Considering how bad Brodie was and how much older he is, they really need Liljegren to step up. Sandin trade will come back to haunt them IMO, but we'll see where they go this offseason. If they can get someone to have a Knies-like impact on the backend, they should be okay. I'm chalking this year up to anomaly as neither of the teams in the finals are powerhouses by any means.
Sandin was really blocked by Rielly, so I think that's a loss that they kind of had to take but I do think they will regret it if that pick isn't turned into something good, although Dubas won't be the one to be regretting it haha.
I would have to disagree with this year's final not having any powerhouse. Vegas is a powerhouse in the West, it's really like the Wild West out there, not very predictable but since their expansion team went to the Finals, they have always been considered a favorite since they've only added more star power throughout the years. As for FLR, I wouldn't say they are a powerhouse (although they should be) even with the season they had last year, but they certainly aren't the kitten that people are making them out to be. It's really a bunch of guys living up to their expectations with a few guys going beyond.
Bobrovsky is a 10.5M who was paid for being a Vezina Calibre goalie. He never lived up to that contract at all in FLR but now he's playing his best hockey ever imo
Tkachuk is the 6th OV pick from 2016 who became a superstar last year and while he improved in the playoffs over previous years, his efforts weren't enough. He proved that last year wasn't a fluke and is having a post-season that matches his regular season.
Ekblad is the 1st OV pick from 2014 whose been a top pairing Dman for years. Nothing new with him.
Reinhart is the 2nd OV pick from 2014 - he's been a top 6 forward for a while even though he's still not really living up to that 2nd OV selection.
Bennett is the 4th OV pick from 2014 - this guy struggled a ton in CGY, wasn't really ever a top 6 player but ever since coming to FLR he's improved a lot, and like Reinhart, he hasn't met expectations of where he was taken but he's still a solid player.
Barkov is the 2nd OV pick from 2013 whose been considered a top-10 C/player for a few years now. Nothing new with him.
They also have Verhaeghe who has gone gotten better and better over last season and this one, in both the regular season and the playoffs. Similar to him is Brandon Montour who is finally becoming what was expected of him and more.