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Trick or Treat - Offseason NHL Team Report

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grandmaster
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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2041412
 

Halloween arriving in the middle of the NHL's offseason may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Let's look at how a handful of teams have fared so far this fall, evaluating each squad's moves using a theme connected to Saturday's holiday.

Trick = A team that's either further removed from contender status than before this offseason, or isn't as close to contending as the club's splashy moves seem to indicate.

Treat = A team that's vaulted closer to contention thanks to its offseason moves.

 
 

Bruins: Trick 

cropped_GettyImages-1185117831.jpg?ts=1598638089Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Key arrivals: Craig Smith
Key departures: Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara(unsigned), Joakim Nordstrom

Boston entered the offseason fresh off an underwhelming showing in the playoffs, and with ample cap space to make an impact in free agency. But surprisingly, the Bruins were just passengers throughout the frenzy. 

Smith is a nice addition, especially at $3.1 million per season. But only making one signing after another campaign in which an aging core didn't yield a championship is curious, to say the least.

The Bruins also let Krug walk, and they didn't bring anyone in to replace him. There are still strong pieces on Boston's blue line, but without Krug - and Chara still unsigned - the unit is looking thinner than ever before. Tie all that in with long-term surgery recoveries for superstars David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, and Boston's immediate future after a bland offseason seems precarious.

Canadiens: Treat 

cropped_GettyImages-1168722777.jpg?ts=1569941119Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Key arrivals: Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli, Joel Edmundson, Jake Allen, Alexander Romanov
Key departures: Max Domi

Montreal's biggest issue last season was scoring, as the Habs were possession darlings, but they often struggled to finish. Adding Toffoli and Anderson should help in a big way. 

The Canadiens can now roll out three potent lines next year, and young centers Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi will also provide a boost after making strides during the team's impressive playoff showing. Montreal lacks star power up front, but the club boasts quality depth.

Edmundson's contract (four years, $3.5M AAV) could come back to haunt general manager Marc Bergevin. But the squad's blue line should improve overall, especially if the 20-year-old Romanov can make the leap from the KHL to the NHL with ease.

Allen, meanwhile, is one of the NHL's best backups, and he'll help to keep Carey Pricefresh - which will be crucial during a potentially condensed schedule.

Sabres: Trick

cropped_GettyImages-1189454642.jpg?ts=1576869034Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Key arrivals: Taylor Hall, Eric Staal, Cody Eakin, Tobias Rieder
Key departures: Marcus Johansson,Jimmy Vesey, Johan Larsson, Dominik Kahun (unsigned)

The Sabres have enjoyed a great offseason - we're not arguing that. Hall and Jack Eichel will be one of the league's scariest offensive duos, and Staal fills a massive hole as a second-line center.

However, there are still far too many question marks for this team to contend. The bottom-six forward group is a mess. There are some nice blue-line pieces in Buffalo, but the group is unbalanced and lacks a reliable shutdown pair. And the team's goaltending is suspect, despite some encouraging signs from Linus Ullmark a year ago.

Maple Leafs: Treat

cropped_GettyImages-1199275039.jpg?ts=1593572241Mark Blinch / National Hockey League / Getty

Key arrivals: TJ Brodie, Zach Bogosian, Mikko Lehtonen, Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmonds, Jimmy Vesey, Joey Anderson
Key departures: Andreas Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen, Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci

After a disappointing defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets in this summer's qualifying round, Kyle Dubas got busy addressing some of the Maple Leafs' clear needs. Toronto became tougher and more experienced throughout its lineup, and adding Brodie gives the Leafs their strongest group of blue-liners in recent memory.

While the Maple Leafs appear deeper after their bevy of additions, the most impressive aspect of Toronto's offseason could be its salary-cap navigation. Dubas not only bolstered each position, but he also retained restricted free agents Ilya Mikheyev and Travis Dermott at discounted rates, and without going over the stagnant cap.

Islanders: Trick

cropped_GettyImages-1273239734.jpg?ts=1603824247Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

Key arrivals: Ilya Sorokin
Key departures: Devon Toews, Derick Brassard (unsigned), Thomas Greiss

New York has been silent so far this offseason and unable to build on the momentum from a surprising run to the Eastern Conference Final. Recouping two second-round picks in the Toews deal is a decent haul, but it's hard to understand why the young, dynamic blue-liner needed to be the Islanders' cap casualty. The club also hasn't signed a single free agent yet.

Lou Lamoriello has always been one to wait, and he's sure showcasing his patience when it comes to locking down two key RFAs. Foundational pieces Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock need new deals, and the Islanders only hold $8.9 million in available cap space. The final prices of those two contracts will define New York's offseason, either bailing out Lamoriello after his inactivity, or further crippling the club's financial future.

