Final Grades for Every NHL Team's Offseason

Adam GretzSeptember 27, 2022

Final Grades for Every NHL Team's Offseason

0 of 32

    DENVER, CO - JUNE 24: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) defends the net against Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Corey Perry (10) during game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, on June 24, 2022. (Photo by Mark Stahl/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Mark Stahl/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    With NHL training camps opening this past week and preseason games officially beginning, the offseason is now in our rearview mirror.

    With a few exceptions for fringe roster spots that are up for grabs, we also have a pretty good idea as to what each team will look like this season following offseason moves.

    Today, we take a look back at the complete offseason for every team and hand out some grades for how they did. Did they address their biggest needs? Did they make meaningful changes? Is there a set short-term or long-term plan in place?

    Those are just a few of the things we looked for in handing out grades. Teams like the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals, Seattle Kraken and Los Angeles Kings all did very well, while teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres did not.

Anaheim Ducks

1 of 32

    LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 23: Trevor Zegras #46 of the Anaheim Ducks brings up the puck during a 4-1 Los Angeles Kings win at Arena on April 23, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    The big positive for the Anaheim Ducks during the 2021-22 season was the development of Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry and Jamie Drysdale, as well as the potential of Mason McTavish. That quartet is going to be a major building block moving forward and could end up being the toughest players teams need to acquire in a rebuild: The top-tier, All-Star-type talents.

    The next step is building around them and adding players who can complement them.

    They were mostly successful in doing that this offseason by adding free agents Ryan Strome, Frank Vatrano and John Klingberg. Strome and Vatrano are legit second-line scorers, while Klingberg—even with his flaws defensively—can still be a very impactful player offensively and was the top free-agent defenseman on the open market, and they got him for a really strong one-year contract that carries relatively little risk.

    This might not be a playoff team yet, but as long as Zegras, Terry, Drysdale and McTavish become the players the Ducks hope they can be, and the free agents provide some solid depth, they might be able to hang around in the playoff race this season.

    Offseason grade: B

Arizona Coyotes

2 of 32

    GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 19: Clayton Keller #9 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with Travis Boyd #72 and Nick Schmaltz #8 after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on March 19, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    This offseason was a whole bunch of nothing. The Arizona Coyotes did not make any meaningful additions, did not make other major trades to extend their rebuild (they kept Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun...for now) and did not really do anything to suggest that a major step forward will be coming this season.

    They do have a ton of draft picks stockpiled over the next few years, but Arizona is still going to be a bad team for the foreseeable future.

    The biggest moves here were acquiring Zack Kassian from Edmonton to help the Oilers dump salary and re-signing Lawson Crouse to a long-term deal. Neither move really does much to move the needle in a meaningful way.

    Offseason grade: D

Boston Bruins

3 of 32

    BOSTON, MA - MAY 12: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in Game Six of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on May 12, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins won 5-2. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
    Rich Gagnon/Getty Images

    Getting Patrice Bergeron to come back for at least one more year and bringing David Krejčí back over from Europe, all for the combined salary-cap hit of just $3.5 million, is a huge score for the Boston Bruins. It is remarkable how consistently they are able to get their star players to sign for such below-market deals, but it always happens here.

    Getting Bergeron and Krejčí back in the mix for another year gives the Bruins their longtime one-two punch at center, and it should still be a strong pair down the middle.

    The big addition from outside the organization was the trade for Pavel Zacha from the New Jersey Devils, and it is definitely an intriguing move. Zacha seems like he has been around forever but is still just 25 years. Even though he never became a star, he has still been a 15-goal, 30-point forward and could be a nice complementary player.

    The big elephant in the room here is the fact that star winger David Pastrňák remains unsigned beyond this season. The ability to keep him is going to make or break a lot of what happens with the Bruins in future seasons.

    Offseason grade: B

Buffalo Sabres

4 of 32

    BUFFALO, NY - APRIL 23: Tage Thompson #72 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the New York Islanders during an NHL game on April 23, 2022 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

    The Buffalo Sabres tried to give their fans some hope at the tail end of the 2021-22 season with a strong finish that saw them play some of the most competitive hockey they have played in years. Tage Thompson had a breakout year, Jeff Skinner had a bounce-back year and the return in the Jack Eichel trade (Peyton Krebs, Alex Tuch) showed a lot of promise.

    Management’s response to that nice finish was to enter this offseason and do...almost nothing.

