The 2015 NHL Offseason: Winners, Losers, and Everybody In the Middle

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been breaking down the good and the bad of what’s happened so far during the 2015 NHL offseason. After going through all four divisions, looking at the players that teams have added and subtracted, and how they’ve spent their money, I figured I would put together a big list of which teams are winners and losers, and which teams are floating in their own category somewhere in the middle. Hey, it’s the summer and we still have like seven weeks until the season starts, so it’s the perfect time to sit back and speculate. 

Now, what constitutes a winner and a loser? And what does it mean to be somewhere in the middle? I figured it was best to look at each team in the context of their division, rather than trying to make broad comparisons across the entire league. It’s pretty easy to summarize what a winner and a loser is: they’re the teams who had the best, and well, the worst offseasons in their divisions based completely on the moves they made, and didn’t make. But it isn’t exactly that simple, which is why we have the “everybody in the middle category.” A winner, to me, isn’t just the team who had the best offseason in the division. A winner can be a team who did enough to maintain their playoff spot from the year before, or it can be a team who made such good moves that they’ll be able to overtake somebody else’s position. In contrast, a loser is a team that got worse in the short term, or made stupid moves that hurt themselves in the long term. Long story short, I’m trying to base each team’s grade on what the context of their division is, what the team is trying to accomplish short and long term, and how good of a job they did at accomplishing it because different teams can be winners and losers for different reasons. 

Read on past the jump for my take on which teams should be considered winners, losers, or something in the middle. Oh yeah, I also put links to my offseason divisional breakdowns at the top of each section. That way, if you want to take more of a purely objective, informational approach to the offseason rather than reading my hot takes, you can. 

PACIFIC DIVISION 

It’s difficult to say which team in the Pacific Division has been the winner of the offseason so far, but it’s pretty obvious that the title belongs to one of the teams in Alberta. On one hand, you have the Edmonton Oilers, who managed to completely flip around what appeared to be a failing rebuild by putting an end to the Old Boys Club regime, adding a Head Coach and General Manager with impressive resumes to their name, and of course, drafting the best prospect to come around since Sidney Crosby. Even if Peter Chiarelli had stood pat after drafting McDavid and gave himself a full year to assess his roster before making any decisions, this offseason would have been a win for the Oilers. Instead, the new GM signed Andrej Sekera, arguably the best defenceman on the UFA market, and traded for Cam Talbot, giving the team a reasonable upgrade in net over the combination of Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth they trotted out last season. On the other hand, you have the Calgary Flames, who were everybody’s trendy pick to take a huge step backwards after a breakout campaign last year. Then they went and acquired Dougie Hamilton from the Bruins for a very, very underwhelming package of draft picks, adding to an already elite blue line. When July 1 rolled around, the Flames inked UFA forward Michael Frolik to a five year deal, who’s strong possession and production numbers make him an excellent secondary scoring option. Not only did both of these teams take massive steps forward this summer, they did so without really compromising their future in any way. Is it fair to say the Battle of Alberta is close to becoming something worth mentioning again? 

Right in the middle, in purgatory are the Arizona Coyotes. They didn’t get any better this summer, but that was their goal. It isn’t exactly a secret, but the Coyotes are doing pretty much everything they can — like trading their highest scoring forward for the contract of a player who was just recently inducted to the Hall of Fame — to increase their odds of drafting local hero Auston Matthews first overall on June. So there’s no point in calling the Coyotes a winner or a loser, because they’re technically winning by losing games, so I’ll stuff them in their own little tanking category. 

Also in the middle are the San Jose Sharks and L.A. Kings. Obviously they aren’t in the same category as the Coyotes, who are doing their own thing, but neither of them had good enough of an offseason to be considered winners. The Sharks added Paul Martin and Joel Ward through free agency and Martin Jones through trade, but even though those are nice moves, it’s likely too little too late for glory in San Jose. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau’s best years are behind them, and while they could make a return to the playoffs next season, their Stanley Cup window has slammed shut. The Kings couldn’t do much to help fix their ugly cap situation, aside from terminating the contract of Mike Richards. They lost Andrej Sekera and Justin Williams to free agency, but added Milan Lucic, and what happens with Slava Voynov and his domestic violence case still up in the air. Regardless, the Kings were a better team than their record last season would suggest, and even with a quiet offseason, they’re more than likely going to be contenders in the Pacific Division. Long story short, both of these California teams did enough to be at least as good, or slightly better than they were last year, meaning they’ll likely contend for a playoff position. 

What about the Anaheim Ducks? They belong in a slightly different category than the other two California teams because they came into the offseason defending the division crown and they did enough to maintain it, although it comes with a long term consequence. They probably made enough improvements to their team to be considered an offseason winner, especially considering the fact they’re still easily the best team in the Pacific Division, but a massive extension to Ryan Kesler is somewhat curious. The Ducks made some nice depth moves, adding Shawn Horcoff, Chris Stewart, and Anton Khudobin, while shedding the salary of James Wisniewski and Mark Fistric. They’re also managing to ice a really good team with a ton of cap room available, as they’re heading into the season with over $8 million in free space. Like I said, though, Kesler’s contract is ugly. His current deal has a $5 million cap hit, and after this season, his new six year deal with a $6.875 million cap hit will kick in. Obviously that deal isn’t going to hurt them right now, but he’s turning 31 at the end of August, so a few years from now it isn’t going to look very good. Kesler’s Corsi For percentage has dropped consistently since the 2011 season (aside from the 2012-13 season in which he played just 17 games) and as he ages, I’m sure it’ll continue to drop. Although, if they win a Stanley Cup in the next year or two while he’s still worth the cap hit, it won’t be that big of a deal.

