The 2021 NHL Offseason has been action-packed, with the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft, 2021 NHL Draft, and Free Agency. With these exciting events, many teams have made some significant moves to build their team. Some teams made some great moves, while other teams made some questionable moves.
These are the biggest winners and losers of the 2021 NHL offseason so far.
Winners: New Jersey Devils
Key Additions: Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Graves, Luke Hughes
Key Departures: Ryan Murray, Nathan Bastian, Nick Merkley
The New Jersey Devils made some huge moves this offseason, especially helping the back end of their team. Last season, the Devils’ biggest weakness was their defense and not giving MacKenzie Blackwood enough help. This offseason, they addressed their needs, adding to their defense. First, they traded for big defensive defenseman Ryan Graves, next they drafted Luke Hughes #4 overall, brother of Devils star Jack Hughes, and lastly, they signed big-time free agent Dougie Hamilton who is regarded as a top 5 defenseman in the league. The Devils made some big moves to accelerate their rebuild.
Winners: Arizona Coyotes
Key Additions: Dylan Guenther, Shayne Gostisbehere, 5 2nd round picks
Key Departures: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Conor Garland, Antti Raanta
The Arizona Coyotes are in full rebuilding mode, making some major moves to acquire draft picks. The Coyotes first had to trade their captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson for Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel (cap dumps), and the 9th overall pick.
They continued their trend of cap dumps by acquiring cap dumps by getting Shayne Gostisbehere, Anton Stralman, and Andrew Ladd, along with getting draft picks in return. Now, the Coyotes have 7 picks in the first two rounds in the 2022 Draft, including 5 second-round picks.
Winners: Columbus Blue Jackets
Key Additions: Kent Johnson, Adam Boqvist, Cole Sillinger
Key Departures: Seth Jones, Cam Atkinson
The Columbus Blue Jackets are entering a big rebuild and the moves they’ve made this offseason is a fantastic start. The Blue Jackets robbed the Chicago Blackhawks by trading defenseman Seth Jones for a huge return including prospect Adam Boqvist and multiple first-round picks. The Blue Jackets proceeded to use those picks to draft Kent Johnson and Cole Sillinger, two playmaking centers that the Blue Jackets desperately needed. With the Blue Jackets going with the youth movement, they did a great job acquiring young players and picks for their rebuild.
Losers: Edmonton Oilers
Key Additions: Zach Hyman, Duncan Keith, Cody Ceci
Key Departures: Adam Larsson, Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones
The Oilers entered the offseason with a bunch of money to spend but used it to overpay players. The first big move the Oilers made was trading for defensemen Duncan Keith. The veteran is a shell of his former self and makes almost $6 million for the next 2 years. Not a wise investment.
Speaking of defense, the Oilers then went on to downgrade defensively, signing Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci to multi-years while letting Adam Larsson walk to free agency. The Oilers then went out to sign Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to huge deals with too much term.
Edmonton had so much potential this offseason but ended up disappointing.
Losers: Carolina Hurricanes
Key Additions: Ethan Bear, Antti Raanta, Frederik Andersen
Key Departures: Dougie Hamilton, Alex Nedeljkovic, Petr Mrzaek
The Carolina Hurricanes are always known for their strong defense and goaltending, but the moves they made this offseason sets them back significantly in that category. The Hurricanes first lost their #1 defenseman Dougie Hamilton who was a big part of their team.
They then decided to completely revamp their goaltending, trading Calder finalist Alex Nedeljkovic and letting Petr Mrzaek walk. Replacing them is Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta, a major downgrade. The Hurricanes really shot themselves in the foot, deciding to be cheap and unwilling to spend money to keep their roster intact.
Losers: Vegas Golden Knights
Key Additions: Nolan Patrick, Evgenii Dadanov, Laurent Brossoit
Key Departures: Marc-Andre Fleury, Cody Glass, Ryan Reaves
After the Vegas Golden Knights had another disappointing playoff run, they were expected to make some minor changes to try to make a run at the Stanley Cup, but instead they made some questionable moves.
The first being trading the Vezina-winning goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for basically nothing. Next, they traded for Evgenii Dadanov, a solid winger but wasn’t needed in Vegas. Lastly, they did not significantly upgrade their weakest position, their centers like they were expected to. The Vegas Golden Knights made some bad moves that could set them back this year.
Featured Image courtesy of Andy Martin/Getty Images
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