The NHL is more competitive now than it has ever been.
Out west, the 10th-place Dallas Stars finished the regular season with only eight less regulation or overtime wins than the Presidents' Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks. In the east, the 10th-place Tampa Bay Lightning finished only five regulation/OT wins behind the second-place Boston Bruins.
Both the Canucks and Bruins—the two teams that competed for last year's Stanley Cup—were eliminated in Round 1. With Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Anaheim, Carolina and Tampa Bay all missing the playoffs or losing in Round 1, the NHL will have an eighth different Stanley Cup champion in as many seasons.
In a league where success is so hard to come by, it's even harder to sustain. This applies primarily to teams, but it applies to players as well.
Over the past 13 seasons, 12 different players will have won the league MVP. And while being the best player in the league is almost impossible to maintain, being on the best team is difficult in its own right.
With only one champion every season of the 30 teams that want a championship, 29 teams will be disappointed. Of those 29 teams, 15 will have fallen short in the postseason and will be searching for ways to get over the hump. The 14 remaining teams will be doing everything they can to bring in better players.
Of course, the natural consequence of this is that certain individuals will move from good teams to bad teams. Let's take a look at four talented players who are likely to move from contenders to pretenders this summer.