By Danny Kraft
Coming off a great 2017-2018 season, the Wild had a fairly quiet offseason, except for signing Matt Dumba to a five-year, $30 million extension. They also brought in defenseman Greg Pateryn who will hopefully provide help on the blue line.
With great risk comes the potential for great reward—at least Montreal hopes so. It big trade sent Alex Galchenyuk to the Coyotes for Max Domi. Domi never lived up to his expectations in Arizona and Montreal is clearly hoping the trade sparks something. The Canadiens made a great draft pick in Jesperi Kotkaniemi, a top-line center, which is exactly what they needed. They also added depth by bringing back Tomas Plekanec and signing Joel Armia.
Probably the most boring team in the offseason right now. Their only real loss was Alexei Emelin, not really a big deal.
New York Islanders
This offseason has been a rough one for Long Island, as the Islanders lost John Tavares, the face of their franchise.—and they got nothing for him. Another loss was defenseman Calvin de Haan, who left for Carolina. Their signings have been horrible too–Leo Komarov, Valtteri Filppula, and traded for Matt Martin. But they do have Barry Trotz on the bench now, frsh off his Stanley Cup with Washington, and and Lou Lamoriello as GM.
New York Rangers
The Rangers are in a rebuilding phase right now, and they haven’t really made that many moves this offseason. They brought in Fredrik Claesson and resigned Jimmy Vesey. New York also put former Boston University coach David Quinn behind the bench. Besides that it has been fairly uneventful.
Ottawa is a complete dumpster fire right now, the only good thing to happen is that they got rid of Mike Hoffman in a trade to San Jose that included Mikkel Boedker. Hoffman didn’t last long in San Jose, as he was soon traded to Florida. The Sens other move was buying out Alex Burrows. Ottawa also has to face the fact that Erik Karlsson, one of the best players in the league, cannot wait to get out of Ottawa.
The Flyers offseason started with a bang when they brought back James van Riemsdyk, who will have a big role in their offense as Philly looks to contend for a Cup with an aging core of veterans. Goaltending, however, is not the Flyers’ strength. They lost Petr Mrazek when he signed with the Hurricanes. They have injury-prone Brian Elliott and WHL Player of Year Carter Hart, but it is unclear if Hart will come to the NHL this year. If not, they need a goalie for this year.
The Penguins were already a great team and they improved by signing Matt Cullen and Derek Grant, who add offensive depth. The worst move of the offseason: signing Jack Johnson for a five-year $16.25 million deal. This deal is ridiculous, considering Johnson is 31 and was terrible for the Blue Jackets last season. This move makes zero sense for Pittsburgh.
St. Louis Blues
St. Louis has had a great offseason, signing three offensive threats in Tyler Bozak, David Perron, and Pat Maroon, and making a trade for Ryan O’Reilly. With those four players I’d consider them a true contender this season. Their only concern is if Jake Allen can rebound.
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks struck out trying to get John Tavares or Ilya Kovalchuk but retained their core by signing Evander Kane to a huge contract (seven years, $49 million) and brought back Joe Thorton to a one-year deal. A gain this offseason was that they were able to turn Mike Hoffman into three draft picks by trading him to Florida.
Tampa Bay Lightning
While we’ve heard for a while that Erik Karlsson wanted to come to Tampa, this offseason has been about retaining their great core of players. They gave Nikita Kucherov, one of the best wingers in the league, an eight-year, $76 million extension. Another extension was a seven-year deal for Ryan McDonough, which shows they are trying to win it all this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs
They turned the NHL upside down by signing John Tavares. They are now my favorite to win the Cup this year. Admittedly, they lost James van Riemsdyk but when you replace him with Tavares it really doesn’t matter.
After coming off a horrible season last year the Canucks needed to rebuild with young talent, but they did not. They signed Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle and, Tim Schaller, decent depth defensive players, but very expensive. They might have drafted an explosive player in Quinn Hughes ,but he’s staying at University of Michigan for at least one more year.
Vegas Golden Knights
Coming off their shocking Stanley Cup run, the Golden Knights extended goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to a three-year, $21 million deal. While this helps now it could turn bad, as Fleury will be 35 when the deal starts and was not the most consistent or healthiest while in Pittsburgh. Their biggest lost James Neil heading to Calgary. They also lost David Perron, who I think is a little overhyped and was healthy scratched in the Stanley Cup finals. Vegas signed Paul Stastny for $19.5 million deal for three-years.
Coming off their Stanley Cup victory they don’t really need to improve. They were able to trade Brooks Orpik to Colorado to free cap room. Unfortunately they had to lose solid back up goalie Philipp Grubauer in that trade. With the free space they resigned John Carlson for an eight-year, $64 million deal and Tom Wilson to a two-year $4 million deal.
Winnipeg lost Paul Stastny to Vegas, which is not good. He was a great piece in their offense. When they were trying to resign him the Jets traded Joel Armia to free up cap space. All around not good scene in Winnipeg.