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Vegas preview, will they repeat?

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2023-24 SEASON 51-22-9 111 points first in the Western conference. Easily bested Winnipeg in 5 games, blew right past Edmonton and Dallas to make the cup finals, then took the Panthers apart like someone picking the legs off a spider in five easy games. Stanley cup champions


ADDITIONS None. They resigned Barbachev but did not anyone worthy of mentioning.


SUBTRACTIONS Reilly Smith was dealt to the Pens for cap space. Kessel was not invited back. Quick is now the backup goalie elsewhere after about a five minute run with the knights


PROSPECTS Brendan Bisson was considered a top six winger prospect coming out of college but did not adjust well to the pro game in the AHL last year and is now already considered more suspect. Pavel Dorofeyev had an injury plagued AHL season, was benched for a game because of a lazy game, but in an NHL callup scored 9 points in 18 games so they hope he can play third line this year essentially gifting him the job once held by Reilly. Lukas Cormier can score from the back end, played very well at the AHL and they hope to cover defensive deficiencies enough to allow him to be the PP QB2.

  In short, an underwhelming lot but a couple of spots are open, the cap is a problem so they will be given a chance to see what they can do full time.


 SO THE QUESTION, CAN THEY REPEAT? It is hard to repeat, the Bolts did it a few years ago after nobody had repeated since the Wings in 97 and 98. The grind of a long playoff run has worn many a team down.


  I personally don't see them repeating. I have been an Adin Hill apologist for years; felt he was one of the most underrated okayers in the game and finally given a chance due to injuries silenced all critics with an outstanding champion run. Eichel had a chip on his shoulder coming out of Buffalo and proved he is a winning player. They are a smart and clinical organization who values winning andi is not afraid to jettison key players to improve the team. 

  All that said, i think they will continue to be in the Western conference conversation and will likely win the Division but I think that both Dallas and Edmonton have overtaken them in the West. Winning the Division is possible but they will not make it out of the second round.

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