Avalanche: Treat

cropped_GettyImages-1268376518.jpg?ts=1601842524Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Key arrivals: Brandon Saad, Devon Toews
Key departures: Nikita Zadorov

The Avalanche are enjoying yet another solid offseason. GM Joe Sakic didn't go big-game hunting with his cap space, but he continued his trend of acquiring strong two-way players cheaply. Adding Saad to one of the NHL's deepest forward groups is scary for Colorado's Western Conference opponents, and Sakic even managed to convince Chicago to retain some of the veteran winger's salary.

Toews essentially replaces Zadorov on the blue line after the latter went to the Blackhawks in the deal, which is a major upgrade. The 26-year-old is one of the NHL's best puck-moving defensemen, and the four-year, $16.4 million contract he signed after the trade could become a highly team-friendly deal. 

He joins a promising defensive corps that already features Cale Makar and Samuel Girard, along with prospects Bowen Byram and Conor Timmins waiting in the weeds. The rich get richer.

Canucks: Trick

cropped_GettyImages-1269931974.jpg?ts=1604086176Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Key arrivals: Nate Schmidt, Braden Holtby
Key departures: Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev, Tyler Toffoli, Josh Leivo, Troy Stecher, Oscar Fantenberg

We love adding Schmidt, especially at the cost (third-round pick). But there's no denying the Canucks became worse.

Schmidt replaces Tanev, which is an upgrade, but GM Jim Benning hasn't added anyone to fill Stecher's spot, and he doesn't hold the cap space to make that move. Is Olli Juolevi ready? Tyler Myersplaying heavier minutes could be a spooky reality.

Losing Toffoli hurts, too, especially after how well he meshed with Vancouver's top-six forwards. Benning may have been able to keep Toffoli around if he didn't allocate so much money to uninspiring veterans like Brandon Sutter ($4.38 million), Micheal Ferland ($3.5 million), Antoine Roussel ($3 million), and Jay Beagle ($3 million). Not bringing back Leivo, who only received $875K from the Calgary Flames, is questionable too.

Holtby, who's posted three straight poor seasons, is a definite downgrade from Markstrom. Thatcher Demko had better be ready to play at least half of the Canucks' games. He certainly looked like a No. 1 netminder in the postseason.

Golden Knights: Treat

cropped_GettyImages-1272180041.jpg?ts=1600285688Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

Key arrivals: Alex Pietrangelo, Carl Dahlstrom
Key departures: Nate Schmidt, Paul Stastny

Is upgrading from Schmidt to Pietrangelo worth the cost of trading away Stastny? We think so. That's Vegas' offseason in a nutshell. The Golden Knights have now assembled one of the league's best blue lines, and they were able to re-sign goalie Robin Lehner.

Center depth beyond William Karlsson is the club's biggest weakness, but 2016 No. 6 pick Cody Glass provides plenty of upside, and veteran Chandler Stephensonfit in with Vegas extremely well after being acquired in a midseason trade last year from the Washington Capitals.

Edited by grandmaster
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Well their review of the Canucks makes sense only on the TT front. 
 

The back end has improved immensely over the loss of Tanev. OJ and or the others should be more than capable to fill in the bottom end of that defence.

 

Overall I say this was a slight loss to a close draw in loss / gain ratio. At least we didn’t get stuck with a long and bad contract. 

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I love these type of "reports".  Canucks are a team on the rise.  No question.  Myopic approach that misses the elevation of young talent coming to the Canucks this year in Juolevi, Rathbone, Lind, Rafferty, and maybe Hogz and PodZ etc.   Let alone the fact that Petey, Hughes, Virt, Motte, Gaud and Demko and probably Boes and Horvat are all young players who will be better next year.

 

Whenever the "experts" post their predictions you can count on them being wrong!!

 

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, fanfor42 said:

I love these type of "reports".  Canucks are a team on the rise.  No question.  Myopic approach that misses the elevation of young talent coming to the Canucks this year in Juolevi, Rathbone, Lind, Rafferty, and maybe Hogz and PodZ etc.   Let alone the fact that Petey, Hughes, Virt, Motte, Gaud and Demko and probably Boes and Horvat are all young players who will be better next year.

 

Whenever the "experts" post their predictions you can count on them being wrong!!

 

 

 

 

Also when their “reports” are glowing reviews of a bunch of washed up league minimum signings for the Leafs you know it’s a biased article.

 

To add to that they make no mention of the Leafs goaltending which is average at best. Andersen had a .909 SV% and a 2.85 GAA. If they had signed Holtby I guarantee they would be praising him and calling him a Vezina goalie.

 

Edited by DeNiro
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1 minute ago, Tracksuit said:

yeah we are defiantly a worse team 

looming expansion 

cap mismanagement 

However long term I think this will make the team better since it’ll force the coach and gm to use the farm. 
 

We’re actually in a great position for the expansion draft now. Better than most teams.