    The Sabres are bringing back mostly the same team that extended Buffalo’s current playoff drought (and was not even close to ending it) and did not make a single meaningful addition to the roster. This is not going to work well, and there are some significant questions when it comes to the returning players and their ability to duplicate what they did a year ago (specifically Thompson and Skinner). Add in the fact the goaltending situation looks completely uncertain and there is not much reason for optimism here.

    Given their salary-cap space, there was a real chance to do something here, and they didn’t take advantage. The best hope here is the young defense duo of Owen Power and Rasmus Dahlin became superstars.

    Offseason grade: D

Calgary Flames

5 of 32

    VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 19: Head coach Darryl Sutter of the Calgary Flames looks on from the bench during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena March 19, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n
    Jeff Vinnick

    What a wild offseason. The Calgary Flames lost their two best players (Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk) and somehow may have come out of it better off. Seriously.

    The biggest move was trading Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers for a package that included fellow superstar Jonathan Huberdeau and a legit top-four defenseman in MacKenzie Weegar. It is one of the biggest blockbuster trades in recent memory and as good of a return as they could have hoped for, and they even managed to get Huberdeau signed long-term (something that was not going to happen with Tkachuk). Then they went and signed Nazem Kadri in free agency.

    They still have a great goalie, a great defense (that gets better with Weegar) and they successfully added two top-line forwards to replace the two they lost.

    Hard to find fault here.

    Offseason grade: A

Carolina Hurricanes

6 of 32

    RALEIGH, NC - MAY 30: Sebastian Aho #20 of the Carolina Hurricanes warms up prior to Game Seven of the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Rangers on May 30, 2022 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

    Adding Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty gives the Carolina Hurricanes the type of players they have been missing in recent years: finishers.

    Carolina is one of the best teams in the league at driving possession and outchancing their opponents, but they have not really had a lot of players who excel in just burying goals. Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov definitely fit that mold, but they can not do it all themselves.

    The biggest problem here is that shortly after being acquired Pacioretty was injured and will miss most of the season. The good news: He will be a huge addition come playoff time.

    Offseason grade: B

Chicago Blackhawks

7 of 32

    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 27: Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) looks on during a game between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Chicago Blackhawks on April 27, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    It has been a long time since we have seen a team tank as shamelessly as Chicago has this season. This team was already bad, and it only managed to get worse this offseason.

    Chicago dumped Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome for nothing by not qualifying them RFA contracts and then traded an in-his-prime Alex DeBrincat for nothing but draft picks (only one of which is a first-round pick). If your rebuild does not have room for a mid-20s forward who is already one of the best goal scorers in the league, you are admitting that you plan to stink for a long time.

    Just imagine how bad it will get when Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews eventually go.

    The plan here is to be as bad as possible to get the best draft pick possible. At least Chicago will succeed in that.

    Offseason grade: F

Colorado Avalanche

8 of 32

    DENVER, CO - JUNE 24: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) skates during the Stanley Cup Finals game 5 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado on June 24, 2022. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche were unable to retain Nazem Kadri and starting goalie Darcy Kuemper, but they did get Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen re-signed to long-term deals and ensured Nathan MacKinnon will remain in Colorado. He will be the highest-paid player in hockey starting with the 2023-24 season. They are also bringing back an absolutely loaded lineup, including the best defense in hockey, to defend the title.

    The big move from the outside was the trade for goalie Alexandar Georgiev.

    It is a fascinating move because Georgiev has always had a lot of upside but was never going to get a chance to start in New York. He not only gets that chance in Colorado, but he also gets to play in what might be the best goaltending environment in the league given the offensive support he will get and the defense in front of him. He could be a real sleeper this year.

    Offseason grade: B

Columbus Blue Jackets

9 of 32

    COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 13:  Patrik Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets controls the puck during the game against the Montreal Canadiens at Nationwide Arena on April 13, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
    Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

    The Columbus Blue Jackets stunned everybody this offseason by being the mystery team to land top free agent Johnny Gaudreau, giving them a bona fide superstar to help build around. They then managed to lock up their returning star, Patrik Laine, to a long-term deal. For a team that has had a history of bleeding talent throughout the league, it is a big win.

    The downside for the offseason is having to trade Oliver Bjorkstrand for draft picks in a salary-cap dump and way overpaying for defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

    Some good. Some are questionable. But the former probably outweighs the latter.

