Does the NHL Balance of Power Shift Back to Pittsburgh Now?

Mike Stainkamp@mikestainkamp34Contributor IJuly 21, 2010

PITTSBURGH - MAY 12:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Mellon Arena on May 12, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.(Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

With Ilya Kovalchuk's contract being rejected by the League, one must wonder where the balance of power in the NHL has gone.

Once Kovalchuk re-signed with New Jersey, word on the street was that they were among the front runners to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final. They would have been much better offensively with Kovy, especially with playmakers like Jamie Langenbrunner and Zach Parise feeding him the puck.

Now that Kovalchuk is free to sign wherever he wants, including NJ, today the balance of power in the NHL, or in the East at least, has shifted back to Pittsburgh and even Washington.

Pittsburgh upgraded their defense this offseason by adding Corey Potter, Zbynek Michalek, and Paul Martin to complement an already dynamic offense powered by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Washington was able to re-sign important parts of their 2009-2010 team when they brought back forward Andrew Gordon and defensemen Patrick McNeill, Zach Miskovic, and Jay Beagle. They were able to grab forward Brian Willsie through free agency and are looking to improve an already solid offense lead by Alex Ovechkin.

With the additions made by Pittsburgh, they look to be the front runner to reach the Cup Final and bring another one back to Pittsburgh.