NHL Free Agency: 6 Teams That Have Fared the Worst This Summer
Free agency is a time when teams try to change their fortunes without having to offer up any of their prospects or top talent through a trade.
However, for as many teams that come out ahead during this time of year there are as many or more that do not fare so well. Teams will be picked clean some years.
Each year the amount of free agency winners and losers changes with each new crop of free agents.
As this year was relatively thin, there were only a handful of teams that came out well, with names like Minnesota topping that list.
On the other end there were six teams that lost a number of players to free agency, and in some cases it was more who they were unable to get that placed them on this list.
All links in regards to the free-agent signings came from NHL.com and its list of signed free agents, unless otherwise stated.
Honorable Mention: Calgary Flames
Last season the Flames barely missed the postseason as their top line meshed well to lead the Flames in points.
When free agency began, Calgary’s top center Olli Jokinen was fielding three offers. By July 2nd he had chosen to sign with the Winnipeg Jets.
Calgary managed to quickly replace Jokinen by signing Detroit Red Wings center Jiri Hudler, who is coming off his career-high 25-goal season.
Jokinen was a solid veteran who the Flames knew could play well with Jarome Iginla. Hudler has talent, but how he and Iginla will mesh is still unknown.
The main reason that Calgary received the honorable mention, however, is due to the trade and re-signing of defenceman Dennis Wideman, as reported by TSN.
During his last year with the Capitals, Wideman was more of a liability than an asset. He finished the regular season a minus-eight and the postseason a minus-seven.
The Senators were a surprise team this past season, not only exceeding expectations by not finishing in the Eastern Conference basement, but by being the only Canadian team in the East to make the postseason.
With success like that, one would expect the Senators GM to re-sign their top players. Yet when opening day of free agency began, Ottawa lost two of their bigger-name defencemen.
Filip Kuba signed a deal with Florida. This season Kuba had 32 points and finished the season a plus-26. For 35 years old those are numbers that Ottawa should have tried to retain.
They also lost Matt Carkner, who had 3 points in 29 games, to the New York Islanders. He will be another player sorely missed by Ottawa.
In return for the loss of two top defencemen, Ottawa did not sign anyone of note.
New York Islanders
The Islanders had a good pickup with Matt Carkner, yet they also lost a key player upfront.
PA Parenteau signed a four-year deal that sent him to the Avalanche. Over the last two seasons, when Parenteau was paired with Tavares, the winger managed 120 points over that time.
His loss not only affects Tavares' production but the Islanders as a whole. Parenteau's numbers may also suffer as he is no longer with the superstar player, but the loss to the Isles could see them in the cellar once more.
The New York Islanders have been unable to sign any player of note other than the aforementioned Carkner.
All this on top of Lubomir Visnovsky trying to void his trade, according to Newsday.
The Phoenix Coyotes may not be the biggest losers yet, as there is still a slim chance that Shane Doan will sign with the only team he has ever played for, according to USA Today.
They also lost a number of other players and have yet to fill those voids with players of note.
When a player is willing to take a deal out of town to the same place that their biggest star, Rick Nash, is demanding to be traded from there is a problem.
It is starting to look as though no one really wants to stay in Phoenix.
The Predators nearly topped this list, as they lost one of their biggest players in a surprise blockbuster deal.
The reason they did not top the list was that it was only one. Shea Weber signed an offer sheet with Philadelphia for $110 million, as reported by TheScore.
Nashville matched the offer sheet to retain Weber.
The Predators only lost one player, albeit a major one, in Ryan Suter, who signed with the Minnesota Wild for a 13-year deal worth $98 million.
In Nashville Suter helped form one of the top defensive pairings with Weber. It will be interesting to see how he does with the Wild. Nashville is going to have to scramble to find his replacement.
New Jersey Devils
Like Nashville, the New Jersey Devils felt the sting of losing one of their top players to Minnesota.
The Wild gave star forward, and team captain Zach Parise an identical contract to the one offered to Ryan Suter.
The Devils will have a huge hole where Parise once was, as he had been the face of the franchise over the last few years.
Parise seemed to enjoy playing with the Devils, but instead he opted to leave for a team closer to home.
The story in Philadelphia is slightly different than the rest on this list.
With team captain a large question mark due to concussion, the Flyers tried to hit the free-agent market hard in order to shore up the potential loss.
What happened instead was that Philadelphia was named in all the big free-agent sweeps. Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and, of course, Shea Weber.
They were one of many teams ruled out early with Suter, as he did not want to play in the East.
Unfortunately, none of the above-mentioned players will be suiting up as a Flyer next season.
Their biggest loss was the surprise signing from last season, Jaromir Jagr, who decided to try his luck in the Western Conference and signed a deal with Dallas.
Along with Jagr they also lost Matt Carle to Tampa Bay.
Losing a talented player, even with his advanced age, and the inability to lure any of the top free-agent talent to town lands the Flyers on this list.