    Offseason grade: B

Dallas Stars

10 of 32

    DALLAS, TX - MAY 13:  Jake Oettinger #29 of the Dallas Stars looks on against the Calgary Flames during the second period in Game Six of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 13, 2022 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
    Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    This offseason will be defined by their ability to get RFA Jason Robertson signed to a long-term deal and how well Mason Marchment plays. The Dallas Stars made a pretty significant investment in Marchment even though he is already in his mid-20s and only had one successful year in the NHL. Is he a late bloomer? Was his 2021-22 season a flash in the pan while playing for a great offensive team? We are about to find out.

    The best move of the offseason was getting starting goalie Jake Oettinger re-signed to a fairly team-friendly deal.

    Offseason grade: C

Detroit Red Wings

11 of 32

    MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 08: Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings attends the 2022 NHL Draft at the Bell Centre on July 08, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The pressure is on for general manager Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings to take a big step forward. They are now several years into this rebuild and need to at least start getting closer to a playoff spot.

    They entered the offseason with a ton of salary-cap space and put it to very good use by signing David Perron, Andrew Copp, Dominik Kubalik, Olli Määttä and goalie Ville Husso.

    There is a lot to like about all of that. The additions of Copp, Perron and Kubalik should give the Red Wings a very formidable forward group with Lucas Raymond, Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi and Jakub Vrána already in place, and they have a potential cornerstone player in Moritz Seider to lead the defense.

    If Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic can solidify the goalie position, they might be on to something here.

    Offseason grade: A

Edmonton Oilers

12 of 32

    EDMONTON, ALBERTA - JUNE 06: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers looks on with teammates after being defeated by the Colorado Avalanche 6-5 in overtime in Game Four of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on June 06, 2022 in Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
    Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

    The Edmonton Oilers addressed one of their biggest weaknesses by signing free-agent goalie Jack Campbell. But is he good enough to be the guy and cover up for what is still a very lackluster defense? That remains to be seen, but given what they are paying him ($5 million per year over the next five years), he better be.

    There is still some concern they are going to give away Jesse Puljujärvi in an ill-advised trade, but that has not happened yet. Which is a good thing for the Oilers because he is better than they realize.

    As long as they have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, expectations should be high and the Oilers should be all in on trying to win.

    Offseason grade: C

Florida Panthers

13 of 32

    SUNRISE, FL - MAY 19: Aleksander Barkov #16 of the Florida Panthers warms up on the ice prior to the start of the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Two of the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the FLA Live Arena on May 19, 2022 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

    The Florida Panthers offseason is difficult to evaluate.

    On one hand, they landed Matthew Tkachuk and got him re-signed to a massive long-term deal. He and Aleksander Barkov should be dominant together on the top line.

    But to get him they had to trade Jonathan Huberdeau, one of the best offensive players in the league, and MacKenzie Weegar, a very good defenseman.

    They also lost Claude Giroux and Mason Marchment in free agency, while Anthony Duclair is going to miss a significant portion of the season because of injury.

    This is still a loaded team offensively, but there are a lot more questions now than there were a year ago.

    Offseason grade: B

Los Angeles Kings

14 of 32

    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12: Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings skates on the ice during Game Six of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers at Arena on May 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images

    The Los Angeles Kings only made one major move this offseason, but it was a significant one in adding Kevin Fiala in a trade with the Minnesota Wild.

    Fiala really blossomed during his time in Minnesota and has become a top-line scorer. He will be a huge addition to a Kings team that made a massive leap forward this past season by earning a playoff berth.

    The addition of Fiala (without giving up anything off of the NHL roster), as well as some hopeful development from their young talent (Quinton Byfield, Arthur Kaliyev), could make them an under-the-radar contender in the Western Conference.

    Offseason grade: A

Minnesota Wild

15 of 32

    SAINT PAUL, MN - MAY 10: Kirill Kaprizov #97 of the Minnesota Wild celebrates a goal against the St. Louis Blues in Game Five of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Xcel Energy Center on May 10, 2022 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

    The buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are going to wreck the Minnesota Wild’s salary-cap situation for the next three years, and that impact was felt this offseason.

    The cap crunch cost the Wild forward Kevin Fiala and goalie Cam Talbot while also greatly limiting their ability to bring in anybody from outside the organization.

    For the Wild to get through this cap crunch they are going to need a solid pipeline of young talent from within the organization, and they do seem to have some of them with Matt Boldy, Marco Rossi and Calen Addison.

    With Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello at the top of the lineup this can still be a good team, but they have little margin for error with the salary-cap situation being what it is.

