Star Tribune

Whether a team brought younger talent from the minor leagues or decided to open up some cap space by getting rid of players, there were plenty of events that occurred over the NHL offseason. 

All 31 teams are looking into the next season on how they can become the best or better than the year(s) prior. 

Two of the most active teams were the Colorado Avalanche and the Chicago Blackhawks. Even though the Avalanche made it to the second round, it never hurts to want to add some diverse talent. Colorado added to its lineup a few minors and attained some players from around the league. Interestingly, every team the Avalanche traded with made it to the playoffs: Nazem Kadri from Toronto, Andre Burakovsky from Washington, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare from Vegas and Joonas Donskoi from San Jose. 

Their ultimate goal with acquiring talent from other NHL teams is to see if a little outside help could push them to the cup finals, considering the last time they won it all was 2001. 

The Chicago Blackhawks have missed the playoffs the past two years and are ready to get into the competition for cup contention. Their old coach, Joel Quenneville, was fired and is now head coach for the Florida Panthers. Chicago was looking for something more than coaching staff to give the team that extra boost in the coming season. They drafted the young talent Kirby Dach from Saskatoon third, following Hughes by the Devils and Kakko by the Rangers. The rest they added to their team from competition among the league: Robin Lehner from New York (Isles), Olli Maatta from Pittsburgh, Zack Smith from Ottawa, Andrew Shaw from Montreal and Calvin de Haan also from New York (Isles).

The Florida Panthers not only brought in a new head coach but also a new goalie after Robert Luongo announced his retirement. Their acquisitions could put one leg in the door into making a playoff run next season. Without sacrificing much, they’ve added a lot of talent to their lineup: Sergei Bobrovsky from Columbus, Noel Acciari from Boston, Brett Connoly from Washington, Anton Stralman from Tampa Bay and Spencer Knight from Boston College. 

The spark the Vancouver Canucks wanted could be coming this year. Some of the talent they already have, including Elias Petterson, are looking to be a growing threat if they manage to pull it together with some new line mates: Micheal Ferland from Carolina, J.T. Miller from Tampa Bay, Jordie Benn from Montreal, Tyler Myers from Winnipeg and Vasily Podkolzin from the Russian Juniors.

The New York Rangers are looking to find their place back in the playoff arena. Their last trip was in 2017 where they made it to the Conference Semi-finals. 

In total, they’ve been playoff-bound 59 out of 92 seasons. The Rangers drafted Kaapo Kakko second in the first round. New York managed to acquire Artemi Panarin from the Columbus Blue Jackets and Jacob Trouba from Winnipeg.

New Jersey managed to stack their team with high-caliber veterans over the offseason. With getting the first-round pick, drafting Jack Hughes, then managing to obtain P.K. Subban, the two should create a dynamic duo. But Subban didn’t come alone from Nashville. He was followed by long time Flyers player, Wayne Simmonds. 

Whereas some teams may have gotten more players overall, the stats seem to be in New Jersey’s favor with their acquisitions, in addition to the talent in a Devils uniform.

Arizona was not far from playoff contention last season. Maybe it wouldn’t take very much to give them that extra hand to actually get a chance to fight for the cup. 

The Coyotes have a young and talented group but needed a little more leadership on the team. During the offseason they brought to the team Phil Kessel from Pittsburgh and Carl Soderberg from Colorado. 

The Dallas Stars were another team that made playoffs and did a little more movement over the offseason. Their ability to gain Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry are great second liners and bring some more talent to an already great hockey club.

There are still a few weeks until the new season begins, but it’s useful to get to know some new faces on teams. 

Safe to say it was an impressive series, regular season and post, but given some of the roster changes we may see a rise in new cup contenders this year.

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