Ranking the NHL's 10 best offseason moves (so far)
Some moves have looked better than others. These are some of the best.
It’s an offseason edition of the NHL Power Rankings looking at some of the best moves (in my view) that have been made through the first two weeks of July.
It will take into account trades, free agent signings and re-signings.
Some of the things I am looking for when it comes to moves that I like.
Value. Did a team have to overpay in a trade? Did it give up too many assets? Did it get a lot back for what it gave up.
Risk. How risky is the move? Is it the type of move that could come back to bite a team in the ass in a couple of years and leave them with am albatross contract they do not want? Or is it a relatively low-risk deal with a potentially high reward.
Fit. How does that play fit in with the short-term or long-term vision of the team.
Potential impact. Will this play play a significant role in their team’s chances and have a positive impact on making them good?
Let’s get into it.
1. Matt Duchene to the Dallas Stars
This is my favorite signing of the offseason because it checks literally every box you could want.
While Duchene’s previous contract in Nashville was clearly problematic, the Stars are getting him for one year at only $3 million against the cap.
He is not an $8 million player, which is why the Predators were unable to find a trade partner for him and had to buy him out.
But he is absolutely a $3 million player and gives the Stars another potential impact complementary player. Duchene is still good in transition, can make some plays, and has scored 65 goals over the past two years.
There is little short-term risk, zero long-term risk, he fits the roster and he should be a significant addition for a Stanley Cup contender. Great signing. Great move.
He joins an already deep forward lineup that includes Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski, Wyatt Johnston, Mason Marchment, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. That is a potential championship group.
If he scores 25 or 30 goals for $3 million on a one-year deal it is the best move of the offseason.
2. Alex DeBrincat to the Detroit Red Wings
The pressure is on general manager Steve Yzerman to get this team to the playoffs. This is the second offseason in a row he has spent big money and made a lot of moves adding veterans to his roster, and it has to start showing results.
DeBrincat should help get them a little closer to those results.
Not only is he an in-his-prime player that can be a top-line goal-scorer, the price was also right in terms of both assets given up and the new contract.
The Red Wings were able to get a 26-year-old winger with two 40-goal seasons under his belt while only having to give up a couple of draft picks, Dominik Kubalik and Donovan Sebrango. That’s … not a lot. Especially for a player with DeBrincat’s upside, while the $7.8 million cap hit could be a nice team-friendly deal if he performs like the Red Wings hope.
His goal scoring might have been a little disappointing during his one year in Ottawa, but he also shot five percentage points below his career average. The shot volume was still there, his ability to help push play was still there, the assists were still there. That is all very encouraging. His play did not change. His luck did. The last time he finished a season shooting below 15 percent (2019-20) he followed it up by shooting 20 percent the next year and scoring 32 goals in 52 games (the shortened 56-game season). If he sees a positive regression in that shooting percentage this season he could easily push 40 goals again.
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