While the Florida Panthers had a mild offseason in comparison to the madness of the 2011overhaul, talk of the moves have been overshadowed by the underlying assumption that the rest of the Southeast Division has improved as well. The concern is definitely real, though the true effect of offseason transactions will obviously remain unknown until the season begins. But that doesn't stop people from speculating, and it won't stop me.
The shuffling of players from team to team is usually easy to follow on the level of stars like Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Alex Semin and others, but delving into the depth signings of each team poses a more difficult task. Following hundreds of transactions begining on July 1st and trickling into late-summer is easy using traditional sources like the NHL's trade and signing trackers, determining the effects of transactions on the 30 teams isn't always readily available. That's why I developed the 2nd Annual League Wide NHL Free Agency Roundup for you, it's ready to print out and pocket for easy referencing at all of your little NHL nerd conventions and such.A note from last season's post:
With hundreds of signings and departures between 30 teams, I was bound to miss somebody of importance. I included within these lists the major names that moved between now and free agency. This doesnt include players who resigned, most minor leaguers or tryout contracts. The +/- figure represents the difference between goals lost (from the player subtractions) and the goals acquired (from the additions). Now, it isn't a perfect measurement because one player could have benefited from good linemates on a good team, meaning his production could decrease, or one player could have been dragged down on a bad team and flourish with a new one. But, since that's all speculation, we'll make the assumption that it'll all even out in the end.
For your convenience, I've also taken into account all major trades that took place since the 2012 Entry Draft. Remember that I hate all other 29 teams in their own little way, but I tried to hold back my bias when possible. Sometimes the truth hurts. Enjoy!
Anaheim Ducks: (-19 +16) -3
The Good: Fans might not be happy with losing Parros and Visnovsky, but Murray covered those losses by adding two very underrated players in Allen and Winnik to help defensively. Souray will help on the powerplay if he can stay healthy.
Overall: Better, I think there were some smart moves in the Ducks offseason that will help the team avoid another bad first half. Head coach Bruce Boudreau may finally have the stable roster he didn't have in Washington, expect a bounce back season for Anaheim.
Boston Bruins: (-23 +3) -20
Additions: Aaron Johnson
Meh: When you have the highest payroll in the league, you can't expect much to happen on July 1st. This will be the 7th team in Johnson's brief 281 game career, whether he actually makes the roster I don't know.
Overall: Marginally Worse, losing Pouliot will make the Bruins' bottom 6 less of a threat, but at the end of the day they're still the Bruins. Losing Corvo and Zanon aren't going to break any backs.
Buffalo Sabres: (-25 +15) -10
Pin the tail on the exciting new free agent: Lets play a game! Someone grab the blindfolds off of Darcy Regier and puppet master Terry Pegula. Maybe then they'll see the only thing their team can accomplish is to waste the golden years of Ryan Miller's career.
Overall: Worse, I don't mean to hate on the team that mirrored Florida's offseason last year, but the difference between the two then was that Buffalo had good players and Florida didn't. Both made some dumb signings in 2011, and it worked for one of the teams. If Florida had finished 9th last year and signed Scott, Porter, Ott and Pardy to 'improve' I'd pull my hair out. Even if they can sign Doan(don't count on it) I'm not sure if the Sabres have a real direction.
Calgary Flames: (-27 +36) +9
The Battle of ALOLberta Part 1: To be fair, if I was in Jay Feaster's shoes after seeing their neighbors to the north draft first overall for the third consecutive season I'd be a bit crazy too. I like Dennis Wideman and don't agree with the popular opinion that he'd terrible defensively...but man, come on. 5.25M for Wideman tells me he didn't learn much from Jay Bouwmeester's 6.7M contract.
Overall: Same, I highly doubt Hudler will replicate his numbers from last season, and it probably won't replace the numbers that would have been put up by Jokinen. Wideman over Hannan is an obvious upgrade offensively, but perhaps not defensively. The new Flames team isn't really shaping up to be more that the steaming mess it was last year. But I do like Bob Hartley, maybe with his guidance this team can be relevent.
Carolina Hurricanes: (-20 +55) +35
Look who decided to be serious: I guess GM Jim Rutherford really, really wants to make the playoffs again. After the big trade(and consequent 60M signing) for Jordan Staal and rolling the dice on Semin, the offense should be clicking at a formidable rate. The defense took a bit of a hit losing the sturdy Allen, but no big deal.
