Early Odds to Win the 2014 Stanley Cup

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2013

Early Odds to Win the 2014 Stanley Cup

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    The Chicago Blackhawks are the kings of the hockey world, having disposed of the Boston Bruins in six games.

    However, the Blackhawks may still be celebrating, but that doesn't mean it's not time to look ahead to the 2013-14 season. One thing that's quite positive—it will be a full 82-game season.

    It's never too early to start looking ahead to next season. Here's an early look at next season's Stanley Cup odds.

Dallas Stars, Odds: 55-1

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    2013 Results: Fifth place in Pacific Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Stars went through a strange year, as Joe Nieuwendyk made many changes and brought in players like Ray Whitney, Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy during last year's offseason. However, Nieuwendyk got rid of Roy and Jagr before the end of the season as well as Michael Ryder and longtime Star Brenden Morrow.

    The Stars need help in a lot of areas, but they need to bring in more scoring help.

    Rising or Falling: Veteran coach Lindy Ruff was brought in to help turn things around, and he is a good enough coach to do that. However, the Stars don't have a lot of talent, and they may need several years to turn things around.

Florida Panthers, Odds: 50-1

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    2013 Results: Fifth place in Southeast Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Panthers shocked the hockey world when they won the Southeast Division in 2011-12. They probably were not as bad as they looked in 2013 when they finished in the Southeast Division cellar. The Panthers need talent up and down the lineup.

    They were the lowest-scoring team in the league, and they gave up more goals than anyone. More than anything, they need more toughness and grit because they tend to fall apart when they get hammered.

    Rising or Falling: Head coach Kevin Dineen and general manager Dale Tallon know what they are doing, and that's why they get another chance to get the Panthers going again after the disastrous 2013 season. Look for a bounce-back season, but a return to the playoffs may be a reach.

Calgary Flames, Odds: 45-1

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    2013 Results: Fourth place in Northwest Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Flames finally acknowledged that they were not a team capable of winning a championship when they traded captain Jarome Iginla prior to the trade deadline. The Flames are a team that has to start rebuilding.

    They could use more talent on defense and scoring up front. General manager Jay Feaster has much to do in the draft, through free agency and in the trade market.

    Rising or Falling: The Flames acknowledged that they were not going to contend for the championship with the way their roster had been constituted. They have a long way to go, but the team should be going up from this point forward.

Colorado Avalanche, Odds: 40-1

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    2013 Results: Fifth place in Northwest Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Avalanche are starting over this year, at least from a management perspective where past heroes Joe Sakic takes over in the front office and Patrick Roy is the new head coach.

    The Avs have a lot of young talent on the front line due to the presence of Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Ryan O'Reilly and Paul Stastny. However, the Avs need a lot of help on defense, and Sakic must bring in veteran blueliners through trades and free agency.

    Sakic indicated to Adrian Dater of The Denver Post that he is not interested in using the first draft pick on talented Seth Jones, but you have to wonder if that's not some sort of predraft subterfuge.

    Rising or Falling: The Avs have a talented core group of young forwards, and they could move up the NHL ladder quite quickly.

Edmonton Oilers, Odds: 40-1

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    2013 Results: Third place in Northwest Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Oilers have loaded up with young offensive talent over the years. While there has been some progress, that talent has not fully matured.

    As the Oilers hope for the further development of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov, they need to bring in some dependable, veteran defensemen who can solidify the team and give the Oilers a chance to make the playoffs.

    Rising or Falling: The Oilers could develop into a juggernaut in the foreseeable future. Their offensive talent has the ability to dominate games. They need help on defense and seasoning, but they are a team on the rise.

Buffalo Sabres, Odds: 35-1

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    2013 Results: Fifth place in Northeast Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: This is a team that is going through a major transition. Veteran head coach Lindy Ruff was fired last season and Ron Rolston took over. He got a more consistent effort than Ruff did from his players, but the Sabres could use more scoring up front and a bit more aggressiveness and consistency on defense.

    Rising or Falling: The Sabres have failed to make the playoffs the last two years, and while there is some talent on the roster, they lack consistency. The Sabres don't appear to be ready to turn it around anytime soon. They are falling and not ready to get up.

