Canada’s National Hockey League (NHL) is in a tough position.
After two straight seasons of a league that is struggling to find its footing, the league is struggling for an identity, while the players are taking their talents to new territories.
In the midst of the debate, which team is the better franchise?
A look at each team’s core and the impact of a player’s move on them.
Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens have won a Stanley Cup and a Vezina Trophy and are in a deep playoff run.
This is not a team that needs to be criticized, but it has the potential to make a deep run in the next few years.
This team will have the ability to build around Carey Price, who has been a revelation for years and who will be the face of the franchise.
The addition of Alexander Semin and Matt Duchene will allow for the Canadiens to have depth at every position.
Anaheim Ducks: This is a team whose core players have all left the team.
They will be looking for a new leader for the franchise after the departure of head coach Bruce Boudreau.
Anaheim is the only team that will be able to make the playoffs this season, but they will need to do it without the playmaking abilities of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Patrick Maroon.
They can make a strong push for the Stanley Cup, but not without the help of their younger stars.
Tampa Bay Lightning: With an impressive core, they will be a contender for a championship.
They also have the potential for a playoff run with a strong season in 2016-17.
Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has the ability and the team to build a contender that can challenge for a Stanley, but will it be the right time?
The team needs to make some major roster moves this off-season, but the additions of Nikita Kucherov, J.T. Brown, Brayden Point and Alex Killorn should make the Lightning a contender.
Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks have had a disappointing season.
This season was a turning point in how the team was perceived by fans.
They were able to win a Cup, which is something that many thought was impossible.
The team has the talent to be a perennial contender, but needs to add a player to the core of Henrik Sedin, Alex Burrows and Daniel Sedin.
The new additions of Sven Baertschi and Ben Hutton will help the Canucks’ bottom-six, but this team has a lot of talent on the blue line.
Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks are in the midst and have won the Stanley and a Calder Trophy in the last two years.
They have an extremely talented roster, and they will have a great opportunity to contend for a second straight championship.
However, the Blackhawks are also in the process of adding another veteran player, and that player will be Jared Spurgeon.
Spurgeon has been one of the best players in the league this season.
Colorado Avalanche: This team is rebuilding, and it is going to take a lot to compete with the Stanley-winning San Jose Sharks for a spot in the Stanley.
The Avs will have to rebuild on the back of injuries, but that is something they can do.
They could add a defenseman in the draft or by trade.
Nashville Predators: This roster is in need of an upgrade, and there are several players who will not fit that bill.
The Predators have a lot going on at the moment, and the addition of two young defensemen will help this team.
The acquisition of defenseman Viktor Arvidsson and goaltender Pekka Rinne will help in the long run, but their top prospects will have an impact on this team as well.
Winnipeg Jets: This franchise has been in the same position for years.
It has had a lot in the past few years, but has been unable to reach its potential.
They are currently in a rebuild, and if they can add a number of quality pieces to this team, they can compete for a division title and a chance to compete for the NHL Cup.
Colorado Flames: The Flames have a very young core, but still have a number players who are at least 30 years old.
The Flames need to find their best young players to help them get to the Stanley Playoffs.
Los Angeles Kings: This will be one of those teams that has a ton of talent, but is in the early stages of a rebuild.
The Kings will need a veteran leader in Peter DeBoer to build the core around Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
San Jose Kings: The Kings were supposed to be rebuilding, but have a few young stars in the pipeline that could lead to the team going on a run.
However in the meantime, they need to build their core and add a veteran piece to help make the Kings competitive in the upcoming