While it was difficult to pick a clear cut winner in the Pacific Division, it was pretty obvious who the loser was. The Vancouver Canucks made four notable trades this summer. Three of them were bad and one was pretty good. They acquired Brandon Sutter from the Penguins to slide into third line centre role, but they gave up arguably a better player in Nick Bonino, a really solid prospect in Adam Clendening, and a second round pick for good measure. They also traded away Eddie Lack — the better/cheaper/younger of their two starting goalies — for just a couple of draft picks. And then to continue with the theme of rolling with older and more expensive players, the Canucks sent Zack Kassian to the Habs for Brandon Prust. The one good trade they made was sending the rapidly declining Kevin Bieksa to the Ducks for second round pick. Ridding themselves of that contract was a nice move, but unfortunately, they went ahead and used the freed up cap space to sign Luca Sbisa to a three year deal in which he’ll carry a $3.6 million cap hit. While it wasn’t a terrible offseason (like the one in Boston), the Canucks look like they’re heading into the 2015-16 season as a slightly worse team than they had last year, while a few other teams behind them managed to get better. 

CENTRAL DIVISION 

I want to say that the Dallas Stars have been the winners the offseason in the Central Division, but that’s what everybody said last year, and we all know how that turned out. The Stars were picked as favourites to break out last season after an exciting offseason that saw them add Ales Hemsky and Jason Spezza to an already potent offence. The Stars ended up finishing the season with 2.70 even strength goals per 60 minutes, good enough for second best in the league. Unfortunately, an elite offensive attack wasn’t enough to compensate for horrific goaltending and defence, as the Stars ended up missing the playoffs largely because of a 90.95 team save percentage at even strength. In order to improve on their ability to keep the puck out of the net, the Stars signed Antti Niemi and Johnny Oduya. They also traded Ryan Garbutt and Trevor Daley to the Hawks for Patrick Sharp, which seems odd, because the Stars didn’t have any issue scoring last season. Regardless, they managed to make an already potent attack even better, and adding to a strength is never a bad thing. Besides, once you get past Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Jason Spezza, there isn’t really much there. After those three, Dallas’ next highest scoring forward was Cody Eakin with 40 points. Then Erik Cole, then Hemsky, then Vernon Fiddler. Sharp will provide a necessary secondary scoring punch behind Dallas’ big three as Valeri Nichushkin eases his way back into playing full time after an injury plagued season. 

I’m still really skeptical to call Dallas the winner of the Central Division’s offseason, largely because I don’t want to be fooled twice, but I’m not really sure who else deserves the title. I mean, nobody else in the division improved as much as the Stars did, so I guess they win by default. It certainly isn’t going to be the Colorado Avalanche, who didn’t do enough to crawl from the basement of the division into a playoff spot. After that, it basically comes down to which team did the best job at not getting worse. The St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild, and Nashville Predators were all playoff teams who appear to be heading into this season as good, or almost as good, as they were last season, so they fall all together somewhere in the middle

The theme for these teams wasn’t so much about adding to their rosters, but doing their best to keep them together. The Blues’ biggest task was figuring out a new contract for Vladmir Tarasenko, who emerged as the team’s best forward last season, scoring 73 points in 77 games. They managed to do so, coming to terms on an eight year deal with a $7.5 million cap hit. Otherwise, they didn’t do much to improve on their roster. They were forced to swap T.J. Oshie for Troy Brouwer in a deal with the Capitals to save some cap space over the next couple seasons, and their only signing of note was a one year deal to Kyle Brodziak. Regardless, signing Tarasenko to a long term deal warrants giving the Blues a passing grade on the offseason. The Wild had a similar task, as Devan Dubnyk became a UFA on July 1. Dubnyk became an elite goalie in Minnesota last season, posting a 0.936 save percentage and 22.82 goals saved above average over 39 games. They managed to come to terms on a new six year deal with a $4.33 million cap hit, which could look like a bargain if Dubnyk comes even close to keeping up his 2014-15 numbers, especially considering 21 other goalies around the league make more money per season. While they didn’t do much to make themselves any better (no, Mike Reilly doesn’t count), signing Dubnyk to a reasonable deal is also enough to give Minnesota a pass this summer. The Predators managed to sign both Mike Fisher and Mike Ribeiro to new two year deals and they signed Craig Smith and Colin Wilson long term, giving them five and four year deals respectively. Although they let Cody Franson, Mike Santorelli, and Anton Volchenkov walk as free agents, the Preds have a boat load of cap space floating if they want to make a big splash at the deadline. Hopefully if they do, it’ll work out better than the moves they made last year. Finally, we have the Jets, who are welcoming back Alexander Burmistrov after a two year hiatus in the KHL. Hopefully him, or one of their young forwards like Nikolaj Ehlers can make up for the loss of Michael Frolik, who left via free agency. 