Columbus Blue Jackets, Odds: 33-1

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    2013 Results: Fourth place in Central Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Blue Jackets seem to be on the rise. Team president John Davidson has the team moving in the right direction, and the Blue Jackets would have made the playoffs if the Detroit Red Wings had not surged in the final week of the season.

    The Blue Jackets have a star in goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, but they need to get some more consistent scoring.

    Rising or Falling: The Blue Jackets are not a force in the NHL, but they were dramatically better in 2013 than they were in 2011-12. They are on the way up and should have a chance to fight for a playoff berth in the talented and deep Western Conference.

Phoenix Coyotes, Odds: 31-1

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    2013 Results: Fourth place in Pacific Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Phoenix Coyotes are a hard-working and hustling team on the ice, and head coach Dave Tippett excels at getting the most out of his players. He could probably use more goal-scoring help, and the Coyotes also need some assistance in goal.

    However, their on-ice needs don't compare with their off-ice needs. They need steady ownership; they need a secure home ice. It seems they are running out of chances to do that in Phoenix. There are no assurances at this moment that they will play in Arizona in 2013-14. That makes it tough for any team to compete.

    Rising or Falling: The Coyotes had a memorable playoff run in 2012, but they fell out of the postseason last year. It won't get any better until their ownership situation straightens itself out. They are falling steadily.

Winnipeg Jets, Odds: 29-1

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    2013 Results: Second place in Southeast Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Jets have some talented players in Evander Kane, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler and Tobias Enstrom, but it seems like they have a hard time sustaining strong play. They will play well against a solid team, and then look lost against a weaker one.

    That speaks to a lack of leadership. The Jets could use some veteran scoring talent and a defenseman who has been through the wars with a winning team.

    Rising or Falling: The Jets could go either way. If they can sustain more mental toughness, they have a chance to fight for a playoff spot.

Tampa Bay Lightning, Odds: 28-1

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    2013 Results: Fourth place in Southeast Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Tampa Bay Lightning struggled to find their game all season, and they never were able to find their stride. That cost head coach Guy Boucher, who was fired during the season.

    The Lightning have a solid team that can score, thanks in large part to superstar Steven Stamkos and super-quick Martin St. Louis.

    However, the Lightning have a hard time keeping the puck out of the net. They traded promising rookie Cory Conacher to the Ottawa Senators for big goalie Ben Bishop. While Bishop looks like a solid prospect, the Lightning need to get him some defensive help.

    Rising or Falling: After getting to the seventh game of the 2011 Eastern Conference Final, the Lightning have failed to make the playoffs two straight years. The tailspin stops here. The Lightning reverse their recent trend and get back to the postseason in 2013-14. They will be rising.

Nashville Predators, Odds: 28-1

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    2013 Results: Fifth place in Southeast Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Predators were the NHL's little team that could prior to the 2013 season. The combination of general manager David Poile and head coach Barry Trotz had been working well, as they had led the Preds to seven playoff appearances in their previous eight seasons before this season.

    It looked like they might be in trouble after losing Ryan Suter through free agency, and they were. The Predators simply could not score. They tied the Panthers as the worst-scoring team in the league, averaging 2.27 goals per game. Nashville needs to acquire some veteran players who can put the puck in the net.

    Rising or Falling: The Preds had a nice run, but until they can make up for the loss of a high-profile star like Suter, they appear to be on their way down.

Carolina Hurricanes, Odds: 25-1

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    2013 Results: Third place in Southeast Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Hurricanes faded down the stretch, but they were quite competitive in the first half of the season when it appeared that a playoff berth was within their grasp. However, once Cam Ward got injured and their goaltending suffered, the Hurricanes went into a dreadful slump.

    With that said, they don't need a lot of major help. However, they could use some scoring depth and a bit of help on the blue line.

    Rising or Falling: The Hurricanes have a chance to go from non-playoff team to contender. They should be on the rise in 2013-14.

New Jersey Devils, Odds: 22-1

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    2013 Results: Fifth place in Atlantic Division; failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Devils struggled to hit their stride during the season, and the loss of Zach Parise hurt them badly. The Devils struggled on the power play throughout the year, and they had a problem putting the puck in the net. They ranked 28th in goals per game, averaging 2.29.

