NHL Free Agency: 5 Teams That Have Not Done Enough to Get Better This Summer
This summer, we have seen some big names in the NHL find new places to call home.
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter hit big paydays when they were signed by the Minnesota Wild. While Alexander Semin completed a busy offseason for the Carolina Hurricanes when he signed a one-year contract worth $7 million.
The Dallas Stars also added some key players, signing Jaromir Jagr, Ray Whitney and trading for Buffalo Sabres center Derek Roy.
As some teams made moves to make their teams better, other teams were not so lucky.
There have been teams that lost key contributors this summer and have not seemed to take the necessary steps to fill those voids.
Others spent most of the offseason trying to sign a big name, only to come up short after months of hope.
Because of this, these five teams may struggle in the upcoming NHL season unless they can make some late offseason splashes.
New York Islanders
The New York Islanders lost out on re-signing talented winger P.A. Parenteau when the 29-year-old signed a four-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche.
The four-year veteran has improved his numbers each year in the NHL with a career high 49 assists and 67 points last season.
Parenteau was a key component in the Islanders youth movement and is a big loss to a team trying to move forward.
The Islanders have not done much during the summer to fill the void left by Parenteau. They signed former 40-goal scorer Brad Boyes, who has not been able to get back to the 40-goal mark, only scoring eight last season with the Buffalo Sabres.
The team is also awaiting the arbitration ruling to see whether or not their trade for Lubomir Visnovsky will be approved.
Even with Visnovsky, the Islanders still have a huge hole on the right side of their offense.
The Phoenix Coyotes knew that they had their work cut out for them in the offseason after being eliminated from the Western Conference Finals by the Los Angeles Kings.
Along with the possibility of the team being moved, the Yotes had three core players they were looking to re-sign, free agents Ray Whitney and captain Shane Doan, and goalie Mike Smith, who the team was looking to offer an extension before becoming a free agent at the end of 2013.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes lost Whitney to the Dallas Stars, who had one of the busiest offseasons in the NHL.
To make matters worse, rumors emerged that Smith's long-term extension has been held up by the ownership situation (via Rant Sports).
Then there is the Doan situation, which has been a headache for the Coyotes as he has yet to make a decision on what team he will sign with. At times it seems the 35-year-old is leaning towards re-signing with the Coyotes, but it is still uncertain where he will end up.
Because of this, the Coyotes have been wrapped up waiting for Doan as well as trying to find someone to buy the franchise and have not been able to fill the holes that were left by Whitney and possibly Doan.
With Whitney, the team is losing a 70-point player who has proven that age is just a number and was a big factor in the Coyotes success.
And if the team loses Doan, they will struggle to find the same success they found last year.
New Jersey Devils
If the Coyotes lose Shane Doan, they will be the second team this offseason to lose their captain to free agency.
The other is the New Jersey Devils, who lost Zach Parise to the big spending Minnesota Wild. Parise had been the Devils captain since the beginning of this past season and helped lead the Devils to their first Stanley Cup Finals since 2002-2003.
Not only do the Devils lose a leader, but they also lose a former 40-goal scorer who will be hard to replace.
However, New Jersey has not done much this offseason to replace the 31 goals Parise contributed last year.
This summer, the team has re-signed goalies Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg, as well as defenseman Bryce Salvador and winger Cam Janssen.
The Devils also signed winger Krys Barch from the Florida Panthers and Bobby Butler from the Ottawa Senators.
Neither player has come close to matching Parise's numbers, and the team will struggle without his productivity.
New Jersey will struggle to get back to the Cup Finals next season.
The other team that was impacted by the Minnesota Wild's expensive offseason was the Nashville Predators.
The Preds lost a talented young defenseman in Ryan Suter, who was part of the team's big three along with goalie Pekka Rinne and captain Shea Weber.
These three have helped Nashville become one of the toughest teams in the Western Conference. However, this offseason, the three were all set to become free agents and it was uncertain whether the Preds could re-sign all three.
Rinne re-signed last November and at one time it seemed he would be the only one re-signed, as after Suter signed in Minnesota, the Philadelphia Flyers made an offer on Weber for $110 million over 14 years.
The Predators decided to match the offer and retain Weber long term. Unfortunately, the contract was no where close to what the Preds were looking to pay, and they paid big to keep their captain in Nashville.
Because of this, the Predators do not have much spending to try and replace Suter on the blue line. The only new defenseman joining the team next season is former Calgary Flame Scott Hannan, who has never reached 25 points in his career.
Last season, Suter totaled 46 points, a career high.
The Predators will be forced to rely on some of their younger talent, like Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis, to step up on the blue line and take their game to the next level, but it will be some time before the team is able to get back to what they had with Weber and Suter on the first line.
The Philadelphia Flyers had an opportunity to greatly improve their blue line when they made the offer on Shea Weber.
Unfortunately for them, they came up just short when Nashville matched their offer.
To make matters worse, the Flyers also lost some key players this offseason, which could make next season a tough uphill climb for the Broad Street Bullies.
The Flyers lost defenseman Matt Carle (Tampa Bay) as well as winger Jaromir Jagr (Dallas) in free agency, each leaving a pretty big hole in their respective positions.
Philly also dealt away talented youngster James van Riemsdyk to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Luke Schenn.
Schenn is a good defenseman and a talented prospect, but without the acquisition of Weber, the Flyers' defense will be in trouble this season. The available defenseman for Philly are already limited as the injury bug has already struck this season.
Andres Lilja (hip), Andrej Meszaros (torn achilles), and Chris Pronger could all miss considerable time this season, with Meszaros and Pronger possibly missing the entire year.
All of these uncertainties are a big reason why missing out on Weber will sting for quite some time for the Flyers, as if it didn't enough already. Philly's defense has many holes and will struggle unless changes are made.