The NHL offseason is nearing its end with the start of the regular season a mere month away. With the end of the offseason near, many have talked about which teams improved the most. However, the question also exists of which teams.have had the worst offseason. Many teams have either suffered key losses to their personnel, failed to upgrade their team or, in some cases, both.
Tampa Bay Lightning
With the Lightning being $18 million over the salary cap, they were bound to lose this offseason. Bringing that number down involved sending off a significant chunk of their championship roster. Players that won’t be returning include Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, Barclay Goodrow, Blake Coleman and David Savard. The Lightning lost their entire third line, as well as two productive players at their positions in Johnson and Savard. They brought in some replacements, but the chemistry and quality of play of that bottom six is going to be difficult to replace. Despite this, they’ll still be in contention as long as they maintain their elite top six and Vasilevskiy. But their chances of a three-peat are much worse with losing so many important players to salary cuts.
After a massively disappointing sweep at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets, the Oilers needed to improve. And they did so slightly in signing left winger Zach Hyman to a seven-year, $38.5 million contract. The term is a little long for a 29-year-old player, but in the short term, he’ll be a solid addition. But aside from Hyman, the Oilers’ other moves have been highly questionable. They traded for a 38 year old Duncan Keith, who is not the same great defenseman he was before.
Even worse is the fact that none of his remaining contract was retained by Edmonton. Their goaltending situation is still shaky as well, relying on a 39 year old Mike Smith to somehow replicate at 2.31 GAA season. Backing him up is still Mikko Koskinen, who’s also had his struggles. All in all, a lot of the questions about their defense and goaltending after their early playoff exit still exist even after their offseason moves.
Like the Lightning, the Hurricanes were bound to lose due to their cap situation and multiple free agents. They managed to sign Andrei Svechnikov long-term, but it likely came at the expense of letting Dougie Hamilton walk as a free agent. Although they made the right decision, it’s still a move that’s going to hurt the depth of their talented defense core. The Hurricanes signed Tony DeAngelo for their defense after losing Hamilton, which is bad on a number of levels. First is that he did not look good on the defensive side for the games he played for the Rangers. Second is significant off-ice character issues which led to DeAngelo’s release from the Rangers.
The most questionable decision of all was the decision to trade 25-year-old goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. It made sense at first with the team wanting to save cap space, but then came the offer sheet for Jesperi Kotkaniemi. They gave Kotkaniemi $6 million, which is the exact amount Nedeljkovic got from the Red Wings. If they had the flexibility to give out that $6 million, then what was the point of trading Nedeljkovic? While Kotkaniemi is a solid gamble at the wing, it would seem more productive to bet on a young, surefire goaltender. They also may have been better off signing a veteran for the wing instead of hoping they can fix Kotkaniemi for a hefty price tag.
Featured image courtesy of NHL
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