee and goalie Robin Lehner re-signed. Both of those deals should get done. They will probably lose winger Jordan Eberle to free agency.
New York Rangers: Must decide whether their rebuilding is far enough along to go after big-name free agents such as Panarin or Erik Karlsson. The addition of Adam Fox and the drafting of Kakko does expedite the rebuilding. The Rangers might attempt to move defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk’s contract.
Ottawa Senators: They are expected to make a bid to persuade Karlsson to return to Ottawa. Good luck.
Philadelphia Flyers: They traded for Kevin Hayes’ rights and want to sign him to be the No. 2 center. If that doesn’t happen, they will acquire one through a trade or free agency.
Pittsburgh Penguins: GM Jim Rutherford is expected to shake up his roster, perhaps by trading Kessel. Moving defenseman Jack Johnson could also happen if Rutherford can persuade someone to take his contract. The Penguins have to get a scoring winger back.
San Jose Sharks: The Sharks are expected to get potential unrestricted free agent Joe Pavelski re-signed. If they cannot re-sign Karlsson, they might go after a free-agent defenseman like Tyler Myers or Gardiner.
St. Louis Blues: Figuring out what to pay goalie Jordan Binnington has to be the team’s top priority. He’s a restricted free agent. He was their savior this season, but he has had had one exceptional season. What do you pay him? Even though he was crucial to the Blues’ surge from last place to Stanley Cup champion, this is not an easy decision.
Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning’s priority is re-signing restricted free agent Brayden Point and altering their salary-cap outlook. Defenseman Dan Girardi, Anton Stralman and Braydon Coburn all will become UFAs. They might move another veteran to free up cap space. Forwards Tyler Johnson or J.T. Miller are possibilities to be traded.
Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs need to add a veteran defenseman while somehow lowering their salary-cap number to be able to fit in a new contract for restricted free agent Mitch Marner. Patrick Marleau, William Nylander, Nazem Kadri and Nikita Zaitsev could be traded.
Vegas Golden Knights: The Golden Knights are expected to trade defenseman Colin Miller. With no cap maneuverability, GM Kelly McCrimmon will be looking to make a couple of trades.
Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks will add a defenseman, and Gardiner could be a target.
Washington Capitals: GM Brian MacLellan doesn’t have much cap room, but he probably will shop for a veteran defenseman to replace unrestricted free agent Brooks Orpik. If they trade someone, it would be winger Andre Burakovsky.
Winnipeg Jets: The Jets might trade defenseman Jacob Trouba this summer and they will want a defenseman in return. They could also use lose defenseman Myers to free agency. They need a No. 2 center.