With an intriguing draft, a free agency bombshell, coaches fired and hired, and RFA cases settled and less so, the league has undergone some drastic roster shuffling over the past month.
All teams have been ranked from 1 through 31 according to off-season performance only. This is not an order of strength heading into but strictly an assessment of recent front office moves.
John Tavares took a hometown discount to come to Toronto, the AHL Marlies ended plus years of championship-free pro hockey in the city, and Kyle Dubas let someone else sign Leo Komarov for four more years.
Now, about those William Nylander and Auston Matthews extensions…. Able to see cap space the rest of us are blind to, Steve Yzerman pitched John Tavares and is on the brink of landing Erik Karlsson.
Miller, and top-four D-man Ryan McDonagh. We like the player, but this big contract could come back to bite the Bolts down the road. Any off-season that begins with a parade is a good one. We love the Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik trade, because there was no way either was coming back, and re-signing defenceman John Carlson was top priority. George McPhee continues to impress. Give Brad Treliving kudos for being proactive.
Bill Peters gives the room a new voice, and the additions of James Neal and Elias Lindholm fill the void of secondary scoring that buried Calgary in The future is bright in Denver. Grubauer is now positioned to succeed Semyon Varlamov in net, Ian Cole bolsters the D, and Matt Calvert represents a nice bargain pickup.
Plenty of flexibility heading into October. Doug Wilson did an excellent job of clearing cap space to go deep-sea fishing this summer. He went hard after Tavares and came up short. He was able to lock up under forwards Whos hookup who on strictly come dancing 2019 Kane and Logan Couture for the remainder of their prime and extend Tomas Hertl.
Provided Mike Hoffman finds a niche, the Florida Panthers are my pick to make it back to the playoffs. He tried to retain second-line centre Paul Stastny, an excellent fit, but lost a bidding war to Vegas. The cap crunch is here. If Jakob Chychrun turns into a player, Arizona will have a nice D group. Sensing they have a contender, the Bruins were in the mix for big UFA tickets like John Tavares and Ilya Kovalchuk but had to settle for smaller moves.
Jim Rutherford is nothing if not decisive.
Peter Chiarelli tinkered with the fringes of a roster that largely disappointed, bringing in new assistants under Todd McLellan and picking up a couple nice value buys in Tobas Reider and Kyle Brodziak. Brown, Greg Pateryn, and Matt Hendricks. More intriguing will be how he handles the forthcoming extensions for RFAs Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker, each of whom enjoyed superb seasons. Rookie bench boss David Quinn has nothing to lose now that expectations have plummeted.
Any off-season that begins with the No. We also like the return Jason Botterill fetched in from Pittsburgh and St. Louis, a pair of moves that helped both sides.