Overall: Significantly Better, but two question marks remain. Will the 'Canes continue their recent string of terrible starts to their season necessitating a good second half and will Cam Ward put together the solid year his team needs?
Chicago Blackhawks: (-0 +3) +3
Additions: Sheldon Brookbank
Meh: Again like the Bruins, without much cap space to work with there really isn't much that can be done. Adding Brookbank was a good move.
Overall: Marginally Better, but with the probably loss of Andrew Brunette on the horizon things may cancel out for the 'Hawks.
Colorado Avalanche: (-21+26) +5
Why Greg Sherman is still an idiot: Look at the Avs' top 6 and tell me if they really needed Parenteau. Sure, he's a great addition and will be the go-to set up man, but the fact still remains that Colorado will held back by their mediocre defense which went unaddressed. *cough* SHOULD HAVE NEVER TRADED LILES *cough*...
Why Greg Sherman is getting a bit better: He knew it was time to cut ties with Mueller and Porter, who were both RFAs. The Avs were getting a bit bloated with those two guys who never really seemed to be involved last season.
Overall: Marginally Better, though leaving leading PKer Jay McClement out in the cold was a questionable move, I'm confident that the revamped top-6 can lead the Avs back into the playoff hunt.
Columbus Blue Jackets: (-34 +43) +9
Subtractions: Mark Methot, Aaron Johnson, Rick Nash
Why Scott Howson is an idiot, but with his hands tied: Trading Rick Nash was the last thing the Blue Jackets needed and the first thing they needed. Losing the franchises best player, a consistent 30-40 goal threat and locker room leader isn't going to be pretty. But the fact that Nash wanted out made the trade neccesary, and Howson probably got the best deal available from Nash's short list of suitors. The Bobrovsky trade? Well that was kinda dumb.
Overall: Marginally Better, but only because you can't drop any farther than rock bottom anyways. Getting Dubinsky and Anisimov will spread out the scoring, and the Foligno trade was a good one.
Dallas Stars: (-43 +68) +25
The difference a legitimate owner makes: With a new owner the Stars are looking like a team that could really make a dent in the playoffs. Adding aging Whitney and Jagr will probably pay off and replace lost scoring from Ribeiro, and having Aaron Rome on board will help defensively. Not a bad summer at all, I'm impressed.
Overall: Significantly Better, though Roy won't make his first appearance later in the year due to offseason surgery, he'll add another element of scoring to compliment the already formidable Dallas top-6. If Lehtonen can stay healthy, this team looks pretty good from top to bottom.
Detroit Red Wings: (-36 +20) -16
Subtractions: Jiri Hudler, Nicklas Lidstrom,
The Old: This team isn't getting younger because they're adding rookies and such, they're getting younger because all of the old fogeys are leaving. With Hudler leaving for Calgary and Lidstrom hitting the golf course permanently, the Red Wings will need other players to step up and fill the absences. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg need to have big seasons.
Overall: Worse, and Mike Babcock might have to deal with the loss of Tomas Holmstrom as well. The Wings are in a period of change, and they could be vulnerable next season.
Edmonton Oilers: (-0 +0) 0
The Battle of ALOLberta Part 2: So while Feaster is spending money like crazy to the south, Oilers 'GM' Steve Tambellini explains to his scouts what he's looking for in next years #1 overall pick. Hint: He must not be a defenseman.
Overall: Marginally Better, but probably worse. I mean, sure you get Yakupov and Schultz this year...but the year before you got RNH and the year before that Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi. What's changed?
Florida Panthers: (-48 +16) -32
So wheres the other 20 free agent signings? Yeah, this year the FA Day was a bit of a letdown, but in reality it wasn't realistic to expect Dale Tallon to sign a bunch of guys for 2-3 roster spots. That kind of free agent frenzy is impossible to live up to.
Overall: Worse, sorry. A lot is riding on Mueller, Huberdeau and Upshall to produce, but nothing is a given right now...even playoffs. That said, the final seven games the Panthers played brought them together as a team that gave the eventual Eastern Conference Champions their biggest scare besides losing to Los Angeles. The Panthers can play with the big boys now, and the tweaks Tallon made to the roster could come up big.
Los Angeles Kings: (-1+0) -1
Subtractions: Ethan Moreau
Meh: I'm pretty sure Dean Lombardi was too drunk this summer to pick up the phone and call any free agents this summer. Its not like he has much room to improve anyways.
