The Detroit Red Wings should be major challengers to the Buffalo Sabres, given the state of their prospects pool. Yet you can’t help but wonder how much longer those prospects will be in the system. Knowing Steve Yzerman, it’s more likely that he will use them as trading chips as opposed to calling them up through to the NHL ranks.
But as mentioned in the previous section, maybe he will be forced to shift gears and take stock of the pool. Either way, Detroit could be on the verge of lagging behind Buffalo if the Yzerplan doesn’t come into fruition this season.
The Montreal Canadiens are one team to worry about, even if it won’t be the case this season. However it’s important to remember, we’re talking about the 2020s and beyond. Like Adams and Company, it looks like Montreal’s front office is willing to make room on the NHL roster for their pool in the near future. If they can build chemistry, then the Canadiens could transform into one of the other major heavyweights in the division during the latter half of the decade.
And of course, any one of the teams not mentioned in this section can keep reloading their roster and remain legitimate challengers to the Blue and Gold as the decade continues. With Auston Matthews in Toronto for another four seasons, the Maple Leafs could very well be that team IF they figure out their cap situation.
Source: Ranking NHL’s best and worst prospect pools: Nos. 1-16 by Ian Kennedy, Yahoo Sports