The loser in the Central Division is pretty obvious. After they won their third Stanley Cup in six seasons, everybody knew the Hawks were going to have a rough offseason, as they were pressed right up against the cap with $10.5 million extensions to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane set to kick in. Now, one of those two guys is the middle of a criminal investigation. I’m not sure what’s going to happen, if he’s going to be suspended or not, but regardless, the Hawks are right in the middle of a public relations nightmare. Just recently, EA Sports dropped Kane from the cover of their upcoming NHL 16 video game, which was supposed to feature him and Jonathan Toews hoisting the Stanley Cup together. I don’t really want to go too much into detail about Kane’s legal situation, so here’s an article outlining some possible outcomes. As a result of their cap situation, the Hawks were forced to send RFA forward Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets and Patrick Sharp to the Stars. In return, they received Artem Anisimov, who was immediately given a five year extension with a $4.55 million cap hit, Ryan Garbutt, Trevor Daley, and a collection of prospects. They were also forced to let Johnny Oduya and Antoine Vermette walk because there wasn’t enough cap space left to fit them in. All in all, the Hawks didn’t do a bad job acquiring cheaper players to fit into their cap picture, but the Kane situation has raised a lot of question marks that the organization is going to have to deal with moving forward. I’m sure the Hawks are going to make the playoffs again next season, but nobody else in the division took as big of a hit as they did this summer. 

METROPOLITAN DIVISION 

It’s hard to believe that the team who boasts arguably the two best forwards in the league could have such a difficult time scoring. Last season, the Pittsburgh Penguins had a very, very disappointing season largely because they struggled to score goals. They finished the season as a middle of the pack team in terms of goal scoring production, averaging 2.25 goals per 60 minutes at even strength even though they were one of the best teams in the league at out shooting and out chancing their opponents. The Penguins averaged three more shots per game than their opponents at even strength and also boasted the fifth highest Corsi For percentage in the league at 52.8. Long story short, they had a really tough time scoring goals even though they were a good team, especially down the stretch. The Penguins lost 11 of their last 15 games of the regular season and in that stretch, they only scored 26 goals. So what did they do to fix it? Well, they went out and acquired Phil Kessel — one of the best pure goal scorers in the league — and they’re going to slide him onto a line with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. If that doesn’t going to help your team score goals, I don’t know what will. That deal alone was enough to call the Penguins one of the winners of the offseason, but they weren’t done there. They also traded Brandon Sutter to the Canucks for Nick Bonino, another forward who can help them score more goals, Adam Clendening, and a second round pick — which is a really nice haul for a forward who doesn’t produce much offensively. I know that their blue line isn’t overly impressive and they didn’t really do anything to improve it this summer, but the Pens have done a good job of putting together an offence that should be able to outscore just about anybody in the league.

I think it’s also reasonable to say that the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets should be considered winners this summer too. The Capitals came into the summer in a bit of a bind with Mike Green, Joel Ward, and Eric Fehr set to hit free agency, and Braden Holtby in need of a new RFA contract. They managed to sign their franchise goalie to a long term deal and they were able to make improvements to their forward group by signing Justin Williams to a really team friendly deal and trading Troy Brouwer to the Blues for T.J. Oshie. For as long as I can remember, the Caps have had a hell of a time finding somebody to form a dynamic trio with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. You have to think that one of Justin Williams, who boasted some incredible possession stats with the Kings, or T.J. Oshie will be able to do just that. Even though losing Mike Green’s offence from the blue line hurts, the Capitals are a better team than they were last year because of the upgrades they made up front. The Blue Jackets were riddled by injuries — to key players like Boone Jenner, Ryan Murray, Brandon Dubinsky, and Sergei Bobrovsky — last season, which is a big reason why they weren’t able to take a step forward after what appeared to be a breakout campaign in 2013-14. Their biggest move of their summer was trading for RFA forward Brandon Saad, who’s already won two Stanley Cups at the tender age of 22. Of course, whenever you trade for a player from a really good team like the Hawks, there’s bound to be some skepticism. Saad has logged most of his ice time over the past two seasons with Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews, but even when he isn’t playing with them, his underlying numbers remain strong which is reason to suggest that he’s pulling his own weight. A good season from Saad and some good luck in the health department should result in the Jackets finding their way back into the playoffs for the third time in franchise history. 

I figure I’ll lump the New York Rangers and Islanders into the same middle category here as playoff teams from last year who didn’t really get any better, but also didn’t get worse. The Rangers and Islanders came into the offseason as two very different teams. On one hand, you have the Rangers, who aren’t in a great cap situation with a closing window of opportunity. On the other, you have the Islanders, who have a whole bunch of free cap space to spend, and just enjoyed a breakout season last year. The Rangers didn’t have the money to make upgrades, but they managed to sign Derek Stepan to a six year deal, meaning they have their top two centres, him and Derick Brassard, signed for the foreseeable future. Part of me wants to call them a loser because they’re still paying Tanner Glass $1.45 million to play hockey for them. But I won’t be that cruel. Like I said, the Islanders have a fair amount of cap room to improve their team, and after a nice breakout season, they could have easily gone out on a shortsighted spending spree. Instead, they stood pat, which is a great idea because Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen become UFAs next summer and Ryan Strome, among others, is in need of a new RFA deal. 

