To break down each team’s offseason in one article would be way too much at one time. I decided to separate the Eastern and Western Confrences into two separate parts.
Washington Capitals : F
Additions : Devante Smith-Pelly
Subtractions : Marcus Johanssen, Kevin Shattenkirk, Daniel Winnik, Nate Schmidt
Extensions : Andre Burakovsky, Dmitry Orlov, Brett Connolly, T.J. Oshie
Well this is a disaster. You lost a great defenseman to Vegas in Nate Schmidt. You gave Oshie way too much money for way too long. You gave away Johanssen to New Jersey. Shattenkirk walked for nothing after being a nightmare in the playoffs. You bridge dealed Burakovsky which is going to bite you in two seasons.
You have very limited time with Ovechkin and Backstrom being as good as they are. John Carlson is a UFA at the end of this season. You are going downhill in a hurry and your cup window is disappearing fast. You did nothing to help yourselves this offseason.
Ottawa Senators : D
Additions : Nate Thompson, Johnny Odyua
Subtractions : Marc Methot, Matt Puempel
Extensions : Mike Condon
Let’s start our offseason by letting Methot walk for nothing when we could at least get something! Vegas got a 2nd round pick for Methot as Ottawa sat there and did nothing to keep him. They apparently loved him so much in Ottawa they protected Cody Ceci over him.
Ottawa didn’t do anything to help their team who is heading straight for regression after making the Conference Final. Erik Karlsson is a UFA in two seasons and he’s headed straight for it as you choose to be mediocre. How did Pierre Dorion manage to be nominated for GM of the year again? That award should go to Craig Anderson and Erik Karlsson for dragging that rotten ball of mediocrity to the conference final.
Boston Bruins : D
Additions : Paul Postma
Subtractions : Jimmy Hayes, Colin Miller, Drew Stafford
Extensions : Ryan Spooner
I don’t think the Bruins understand that they have a very tight window to win now. Tuukka Rask, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, and Patrice Bergeron are nearing the end of their primes and Zdeno Chara is at the end of his career. David Pastrnak is the future of this team and they are considering trading him. They haven’t been able to get a deal done this offseason as he is a restricted free agent.
They didn’t add any help on defense which they desperately need. At least they have been drafting defenseman lately. They are placing a lot of hope in Charlie McAvoy who has played six NHL games (which he did look great in). He is only one guy however. Torey Krug and McAvoy are not guys you want on your top pair if you are trying to win a cup. I wasn’t impressed with the Bruins in 2016/2017 and I am even less impressed with them now.
Detroit Red Wings : D
Additions : Trevor Daley
Subtractions : Tomas Nosek
Extensions : Xaiver Ouellet, Nick Jensen, Ryan Sproul, Tomas Tatar
This team has to be the biggest disaster in the NHL at this moment. Adding Trevor Daley to your abysmal blueline helps a smidge but will not be even close enough to fixing the problem. Vegas taking Nosek was a gift from god after you left Mrazek exposed for whatever reason. I don’t know why Tatar wanted to sign that extension especially since Detroit will be nowhere near contention by the end of his deal. The whole team is such a mess and they won’t admit they need to rebuild their team.
New York Islanders : D
Additions : Jordan Eberle
Subtractions : Travis Hamonic, Mikhail Grabovski, JS Berube
Extensions : Cal Clutterbuck, Calvin de Haan, Adam Pelech
Great, you added Jordan Eberle. That will help convincing Tavares to stay! But you traded one of your top defenseman for draft picks? What is going on here? Cal Clutterbuck is making how much money now? What is this team doing? Are they actually confident with that goaltending situation? If John Tavares wants to win, his future sure doesn’t belong with the Islanders.
Montreal Canadiens : D+
Additions : Jonathan Drouin, Karl Alzner, Peter Holland, Ales Hemsky, David Schlemko, Mark Streit, Joe Morrow
Subtractions : Alex Radulov, Mikhail Sergachev, Andrei Markov
Extensions : Carey Price, Alex Galchenyuk
Everyone has been ragging on Montreal saying how bad their offseason has been. It really has been pretty brutal. The Karl Alzner signing is terrible. Letting Markov walk was also a huge mistake as he was a very solid NHL contributor. You replaced him with the likes of Mark Streit and David Schlemko. You let Radulov walk when you desperately need scoring. You replace him with Ales Hemsky.
The Drouin trade wasn’t bad however. You paid a steep price but addressed your scoring need after Radulov walked. You got Carey Price aka your team to extend and you somehow got Galchenyuk to return even after it seemed his days in Montreal were over. Montreal will more than likely have a great regular season again due to how great Carey Price is, but they’re still no cup contender.
