7 NHL Teams That Made the Right Moves This Summer
Spending money and taking big gambles in the trade market can be very risky, but for teams who are smart about who they acquire, these moves can pay major dividends.
In the salary cap era, making poor decisions can have severe consequences and set a team back many years.
Let's look at seven NHL teams that have made the right moves this summer. This includes free-agent signings, trades, head coach decisions and draft picks.
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In a division with the two-time defending Presidents' Trophy winners, and improving teams such as the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, the status quo wasn't going to be acceptable for the Minnesota Wild.
They signed two superstars in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, who will inject a ton of positive energy into the team's fanbase. Yes, the price was high (13 years, $98 million each), but to build a winner for a decade-plus, you have to spend big money.
The selection of Matthew Dumba with the seventh overall pick in this year's draft was also the right move for the team. Dumba and top prospects Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund represent a bright future in Minnesota.
These young players, in addition to Parise and Suter, will be the core of the Wild for the foreseeable future.
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It's taken a few years of frustrating hockey, but the Edmonton Oilers are finally building a roster that is capable of winning long term.
Drafting star winger Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting with the first overall pick, then signing top NCAA prospect Justin Schultz to strengthen the blue line were two quality early-summer moves.
The team was also able to lock up young stars Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall to new six-year contracts at reasonable salary cap hits.
There are still more needs that Edmonton must address, but GM Steve Tambellini has done well this offseason to make strong additions and sign the team's best players to long-term deals.
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Since winning the Stanley Cup during the 2005-06 season, the Carolina Hurricanes have made the playoffs just once, including three straight seasons without postseason play.
In an attempt to build a winning team, the Hurricanes added forwards Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin, who will immediately transform Carolina into a contender.
Carolina will go into next season with a team that fans will want to watch and support, which is great news for one of hockey's best southern markets.
New York Rangers
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Making a trade with Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson is almost always a smart move, especially when you can acquire a player like Rick Nash for a bag of pucks.
Nash, veteran center Brad Richards and captain Ryan Callahan will form one of the best lines in hockey at both ends of the ice. All three players can score goals and play well in the defensive zone.
Even after making the Nash trade and some other small moves, general manager Glen Sather still has a healthy $11-plus million of room under the salary cap.
If the Rangers can just sign young defenseman and restricted free-agent Michael Del Zotto to a long-term deal, they will be one of the biggest winners of the summer.
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The additions of Steve Ott and 6'8" forward John Scott will make the Buffalo Sabres one of the most annoying teams to play next season, which is a good thing for them.
Buffalo also traded Derek Roy, who underperformed and didn't live up to his contract. In the return, they got a power forward they desperately needed in Ott.
The Sabres also had a great draft, adding centers Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons to their organization. They both have star potential, and play a physical game offensively. Getting two centers with this much talent in the first round of the draft was a huge boost to the future of the franchise.
Overall, the Sabres have done very well this summer, and should compete with the Boston Bruins for the Northeast Division title.
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By hiring Adam Oates as their new head coach, the Washington Capitals have taken a good first step in building a championship team.
Washington also decided not to retain overpriced forward Alexander Semin and defenseman Dennis Wideman. These moves will help general manager George McPhee re-sign young players such as John Carlson, and possibly Braden Holtby to long-term deals in the near future.
Re-signing Mike Green was another goal for the franchise this summer, which was accomplished in July when he inked a three-year deal.
The Capitals also had a very good draft, selecting Swedish goal scorer Filip Forsberg with the 11th overall pick, and power forward Tom Wilson of the Plymouth Whalers at pick No. 16. Being able to draft two power forwards who also have a great amount of offensive skill is rare.
Washington made many great decisions this summer to ensure they will remain competitive for many years to come.
Tampa Bay Lightning
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The Tampa Bay Lightning made a number of impressive moves this summer that will result in an immediate improvement in the standings next season.
They added veteran defensemen Matt Carle and Sami Salo to give the blue line more offense and experience.
Tampa Bay also traded for Nashville Predators goaltender Anders Lindback, who they are excited to have.
"We are very pleased to announce this trade today. We believe Anders will join the team and give us a nice lift at the goaltending position as we prepare for the 2012-'13 season. He has the potential to develop into the number one goaltender we covet."
The other smart trade that general manager Steve Yzerman made this offseason was acquiring Benoit Pouliot from the Boston Bruins. Pouliot could shine in the Lightning offense, and has the potential to score 25-30 goals next year.
Head coach Guy Boucher has a much better team than he did last season.