Along with the New York dominated middle category, I’ll also lump the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, and Carolina Hurricanes in the same category as non-playoff teams who didn’t really get any better, but didn’t do anything horribly wrong either. The Flyers did a pretty solid job in shedding cap space as they try to drag themselves out of cap hell. They unloaded Nicklas Grossmann and Chris Pronger’s contracts, but they still have Andrew MacDonald, Vinny Lecavalier, and R.J. Umberger signed for five, three, and two more years respectively. The Devils signed Adam Larsson to a six year deal with a reasonable $4.167 million cap hit and added John Moore and Kyle Palmeri, two players who fit nicely into their young, rebuilding core. Carolina also added Noah Hanifin to their rebuilding core, and they’ll likely be adding another stud prospect come June. They’ll also have to make decisions on Eric Staal and Cam Ward, who are set to become UFAs at the end of the season. It’ll be interesting to see what direction the Hurricanes decide to take their franchise and whether or not those two fit into their plans at all. I’m not really sure who deserves to be considered a loser in the Metropolitan Division. All of the playoff teams from last year did enough to maintain their positions and none of the non-playoff teams made any horrific moves that jeopardize their future enough to warrant calling them losers. All four of the playoff teams from last year did enough to maintain their positions, the Blue Jackets look like they’ve improved themselves enough to work their way into that mix, and the other three teams, while at different stages of their rebuilding processes, have done a fair job at improving themselves, or not hurting themselves, in the long term. It was a good summer all around in the Metro. 

ATLANTIC DIVISION 

I think this has to be the easiest one of them all. I mean, there really isn’t any doubt at all that the loser in the Atlantic Division this summer is the Boston Bruins after one of the most bizarre, confusing offseasons in recent memory. Where do I even begin? First of all, they traded Dougie Hamilton, who’s emerging as one of the best young defencemen in the game, to the Flames for a first round pick and two second round picks. Apparently they couldn’t come to a reasonable RFA deal with Hamilton, but he ended up signing a six year deal with a cap hit of $5.75 million in Calgary, so I’m not really too sure what exactly the problem was. I think the worst part about apparently losing Hamilton over money is the fact they signed Adam McQuaid to a four year deal with a $2.75 million cap hit and Matt Beleskey to a five year deal with a $3.8 million cap hit. Had they not signed those two, they feasibly could have given Hamilton exactly what the Flames gave him and had some change left over to trade for a terrible player like Zac Rinadlo. Unfortunately for once proud Bruins fans, they only did one of those two things. They did make one good move though, which was sending Milan Lucic, who’s one year away from free agency, to the Kings for Martin Jones and a first round pick. That move gave them their third pick in the first round of the deep 2015 draft, which is a nice way to start a rebuild. Fair enough if you want to rebuild your franchise, but why on earth would you not find a way to come up with the money to sign a player like Dougie Hamilton? Isn’t he the type of player you’d want to build your team around?

So why I did I start this section with the Atlantic Division’s biggest loser this summer? I figured that it would be nice for the fans of the other teams in the division to read that first, because no matter how their summer went, it was better than the one the Bruins had. I’ll move on to the teams in the middle now. First of all, the Ottawa Senators look like a team who had a disappointing summer. Last year, they went on an incredible fly by night run into the playoffs thanks to a video game level performance from Andrew Hammond. Unfortunately, they didn’t do anything this summer to get better. That isn’t actually a bad thing, though. The Senators, although they made the playoffs, are still a young, rebuilding team. They’re also an internal budget team that needs to be smart with the money they spend in order to be successful. They didn’t allow a season in which they overachieved to trick them into making any emotionally driven signings or trades that could potentially come back to bite them in the face a few years from now, and for that, they deserve a pat on the back. There’s a decent chance the Sens fall out of the playoffs next season, but they’re still a young team with a nice cap situation moving forward, which is a reason to be excited. Also in the middle are the Florida Panthers, who didn’t make any horrible signings for the first time in a few years. They didn’t do much, but standing pat is a lot better than handing out a five year, $27.5 million contract to Dave Bolland. So yeah, pat on the back to the Panthers who look like they’re finally building something worthwhile in Sunrise. 

In terms of winners, we have two categories: playoff teams who will continue to be playoff teams, and non-playoff teams who made really good moves to push them in the right direction. I’ll start with the first group of winners: the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, and Tampa Bay Lightning, who were playoff teams last year who did enough to more than likely be playoff teams again this year. Detroit may have lost head coach Mike Babcock, but they added Brad Richards and Mike Green, who are clear upgrades on the players they let go. I don’t really see a reason to suggest the Red Wings are going to have their 24 year playoff streak snapped, so that’s enough to say they had a pretty successful summer. Same goes for the Canadiens, who made a couple of nice low key moves, like signing Alexander Semin to a one year, $1 million deal and swapping Brandon Prust for Zack Kassian, making the team slightly younger and cheaper in the process. Rounding out the middling winners are the Tampa Bay Lightning. The only thing they really did this summer was replace Brenden Morrow with Erik Condra. There wasn’t much more they could do, because they’re pressed right up against the cap and Steven Stamkos becomes a UFA next summer, but they’re still arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference, so they didn’t really have to do anything to be honest. 