Pittsburgh Penguins : D+
Additions : Matt Hunwick, Ryan Reaves, Antti Niemi
Subtractions : Marc-Andre Fleury, Nick Bonino, Ron Hainsey, Oskar Sundqvist
Extensions : Justin Schultz, Brian Dumoulin, Connor Sheary
What the hell is that? A first round pick for Ryan Reaves? Giving Matt Hunwick a three year deal is also questionable. You lost Fleury to Vegas for nothing, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for cap reasons. Matt Murray is ready to be the full time starter as is anyways.
Good job not overpaying for Bonino and letting him walk to Nashville. Getting Justin Schultz back for three years at $5.5 million per year was huge. The Brian Dumoulin contract has potential to be excellent as well. Overall the extensions given out were not bad.
Replacing Fleury with Niemi is a nightmare along with the Reaves trade. Hopefully Matt Hunwick works out for the next three years. As a Leaf fan he drove me nuts at some points but at other times, he was a solid bottom pair guy. He is great on the penalty kill. I just don’t know if he is worth what he got.
I think the Penguins are a worse team after the offseason they had, but that does not mean they won’t be cup contenders once again.
Florida Panthers : C-
Additions : Evgeni Dadanov, Radim Vrbata, Michael Haley
Subtractions : Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, Jaromir Jagr
The Panthers have evolved from a great up and coming team into a gongshow. Leaving Marchessault exposed in the expansion draft was a huge mistake and giving them Reilly Smith and giving up a draft pick was even worse. I don’t understand what was going on there. At least you got Owen Tippett with the tenth pick. You are attempting to replace Marchessault, Jagr, and Smith with a KHL veteran and Radim Vrbata? I don’t like it one bit. If the Panthers want to be successful in this league they need to stop screwing around in the front office and get their shit together.
Buffalo Sabres : B
Additions : Seth Griffith, Nathan Beaulieu, Marco Scandella, Jason Pomminville, Benoit Pouliot, Chad Johnson
Subtractions : William Carrier, Anders Nilsson, Cody Franson
Extensions : Zemgus Girgensons, Robin Lehner
Buffalo cleaned house after just two full seasons of Tim Murray as GM and Dan Bylsma as coach. Replacing them with Phil Housely as coach and Jason Botterill as GM. They landed Casey Middlestadt in the draft with the 8th overall pick. Added two solid defenders in Beaulieu and Scandella via trades. Added depth scoring with Pouliot on a low risk deal and got Jason Pomminville back. Seth Griffith could also find a home in Buffalo given an opportunity. They also got an upgrade in the backup goaltender position in Chad Johnson. I like what Buffalo has done this offseason. I think you can see a slight improvement this year, not quite a playoff team yet however.
Philadelphia Flyers : B
Additions : Jori Lehtera, Nolan Patrick, Brian Elliott
Subtractions : Brayden Schenn, Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare
Extensions : Jordan Weal, Michal Neuvirth, Shayne Gostisbehere
You completely lucked into Nolan Patrick at second overall after just missing the playoffs. You got a decent return for Brayden Schenn by getting a first round pick from St. Louis. Unfortunately Jori Lehtera had to come with. Hopefully Brian Elliot returns to how he was in St. Louis and you have a consistent goaltender. The Gostisbehere extension is very good. I am very high on him and I think he can have a great bounce back season after being a healthy scratch a few times.
I think avoiding free agency was a good call for Philly as their young defensive talents continue to develop. Philly is always a bubble playoff team as is and I believe they will be again. They are very scary looking in a few years time however.
Columbus Blue Jackets : B
Additions : Artemi Panarin, Jordan Schroeder, Tyler Motte
Subtractions : Anton Forsberg, Brandon Saad, David Clarkson, Sam Gagner, William Karlsson
Columbus exceeded everyones expectations last season and were one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They unfortunately ran into the cup winning Penguins in the first round. Columbus got a bone thrown to them by Vegas as they took on the dreadful David Clarkson contract at the cost of William Karlsson. They got an upgrade on the wing with the Saad-Panarin trade. The Blue Jackets overall didn’t do a whole lot other than the big trades with Vegas and Chicago and that may be a good thing for them.