    Offseason grade: D

Montreal Canadiens

16 of 32

    MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 29:  Cole Caufield #22 of the Montreal Canadiens addresses the spectators after their last game of the regular season against the Florida Panthers at Centre Bell on April 29, 2022 in Montreal, Canada.  The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Florida Panthers 10-2.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
    Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

    The development of their young core that centers around Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki and No. 1 overall pick Juraj Slafkovský will ultimately determine how well this rebuild goes. Given what we saw from the former two players under Martin St. Louis a year ago, you have to like their chances.

    The Montreal Canadiens also added some nice pieces around them without having to give up a ton, landing Evgenii Dadonov (in exchange for Shea Weber’s contract), Kirby Dach and Mike Matheson (for Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling).

    This is not a playoff team right now, but it will be a lot better than what we saw for most of the 2021-22 season.

    Offseason grade: B

Nashville Predators

17 of 32

    NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 09: Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9), of Sweden, is shown during Game 4 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche, held on May 9, 2022, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The big win here was getting Filip Forsberg re-signed. Forsberg is coming off a career year and is their best forward. But the Nashville Predators also made two fairly significant additions from outside the organization.

    Nino Niederreiter coming over from Carolina was the big free-agency addition, and that is a rock solid deal at $4 million per year. He is one of the league’s best possession drivers, and you can pencil him in for 20 goals before the season even starts.

    They also added Ryan McDonagh in a trade with Tampa Bay and did not have to give up anything of consequence. McDonagh is not the player he was at his peak, but he can definitely improve Nashville’s defense.

    These moves will not jump Nashville from playoff team to Stanley Cup contender, but they are improvements. Even if small improvements.

    Offseason grade: B

New Jersey Devils

18 of 32

    NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - APRIL 02: Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Florida Panthers at the Prudential Center on April 02, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Even though the team has mostly been bad for the past decade, the New Jersey Devils have had some big offseasons during that time with bold moves. This offseason was another success in that regard, as they added Ondřej Palát in free agency and traded for defenseman John Marino and goalie Vítek Vaněček.

    There is a good core in place here with Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt and Yegor Sharangovich as the building blocks, but they are still playing in an absolutely loaded division and have a ton of ground to make up. Palát is a winner and will improve their forward depth, but the big question is going to be whether or not Vaněček and MacKenzie Blackwood can give them capable goaltending. That is a big gamble that may not pay off.

    Offseason grade: C

New York Islanders

19 of 32

    MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 08: General manager Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders looks on during Round Three of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 08, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    This offseason has been a big example as to how general manager Lou Lamoriello has lost some of his fastball over the years.

    All the New York Islanders did after a disappointing 2021-22 season was fire one of the best coaches in the league (Barry Trotz) and replace him with a complete unknown (Lane Lambert) and do nothing to address an offense that is completely lacking in impact talent beyond Mathew Barzal. They missed on literally every top offensive player who was available.

    It is an older team with some bad contracts, it can not score and it is going to have to be completely dependent on its goalies to succeed.

    Offseason grade: F

New York Rangers

20 of 32

    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 09:  Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers tends the net against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on June 9, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

    The New York Rangers tried to upgrade their second-line center spot by saying goodbye to Ryan Strome and adding Vincent Trocheck in free agency.

    Trocheck is a fine addition, but his contract is probably two or three years too long and a million too much per year. But if the Rangers win and Trocheck contributes, nobody in New York will care. At all.

    The bigger concern is the Rangers also lost Andrew Copp and Frank Vatrano, both of whom were outstanding trade-deadline acquisitions who really strengthened the team’s depth. They did not replace them.

    They are counting on their Kid Line to take a step forward in their development and Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Igor Shesterkin to dominate again. It could be an outstanding team, but it will not be because of their offseason moves.

    Offseason grade: C

Ottawa Senators

21 of 32

    OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 28:  Tim Stützle #18 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the Florida Panthers at Canadian Tire Centre on April 28, 2022 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
    André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

    Honestly there might not be a team in the league that had a better offseason than the Ottawa Senators.

    They added Alex DeBrincat from Chicago without giving up any player from their roster (or any prospect) and then signed Claude Giroux in free agency. Those two additions help give Ottawa one of the best top-six forward groupings in the league and should help make this an extremely exciting team. The Senators also made significant long-term investments in Tim Stützle and Joshua Norris.

    The defense is a big question mark, and Cam Talbot might not be enough to fix the goaltending situation, but this team is definitely a lot better than it was three or four months ago.

