It's just the beginning of August and training camp is still a month or so away.
However, when we look in the crystal ball, we are already dismissing six teams and saying they don't have a legitimate chance of making the playoffs.
Let's face it: these are rather cheeky prognostications. We are saying that these teams might as well cashier their entire season because they have no chance of playing postseason hockey.
A team like the Florida Panthers probably would have been on this list a year ago. They ended up winning the Southeast Division. They earned the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Miracles happen and teams can rise from the ashes.
But that doesn't stop us from burying them in the summer.
The Canadiens were awful last season, but they had made the playoffs the four previous seasons and a bounce back seems likely. The Maple Leafs endured a hellish collapse over the final third of the season, but the core looks decent and the playoffs are a possibility. The Oilers are loaded with talent and only a fool would think they will remain buried and with no hope in the Western Conference.