New York Rangers : B
Additions : Kevin Shattenkirk, Anthony DeAngelo, Ondrej Pavelec, David Desharnais, Matt Puempel
Subtractions : Oscar Lindberg, Antti Raanta, Derek Stepan, Dan Girardi
Extensions : Brendan Smith, Mike Zibanejad
You got Kevin Shattenkirk to no ones surprise. The deal you got him on is most impressive. You traded your number one center in the hopes that Zibanejad will become the number one. In return you got Lias Andersson and Anthony DeAngelo which isn’t bad at all. Losing Lindberg to Vegas sucks but at least they didn’t take Raanta like they were rumored to. Keeping him and packaging him in the Stepan trade was a good move. Replacing Raanta with Pavelec however is not the wisest thing you could have done. I am personally not the biggest Brendan Smith fan, but there are many people who are high on him and like his extension.
Overall I like what the Rangers did. They finally bought out Girardi replacing him with Shattenkirk. The blueline is looking much better with a top pair of McDonaugh and Shattenkirk rather than attaching Girardi to McDonaugh. Zibanejad appears ready to step into the number one center role. If Henrik gets hurt again however I am concerned for their backup goaltending position. Pavelec is not an NHL goalie. Hopefully Magnus Hellberg can step in and do the job if and when Pavelec falters.
Toronto Maple Leafs : B+
Additions : Patrick Marleau, Ron Hainsey, Calle Rosen, Andreas Borgman, Dominic Moore
Subtractions : Alexei Marchenko, Brendan Leipsic, Matt Hunwick, Roman Polak?
Extensions : Connor Brown, Zach Hyman, Curtis McElhinney, Nikita Zaitsev
How in the hell did they already stacked prospect system of the Leafs get to draft Liljegren at 17th overall? Biggest steal of the draft in my opinion. Dominic Moore will be a good, cheap replacement for Brian Boyle. The Connor Brown extension is a thing of beauty, but could come to bite the Leafs by the time it is done. Letting Matt Hunwick walk and replacing him with Ron Hainsey is a good replacement.
I don’t like the Marleau contract though. The amount isn’t the issue, it’s that third year of the contract. I don’t even think he is worth what he is making as it stands right now. I don’t even want to think of how bad that contract will look by the end of it. I was really hoping to make a trade for a top 4 defenseman as well. But other than that I am really happy with what the Leafs have done this summer.
Tampa Bay Lightning : B+
Additions : Mikhail Sergachev, Chris Kunitz, Dan Girardi
Subtractions : Jason Garrison, Jonathan Drouin
Extensions : Slayter Koekkoek, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Peter Budaj
Good job avoiding getting screwed by Vegas! Also good job getting fair value for Jonathan Drouin after he basically quit on the team over a year ago. I think the Lightning will come out on top in that trade acquiring Sergachev. The Palat and Johnson extensions are a thing of beauty.
The only thing holding me back from giving you an A is that shockingly terrible Dan Girardi contract. Everyone knows how bad he is. He is legitimately not an NHL defenseman anymore and was bought out for that reason. I was fairly certain he was going to have to find a two-way deal somewhere. But Steve Yzerman, who is one of the best GM’s in the NHL, gave him a two year $6 million deal. If the plan was for him to replace Garrison, it is not a good plan.
Regardless, the Lightning will be better this season due to how banged up they were last year.
New Jersey Devils : A
Additions : Nico Hischier, Will Butcher, Drew Stafford, Marcus Johansson, Brian Boyle
Subtractions : Jon Merrill, Mike Cammaleri
You got lucky and landed the first overall pick. You took Nico Hischier as the first Swiss born player to go #1 in the draft. You signed stud NCAA defenseman to Will Butcher. You stole Marcus Johansson from Washington. You also added depth scoring in Drew Stafford and Brian Boyle. You are already looking much stronger than you did last year. The only thing I may have done differently if I were Ray Shero were to not buy out Cammalleri. He can still play and you have the cap room so why not keep him? I really like what New Jersey did this offseason.
Carolina Hurricanes : A
Additions : Justin Williams, Scott Darling, Josh Jooris, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Marcus Kruger
Subtractions : Eddie Lack
Extensions : Teuvo Teravainen, Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin, Derek Ryan
I think this is the year Carolina finally gets back into the playoffs. It is definately time to stop sleeping on them. They brought back Justin Williams to help on the offensive side and a depth center in Marcus Kruger. They took a gamble on Scott Darling which is a very smart gamble in my opinion. That has been a huge disadvantage to Carolina, not having a league average goaltender. Hopefully Darling can have success as a full time starter in Carolina this season. The Pesce and Slavin contracts are a thing of beauty. The Hurricanes have the potential to have one of the best blue lines in the Eastern Conference for years to come.