Finally, we have the other group of winners in the Atlantic Division’s offseason: the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs. Although they probably aren’t good enough to be playoff teams yet, both the Sabres and Leafs made moves that’ll help them be competitive this season and down the road. The Sabres made a two huge improvements via trade, acquiring Ryan O’Reilly from the Colorado Avalanche and Robin Lehner from the Ottawa Senators. Of course, the biggest acquisition of the summer was drafting Jack Eichel, who might be the second best prospect to come along since Sidney Crosby. Had it not been for Connor McDavid, he easily would have been the first overall pick in the draft and anybody in the league would have been thrilled to have him. Picking up O’Reilly helps the Sabres get better right now, and it helps Eichel’s individual development as a player because it takes pressure off of him having to be the best centre on the team as he adjusts to playing in the NHL. Once he does establish himself as a top line centre, O’Reilly can slide down the depth chart and go back to being the elite second line centre he was in Colorado. Some may suggest that the Leafs were losers this offseason because they traded Phil Kessel (and retained some of his salary) for a somewhat underwhelming return. But the Leafs are a rebuilding team who clearly didn’t view Kessel as a part of their future plans. Right or wrong, they decided he wasn’t the type of player they were going to win with, and now they can start building a team without him. As of right now, the Leafs boast one of the best prospect pools in the league, and they’re in a great position to improve it. They went out and made a bunch of Moneyball style signings of good depth players — Daniel Winnik P.A. Parenteau, Shawn Matthias, Mark Arcobello — on short and cheap contracts who can easily be flipped at the deadline for more draft picks. But the biggest reason why the Leafs are winners this offseason is the fact they landed possibly the most coveted free agent of the summer: Mike Babcock. Babcock is known for his ability to develop prospects nicely, which is exactly what the Leafs need in order to finally do this rebuild thing properly. 

STATS COURTESY OF HOCKEY REFERENCE AND WAR ON ICE. 

  • JackB

    More superficial comments about the Canucks. If you can’t do better than that, you’re losing readership. It’s not just the usual dumb stuff like the author doesn’t get why trading Kassian for anything is a good thing but it’s the spin doctoring like how Sutter isn’t an upgrade over Bonino that insults every reader. How about giving it some thought Cam Lewis.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      Sumter is not an upgrade on Bonino. Nor is he an upgrade on Kessler, who you traded for Bonino. So twice now the team downgraded that position. Only this time they also gave up a prospect AND a better pick. By every metric possible, Bonino is a better player. But for my money I think this sums it up: 2 years ago, Boyd Gordon, playing the second most difficult minutes in the league, on the worst team, scored 5 less points in 5 less games then Suter who played 3rd line centre behind Crosby and Malkin. That’s the guy you got back. A worse Boyd Gordon. Great trade.

  • RedMan

    Lucky Chiarelli ? Walks onto Oilers and dominoes start to follow . Wins the lottery for McDavid ( The Next One) , and Nugent Hopkins looks poised to become an elite center this year . Draisaitl and Nurse look poised to make a splash as well this year , as Nurse is probably best defenseman not in the NHL as yet . To this mix he has added Reinhart , Sekara , and Talbot among others . Coaching change and philosophy also added . Hall and Eberle benefit from worlds and McLelland as coach . Yakupov looks poised to make noise this year . Possibilities are many fold this season for Oilers with so much youth trending upwards , and a coaching staff bent on making them play better as a team . It’ll be a far better team this year that should climb a lot in standings . It will be exciting to see how the new club performs this season as compared to the disaster last years squad encountered . They should catch many teams by surprise this season .

    • I don’t see the Coilers catching anyone by surprise. The best move they did was put some hockey minds in the front office. They may have McDoofus but the key was creating an environment where they can properly develop players.

      I kinda hope they continue to ruin their talent and continue to be a joke 🙂

      • Double Dees

        Bartkowsi as ur free agent signing is a joke.

        Also wasting 2.5mil on prust is a joke.

        Sbisa getting paid like he did is a joke.

        All ur old “core” players with NTC is a joke.

        Trading a young goalie yet to reach his prime and settle for miller is a joke.

        Maybe the jokes on u loser.

        • ubermiguel

          Hey don’t be so hard on Ted, Double Dees, t’s not his fault he has no standards….oh wait, it is.

          No wonder they call him ‘No Standards Ted’ here! LOL

          • mcjesus take the wheel

            LOL. Oh my! That was a good one! You have got to be the funniest idiot on the boards! Bravo! You and Moron00 seem to be cut from the same cloth. Don’t forget to get your cheque on welfare Wednesday!

        • andyg

          Please pay more attention this year in English class.

          Bartkowski is free so no loss for one year. Why not sign him?

          The Oilers have plenty of over paid players of their own.

          We moved a young goal tender because we could. We have a replacement but you had to over pay for another backup to go with your other backup.

          You will come back down to earth when the season begins.

          • RedMan

            let’s face it…

            Oilers are perennial champions, as Calgary or Vancouver fans, there is no getting away from it.

            starting at the draft, they dominate unchallenged until October.

            Then, during the off season (October to April) they live for the next great dominating season.

            truly committed fans, i mean, fans need to be committed.

          • RedMan

            Are you actually going to compare Calgary and Vancouver to Edmonton? The sole purpose of each season is to win the Stanley Cup. We have done that 5 times…how many do Calgary and Vancouver have? I’ll agree that we have been crap for the past 10 years. A laughing stock of the league…but in that time you still haven’t managed to win anything so you really aren’t any better are you? Good for you that you are satisfied with making the playoffs. We have had success and will win another cup before Calgary or Vancouver does.

          • hagar

            The purpose is for the franchise to remain solvent so your sorry club is not moved to Seattle or Las Vegas.

            Being crap for ten years speaks to the great fans of Edmonton and their hope that ownership and management can and will raise the bar higher than last place in perpetuity in order to continue making enough money to ice a team.

            When you have a team that is competitive and makes the playoffs there is enough revenues to remain solvent.