    Lou Lamoriello is one of the smartest general managers in the league, and he will address this problem through a trade or free agency.

    Rising or Falling: The Devils were in the Stanley Cup Final two years ago, but they are not the same team any longer. Goaltender Martin Brodeur will hit the end of the line shortly, and they may not have the resources to reload quickly. The Devils are fighting hard to stay afloat, but they are losing the battle.

Washington Capitals, Odds: 22-1

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    2013 Results: First place in Southeast Division; lost in first round to New York Rangers.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Capitals got off to a disastrous start, but the steady hand of rookie head coach Adam Oates allowed them to find their game. They started to surge at midseason, and they came on with a rush to capture the division.

    Mike Ribeiro keyed their rise, but he will soon be a free agent. He and his agent talked with the Capitals during the final weeks of the season. If they lose him, the Caps will need a second-line center. They have size and strength on defense, but they could use some more speed on the blue line.

    Rising or Falling: Oates steadied the ship and then Alex Ovechkin found his scoring touch. That's a good combination for the future. The Caps may not be going up, but they should remain in contention.

Detroit Red Wings, Odds: 20-1

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    2013 Results: Third place in Central Division; lost in conference semifinal to Chicago Blackhawks.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Red Wings struggled most of the season, and that was not a surprise after they lost Nicklas Lidstrom to retirement. However, they finished fast, made the playoffs and pushed the Blackhawks to the limit before losing in overtime of the seventh game.

    The Red Wings need to get some more players who can put the puck in the net. That could return them to serious contender status

    Rising or Falling: Mike Babcock is probably the best coach in the NHL, and he is able to get the most out of his team. The Red Wings probably should be falling, but Babcock won't let that happen. They know how to turn it on at the most important points of the year.

St. Louis Blues, Odds: 19-1

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    2013 Results: Second place in Central Division; lost in first round to Los Angeles Kings.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The St. Louis Blues have been one of the most impressive regular-season teams in each of the last two years. However, that success has not translated to the postseason. They won one round in 2012 and were bounced in the first round this year.

    The Blues have a solid team, and they have the defense and goaltending to take them a long way. They are decent at putting the puck in the net, but that's probably the area they need to address in the offseason.

    Rising or Falling: The Blues look like they should be a successful postseason team. They have been eliminated by a strong Los Angeles Kings team each of the last two years. The Blues could meet the Kings again in the future, and they have to find a way to overcome them.

    The 2013-14 season will be crucial for the Blues. They won't fall this year, but another playoff failure could ruin their momentum.

New York Islanders, Odds: 19-1

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    2013 Results: Third place in Atlantic Division; lost in first round to Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Islanders had a tremendous run during the 2013 season, beating out the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils and earning a surprise spot in the playoffs. They pushed the Penguins to overtime in the sixth game, as they had the offensive stars to take advantage of the room they were given.

    However, it's not all good news for the Islanders, as they have already lost defenseman Mark Streit. He was going to be a free agent this summer, and the Islanders traded his rights to the Flyers, who signed him to a four-year deal. The Islanders need to bring in reliable defensive help if they want to become a playoff fixture.

    Rising or Falling: The Islanders had a solid run in the second half of the year to make the playoffs and performed well once they got there. If they are going to remain on the rise, they need to build up their defense in the offseason.

San Jose Sharks, Odds: 18-1

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    2013 Results: Third place in Pacific Division; lost in conference semifinal to Los Angeles Kings.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Sharks exceeded expectations last year. They were an up-and-down team in the regular season, but they did enough to nail down the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They swept the Vancouver Canucks in the first round and extended the Los Angeles Kings to seven games.

    However, this team needs to get younger. The Sharks have depended on Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau for years. They should still have a role for the team, but players like Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns need to become their leaders.

    Rising or Falling: The Sharks managed to hold their own in 2013, and they could do the same in 2013-14. However, general manager Doug Wilson has to make the tough moves sooner or later that will allow this team to reload by getting younger.

Minnesota Wild, Odds: 17-1

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    2013 Results: Second place in Northwest Division; lost in first round to Chicago Blackhawks.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Wild made the biggest splash of anyone in the offseason when they signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter during free agency. Those signings gave the Wild more talent and character than they had had in several seasons, and they did make the playoffs.