 

As for cap mismanagement that also may be a blessing in disguise. It has kept us from adding any other potential anchor contracts, which will be much more dangerous in the coming years.
 

All the current inflated contracts will be gone by the time we need the space as we continue to infuse young talent into the lineup.

 

A lot of those downgrades are also based on assumption though. They’re assuming that OJ or Rafferty can’t replace Stecher. They’re assuming that Holtby will continue to play poorly while Markstrom plays at a top 5 level. And they’re assuming Virtanen can’t fill a permanent spot in the top 6. All of these will determine whether we’re better or not.

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20 minutes ago, DeNiro said:

We’re actually in a great position for the expansion draft now. Better than most teams.

 

As for cap mismanagement that also may be a blessing in disguise. It has kept us from adding any other potential anchor contracts, which will be much more dangerous in the coming years.
 

All the current inflated contracts will be gone by the time we need the space as we continue to infuse young talent into the lineup.

 

A lot of those downgrades are also based on assumption though. They’re assuming that OJ or Rafferty can’t replace Stecher. They’re assuming that Holtby will continue to play poorly while Markstrom plays at a top 5 level. And they’re assuming Virtanen can’t fill a permanent spot in the top 6. All of these will determine whether we’re better or not.

There's an opportunity for a bunch of young players to take steps forward next season.  This could be a good thing long term

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1 hour ago, DeNiro said:

Love the heart that Stecher played with but the fact that they think he is tough to replace is funny.

 

They also love to say the loss of Toffoli hurts us when we really only had him the last 10 games of the season where our record was below .500 in that stretch. Sure he would be a nice luxury just like he would be for any team but we proved we could compete last season without him.

 

And throwing in Leivo is clearly just to stir things up. Any unbiased hockey fan knows that while Leivo was a good depth player, he’s far from irreplaceable. At some point every team needs to start bringing in their prospects and giving them a chance, and this may be Lind’s opening if he can take it.

 

The final assumption on their part is that we got worse in net. While Markstrom was great for us and our MVP, assuming that he can repeat the season he just had is just as much of an assumption as saying Holtby can’t regain his form under Clarke, and Demko won’t continue to get better.

 

Its fine by me though, last season the Leafs were overhyped and the Canucks were predicted to miss the playoffs. We all know how that went. 

Another season being underdogs is going to bode well for us. Just like we were underdogs in the playoffs, it kept the pressure off. We will surprise pundits again, which is funny because when we had all of those players that we lost this offseason at the start of the year, we were still called a bottom 10 team. We didn't have Toffoli for most of the year and almost never with Boeser to truly know how much better our offense would be with them together. I think many are underestimating the boost from defense by adding another puck possession/moving dman of Schmidt's calibre. The only issue is goaltending, but we just added a Cup winning goalie while hoping the progression of Demko continues, so it could be an overall wash in net.

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we will be better. By the end of the season, barring any major injuries we will be pushing for the division lead.

 

positives

schmidt is a huge upgrade over tanev. can he play 22 minutes until juolevi/rafferty are more trusted?

petey was dynamite in playoffs, im expecting ppg+ Player 

quinn hughes make was dynamite in playoffs, im expecting ppg Player

JT Miller was dynamite in playoffs, im expecting ppg Player

Boeser will be great for us this year bouncing between petey's and BO's line. i believe he was playing hurt for alot of last season.

Virtanen is hungry and will be coming into camp in the best shape of his life, it would not suprise me if he makes top line.

gaudette another season under his belt and entering his prime years, i expect modest improvements.

motte: in his prime, could he possibly improve from his playoff performance?

BO: in his prime, and his playoff hockey makes me hopeful he improve from last season

 

unsure outcomes??

demko and holtby: Is demko ready to play more games? all signs point to yes. can holtby regain his composure playing fewer games with ian clarke guiding him?

Ferland: can he be healthy? crosby did it

rookies: rafferty/joulevi/hoglander/lind will they step up and not look out of place. im thinking 2-3 rookies on our team this year.

roussel: can he bounce back from a off year? or is this the beginning of the end?

cap space: Can we circumvent the cap early on in the season? 20/21 man roster? we will need the flexibility if we decide to buy a rental

trymakin. this man is a beast and plays 23 minutes a game, but will he come over? he probably demands a big raise 3-4 million, trade edler and swap?

 

negatives

edler, sutter, beagle, erikkson they be old, how much will they regress? will LE/sutter even make the team due to cap? is LE even a nhler at this point?

depth: this is our biggest hit, if we lose some top guys, its gonna be ugly.

4th line and bottom pairing d. these lines will feature some unproven players and rookies. maybe we will be pleasantly suprised? probably not though

 

conclusion

I believe this team will score more goals than last year with all of our best players likely to improve. i believe that we are basically the same roster as last year minus a few plugs. the biggest question mark is the goaltending, on paper we are worse BUT we have a much higher ceiling in the goaltending dept too. how many games will we lose to our depth, if the injury bug strikes. get ready for a excicting season and hopefully a couple of russians at the end of the season.