            Anybody that has to work and look after other human beings realises sports is a game. The reality is that only a once great team like Edmonton can sit UTTERLY mismanaged in the toilet for ten years and still have an NHL club in your city.

          • redhot1

            Ah, the old “Muh Cups” Argument.

            And yes, it does make Calgary better then your team. Building a young team with a bright future, without having to win the lottery once, yet alone 4 (four!) times. All the while, giving a solid effort. Last season they set a record for 1 goal games.

            Instead, some savvy drafting, along with some well timed trades and signings have set the Flames up nicely. Without having to be a laughingstock franchise.

            Ask any neutral fan, who they would have more respect for. The Flames, who rebuilt quickly and quietly, or the Lotto 649 McSuck and Luckers up the highway

          • kaitykat

            Well the purpose of playing is to win the cup so yes that is the argument.

            Good for you that you’ve rebuilt quicker and won a lot of one goal games. A lot of good it’s done you considering you’ve won NOTHING! Anything less than the cup is a failure. The fact that you find less than that good enough is exactly why your team is always going to suck.

          • redhot1

            I’ve got news for you. All the Oiler cups are ancient history. Ancient. Referencing them is pointless! I bet you weren’t even born.

            An Oiler fan saying another team sucks! Maybe the most ironic thing I’ve ever seen. Your team is literally one of the worst pro sports teams on the planet for the past ten years.

            Guess what, the Flames are going to be competing for cups soon with their d core and depth down the middle.

            Go practice your jersey tossing skills

          • RedMan

            So you’re saying that your lack of cups is more relevant than our ancient cups? Yes, that makes sense. And as a matter of fact I was born. I agree that our team was a joke for the past 10 years. Thankfully those days are behind us. Your team has been mediocre for 30 years so isn’t that worse? And you really think the flames can compete for a cup? They’ll lose Gio next year and their defense won’t be nearly as good. Love the Hamilton move but it isn’t enough. You are going to talk to us about centre depth? Go play with your Matt Stajan blow up doll for awhile and work out those issues you have.

          • Admiral Ackbar

            Are you ever butt-hurt. Do you know how foolish these comments looks?

            We Oiler fans need something to get excited about. Would you prefer to simply not have a rival? You’d prefer not to be provoked?

            There hasn’t been anything exciting to happen in the regular season for this team in quite some time. Unfortunately, the off-season offers us hope. We like being hockey fans and supporting our team. Would you rather we not? If we simply ignored the team when they aren’t a contender, we’d be much like a lot of ‘hockey fans’ south of the border.

            If you’re simply trolling, please come up with something more creative.

          • RedMan

            it sounds like you are the one getting all bent out of shape. I am just rooting for continued domination of this fashion for your team, and am glad to hear you’ve enjoyed it 🙂

        • RedMan

          Hey, Double Doofus, please don’t make comments here until you’ve started your grade 8 education. It’s sad you’re still in grade 7; people in grade 7 don’t have drivers licenses and don’t shave.

          It’s nice to see you dump on the Canucks. Hey, I’m not too happy with them these days either but I still cheer my team. I’m not a bandwagon jumper like a bunch of people on here. Also, at least the Canucks have given me reason to cheer within the last 20 years and more than once. You can’t say that about your beloved Coilers.

          I’m also curious to see how the Coil does this year. They should be good but we’ve heard that story for years. There is no way they could screw things up now but here’s to hoping they do! I am sure a decade plus of being the the division doormats is enough. 🙂

  • Train#97

    So the writer says because Arizona is trying to tank so they’re in the middle. But like usual, they bitch about how bad the Canuck transactions are (which would be effectively a tank) but their losers. No bias here, obviously.

  • Hallo Freunde, dies ist Peter, Attraktion für eine Frau ist natürlich für alle Männer und sie mit ihnen intim werden möchten. Ich war auch mit einer Frau anzuziehen und während wir ausführen konnte ich aufrecht und meine sinnliche macht geht. Dann schlägt sie zu Kamagra Kaufen http://www.kamagrahub.biz/ und nächste Mal, wenn ich eine bessere Leistung für viel Zeit und sie war glücklich.

  • hagar

    Who, that said they are done with the oilers as oilers fans last year, if they show no sign of improvement the next, will stand by that statement now?

    I don’t see PC being a roll over.. but we have seen that complete piece of crap KLOWE save his own skin over and over by hiring his own replacements how many times now?

    This is a mixed approach type of blog, so I am going to stir some stuff up.

    Do you feel it is fine that Klowe and Mact are still hanging around, if the oilers are as bad as ever next year?

    What happens if the oilers get their fourth number one overall pick in 6 years (mcdavid), and they are out of the playoffs by December again?

    Do we just give everyone a pass, and continue to think Klowe and Katz have nothing to do with anything?

    I am as excited as anyone to want improved oilers hockey this year, but what if it happens just like the past epic positive feelings over the years? Do we all just kill ourselves in the final giant embarrassment?

    Group buy on samurai swords so we can all do that japanese suicide when embarrassment is not able to be faced?

    • MorningOwl

      Yes. If there’s not marginal improvement next year then sepaku it is. However, there are so many improvements it’ll be difficult for the team to be worse. Generational talent, a true top pairing puck moving d who posted good numbers on a bad team, a goalie, a Gm that wants to win, and maybe most important of all… A coach who knows what the hell he’s doing.

  • Double Dees

    Oh my the comments are fun to read here.

