The 6 Biggest Losers of the NHL's Offseason
It's been a rough summer for many NHL franchises, especially those that lost key players through retirement or free agency and haven't replaced them.
Certain types of players have also been hurt by the CBA uncertainty surrounding the sport right now. Restricted free agents and veterans are two kinds of players who have not fared well this offseason.
Let's look at the six biggest losers of the offseason thus far.
Detroit Red Wings
Since the Detroit Red Wings have tremendous scouts who are very good at finding talent, filling the weaknesses on their roster internally might not be such a bad thing.
The losses of Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart will have a tremendous effect on the team this year. Not only were these two guys great players, they were also fantastic leaders.
Without making any major additions through free agency or trades, the Red Wings will have to count on their best players remaining healthy for most of the season and the playoffs.
One player that must be in the lineup consistently is star center Pavel Datsyuk. He has missed 38 games over the past two seasons.
Restricted Free Agents
It's been a difficult offseason for restricted free agents. Many of the top RFAs, such as Ryan O'Reilly, P.K. Subban and Jamie Benn haven't signed new contracts yet.
These players are seeing many younger players, such as Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner, receive long-term deals worth $5-plus million per season.
There's no question that several of the current RFAs, like Benn and Subban, are worth just as much, if not more, than Hall and Skinner.
Shea Weber could also be considered a loser of the offseason. Sure, he did sign one of the richest contracts in NHL history via an offer sheet, but now he is stuck with the Nashville Predators on a 14-year deal that won't be easy to trade.
Columbus Blue Jackets
When a team loses its best player, captain and only reason to watch them during the season, you know it was a bad offseason.
The Columbus Blue Jackets' awful summer has been highlighted by the embarrassing trade that sent star winger Rick Nash to the New York Rangers for two average players, a decent prospect and a low first-round pick.
The trade completed the impossible. It made the Blue Jackets even more irrelevant. This has been a summer to forget for diehard Blue Jackets fans who love and support their team.
They definitely deserve better.
One fanbase you don't want to anger is Boston, and Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas found that out this summer with his departure from the team, leaving them with a $5 million salary cap hit for a player who won't see any ice time.
Thomas' Facebook posts, which are usually a reaction or his opinion on political issues, have not been received well by fans nor many of the people in the Boston area.
After all he did for the Bruins, it's quite unfortunate to see Thomas' tenure in Boston end in this fashion.
If he won another Stanley Cup championship for the "black and gold," Thomas could have had a statue outside TD Garden someday.
The Philadelphia Flyers have been one of the biggest losers of the offseason.
Give the Flyers credit. They have tried to improve their roster in free agency and through trades but have been unfortunate to run into some bad luck and not have things go their way.
Let's look at a list of events that have made this an offseason to forget in Philadelphia.
1) Chris Pronger still isn't likely to play anytime soon.
2) The Nashville Predators matched the 14-year, $104 million offer sheet that the Flyers agreed to with Shea Weber.
3) Jaromir Jagr left to sign with the Dallas Stars.
4) Sergei Bobrovsky was traded to Columbus, leaving Michael Leighton as Ilya Bryzgalov's backup.
5) Andreas Lilja and Andrej Meszaros have had surgery and will not return in time for the season opener in October.
The possibility of a third lockout since 1990 has contributed to a rough offseason for hockey fans. The thought of a lockout happening again is too much for many supporters of the sport to handle.
The fans shouldn't have to go through another lockout since they have been the driving force of the league earning record revenues and seeing fantastic growth since the 2005 lockout.
The owners who are fighting to get the deal they want have shown little respect for the fans, and have certainly taken them for granted.
As tweeted by Newsday's Steve Zipay, the league made a counter-proposal to the players association on Tuesday and has a little over two weeks before the current CBA expires.