 

 

Home line up

Cap including 4m in bonuses/buyout and luongo 81.476 million

 

miller/petey/jake

pearson/bo/boeser

motte/gaudette/lind

roussell/beagle/ferland

 

hughes/myers                              

edler/schmidt                               

rafferty/benn or juolevi/benn        

 

depth sautner,hawryluk

 

Go canucks Go!!!!!!!!!!!

 

we can add trymakin if we can trade one of edler/sutter/ferland/roussel/beagle. personally i like trading edler cause add a potential 3.5 million dollar ufa player if trmakin signs for a 1 year 1,000,000 salary with a 1.5 million signing bonus. this edler trade also gives us more room to sign our rfas next year.  we can prolly sign tree to a 3-4 mill contract for 2021. who would be a good trade target? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Petey_BOI
added lineups, trade propsal
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I actually agree with a lot of what is said but in a one step back to take two forward kind of way.

I think Benning has had one of his better offseasons because he has been tight to the cap and has had to be disciplined in his spending.  The mistakes that cost us this year were made in previous seasons.

What this fails to really note that the team is depending on growth of the young stars to improve.  Petterson and Hughes are 20, Demko still has a long way to go.  There are some good young wingers waiting in the wings and Zack took Leivo's spot.

Benning has had a long history of trying to figure out our D.  First he tried to build an old school D by bringing in players like Gudbranson.  Eventually he figured out that the NHL doesn't play that way and unless he went full LA it wasn't going to work and has been transitioning to a modern NHL D with a focus on puck interception and movement.  In this regard this offseason is a great success.  Losing Tanev for Schmidt moves us in the right direction.  I really liked Stetcher but if he couldn't get the puck out before the forechecker got there he would get hemmed in.  Rathbone, OJ and Rafferty all represent better puck movers and in the long run the overall design of this D is much better for the current NHL and has a lot of room to grow.  It will likely take a step back this year.

Can't argue the point on goal.  Holtby has not been anywhere near as good as Markstrom the last couple of seasons.  He may improve here with Clark, he may not.  Demko may come in and be a great starter, he may not be ready.

Our forward group looks exactly like our forward group did at the start of last year minus Lievo plus Zack and Hawryluk (?).  Brock is healthy, Elias is getting stronger and better, Bo has likely plateaued but a solid level.  I do not think that we will see Ferland back.

Ultimately Benning did the right thing not signing Markstrom and Tanev to those deals.  Short term pain for long term gain is something Benning has never embraced but was forced to this year because of his questionable deals in previous offseasons and in the long run I think the club will be better off for it.

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Every year some teams shuffle their deck of players but most of the time they are not becoming a better team, they just have different players. The teams that can stay the course and continue to develop their young players and cycle them into the roster year after year are the ones that will continue to improve year after year. 

 

Seems to me that the Canucks are doing that. Tanev was replaced with a better player, Stecher is easily interchangeable, the Canucks made the playoffs without Toffoli and went deep in the playoffs mostly without him as well. Holtby was a bargain and is expected to regain his form. Almost a handful of d-men are NHL ready, this may be the only draw back but the team will be better for getting these guys in now.

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Pretty simple premise:

 

On paper, do the Canucks have a better roster after their offseason moves to start next season than the one they finished with last season? 
 

Holtby is not an upgrade on Marky. 
88 for 8 is an upgrade, but with caveats as they play different styles. 

Stetch, Levino gone. 

On paper, the Canucks are not a better team to start the season and the author said as much, without discussing the context of strategy or projecting “ifs and buts” concerning prospects expected to seamlessly, and inexpensively, fill those vacancies. 
 

I think it’s safe to agree that it’s known that the Canucks are staging their roster for the EP and QH contracts, the ED and the expiration of the expensive bottom 6. The author offered no perspective on any of that because it was not their scope. Nothing to see here. Moving on. 
 



 

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57 minutes ago, 189lb enforcers? said:

Pretty simple premise:

 

On paper, do the Canucks have a better roster after their offseason moves to start next season than the one they finished with last season? 
 

Holtby is not an upgrade on Marky. 
88 for 8 is an upgrade, but with caveats as they play different styles. 

Stetch, Levino gone. 

On paper, the Canucks are not a better team to start the season and the author said as much, without discussing the context of strategy or projecting “ifs and buts” concerning prospects expected to seamlessly, and inexpensively, fill those vacancies. 
 

I think it’s safe to agree that it’s known that the Canucks are staging their roster for the EP and QH contracts, the ED and the expiration of the expensive bottom 6. The author offered no perspective on any of that because it was not their scope. Nothing to see here. Moving on. 
 



 

Ain't that the truth. 

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