NHL Free Agency 2013: 7 Teams Whose Offseason Will Haunt Them for Years
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It's often been said that it's the things in life you regret and not the things you do.
This is often true in sports. When a team has a strong core of players, a general manager may hesitate to make a player acquisition because he doesn't want to upset the balance on his roster.
Not making that move can come back to haunt you if the player that was ignored goes on to have an explosive season.
Of course, making the wrong move can be disastrous as well.
From our perspective, we think the NHL teams that really didn't do much in the offseason will probably live to regret it in the years to come.
A team like the Minnesota Wild that aggressively signed stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter has raised their talent level. Could those moves ultimately fail? Of course, but we think those moves were great for a team that wants to get better.
Here are seven teams that will regret their 2012 offseasons for years to come.
There was something very cavalier about the Boston Bruins' attitude during the offseason.
You can't blame Peter Chiarelli for looking at his roster and seeing its talent and depth. But the Bruins did virtually nothing during the offseason to improve, figuring that giving 2011 first-round draft pick Dougie Hamilton a chance to skate with the big club would be enough.
However, the offseason decision of Tim Thomas to take the 2012-13 season off should have triggered Chiarelli. Tuukka Rask has been biding his time as the No. 2 goalie and now moves in as No. 1.
While he had a brilliant 2009-10 season, the playoffs did not end well for him that year and he has not been the same since then.
What if he doesn't play as well as Chiarelli expects? The Bruins will look to Anton Khudobin. He is clearly unproven. The Bruins drafted Malcolm Subban to play goal in the future, but he couldn't be in the plans for the upcoming season.
The Bruins may have the talent to win the Stanley Cup, but if they fall short, they'll regret the failure to upgrade their goaltending.
The Calgary Flames made moves in the offseason to get better. They added offensive-minded defenseman Dennis Wideman in a trade with the Washington Capitals and then signed him to a five-year contract. They also picked up slick-skating forward Jiri Hudler from the Detroit Red Wings before signing him to a four-year deal.
Those are good moves that should make the Flames a bit stronger than they were last year.
However, it represents some short-sighted thinking by management. The Flames are not a championship-caliber team. They need to get younger, faster and more aggressive for that to happen.
The only way they will do that is to dismantle the current team. By trading their best assets—Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff—they could pick up draft picks and young, talented players.
They will regret not going that route.
Stan Bowman, exactly what are you doing?
The Blackhawks have been eliminated in the first round in each of the last two years after winning the 2010 Stanley Cup with a roster that was built by ex-Hawk (and current Florida Panther) GM Dale Tallon.
The Hawks have lacked for goaltending each of the past two seasons, but they have done nothing to improve their situation. They made a weak-willed effort to talk to Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils, but they did not make the kind of blockbuster offer that would have gotten him out of New Jersey.
The Hawks need more in the net than Corey Crawford can give them. He's slightly above average when he's at his best, which isn't an optimal situation. He certainly wasn't in the postseason loss to the Phoenix Coyotes last year when he gave up soft overtime goals in Games 3 and 4.
The Hawks could also use some veteran muscle to protect players like Marian Hossa, who was forced to endure a brutal hit from Raffi Torres that ended his season. Adding Michal Roszival is not going to help.
Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings have been the gold standard in the NHL for nearly two decades.
They may be able to play at a high level once again this year. They still have Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, a pretty good 1-2 punch for any team.
However, the Red Wings took a major body blow when future Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom retired shortly after Detroit lost its first-round playoff series to Nashville.
The Red Wings were in the market for Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter, but he spurned their offer to sign with Minnesota. They also wanted Zach Parise, but the former Devils star also signed with the Wild.
Toronto goalie Jonas Gustavsson and ex-Predator Jordin Tootoo were brought in as a contingency, but the Wings also lost Jiri Hudler to the Calgary Flames.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland may have tried to improve his team, but he accomplished little.
It was a tumultuous offseason for the Nashville Predators.
If they didn't know it beforehand, they know they are from the other side of the tracks as far as the NHL is concerned.
The Preds have been a nice story down in the Honky Tonk, building a hard-trying team with evil professor-looking Barry Trotz behind the bench. They beat down the mighty Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the 2012 playoffs before they lost to the Phoenix Coyotes.
That's when the Preds became true victims. Their stunning 1-2 defense combination of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter was there for the taking.
Suter was signed to a huge free-agent deal by the Minnesota Wild and then the Philadelphia Flyers inked Weber to a 14-year offer sheet. Nashville matched it, but they will have to pay him an obscene amount of money.
General manager David Poile was in shock over losing Suter and nearly losing Weber. There's almost nothing that this proud, low-budget team could do about it.
Not having the money to play with the big boys will be a longtime regret.
New Jersey Devils
Zach Parise was the heart and soul of the New Jersey Devils.
He combines a superstar's ability level with a non-stop work ethic.
When the Devils were in a situation where they needed a goal, Parise always played bigger than his 5'11" frame.
He asked his teammates to jump on his shoulders and he carried them all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals last year.
But in the offseason, the 28-year-old Parise went home to Minnesota to sign with the Wild.
If any general manager is up to the task of replacing a player of this level, it's Lou Lamoriello. However, the Devils have plenty of financial issues and they are not prepared to replace Parise (194 goals in 502 career games with New Jersey) at this time.
Losing Alexei Ponikarovsky and adding Krys Barch will have little impact, but losing Parise is a move that will haunt the Devils for years.
It's quite likely that concussion-related health problems will keep Chris Pronger from suiting up this year for the Philadelphia Flyers. They may very well end his career.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren knew he had to make up for his loss on the blue line by going after a prime-time star defenseman.
He signed Nashville restricted free agent Shea Weber to a 14-year offer sheet. Few thought the Preds would have the inclination or money to match the offer, but they did.
The Flyers had traded young forward James van Riemsdyk to Toronto in the offseason for defenseman Luke Schenn. That move could help the blue line, but van Riemsdyk may turn out to be a star.
The defense looks awfully thin in Philadelphia and missing out on a big-time defenseman will be cause for regret.