Overall: Same, but with a caveat. I think they'll be the same 6-8 seed in the West Kings we saw in the regular season, not the ones that blew through the playoffs in 20 games.
Minnesota Wild: (-14 +52) +38
The sad plight of the Wild fan: Just when your team starts looking really good for the first time in years BAM impending lockout. Though in a way the Suter/Parise deals kinda contributed to the dispute, so yeah, thanks. But in all seriousness, the Wild look pretty well improved.
Overall: Significantly Better, bringing in two All-Star calibre players in one offseason is a pretty big score for the organization, who also added depth centers Torrey Mitchell and Jake Dowell on the side. The Wild will be better and should score more, but since they weren't scoring much to begin with the total goals will probably peak just above average. Hey, I'd take that any day.
Montreal Canadiens: (-1 +11) +10
Subtractions: Brad Staubitz
So what? I'm not seeing how Brandon Prust and broken little Colby Armstrong will help much, and I don't feel like Galchenyuk or Collberg will make the cut come
October whenever the season starts.
Overall: Same, I'm just not feeling it. Montreal is going to need more than Brandon Prust, injury boy and a 4th liner to pull out of the league basement.
Nashville Predators: (-17 +2) -15
Additions: Chris Mason, Scott Hannan
The Ugly: I felt like Nashville was going somewhere, possibly even the Western Conference Finals, before this offseason kinda screwed things up for Nashville. Don't get me wrong, Nashville is still great, but losing Suter hurts along with a good utility player in Tootoo. Nashville got a raw deal losing Suter, suddenly those NSH-MIN games could be interesting.
Overall: Worse, but Nashville has always found a way to rebound from bad FA breakups. Scott Hannan is a good stay-at-home defenseman I'd be happy with on my team, and the return for Lindback was pretty good. I honestly can't see Nashville dropping too far, they have too good of a coach for that to happen.
New Jersey Devils: (-46 +8) -38
Additions: Krys Barch, Bobby Butler
Well that genuinely sucks: So you've just made it to the Stanley Cup Final and lost. Well, you're not at the top of the world but one step down isn't too bad; but hey at least it was better than 10-11 when you finished 11th in the conference. On to the offseason when your young star and captain decides New Jersey is no longer home and skips town. Ouch, and the worst part is the Devils know what its like being without Parise...you finish 11th in the conference.
Overall: Worse, and not by a hair either. Losing Parise will hurt the first line, the powerplay, the penalty kill, the locker room, the fanbase, the organization. Ponikarovsky was also putting up respectable numbers in the bottom six and will be missed on the powerplay. Bobby Butler and Krys Barch aren't going to heal those wounds.
New York Islanders: (-19 +15) -4
Intriguing move: Brad Boyes was once a 40 goal scorer, believe it or not. When he was with the Blues from the tail end of the 06-07 season through 10-11, Boyes chalked up an average of .71 points/game before being shipped out to the Sabres. Things went downhill from there, where he put up .43 points/game. The Islanders seem to be the kind of team where he could rebound his career and help his team to success. This was a smart signing.
Overall: Same, a losing Parenteau will put more pressure on John Tavares to perform at 110% which may be asking too much. Adding Boyes will spread out scoring, and if Visnovsky suits up for the Isles they'll have a new dimension from the blueline.
New York Rangers: (-48 +48) +0
Glen Sather has too much time on his hands: Its hard to argue that adding Rick Nash will make the Rangers better, but how much better? With a pretty solid top 6, Nash's ice time will probably drop or one of his teammates' ice time will. That decrease in icetime will likely lead to less production for whoever's involved. And considering Anisimov and Dubinsky accounted for a good portion of what Nash's goal total will likely be, will the difference be worth concentrating scoring into that one player rather than two? Maybe, maybe not.
Overall: Better, but not significantly better as some expect. Pyatt should replace some lost scoring from Fedotenko and Prust, and adding Asham was a solid move.
Ottawa Senators: (-31 +6) -25
Additions: Guillaume Latendresse, Mike Lundin, Mark Methot
Subtractions: Matt Carkner, Zenon Konopka, Filip Kuba, Rob Klinkhammer, Nick Foligno, Bobby Butler
That could come back to bite you: So, I'm not really sure what the point of the Methot for Foligno swap is for Ottawa. Methot is a 27 year old defenseman who's never really stuck with the Blue Jackets while Foligno had a career year nearly putting up 50 points. If Foligno gets good icetime in Columbus(he probably will) he could expand on his career highs. Oh, and he's only 24.