    My dad is bigger than your dad, my city is nicer than your city, your team sucks, mine is great.

    Can’t wait for hockey to start. I don’t care what the Flames and Canucks do, all I am concerned about is, will the moves the Oilers made make them a better team?

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Hagar : Oiler fans a resilient lot , and can discard each seasons setbacks at end of each and every summer , and look forward with new optimism going into another season . Players are no different in that regard basically . It’s not like they are not accustomed to dealing with adversity .

  • Orpo

    Seems like Edmonton’s management had one of the biggest wins of the offseason as they’ve gotten their fanbase to drink the kool-aid yet again. “I know you’ve heard this before but this time it’s for real, THIS first overall draft pick is going to turn the franchise around.”
    Edmonton fans en masse “Yes i agree, i’ve seen this players highlight reel on youtube and had the word generational shoved down my throat by 1000 lazy bloggers. How could a rookie of this caliber NOT be our next Gretzky. Guess we’ve practically already made the playoffs and won the cup!”

  • Butters

    “winning by losing”?

    Um, that’s not actually winning. That’s simply just losing.

    So why not call it what it is?

    In a nutshell, that’s the problem with the approach of this website and analytics in general. It makes a virtue out of losing and focuses on rosterbation on “paper”, but ignores actual results on the ice.

    At least the author admitted that his predictions of success last offseason for Dallas were utterly wrong. Given that record of complete and total failure, I’d be inclined to put my money on the management teams that the author criticizes.

    Similarly, a simple statistical analysis of the atrociously inept performance of teams that got swept up in the “Summer of Analytics” (none made the playoffs – a 0% success rate), suggests that the less emphasis a management team puts on analytics, the greater the success in the standings.

    Exhibits A and B. Burke’s Flames and Benning’s Canucks. Both flipped the bird at analytics and were pegged to miss the playoffs by the analytics crowd. So, of course they succeeded.

    It’s time the analytics crowd’s results were analyzed. Because, those results have been disastrous to date.

  • MorningOwl

    I am looking forward to the Leaf’s being almost better, but not bad enough to get a top pick and not good enough to make the playoffs. The top level coaching talent and GM could make things interesting. Its like they are trying to soil the team and then paid a boat load of money for hockey minds. I personally don’t get it why you pay that kinda money for coaches and a GM.

    The should of paid peanuts to Steve Tambellini and his magic tie, endured 6 years of crap. Cause if this does not work for the Laughs they will be forced to bring in MacT and Lowe.

  • kaitykat

    This is probably the one thing that has been blowing my mind all summer. Yes Oiler fans, you got McDavid. That is awesome. But you also have those other first overall picks that haven’t made a difference. Are they the same calibre as McDavid? No. Definitely not but one generational talent does not a team make. Will the Oil be a dominate team in the future? With the talent they have you would hope so. Will they be improved? Again, you would hope so. Yes be excited, your team could finally be something to be excited about this season but let’s not act like the Oil have jumped ahead of every other team and are going to win the cup just on McDavid alone.

    Also to the comment that Flames fans shouldn’t be excited about this past season since they didn’t win the cup: let me know how excited you are if the Oilers should make the playoffs this year on some sort of magical witchcraftery type regular season. Did the Flames win the cup? No, but they gave us fans a hell of a season in what could have been an Oiler-esque season.

    Just my two cents. Will probably get some heat for it but it has been bugging me all summer.

  • ubermiguel

    The Oilers are better in every way, although they did pay a price to get Sekera and Talbot, at the end of the day it’s worth it to show the fans they are making an effort.

    The Flames needed an answer to the Oilers drafting McDavid, and I think acquiring Hamilton was really the best thing they could have done to revamp their blueline and accelerate the rebuild.

    • Double Dees

      I wonder if Petry is kicking himself for not sticking around.

      Had the Oilers had Petry and Sekera, along with the collection of lesser talents on the blueline, that team might actually be on the cusp of greatness.

      Huh. What might have been…

  • RedMan

    FINAL WORD

    each year, 30 teams compete in a grueling 82 game season for the right to play in the championship tournament.

    Each year, the battle is new: New players, new systems, new coaches and management, new rules.

    once the new year starts, old accomplishments are ancient history. there are no points, bonuses, or glory in the new season for teams that won 100 years ago, or 50 years ago, OR 30 years ago, or even 1 year ago.

    there is no banner, ring, cup or even a banquet for past winners; each new season, the battle is new. The past is irrelevant.

    Those who call upon past success to counter a current lack thereof are simply admitting that they are not in the race today by doing so. Those who talk of a future success they cannot guarantee are simply admitting they are not contending today.

    Take a lesson from Ronda Rousey; keep your mouth shut; let the losers do the talking. do your talking in the arena.

    in the arena, their if honor in defeat when you have given your best effort. In this gladiator sport, there is honor in showing up and doing your best, even when bested by a better opponent.

    there is no honor in purposely losing, to giving half an effort, for any reason.

    for this reason, I applaud the Flames for giving it their all, for competing without reservation regardless of the snickers coming from teams and fan bases who chose to lose. I applaud the Flames for being honest and true.

    For those teams who threw in the towel, who gave half an effort, who felt losing was an acceptable outcome and gave an effort that reflected this belief, there is nothing but self-loathing and shame. Their actions are a mockery that demonstrates a lack of respect for themselves, their team, the sport, and the fans who pay dearly to watch them. and for those who embrace such, no amount of past glory or future promise can erase the smell or feeling of the shame.

