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OK - we've seen basically an oligarchy of top teams holding dominion over the NHL for about the last 12 years. Back to the Devils first cup win in 95. Since then the top teams have inevitably been

Detroit
Dallas
Colorado
New Jersey
and I hestiate to put Philly in here, but them too

ignore the playoffs - I'm talking about the dominant teams during the regular season.

these teams have finished well for at least the last 10 years, and as a result most of them have been depleted of high draft picks... they haven't even been discussed as a possibility for the Crosbys, or the Staals, or the Heatleys, or Kovalchuk - and I think that means trouble for these powerhouse teams.

Look at Detroit. Detroit is a team built around home grown talent and some good free agent signings. Lidstrom is OLD - Chelios is OLD - Yzerman should retire (has he? I haven't paid attention) - Shanahan can still bring it, but he's OLD. The only young talent they have that even bring similar comparisons to the 90s Detroit teams is Pavel Datsuk and MAYBE Zetterberg.

Dallas - Same thing - good drafts and good free agent signings. Modano was the Number One overall pick.....in 1988. You know - back when REAGAN was still in the White House.

Jere Lehtinen is a top notch player on any team in any league - but he's getting on in years

Zubov is in his mid 30s and smokes like a chimney. He's not long for the league.

Guerin isn't going to be with Dallas next season and they won't get a high draft pick for him and his huge contract

Arnott might not be with Dallas next season

and Turco will be 31 when the 06-07 season begins. Nevermind the fact that Turco has folded like a cheap suit in three straight playoff appearances now.

Colorado - same thing. Joe Sakic is homegrown talent that has led that club. The only reason he's been so good (and the Avs with him) is because the Nordiques were so bad for so long. You don't get players like Sakic, or Modano, or Yzerman, or any number of big time players unless you suck for years on end.

This brings me to my point (hooray) - look at Carolina and their cup win this season. Look at two of their biggest contributers. Eric Staal was taken with the 2nd overall pick and Cam Ward was taken the following season in the 1st round. Carolina wasn't just lucky, they supplemented their aging team (Brind'Amour, Wesley, Hedican) with young talent - good picks...

Dallas hasn't had a good pick since Jamie Langenbrunner, who's now a New Jersey Devil.

The Stanley Cup Finals from 03-04 and 05-06 showed us some really important things. Teams like Edmonton, Carolina, Ottawa, and Anaheim are poised for a long run as the Detroits, Dallases and New Jerseys of this next decade. They're young, they're fast, and they're not overloaded with old players with huge contracts who don't contribute.

Edmonton out of all these teams has the best shot at being great for the longest period of time. I think Peca and Roloson are the only two starters who are well into their 30s on that team. Ales Hemsky was a great draft pick, Steve Staios is a solid young defenseman, and what can't you say about Fernando Pisani. The leadership is there are long as the Smyth and Smith tandem is there and Pronger still has the capacity to win the Norris trophy, if not the Hart trophy.

The end is already here for the Jersey, Philly, Dallas, Colorado and Detroit run at the top. The new generation of NHL is here and 10 years from now we very well might be talking about Anaheim's 3 titles, or Edmonton's return to their 80s domination, or Carolina's dominance of the Eastern Conference...

God help us, the Southeast Division might actually become the premeir division in hockey. :eek:
 
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