from John Matisz of The Score,
This is an annual exercise conducted after the dust has settled on the draft and free agency. The tiers are based on projections for the 2020-21 season only, not the long-term trajectories of each franchise. Lastly, keep in mind the timing. We're all awaiting word on the 2020-21 NHL season, which means there's runway for teams before rosters need to be finalized.
Worst of the worst (8th tier)
In a league of their own in a not-so-nice way
Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings' offseason has been undeniably productive, which is a step in the right direction for a franchise looking to regain respectability. Up front, Vladislav Namestnikov, Bobby Ryan, Sam Gagner, and Adam Erne were brought in on short-term deals. Troy Stecher, Jon Merrill, and Marc Staal are all also under contract for a year or two and were added to the blue line. And inking goalie Thomas Greiss at $3.6 million per season for two years was a tidy piece of business from general manager Steve Yzerman.
These acquisitions improved Detroit, yet the offseason work will only slightly move the needle because the bar was set so laughably low last campaign. The 2019-20 Wings lost 54 of 71 games while finishing with a minus-122 goal differential. Among 31 teams, they're still the furthest away from a Stanley Cup in 2020-21.
more teams in the bottom tier...