    Final word.

    • Admiral Ackbar

      Your long comment is a perfect example of why a team like the Canucks will NEVER ever win the SC.

      The Canucks and their fans do not learn from the past.

      The Canucks fans do not want or like to change.

      The Canucks and their fans do not accept accountability.

      The Canucks and their fans constantly make excuses.

      The Canucks and their fans blame everyone but themselves.

      The Canucks are their fans do not believe in sacrificing for any future.

      The Canucks and their fans act and talk like they’ve won it all, despite the contrary.

      And Ronda Lousy? Man, someone’s on the Dan White hype train. I’ve seen better striking at an amateur boxing club. lousy is lousy, slow is sow, trust your eyes more than Dan White’s breath, otherwise, you’ll be just another of what PT Barnum calls…a sucker.

  • redhot1

    Enjoy your regular season cup, you got another one coming up,chump. LOL

    Id’ love to come push you off the bridge, but I know you’d never show up, too busy trying to scalp tickets at the loser show.

    Biggest coward is you, why don’t tell me where you live, name and number and where to meet and put your money where your mouth is? LOL

    No? No Standards Ted. Thought so.

    Go hype a real team you lying POS. LOL

  • Admiral Ackbar

    When Eakins was canned as the Oilers coach, the Oilers became a near .500 team and the change was rather pronounced and apparent. Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle became some of the top NHL scorers post All-Star break. A huge deadweight was lifted from the team and they started to perform more like how everyone expected them to. The record improved to the detriment of their chances of getting McDavid, but the team pushed on and won big games against desperate teams (that helped the Flames get into the playoffs).

    In the same fashion, I think we’ll see a drastic and apparent improvement in their record with a new President and GM. Coach Nelson got the Oilers winning with an AHL level defense after their veterans got hurt. He’d be quite happy with this new roster, as imperfect as it is. Nevermind the prospects (including McDavid), Nelson had to use Oesterle and Hunt on nights! Alas, Nelson will never be able to coach these new players because…

    The addition of McLellan as well as his coaching staff will count for something as well. I think Hartley was well deserving of the Jack Adams award, for his great work last year which laid the foundation for a solid year this past year. McLellan will have the same effect on the Oilers, which is a safe assumption because we just saw it with Nelson. The young Oilers responded well under Nelson, and responded well under McLellan in the IIHF tourney. Anyways, McLellan will lay a foundation for these players and I expect these young talented forwards to play well on both sides of the puck, because if they don’t, there’s enough competition for first/second line minutes now that any lax play will be easily rewarded with reduced ice time.

    As you can tell, I think the Oilers improved most significantly, even without factoring in McDavid. Keep in mind that some of it has to do with how absolutely horrible Eakins was as a coach, and MacT as a general manager. ANY change would have been improvement, but I think Chiarelli and McLellan are fantastic replacements.

    Winning the draft is one thing, but I think the Oilers are extremely lucky in having Chiarelli and McLellan fired from their respective teams in the offseason.

    Having experienced poor coaching and GMs, I feel for Canucks fans who couldn’t quite replace Vigneault and for Bruins fans in getting Sweeney as the replacement GM. It’s gonna be tough.

    That said I think the Canucks will still be a team to watch for, they still have a great 1st line that 20 other teams would gladly have. Any fanbase that gets to watch the Sedins on a nightly basis, are pretty damn lucky. I’d be much higher on them if the rest of the West didn’t improve so damned much. It would have been nice to get a better return for Lack, that’s something I can identify with for sure.

    The Flames went a quarter of the season without Giordano, & the entire season without Bennett. Both of those players, nevermind Hamilton, playing on the team make the team much better. Hamilton is just the gravy, sprinkles, and cherry on top. In my mind the best defensive roster in the entire NHL at the moment. They were able to feast on their division last year (nearly 40% of their season’s points came from the Oilers, Coyotes, Kings, & Sharks) which won’t happen this year, but their .500 record vs the rest of the NHL will undoubtedly improve, so I have them squeaking into the playoffs again. I’d have them as a lock if Dallas and L.A. didn’t improve.

    I don’t see the Oilers making the playoffs, but I do see them improving the most out of any team, by 28-32 pts. My guess is 10th in the West.

    • mk

      I’m with you – I doubt the Oilers make the playoffs, but I see plenty of reasons for them to improve. Though, I say that every year – I guess we’ll see? McDavid should help. Forwards continue to look like they’ll be dangerous, but the d-core is suspect.

      The Flames will improve as well. They should end up around the playoff bubble again (with better underlying numbers). Their d-core looks fantastic, but the forwards could still use more help. Bennett could be a huge boon here.

      The Canucks will drift around the playoff bubble as well, probably falling out of it. Lack may not have been a star, but at the very least he was a reliable backup – his loss will hurt the team. Sutter was not a great add. They won’t hit the basement, but they’re trending in that direction.

      My bet for the Pacific is (in order of standings):
      Anaheim (top)/ LA / Calgary (Playoffs),
      San Jose/Vancouver (Bubble),
      Edmonton (improvement, but not more than 25 points), Arizona (BAD)

  • Admiral Ackbar

    please don’t quit your day a job to be a hockey writer…so many mistakes i wouldn’t want to begin listing them all…your lack of knowledge in understanding why trades or signings happened (ie hamilton to calgary) to player values is way off…good luck in whatever career you choose…