    Grade: A

Philadelphia Flyers

22 of 32

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 29: Ivan Provorov #9 of the Philadelphia Flyers controls the puck against the Ottawa Senators at the Wells Fargo Center on April 29, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    This is a directionless team that has no idea where it is going. Management talked a big game about fixing things this offseason, but other than adding Tony DeAngelo and hiring John Tortorella to coach the Philadelphia Flyers, they did not do anything to address the team's many holes in a meaningful way.

    They still seem to be under the delusion they can contend, but the roster says otherwise.

    The best-case scenario here is they finish with one of the league’s worst records and luck their way into some draft lottery success.

    Offseason grade: F

Pittsburgh Penguins

23 of 32

    PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 13:  Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins reacts after scoring a goal in Game Six of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Rangers at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 13, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
    Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

    The big story for the Pittsburgh Penguins was their ability to get Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Bryan Rust and Rickard Rakell re-signed to pretty solid deals against the salary cap. Despite their lack of playoff success in recent years this is still an outstanding team, and retaining that quartet was always going to be their best chance to maintain competitiveness as they were not going to find better players for better prices anywhere on the open market.

    They also overhauled their defense by bringing in Jeff Petry, Ty Smith and Jan Rutta. Petry is the big addition and gives them a second outstanding right defenseman to play behind Letang.

    The big knock here is that the bottom six is still lacking a little, they probably could have used some of their salary-cap space better than investing more than $6 million in Kasperi Kapanen and Rutta, and they did not do anything to address their goalie depth. Goalie injuries and goalie production have been their two biggest postseason issues the past two seasons, and they keep sticking with the same duo.

    Offseason grade: B

San Jose Sharks

24 of 32

    SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks shoots on goal against the Calgary Flames during the second period of an NHL hockey game at SAP Center on April 07, 2022 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    For much of the offseason the San Jose Sharks looked like a team that had no plan given how long it took them to find a new general manager and head coach.

    The roster underwent minor changes, but they did trade the remainder of Brent Burns’ contract.

    Right now this looks like a team that is on the verge of starting a major rebuild in the next year or so. The Sharks are clearly not a playoff team as currently constructed. They have a new general manager who is going to want to put his stamp on the team, and it is probably going to be a team that is out of playoff contention by the trade deadline. The Sharks have been a consistent contender for most of their existence, but it is time to start a new chapter.

    Offseason grade: D

Seattle Kraken

25 of 32

    MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 07: Shane Wright poses for a group photo with team personnel onstage after being selected fourth overall by the Seattle Kraken during the first round of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

    The Seattle Kraken were a major disappointment in their debut season because of a combination of brutal goaltending and some missed opportunities in the expansion draft.

    The good news for the front office is the team had a nice bounce back this offseason by adding Oliver Bjorkstrand, André Burakovsky and Justin Schultz without having to give up anything of significance in return. Bjorkstrand and Burakovsky are legit top-six wingers and should be nice complements to the young center duo of Matty Beniers and Shane Wright.

    The Kraken were also the big draft winners by having Wright, considered to be the top prospect going into the draft, fall into their laps with the No. 4 overall pick.

    Offseason grade: B

St. Louis Blues

26 of 32

    ST. LOUIS, MO - May 8: Robert Thomas #18 of the St. Louis Blues in action against the Minnesota Wild in Game Four of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Enterprise Center on May 8, 2022 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images

    The St. Louis Blues’ best moves this offseason were re-signing two of their best young players—Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou—to matching long-term deals. The Blues have become one of the best offensive teams in the league, and Thomas and Kyrou are going to be major parts of that in the short- and long-term futures.

    It is a good thing they managed to get those contracts signed because it was an otherwise disappointing offseason for the Blues as they watched David Perron and Ville Husso both leave (both going to the Detroit Red Wings).

    The Husso departure is by far the most significant because he was their best goalie a year ago by a fairly significant margin. Now the Blues are forced to hope that Jordan Binnington can reverse the downward trajectory his career has been on since winning the 2019 Stanley Cup.

    Offseason grade: D

Tampa Bay Lightning

27 of 32

    TAMPA, FL - JUNE 26: Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) looks to make a pass during the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals Game six between Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche on June 26th, 2022 at Amalie Arena in Tampa Florida (Photo by Andrew Bershaw /Icon_Sportswire)
    Andrew Bershaw /Icon_Sportswire

    The Tampa Bay Lightning are always dealing with a salary-cap crunch, and this offseason was no different. That cap crunch cost them Ryan McDonagh (trade to Nashville) and long-time forward Ondřej Palát (free agency to New Jersey Devils) and did not see them make a major addition.