    However, they were the eighth seed in the Western Conference and were steamrolled by the Blackhawks. If the Wild are going to get better, they need to get some additional scoring help after averaging 2.46 goals per game and ranking 22nd in that category.

    Rising or Falling: The Wild debated the future of head coach Mike Yeo, and they decided to bring him back. They are moving up, but the progress is coming slowly.

Vancouver Canucks, Odds: 16-1

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    2013 Results: First place in Northwest Division; lost in first round to San Jose Sharks.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Canucks have not been the same since losing in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Final. They were beaten in the opening round in 2012 by the Los Angeles Kings in five games and were swept by the San Jose Sharks in four games this year. The Canucks seemed to have lost their swagger, so they fired Alain Vigneault.

    According to The Associated Press (via NJ.com), they are expected to hire John Tortorella to go behind the bench. He will bring the team some edginess and fire, but he may wear on his players with his prickly personality.

    The Canucks could use some more toughness to go with their high skill level. They also need to trade Roberto Luongo, something they set out to do a year ago.

    Rising or Falling: The Canucks have managed to hold their status in the regular season, but they are losing their luster around the league. If they don't regain their postseason persona this year, they will be headed down.

Anaheim Ducks, Odds: 15-1

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    2013 Results: First place in Pacific Division; lost in first round to Detroit Red Wings.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Ducks have plenty of size and strength. They were consistent throughout the season and seemed to play hard for head coach Bruce Boudreau.

    The Ducks could use some more help on the back line. They don't have the star power on the defensive end that they do up front with with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, so look for general manager Bob Murray to make a move or two to strengthen the defense.

    Rising or Falling: The Ducks beat the Chicago Blackhawks in all three meetings. They appear to be a team that could be a contender for several years.

Philadelphia Flyers, Odds: 14-1

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    2013 Results: Fourth place in Atlantic Division, failed to make Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Flyers were one of the most disappointing teams in the league last season. There's no reason that a team with all the offensive talent the Flyers have couldn't make the postseason.

    Philadelphia's problem is on the defensive end. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is quite inconsistent. The Flyers may be in the same position next year if they are going to keep him in the net. Bryzgalov had a 2.79 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage. Those figures aren't terrible, but it's not good enough to make the Flyers a legitimate Stanley Cup threat.

    Rising or Falling: It's all on general manager Paul Holmgren's shoulders. He needs to shore up the defense and perhaps bring in a better goaltender. If he can do that, the Flyers will become a team on the rise.

Toronto Maple Leafs, Odds: 13-1

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    2013 Results: Third place in Northeast Division; lost in first round to Boston Bruins.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Toronto Maple Leafs made great strides in 2013, as they made the playoffs for the first time in nine years and pushed the Boston Bruins to the limit. However, when they couldn't secure a first-round victory over Boston despite leading by three goals in the third period, the Leafs had to stop patting themselves on the back.

    They need a bit more maturity and experience, and they also need better goaltending. The Leafs believe they addressed that move by acquiring Jonathan Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings. Look for the Maple Leafs to get a bit more depth on offense and defense in the offseason.

    Rising or Falling: The Maple Leafs responded very well to the coaching of Randy Carlyle, and they have several impact players like Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, James van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri. The Leafs should be on their way up.

New York Rangers, Odds: 13-1

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    2013 Results: Second place in Atlantic Division; lost in conference semifinal to Boston Bruins.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Rangers have many of the necessary ingredients needed to win consistently in the offseason. Glen Sather made one of the key moves needed to bring this team to a championship level when he fired hard-edged John Tortorella shortly after his team got bounced in the playoffs.

    New coach Alain Vigneault is charged with improving the Rangers offense. He can do that with more of an emphasis on passing and creativity than Tortorella ever provided. The Rangers are probably going to try to add some scoring. They need help on a power play that ranked 23rd this season.

    Rising or Falling: The Rangers should be breathing a sigh of relief since Tortorella was given his walking papers. Tortorella was a restrictive leader, and Vigneault should allow them more freedom. The Rangers should be on the rise in 2013-14.

