NHL Offseason Grades: Part One

By Danny Kraft

Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks have had a fairly uneventful offseason; they have let go of some older players (Francois Beauchemin, Kevin Bieksa, Antoine Vermette) to clear cap space. The big resigning of this year was Adam Henrique, who came from New Jersey and got a five-year extension worth more than $5 million per year. In the last five years, he has scored 20 or more goals four times. Anaheim has also picked up Brian Gibbons, Carter Rowney, Luke Schenn, and Andrej Sustr.

Grade B-

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona has had one of the best off seasons in the NHL, picking Max Domi from Montreal in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk. The Coyotes also signed Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year $66 million extension, which is a great move for this young player, who will ultimately grow to be the face of the franchise.

Grade A

Boston Bruins

The Bruins’ offseason has not been great. They’ve likely lost two Nashes—Rick probably won’t return and Riley went to Rick’s old team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. They were both above-average players who added depth off the bench. On the up side, they gained defenseman John Moore from New Jersey and I’m pretty excited about the Sean Kuraly signing. Unfortunately, Boston may have lost more than it gained.

Grade C-

Buffalo Sabers

Buffalo has had a very important offseason, using the No. 1 pick in the draft to welcome Rasmus Dahlin, an 18-year-old defensemen. They also picked up Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick from the Penguins, two very productive players. They lost star center Ryan O’Reilly in a trade with the Blues, but Jack Eichel and Casey Mittelstadt will likely take his faceoff spot.

Grade A

Calgary Flames

The Flames has an eventful offseason with signing 25-goal scorer James Neal from Vegas for five years and $28.75 million. Calgary dealt Dougie Hamilton to the Carolina Hurricanes (his third team four years), which I think is a great move since he never really reached his potential in Boston or Calgary and may have had some personality conflicts. Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin get to come home, and I think that might be a good sign for Calgary.

Grade B

Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina is taking somewhat of a risk trading for Dougie Hamilton, as I mentioned above in Calgary. The Hurricanes also signed defenseman Calvin de Haan for four years, $18.2 million and got a hot prospect in Andrei Svechnikov. His style and play might make him a franchise player. They do however have a goaltending challenge with Scott Darling coming off a down year and they signed Petr Mrazek who was shaky with the Flyers.

Grade B-

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks big move was unloading Marian Hossa’s contract onto Arizona, and throwing in Vinnie Hinostroza as well. They did not really upgrade, getting left winger Marcus Kruger in return. To back up Corey Crawford they signed Cam Ward, a questionable decision, and they made another questionable decision signing Chris Kunitz, who brings a good veteran presence but is aging fast.

Grade F

Colorado Avalanche

Colorado had a great offseason. The signing of Philipp Grubauer from the Stanley Cup champion Capitals to replace Jonathan Bernier in net was an awesome move. They also grabbed two key players from Columbus– defenseman Ian Cole and forward Matt Calvert.

Grade B+

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Avalanche’s gain of Ian Cole and Matt Calvert was a big loss for Columbus; however, Boston and Chicago’s losses were Columbus’ gain. The Blue Jackets picked up Riley Nash and Anthony Duclair, respectively. Their biggest problem may come next year, as Artemi Panarin has shown no interest in signing an extension, as he becomes a free agent next season (as does goalie Sergie Bobrovsky, but that’s whole other story). Panarin is the best player on the young team, and it would be a huge loss. The Jackets cannot just let him walk without getting anything in return, so a trade may be looming.

Grade B-

Dallas Stars

Dallas’s offseason has been fairly quiet. They found a replacement for Kari Lehtonen in Anton Khudobin, which is a pretty parallel move. They also brought in Blake Comeau, Valeri Nichushkin, and Roman Polak who are all serviceable depth players. They’ve lost Antoine Roussel, Dan Hamhuis, and Greg Pateryn; all players who aren’t that important.

Grade C

Detroit Red Wings

The moves the Red Wings have made have been very interesting. They signed Thomas Vanek to a one year, $3 million deal which I think is a great deal. They also extended Mike Green and Anthony Mantha, two players that add great depth to their roster. Detroit also had a great draft with taking Filip Zadina, an 18 year old forward with great hands, with the sixth overall pick. One questionable move was the signing of Jonathan Bernier for a three year $9 million deal that doesn’t solve their goaltending struggles.

Grade B

Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton’s offseason has been calm; they are still tied to Milian Lucic’s ridiculous contract. I think he is the most overpaid player in the league. They did draft Evan Bouchard who is a very complete player. Two other players they picked up are both solid depth players in Tobias Rieder and Brodziak.

Grade C

Florida Panthers

The Panthers made a risk this season by trading for Mike Hoffman. If he can get his personal problems, like his fiancée cyber-bullying Erik Karlsson’s wife, this is a great move for Florida. He’s a huge offensive presence, which is exactly what they need. They also signed KHL All-Star and gold medal-winning Russian Bogdan Kiselevich who will help a lot on defense.

Grade A

Los Angeles Kings

LA has made two huge moves this offseason, they made sure Drew Doughty stayed for a while by signing him to a eight-year, $88 million deal. Former NHL and KHL All-Star Ilya Kovalchuk came back to the NHL . He will aid greatly in the scoring department for the Kings.

Grade A+

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