    What they did do, though, was re-sign Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Černák to long-term deals that all begin with the 2023-24 season.

    The Lightning always manage to keep the core players they want to retain, and they made it clear they see all three as major players for their future given how they signed all of them to long-term deals the minute they were eligible.

    The Lightning did lose a little this offseason with Palát and McDonagh leaving, but it will not be enough to keep them from contending for the Stanley Cup again.

    Offseason grade: C

Toronto Maple Leafs

28 of 32

    TORONTO, ON - MAY 14: Morgan Rielly #44 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with teammates Mitch Marner #16 and Auston Matthews #34 during the second period in Game Seven of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scotiabank Arena on May 14, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

    The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to score goals, and their defense will be better than it gets credit for being.

    But the 6,000 pound elephant in the room is going to be the goaltending situation that can not inspire much in the way of confidence. The Maple Leafs are going to roll into this season with Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov as their goaltending duo, even though they have been two of the league's least productive goalies over the past couple of years

    Not exactly the position you want to roll the dice on when you are facing more pressure than any other team in the league to win. It is going to put general manager Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe on the hot seat as soon as the season begins because if those goalies can not get the job done, it is going to get ugly fast in Toronto.

    Offseason grade: D

Vancouver Canucks

29 of 32

    VANCOUVER, BC - APRIL 28: J.T. Miller #9 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up ice during their NHL game against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Arena April 28, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n
    Jeff Vinnick

    The big win for the Vancouver Canucks this offseason was getting head coach Bruce Boudreau to return.

    They were a completely different team after he took over early in the season and nearly dragged them to a playoff spot. He might make a huge difference over a full season.

    The Canucks also surprised everybody when they put an end to the J.T. Miller trade rumors by signing him to a long-term contract extension. Miller is coming off a career year that saw him record 99 points, and he has been an outstanding top-line player since joining the team. The Canucks are a better team with him in the lineup, and he should absolutely be considered part of their core with Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser.

    They still have some big questions on defense, but Boudreau should be able to squeeze a lot of offense out of this team.

    Offseason grade: C

Vegas Golden Knights

30 of 32

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 18: Jack Eichel #9 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates during the third period of a game against the New Jersey Devils at T-Mobile Arena on April 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images

    There was no bigger disappointment in the NHL during the 2021-22 season than the Vegas Golden Knights, as they went from top-tier Stanley Cup contender to completely missing the playoffs. Even after adding Jack Eichel to the lineup.

    Given the way the offseason went, why should we expect anything different this season?

    They lost Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov for nothing, and then they watched as starting goaltender Robin Lehner went down for the season as well. They have no proven goalie, and after losing two top-line forwards they are going to hope that Phil Kessel still has something left in his tank.

    Maybe some better injury luck and fully healthy seasons from Eichel and Mark Stone will help, but there still seems to be a lot of problems here.

    Offseason grade: D

Washington Capitals

31 of 32

    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals and Ilya Samsonov #30 of the Washington Capitals look on after losing to the Florida Panthers during overtime in Game Six of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on May 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    It would be unfair to suggest that goaltending has been the only problem for the Washington Capitals in recent years, but it has certainly been one of the biggest. They addressed that in a meaningful way with the free-agent signing of Darcy Kuemper.

    Kuemper has very quietly been one of the most productive goalies in the league the past five years and has the potential to make a huge impact for a Capitals team that is desperately trying to keep its window for contention open.

    Nicklas Bäckström's future remains in doubt, but Dylan Strome is a very nice center depth addition for a cheap price. Plus, they still have a top-line center on the roster in Evgeny Kuznetsov.

    Offseason grade: B

Winnipeg Jets

32 of 32

    WINNIPEG, MB - MAY 01: Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets hits the ice prior to NHL action against the Seattle Kraken at Canada Life Centre on May 01, 2022 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

    Another offseason with almost no action from the team’s front office. After an underachieving year that saw the Winnipeg Jets miss the playoffs, the only moves to change anything were to hire Rick Bowness to be the team’s new head coach and to remove the Captain’s C from Blake Wheeler’s sweater.

    That is not enough.

    The Jets do have some elite talent at forward with Mark Scheifele, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers, but they need some help.

    Do you know who else needs some help? Starting goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who continues to be given the task of covering up for a subpar defense.

    This team needs a general manager and front office that will proactively try to correct its problems. That has never really happened here, and it has the Jets stuck in mediocrity.

    Offseason grade: D


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.