Overall: Same, if and only if Latendresse returns healthy and back to prior 25 scorer form. Lundin and Methot will replace aging Filip Kuba, but losing Foligno and Butler could bring the offense back to Earth.
Philadelphia Flyers: (-34 +17) -17
Subtractions: Matt Carle, Jaromir Jagr, Sergei Bobrovsky, James van Reimsdyk
Luke Schenn KoolAid: Remember when Holmgren shipped out Carter and Richards declaring Claude Giroux and James van Reimsdyk as the organizations' new direction? Well that lasted long. Holmgren must think concussions are infectious plagues because trading a young exciting scorer for a frustrating, question mark defenseman is pretty much unexplainable otherwise. Then after realizing his screwup, he tried to offer sheet Shea Weber. LOL.
Overall: Worse, but young players like Read, Couturier, B. Schenn and Simmonds could make up the difference on offense at least. We'll see how the defense works out swapping Carle for Gervais and Schenn, I'd guess it will be better defensively at least.
Phoenix Coyotes: (-35 +29) -6
Additions: David Moss, Rob Klinkhammer, Steve Sullivan, Zybnek Michalek, Nick Johnson
Subtractions: Ray Whitney, Curtis McElhinney, Adrian Aucoin, Taylor Pyatt
I bet... When Don Maloney signed Ray Whitney two years ago he didn't think he'd lead his team in scoring with an impressive 77 points. At age 40, no less. Good on The Wizard for not letting his age slow him down, but come on GMDM probably could have hooked you up with a sweet house on a Scottsdale golf course to retire in if you'd have lowered the asking price a bit.
Overall: Same, the real question is whether Shane Doan decides to stick around with the only organization he's ever known. Losing Whitney was bad enough, losing their captain could be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Adding Sullivan will replace Pyatt and help the PP, and Michalek will improve the defense.
Pittsburgh Penguins: (-49 +31) -18
Subtractions: Arron Asham, Steve Sullivan, Jordan Staal, Zybnek Michalek
Pretty sweet AHL additions you've got there: So Shero knows his team bowed out in the first round of the playoffs for a second consecutive year right? Looking at his free agent signings, probably not. For a team that likes to make big splashes all the time, this was a pretty mild offseason...and unloading Staal for Sutter and some prospects probably isn't going to come up big for this season. Besides Sutter and Glass, I'm not sure any of the other guys will make the roster right out of camp. Watch out for Wilkes-Barre!
Overall: Worse, and not just because Staal for Sutter is a downgrade. Sending away Steve Sullivan after a career salvaging season will hurt the PP and veteran leadership, and losing tough-as-nails Asham and usually solid Michalek isn't going to make things easier for Fleury who had a completely embarrassing playoffs.
San Jose Sharks: (-24 +6) -18
Additions: Adam Burish
Subtractions: Torrey Mitchell, Benn Ferriero, Daniel Winnik
The beginning of the end? Obviously, the Sharks haven't been their usual dominant selves lately. I used to dread meetings with the Sharks, but they sure looked mild last season. Are we witnessing the decline of the San Jose Sharks as a league powerhouse? Unless Adam Burish is some kind of beast in disguise, I'd wager we are. This has probably been a disappointing offseason for fans, and unless Doug Wilson's less-is-more plan pays off, it could transition into a disappointing season.
Overall: Worse, the Sharks defensive game will hurt after losing offensive minded(but still defensively solid) Mitchell and defensive minded(but still offensively solid) Winnik. When the McGinn-Winnik, Galiardi trade went down I thought San Jose had a real steal in PK master and strong work ethic Winnik, but letting him walk was a dumb move. Losing Ferriero takes away an element of depth to the forward lines, as well.
St. Louis Blues: (-1 +1) +0
Additions: Jeff Woywitka
Subtractions: B.J. Crombeen
Meh: What's there to say? The Blues lose a sometimes-NHL, sometimes-AHL plug fighter and add a 3rd pairing defenseman.
Overall: Same, about as unchanged as you can get. That's not necessarily a bad thing either, after the results of last season not much needed to be done.
