Top need for every Eastern Conference team heading into the NHL draft

Aaron Ekblad appears to be just as good as his draft pedigree, leading the Panthers to the playoffs in his second season after being the No. 1 pick. What do they need to take the next step? Juan Salas/Icon Sportswire

The NHL draft presents an opportunity for teams to not only select the players who will form their future core, but also to make trades that could improve their rosters next season. This year, there is another factor to consider: the salary cap. With the cap not expected to see a big rise, there will be teams looking to drop salary and others trying to buy quality players at a cheap price.

In the East, there are several winning teams that will be looking to remain strong in the future and there are a handful of clubs that have been rebuilding and are trying to take the next big step toward the playoffs.

As the draft approaches, we look at each Eastern Conference team's biggest need heading into the event: