NHL Free Agent News: Grading the Offseason Moves for All 30 Teams

Tom Urtz Jr.@@TomUrtzJrContributor IAugust 16, 2011

NHL Free Agent News: Grading the Offseason Moves for All 30 Teams

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    We have hit that point in the summer where it is almost time for NHL training camp and all the offseason moves seem to have been completed.

    It was a very active summer for some teams, while other teams decided to make minor additions to their rosters.

    I know it is still summer and school isn't quite back in session but did each team make the grade after making their offseason moves?

    Here is a report card for each team given the offseason moves they made. The grade represents the moves each team made and how it their team better or worse for the upcoming season.

Anaheim Ducks

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    Grade: C 

    Acquisitions: Jeff Deslauriers, Andrew Cogliano

    Lost:  Josh Green, Andreas Lilja

    The Ducks still are waiting to see if Teemu Selanne will return next season. If he doesn't this will be a huge lose for the Ducks.

    On the other hand Andrew Cogliano was a good pickup for the Ducks. He will fit in Anaheim.

Boston Bruins

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    Grade: B-

    Added: Benoit Pouliot, Joe Corvo

    Lost: Michael Ryder, Tomas Kaberle 

    The Bruins really stayed the same for the most part this offseason. The additions of Pouliot and Corvo will give the B's some depth in the defense core. 

    Kaberle was an overpaid defenseman whose best years were behind him. Adding two solid defenseman was a smart move for the Stanley Cup Champions.

    Michael Ryder was an unfortunate loss but the Bruins have many young players ready to step up in a larger capacity.

Buffalo Sabres

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    Grade: A-

    Added: Drew Stafford, Nathan Gerbe, Christian Ehrhoff,  Ville Leino, Robyn Reghr 

    Lost: C Tim Connolly, Steve Montador, Chris Butler

    Owner Terry Pegula's Buffalo Sabres are a lot better now today than they were back in June.

    They retained many of their top free agents, added a great puck moving defenseman in Christian Ehrhoff, and added offensive dynamo Ville Leino.

    Yes they lost Tim Connolly but he was an injury prone player during his time in Buffalo.

Calgary Flames

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    Grade: B

    Added: Scott Hannan, Alex Tangauy, Curtis Glencross 

    Lost: Adam Pardy, Robyn Reghr

    After losing out on the Brad Richards sweepstakes, the Flames went to work to keep their free agents under lock and key.

    Top free agents Alex Tangauy and Curtis Glencross were inked to new deals this offseason and the Flames added journeyman Scott Hannan.

    The Flames lost Adam Pardy but his role will be replaced by Scott Hannan. 

Carolina Hurricanes

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    Grade: B-

    Signed: Brian Boucher, Alexei Ponikarovsky Tomas Kaberle,Anthony Stewart, Tim Brent

    Lost: Erik Cole , Joe Corvo

    The Hurricanes lost Erik Cole and essentially replaced him with Alexi Ponikarovsky. Cole was a great player for the Hurricanes and getting Ponikarovsky as a replacement doesn't make sense.

    Brian Boucher is an average acquisition for the Hurricanes, but Cam Ward needs a night or two off every now and then.

    Tomas Kaberle is an upgrade from Joe Corvo but Kaberle is an older player on the tail end of his career. The Canes also added Anthony Stewart and Tim Brent who add some youth to the club.

    Overall Carolina had an average offseason.

Chicago Blackhawks

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    Grade: B

    Added:  Steve Montador, Andrew Brunette, Daniel Carcillo

    Lost: Tomas Kopecky, Jeff Taffe, Troy Brouwer, Brian Campbell 

    The Blackhawks made some decent moves this offseason. They added a good two way scorer in Andrew Brunette, a capable defenseman in Steve Montador, and kept a good agitator in Daniel Carcillo.

    The losses for the Hawks were minimal as they kept their depth.

    The biggest move was signing Patrick Sharp to a five year contract extension. This was a smart move as Sharp is a versatile forward.

Colorado Avalanche

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    Grade: B-

    Added: J.S. Giguere, Seymon Varlamov, Jan Hjeda

    Lost: Brian Elliot, Peter Budaj, J.M. Liles, Tomas Fleishmann

    The Av's took care of business with their key free agent Milan Hejduk and they had time to lock up some of their other players.

    Colorado really upgraded their goaltending when they acquired J.S. Giguere and Seymon Varlamov. This team is setting itself up for success in the future so fans may need to weather the storm this season.

    Overall, Colorado had a good offseason. 

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Grade: A

    Added: James Wisniewski, Jeff Carter, Vinny Prospal

    Lost: Jakub Voracek, Mathieu Garon, Scottie Upshall Jan Hejda , Mike Commodore

    The Columbus Blue Jackets really stepped their game up. By adding James Wisniewski, Vinny Prospal, and Jeff Carter to the fold, the Blue Jackets along with Rick Nash will have a potent power play unit.

    There were some losses this offseason but they are minimal when you take a look at a franchise that could contend for a playoff spot this season.

Dallas Stars

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    Grade: D

    Added: Adam Pardy, Radek Dvorak, Vernon Fiddler, Michael Ryder, Sheldon Souray 

    Lost: F Brad Richards 

    I had to give the Stars a low grade because nothing makes up for the loss of their franchise player Brad Richards. He had put the Star in Dallas Stars

    Looking past Richards, the Stars added some depth forwards in Michael Ryder and Radek Dvorak. They also signed depth defensemen Adam Pardy and Sheldon Souray.

    Overall it's going to be a tough next couple of seasons for the Stars as long as they have shaky ownership.

Detroit Red Wings

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    Grade A-

    Added: Nicklas Lidstrom, Jonathan Ericsson, Patrick Eaves, Mike Commodore, Drew Miller, Ian White

    Lost: Derek Meech, Brian Rafalski

    Other than signing Ian White and Mike Commodore, the Red Wings took care of signing their key players especially Nicklas Lidstrom.

    The Wings are going to be at a crossroads when they have to replace Lidstrom next offseason. 

Edmonton Oilers

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    Grade: B-

    Added: Ben Eager, Cam Barker , Eric Belanger 

    Lost: Sheldon Souray, Jim Vandermeer, Andrew Cogliano

    The Edmonton Oilers are a team that continually upgrade and work through the draft. They added Ryan Nugent Hopkins to a youth core in the works and they added defenseman Ben Eager, Cam Barker, and Eric Belanger.

    Losses for the Oilers include Sheldon Souray, Jim Vandermeer, and Andrew Cogliano.

    The Oilers are going to have a rough road ahead until all their youth players are in the starting lineup.

Florida Panthers

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    Grade: B+

    Added: Tomas Kopecky, Jose Theodore, Ed Jovanovski, Scottie Upshall, Tomas Fleischmann, Sean Bergenheim, Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg 

    Lost: F Niclas Bergfors, Marty Reasoner, Darcy Hordichuk, Tomas Vokoun 

    Dale Tallon really went to town during the offseason. Money was not an option as the Panthers needed to spend to the cap floor.

    The Panthers added some depth forwards, some defenseman and a backup goalie in Jose Theodore. Florida unveiled new jerseys at the draft and they have acquired some new players to fill that role.

Los Angeles Kings

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    Grade: A-

    Added: Simon Gagne, Mike Richards 

    Lost:  F Alexei Ponikarovsky, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn 

    Simon Gagne and Mike Richards were once partners in crime during their days on Broad Street in Philadelphia.

    Now they will be reunited in Hollywood. The Kings wanted to sign Brad Richards but where unable to so they went the safe route by trading for the new best Richards before the start of free agency.

    The Kings may have lost Alexei Ponikarovksy but the additions they made make up for it in the long run.

Minnesota Wild

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    Grade: B

    Added: Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and Dany Heatley (all traded from San Jose)

    Lost: G Jose Theodore Andrew Brunette,  Cam Barker (Edmonton), Brent Burns, and Martin Havlat (traded to San Jose)

    The Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks were very trade happy this offseason. Through the trades, Minnesota added Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and Dany Heatley.

    The Wild however parted ways with Jose Theodore, Andrew Brunette, Brent Burns, Cam Barker, and Martin Havlat

    The Wild traded some away but they did acquire some talented players. 

