NHL Free Agency: Teams That Looked Absolutely Lost This Summer
The big names came and went. Trades were made. Draft picks were signed and most teams worked to fill holes and improve for the upcoming season. Still, some NHL teams just seemed to look a bit lost this offseason.
It’s unfortunate for those teams because this offseason feels like it has been the longest one ever—too soon for lockout jokes?
Most of us will never know the innermost thoughts of the front office staffs, but we can generally agree on an overarching plan.
For example, the Los Angeles Kings were fairly quiet, didn’t lose anyone and didn’t pick anyone up from their Stanley Cup winning squad.Their offseason approach was pretty easy to figure out: We're good. We know we're good. Let's not mess that up.
The Columbus Blue Jackets finally dealt Rick Nash away, making it evident that the franchise was finally ready to take things in a new direction with the rebuilding process. Then, they brought in former St. Louis Blues president John Davidson and the strategy became even more clear.
Some teams addressed weaknesses. Some did damage control and some teams looked lost this offseason. Here's who.
The Montreal Canadiens are one of the most proud franchises in NHL history. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case in recent memory.
The Habs finished sixth in the Eastern Conference in 2010-11 and looked like they may be returning to a bit of form. That optimism came to a screeching halt last season as they finished last in the conference with just 78 points.
A rough season could have brought some significant changes to Montreal and the fan base that is growing weary of under-performing teams—but it didn’t.
The Habs didn’t lose much, but didn’t bring much in either. Maybe the approach was for limited turnover to increase chemistry? Finishing last in the conference isn't the chemistry fans are looking for.
One team that seemed to miss opportunities to establish a new identity was the Calgary Flames.
With Jarome Iginla on the backside of his career, he could have gone to a immediate contender and helped the Flames to add some depth. That didn’t happen.
Calgary finished five points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and didn’t have a very active offseason.
The Flames brought in complimentary players like Jiri Hudler and the KHL’s Roman Cervenka to replace outgoing players like Olli Jokinen. It was a bit of a wash of an offseason for Calgary.
The best pickup for Calgary was defenseman Dennis Wideman. He should provide some stability on the back-end that finished tied for 13th in the NHL in goals against (217).
Were the Flames trying to build a team that would squeak into the playoffs or just show Iginla some respect in the end of his career by attempting to bring in new faces?
The Predators struggled this offseason, but this one isn’t really their fault. The Predators did what they could to keep one of their top defenseman in Nashville and devoted the majority of the offseason to that task.
When Ryan Suter decided to take his talents to Minnesota, the Preds were behind in the offseason hunt. It wasn’t a long duration, but it had to be an exhausting time period for the Nashville front office.
It seemed like everyone was leaving Nashville, but they still have some solid talent with Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne.
If a new collective bargaining agreement gets signed, will the Predators make a deal to improve depth and get them back to the postseason?
New Jersey Devils
Maintaining the same trend from the Predators, the Devils lost their captain Zach Parise to Minnesota and also lost their offseason direction.
There were other influencing factors like monetary issues surrounding the franchise. Still, the Devils didn’t do anything to improve their team or fill the void left behind by Parise.
Not-so-notable additions for New Jersey include: Bobby Butler, Phil DeSimone and Krys Barch. Who?
At least Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg are back.
The Chicago Blackhawks let some veteran guys like Andrew Brunette and Brendan Morrison go. It looks like the goal was to make the team younger and completely hand over command to Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane.
The Hawks do have some solid prospects in the system like Teuvo Teravainen and could be just opening up room for the future. Still, that won’t help the Hawks try to get back to the top of the Central Division.
The West is pretty crowded at the top and the Hawks didn't do much to solidify their standing.
It seemed like this was a damage control offseason for Chicago without any real direction for acquisitions. The goaltender situation is still unresolved, but that could be due to the now-extended offseason.