2015-16 NHL Season: Preview and Power Rankings

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Jun 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks players pose for a team photo with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015-16 NHL season is right around the corner, with training camps opened up and the preseason is starting tomorrow.  It’s time to look ahead at how the league will shake out when the 2015-16 NHL season reaches April.  There are teams I believe made significant steps forward while others are stuck in reverse and already clear sellers at the trade deadline.

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The best teams in the NHL haven’t changed much over the last few seasons.  The Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, and New York Rangers have been Stanley Cup contenders for a while.  While these three teams should be in the mix again, the 2015-16 NHL season seems deeper with more contenders.

The big changes in the 2015-16 NHL season are at the bottom.  Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers fans will have to look higher in the standings to find their teams this season.  But how high?  Can either team threaten to make the playoffs?

Throughout the league, I’m going to give you one reason the team can make the playoffs or win the Stanley Cup. What a successful season looks like and one player to watch during the 2015-16 NHL season for one reason or another.  It could be someone on a new team, coming off an injury or a trade target.

That’s the best part of projections and power rankings.  Teams make so many changes it’s tough to know how it all translates to the ice.  This is how I see the 2015-16 NHL season starting out.  So jump in, find your favorite team and tell me why your rival is ranked too high or too low.

Let’s get started at the bottom and work our way up!

Next: Number 30: Let The Rebuild Begin