Montreal Canadiens

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    Grade- C+

    Added: Peter Budaj and Erik Cole

    Lost: Alex Auld, James Wisniewski, Jeff Halpern, Roman Hamrlik, and Benoit Pouliot

    The Canadiens had an interesting offseason. They lost a top d-man in James Wisiniewski but gained Erik Cole who is a serviceable forward.

    Cole will be a 2nd line forward for the Canadiens and should fit in well.

    Other notable moves include retaining Andrei Markov, Andrei Kosistyen, and Max Pacciorety.

    The Canadiens added some talent but lost some at the same time.

Nashville Predators

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    Grade: C+

    Added: Niclas Bergfors

    Lost: Steve Sullivan, Joel Ward , Matthew Lombardi, Cody Franson

    The Nashville Predators made only a few moves during free agency as they were at the mercy of Shea Weber and his arbitration.

    The Predators have to pay Weber $ 7.5 million dollars this year and that figure or more next year. There is a good chance that he could be dealt sometime before next offseason.

    When one player inhibits the moves you can make you come out on the losing end.

New Jersey Devils

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    Grade: D-

    Added: Jay Leach, Andy Greene,Johan Hedberg, Zach Parise, 

    Lost: D Tyler Eckford, Brian Rolston

    The Devils absolutely accomplished very little this offseason. They utterly failed to lock up their most important player and future captain Zach Parise.

    One year deals often are a precursor to a player leaving town.

    It is hard to be a fan when you say your biggest move was locking up Andy Green for four more years.

New York Islanders

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    Grade: C-

    Added: LW Trevor Gillies, Marty Reasoner, Michael Grabner

    Lost: D Bruno Gervais & Zenon Konopka 

    The Islanders added Marty Reasoner along with handing out some contract extensions. They parted ways with Bruno Gervais and enforcer Zenon Konopka. 

    The Islanders are a team that will have a tough negotiation with star player John Tavares next season. With the impending relocation of the Islanders, Tavares will have a tough decision to make.

    The Isles are a team that is relying on the talent in their system in order to once again become a playoff contender.

New York Rangers

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    Grade: A

    Additions: Brad Richards, Mike Rupp, Tim Erixon, Ruslan Fedotenko, Steve Eminger

    Lost: Vinny Prospal, Matt Gilroy, Todd White, Bryan McCabe 

    The Rangers made the biggest splash in free agency when they inked Brad Richards to a nine year contract.Richards joins a Rangers team that missed that top line center to set up Marian Gaborik.

    Mike Rupp is a great versatile player to play the wing or center position. He can fit on the 3rd or 4th line and is an intimidator at 6'5.

    The Rangers also acquired Tim Erixon in a trade that sent two second round draft picks to the Calgary Flames.

    On their own end the Rangers re-signed core RFA's Artem Ansimov, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky and Michael Sauer.

    The Rangers may have lost Vinny Prospal and Matt Gilroy but the additions make these loses a moot point.

Ottawa Senators

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    Grade: C-

    Added: Alex Auld, Zenon Konopka, Erik Condra 

    Lost: Curtis McElhinney 

    The Senators didn't make many moves. They added Alex Auld and Zenon Konopka but they haven't really improved much.

    The Senators are going to have another tough year ahead of them.

Philadelphia Flyers

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    Grade: C

    Added: Ilya Byzgalov, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, Jaromir Jagr, Maxime Talbot, Brayden Schenn 

    Lost:  Brian Boucher, Ville Leino, Sean O'Donnell  Daniel Carcillo.

    Mike Richards (traded to Los Angeles Kings) & Jeff Carter (traded Columbus Blue Jackets)

    The Flyers went through a totally makeover this offseason. They effectively traded the heart of their lineup in Carter and Richards and in turn will rely on Jaromir Jagr, and Maxime Talbot as replacement.

    Jaromir Jagr was once a great player but can he play a healthy 82 games. I can' see a situation where a team comes out better for the 2011-12 when they trade away their top scorers.

Phoenix Coyotes

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    Grade: B-

    Added: Alex Bolduc,  Boyd Gordon, Jason LaBarbera ,  Raffi Torres , Mike Smith, Radim Vrbata Keith Yandle 

    Lost: Ilya Bryzgalov, Ed Jovanovski , Vernon Fiddler, Eric Belanger, Nolan Yonkman

    The Coyotes added some good players when they acquired RaffI Torres, Radim Vrbata, and Boyd Gorton. These players give the Coyotes depth.

