A look up and down any free-agent tracker and there are certain things that jump out. There's of course the money spent by the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers on July 1, but perhaps more than anything else, it's how much stronger the Western Conference got as a whole over the past two weeks. The moves made by several teams may have even weakened the East in the process, widening a gap that was painfully obvious last season.

Despite the fact that the Eastern Conference was home to the President's Trophy-winning Boston Bruins last season, the West boasted six teams with 100 or more points, including teams with the second-, third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-best records in the NHL.

Every Western Conference team that secured one of the three divisional playoff spots eclipsed 100 points and then beat the heck out of each other in the Stanley Cup playoffs.


Read more: Kings, Blackhawks driving arms race in Western Conference - CBSSports.com