NHL Offseason: 5 Teams That Will Be Active This Summer
With the 2011-12 regular season in the books, the summer is fast approaching.
While there remains an exciting playoff schedule on the horizon, it's never too early to look towards the summer and predict what will happen during the NHL's stagnant months.
Let's take a look at five teams that will certainly be active in the offseason.
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After a terribly disappointing season, there could be wholesale changes on the way in southern Alberta.
Team captain Jarome Iginla—who has been the subject of several trade rumors of late—may be on his way out. If the Flames do choose to enter a rebuilding phase, it would make sense to unload the 34-year-old right wing for younger assets that could be a part of the team over a long period of time.
Iginla is due $14 million over the next two seasons—a hefty salary for an organization to pay that may not be contending for a Cup in the next few years.
Noteworthy Free Agents: Olli Jokinen, Blake Comeau (RFA), Lee Stempniak, Corey Sarich.
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The Capitals may be in the playoffs this year, but that doesn't mean that Washington came remotely close to meeting its regular season goals in '11-'12.
There was quite a bit of turmoil in the Nation's capital over the past few months, leading to the dismissal of head coach Bruce Boudreau. Franchise cornerstone Alex Ovechkin hasn't played like himself, and his supporting cast has, for the most part, underperformed as well.
Washington may feel that it's necessary to make some major changes this summer to reascend to the league's elite, so don't be surprised if George McPhee's team actively pursues trade options and big-name free agents.
Notable Free Agents: Alex Semin, Mike Knuble, Mike Green (RFA) Dennis Wideman, Tomas Vokoun.
Toronto Maple Leafs
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It should come as to no surprise that the Leafs made it onto this list.
In the playoff picture as late as February, an epic collapse in Toronto led to the firing of head coach Ron Wilson and a long fall down the NHL totem pole.
The Leafs management knows that this past season was unacceptable, as evident by the apology letter they sent to their fans on Monday.
Expect trigger-happy GM Brian Burke to make some big changes in the offseason in hopes of returning Toronto to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Noteworthy Free Agents: Nikolai Kulemin (RFA), Matt Frattin (RFA), Jonas Gustavsson.
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The Colorado Avalanche will be extremely busy this summer whether they like it or not.
With 15 free agents on his roster, GM Greg Sherman has a lot of decisions to make during the offseason, as he will look to bring the youthful Avs back to the playoffs after a disappointing 2011-12 campaign.
Notable Free Agents: Matt Duchene (RFA), Milan Hejduk, Ryan O'Reilly (RFA), Erik Johnson (RFA).
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The Phoenix Coyotes may have won their first ever division title this year, but that doesn't mean they are in for a quiet summer.
With many vital members of their roster set to enter free agency, it will be interesting to see how many players the Coyotes can retain next year.
With a low budget, it's inevitable that some changes will occur this offseason, and it will be interesting to see how many guys GM Don Maloney can convince to stay in the desert.
Notable Free Agents: Shane Doan, Daymond Langkow, Ray Whitney, Michael Rozsival, Adrian Aucoin.