    They also re-signed their own talents Jason Labarbara and Keith Yandle. In the crease the Coyotes replaced departing Ilya Bryzgalov with Mike Smith. 

    The Coyotes made some ok moves but only time will tell to see if the Coyotes remain in the desert.

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Grade: B-

    Added: Steve Sullivan

    Lost: Maxime Talbot,Michael Rupp, Alexei Kovalev

    The Penguins added Steve Sullivan to the fold during the offseason along with re-signing some off their free agents.

    The Penguins will have a lot to prove this season as they hope Sidney Crosby will return symptom free.

San Jose Sharks

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    Grade: A-

    Added: Jim Vandermeer, Brent Burns & Martin Havlat ( both traded from Minnesota),Michal Handzus, Colin White, Andrew Murray, Thomas Greiss, Ben Guite, Sean Sullivan and Matt Pelech.

    Lost:  Devin Setoguchi, Ben Eager, Ian White, Niclas Wallin, Kent Huskins, Scott Nichol, Jamal Mayers, Charlie Coyle and Dany Heatley

    The Sharks added a good puck moving defenseman in Brent Burns. They also picked up a speedy forward in Martin Havlat. He will fit better in than Dany Heatley did.

    Overall, the Sharks are at a point where they need to perform in the post season. These latest additions make the Sharks a better team than they were last season. 

St. Louis Blues

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    Grade: B-

    Added: Brian Elliott & Kent Huskins, Jamie Langenbrunner, and Jason Arnott 


    The St.Louis Blues re signed many free agents internally but they didn't bring in much new talent to make the team better.

    They added some veteran presence when they signed Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott.

    The Blues need to make a statement if they want to contend in the Western Conference.

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Grade: B+

    Added: Mathieu Garon, Bruno Gervais,Matt Gilroy, Steven Stamkos

    Lost: Simon Gagne, Mike Smith, Sean Bergenheim

    The Tampa Bay Lightning's main priority was retaining Steven Stamkos as their top center. They accomplished that as well as acquiring Matt Gilroy and Bruno Gervais on defense and backup goalie Mathieu Garon.

    In the process, Tampa parted ways with Simon Gagne, Mike Smith, and  Sean Bergenheim but they will be better off in the long run.

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Grade: B

    Added: Tim Connolly, Matthew Lombardi, Cody Franson, John-Michael Liles

    Lost: Tim Brent & Brett Lebda

    The Maple Leafs added Tim Connolly to be their top line center. Matthew Lombardi and Cody Franson will add depth to the Leafs.

    JM Liles was a good addition and will be a good puck mover on the blue line for the Leafs.

Vancouver Canucks

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    Grade: B

    Added: Mark Mancari & Marco Sturm

    Lost:Alex Bolduc, Christian Ehrhoff, Raffi Torres 

    The Canucks lost a great defenseman when they failed to re-sign Christian Ehrhoff. They re-signed other free agents including Chris Higgins and Kevin Bieksa in addition to receiving Marco Sturm and Mark Mancari.

    Overall the Canucks lost a little, added a little, and stated status quo.

Washington Captials

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    Grade: A

    Added: Jeff Halpern, Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik,Tomas Vokoun, Troy Brouwer  

    Lost: Boyd Gordon Marco Sturm, Seymon Varlamov

    The Washington Captials where one of the most improved teams this offseason. They added a legitimate starting goaltender in Tomas Vokoun, a pair defenseman in Roman Hamirlik and Joel Ward a good winger. They also added a face-off ace in Jeff Halpern.

    Additional, Brooks Laich and Mike Knuble signed contract extensions to stay in Washington

    Could this be Washington's year? If not Bruce Boudreau could be out of a job. 

Winnipeg Jets

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    Grade- C-

    Added-  Derek Meech  Andrew Ladd

    Lost: Radek Dvorak

    The Jets are back, but not better than ever. They took care of business when they kept Andrew Ladd around but they didn't do much more than that.

    The Jets will need to add some talent if they want to become a playoff team. 

Comments, Questions, Concerns?

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    Do you agree with my grades? Leave a comment in the section below and tell me what you think.

    Tom Urtz is an NHL Featured Columnist

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