Ottawa Senators, Odds: 13-1

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    2013 Results: Fourth place in Northeast Division; lost in conference semifinal to Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Biggest Offseason Need: No team got more out of their talent than the Ottawa Senators did last year. The Senators were slowed by injuries all year, but they never stopped competing under Paul MacLean. And they not only made the playoffs, but they also bounced the Montreal Canadiens in the first round.

    The Senators are a solid team that can play in all areas of the ice, but they need a lot of help on the offensive end. Look for general manager Bryan Murray to get MacLean at least one high-scoring veteran forward in the offseason.

    Rising or Falling: The Senators had a special season in 2013, overcoming injuries and winning a playoff round. If they can add a scorer and stay relatively healthy, they should be on the rise next season.

Montreal Canadiens, Odds: 12-1

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    2013 Results: First place in Northeast Division; lost in first round to Ottawa Senators.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Canadiens need more size and strength overall and could use some depth on defense. The Canadiens enjoyed an excellent regular season, but they struggled down the stretch when defensive injuries (Alexei Emelin) took hold and goalie Carey Price slumped. While the Canadiens will stand by Price, they need to give him some help on the blue line.

    Rising or Falling: General manager Marc Bergevin is the right man to take this team back to glory. The Canadiens went from last in the Eastern Conference in 2011-12 to the No. 2 seed in the conference. This team is exciting and explosive and should be in contention for the foreseeable future.

Los Angeles Kings, Odds: 10-1

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    2013 Results: Second place in Pacific Division; lost in Western Conference Final to Chicago Blackhawks.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Kings are one of the toughest and grittiest teams in the league. After winning the Stanley Cup in 2012, they won two rounds of the playoffs before they were eliminated by the Blackhawks.

    The Kings have all the ingredients needed to win again next year, although Darryl Sutter could use some more depth on the blue line and perhaps a bit of youth.

    Rising or Falling: The Kings may not be a team that dominates during the regular season, but they will make the playoffs. Once they get there, they are capable of making a dominant run thanks to the leadership of players like Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown, Slava Voynov and goalie Jonathan Quick.

Boston Bruins, Odd: 9-1

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    2013 Results: Second place in Northeast Division; lost in Stanley Cup Final to Chicago Blackhawks.

    Biggest Offseason Need: As befitting a Stanley Cup finalist, the Bruins have as much depth as any team in the league. They might want to make some changes among their forwards, because Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly endured subpar seasons. The defense is big and strong, but they don't have a lot of speed on the blue line with the exception of youngsters Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton.

    Rising or Falling: The Bruins have been one of the elite teams in the NHL for the last five years, but it may be hard to sustain that excellence for much longer as key defensemen like Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg get older.

Chicago Blackhawks, Odds: 7-1

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    2013 Results: First place in Central Division; won Stanley Cup.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Blackhawks rocketed to the top of the standings early on, starting the year with a 21-0-3 mark in their first 24 games, and they finished the job by closing out the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final in a most remarkable fashion.

    While the Blackhawks have a talented and deep team, they could use an upgrade at the No. 2 center position and a bit more defensive depth.

    Rising or Falling: The Blackhawks are at the top of the NHL, so there's only one direction to go—and that's down. The fall is unlikely to come in 2013-14.

Pittsburgh Penguins, Odds: 6-1

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    2013 Results: First place in Atlantic Division; lost in Eastern Conference Final to Boston Bruins.

    Biggest Offseason Need: The Penguins' season came to a crashing halt in a shocking four-game sweep by the Boston Bruins, but that doesn't mean general manager Ray Shero doesn't have a powerful team on his hands. The Penguins were the best offensive team in the league, but they had problems on defense.

    Those problems didn't hurt them until the playoffs, but they must be addressed. Before the Bruins exposed Pittsburgh, the Islanders threatened them badly. Marc-Andre Fleury had had two straight poor postseasons and can no longer be trusted. Tomas Vokoun is a solid backup, but he is not a starter. Shero needs to acquire a legitimate starter in net.

    Rising or Falling: The Penguins may have a flaw or two, but there's only about two or three teams in the league that could expose them. They are not going to fall anytime soon.