NHL Offseason GradesPosted by: Anthony Yaylor
No one would’ve bet on NHL’s offseason to be as crazy as it was this year. Even before free agency started we had some mind-boggling transactions that will go down in hockey history. Now the dust is beginning to settle and we can finally assess the improvements, or damage, that clubs have made. At this point of free agency all the real talent is off the market and getting ready to go on the ice and sportsbooks have begun to adjust their odds accordingly. Keeping that in mind, now is as good of time as any to critique the biggest deals in this NHL offseason.
Any talk of this NHL offseason begins with the two jaw-dropping trades we saw early on. The Houston Oilers parted ways with one of the premier forwards in the league in order to secure a talented defenseman. In an attempt to find logic in this trade you could defend Houston’s move by saying that Taylor Hall was quickly losing value in the league’s market, and that the Oilers wanted to ensure that they could at least fill one of their voids. But with Hall being just 24-years old we can’t be certain as to how much truth there is behind that statement. Houston has other talent at the forward position, and while they might have addressed one of their biggest weaknesses they definitely undersold Hall.
The other trade that left us scratching our heads was the Subban for Weber trade. In what can only be described as a lopsided ordeal the Canadiens parted ways with PK Subban in exchange for someone who is older, has worse stats, and has a longer contract. Honestly there is no clear way to defend someone who agrees to get robbed so there’s no need to even begin.
Headline offseason activities aren’t exclusive to players; the Ottawa Senators have decided to bring along Guy Boucher as head coach. While they remained relatively quiet this offseason, Ottawa has decided to part ways with Dave Cameron. While Boucher is excited for the new position, those who bet on NHL can wager that he won’t last; Boucher will be the 5th Senators head coach in 8 years.
The Calgary Flames are also bringing on a new head coach with the hiring of Glen Gulutzan. Bob Hartley led the Flames to a losing season last year and his 2015 winning of the Jack Adams Trophy award wasn’t enough to keep him from getting canned. The best move the Flames did this season was in addressing their need for a goalie and they did just that by trading for Brian Elliott. Elliot has earned the 2nd best save percentage in the NHL during the last 5 years.
The other noteworthy news of this NHL offseason is the geminate contracts for this year’s biggest talent. Kyle Okposo signed with the Buffalo Sabres to a seven-year $42 million contract. Meanwhile Milan Lucic signed the same deal with the Oilers. In a beautiful display of irony the two most valuable players signed exact replicas.
While this list doesn’t include all of this year’s transactions there’s no doubt some of these deals have affected your bet on NHL futures.