Tampa Bay Lightning: (-9 +31) +22
Additions: Matt Carle, Matt Taormina, Benoit Pouliot, Sami Salo, Anders Lindback, Kyle Wilson, B.J. Crombeen
Subtractions: Bruno Gervais, Tim Wallace
The super-rivalry gets heated: So I guess the Bolts want to play next year, huh? Well as a Panthers fan I have to pick this apart as snarkily(?) as possible. Additions: Overpaid liability defenseman(LOL did Yzerman hand the keys to Feaster on this one?) , defenseman for Syracuse, forward with inflated numbers due to playing for powerhouse last season , old rickety defenseman with inflated numbers due to playing for powerhouse last season, unproven goalie hailed as goaltending savior(career 38GP in tow), plug, plug who likes to fight.
Overall: Better, on paper anyways. Whether their young goalie and splodey-bones defenseman hold up, who knows. These could be the players that restore the 10-11 Lightning or continue blazing the trail to the league basement that the 11-12 Lightning started.
Toronto Maple Leafs: (-14 +24) +10
Additions: Jay McClement, James van Reimsdyk, Keith Aucoin
Subtractions: Jonas Gustavsson, Colby Armstrong, Joey Crabb, Phillipe Dupuis, Luke Schenn
I like Jay McClement: I wrote a whole explanation on why Silent Jay would make the best Panther EVER, but Tallon didn't get the memo and let him sign with Toronto. Needless to say, I was crushed. Burke is a blind squirrel who found his nut.
Overall: Better, I like the McClement signing for special teams and leadership and the JVR trade for scoring power. When I look at what the Leafs lost, I don't see anything that can't be replaced...especially Luke Schenn.
Vancouver Canucks: (-15 +18) +3
Additions: Jason Garrison, Derek Joslin
Subtractions: Sami Salo, Aaron Rome, Marc-Andre Gragnani
The Vancouver Express: You could fill a book with all of the transactions between Florida and Vancouver, most of which the Canucks have won. Though there was no trade involved, the Panthers lost one their other well-rounded defenseman to the likes of the blue and green, but for the term Garrison was signed to; I'm not going to get too upset about it. Garrison could exand upon his career numbers last year or he could turn into the next Keith Ballard. Note to Vancouver fans: I liked Ballard, and I really liked Garrison. There could be a correlation to my liking them in Florida and them sucking in Vanouver.
Overall: Marginally Better, the offense from defense pretty much cancels out between their additions and subtractions, but they got younger. I doubt Joslin will be ample replacement for Rome, however.
Washington Capitals: (-43 +33) -10
Additions: Joey Crabb, Mike Ribeiro, Wojtek Wolski
Subtractions: Jeff Halpern, Cody Eakin, Dennis Wideman, Alexander Semin, Keith Aucoin
The Wolski Factor: Wolski will score a hat trick against Florida in each of the six regular season meetings, and in the playoffs he will score four consecutive double-OT game winners. That'll teach Dineen to give a second line player third line minutes.
Overall: Marginally Worse, despite the Wolski-led domination of the Panthers. Though Ribeiro might have "better defensive play and leadership" he probably won't replace Semin's numbers, and losing Halpern and Wideman hurts the Capital's defense that wasn't spectacular to begin with.
Winnipeg Jets: (-16 +37) +21
Additions: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Al Montoya, Olli Jokinen
Subtractions: Tanner Glass, Chris Mason, Tim Stapleton
The death of GTS Part 1: To the dismay of Jets GM Chevlydayvellovsomethinski, with the breaking of the GTS line goes two fan favorites who provided a little unexpected scoring throughout the season. Good thing he locked up fan favorite Evander Ka --oh wait never mind.
The death of GTS Part 2: To the dismay of Panthers color commentator Billy Lindsay, with the breaking of the GTS line goes his last minute pseudo-trashtalk go-to when Florida is losing to the Jets 7-0.
Overall: Better, I guess. The only thing that's certain about Olli Jokinen and Alexei Ponikarovsky on the Jets roster is they'll feel right at home with the whole 45 minutes of daylight in the winter thing.
And now for the main event: projected goal totals based on the additions and subtractions goal differential. On the left is the rankings of each teams' 11-12 goals-for total, on the right is the projected total. The calculation is simple, the if your team scored 200 goals last year had a net gain of +1 goal this offseason, the projected total will be 201 goals-for. If you check back on last year's projected GF, you'll see how totally unpredictable the factors determining scoring success are and how adding goals during the offseason don't necessarily translate. But hey, I'm doing this for fun.
You'll note that the projected totals are usually lower than they were the year before, this is likely due to player retirement/banishment to the KHL along with the impact of rookie scoring. As said last year, quote this simulation at your own risk.
|Rank||Team||Projected 12-13 GF|