In what can only be described as joyous relief, the Stars are finally out of the Pacific Division this season and will be playing in a division against teams that are across the geographic center of the U.S and Canada. Fewer 10 p.m. start times means much happier Stars fans.
The other teams in Dallas’ conference have been busy this offseason, so here’s a little list to help everyone get up to speed on what the other teams have been up to.
Chicago Blackhawks (~$2.5 million in cap space left)
New to town:
G Nikolai Khabibulin (1 yr/$2 million)
G Ray Emery (To Philly, 1 yr/ $1.65 million)
G Carter Hutton (To Nashville, 1 yr/ $550K)
LW Viktor Stalberg (To Nashville, 4 yrs/$12 million)
C Michael Frolik (Traded to Winnipeg)
C Dave Bolland (Traded to Toronto)
C Rostislav Olesz (To New Jersey, 1 yr/$1 million)
D Steve Montador (Buyout)
LW Bryan Bickell (4 yrs/ $16 million)
C Michal Handzus (1 yr/ $1 million)
D Michal Rozsival (2 yrs/ $2.2 million)
D Nick Leddy (2 yrs/ $5.4 million)
RW Jamal Mayers (UFA)
C Marcus Kruger (RFA)
The Cup champion Blackhawks haven’t been doing much adding this offseason as much as they’ve been slowly sending pieces away.
Valuable backup Ray Emery left for the goalie barren Flyers while solid depth pieces Michael Frolik and Dave Bolland were traded to help free up cap space. Another good depth player, Viktor Stalberg, left for a solid payday in Nashville.
Chicago just re-signed a few players and added another backup goalie in Khabibulin. This Blackhawks team will be pretty much the same entering next season (and why would they change?) with just a couple of younger players in the depth roles.
Colorado Avalanche (~$12 million in cap space left)
New to town:
RW J.T. Wyman (From Tampa Bay, 1 yr/$750K)
RW Guillaume Desbiens (From Vancouver, 1 yr/$600K)
C Nathan MacKinnon (ELC to be signed soon)
D Nate Guenin (From Anaheim, 1 yr/ $600K)
D Nick Holden (From Columbus, 2 yrs/$1.2 million)
D Andre Benoit (From Ottawa, 1 yr/$900K)
RW Geoff Walker (To Tampa Bay, 1 yr/ $575K)
C Tomas Vincour (Went to KHL)
D Greg Zanon (Buyout)
LW Patrick Bordeleau (3 yrs/$3 million)
LW David Van der Gulik (1 yr/ $600K)
RW Chuck Kobasew (UFA)
RW Milan Hejduk (Likely to retire)
Much like Chicago, the Avalanche didn’t make any big moves this offseason. They added a couple of depth forwards and signed a bunch of low-end defensemen.
Their biggest addition was through the draft in Nathan MacKinnon, and he should have a good impact on one of Colorado’s top lines. One of the other centers (Ryan O’Reilly?) will have to move to wing to accommodate him.
The big issue here is that Colorado did nothing to improve the defense. They’ll be counting on a group of young guys (Stefan Elliott, Tyson Barrie in particular) to step up on defense.
Patrick Roy obviously wasn’t looking at free agency as a way to improve the team, and thus, he did pretty much nothing as a result.
Minnesota Wild (~$2.7 million in cap space left)
New to town:
LW Matt Cooke (From Pittsburgh, 3 yrs/$7.5 million)
RW Nino Niederreiter (Trade from New York Islanders)
D Keith Ballard (From Vancouver, 2 yrs/$3 million)
RW Devin Setoguchi (Traded to Winnipeg Jets)
RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard (To New York Islanders, 1 yr/$2 million)
RW Cal Clutterbuck (Traded to New York Islanders)
RW Mark Parrish (Buyout)
C Matt Cullen (To Nashville, 2 yrs/$7 million)
D Justin Falk (Trade to New York Rangers)
D Tom Gilbert (Buyout)
G Niklas Backstrom (3 yrs/$10.25 million)
D Jared Spurgeon (3 yrs/$8 million)
Still undetermined: None of note
The Wild were busy bees this offseason. They made numerous trades, getting rid of a bunch of wing players and a couple of defensemen to shed salary. Their biggest move was probably re-signing Backstrom for another three years.
They made a couple of other notable additions in the forward group. The universally hated Matt Cooke was signed and will replace Clutterbuck in the rotation. Stars fans should prepare their pitchforks and torches in advance of getting ready to hate Cooke with a passion this season.
A slightly under the radar move was made when they traded for Nino Niederreiter. The young Swiss player has a ton of potential, but he was mishandled by the NYI staff and needed a change of scenery. If Minnesota can get good production out of him this year, they’ll be a good bet to make the playoffs again.
Nashville Predators (~$7 million in cap space left)
New to town:
G Carter Hutton (From Chicago, 1 yr/ $550K)
LW Viktor Stalberg (From Chicago, 4 yrs/$12 million)
LW Eric Nystrom (From Dallas, 4 yrs/$10 million)
LW Matt Hendricks (From Washington, 4 yrs/$7.4 million)
C Matt Cullen (From Minnesota, 2 yrs/$7 million)
D Seth Jones (Should sign ELC soon)
RW Sergei Kostitsyn (off to the KHL)
D T.J. Brennan (To Toronto, 1 yrs/$600K)
D Hal Gill (Buyout)
G Chris Mason (UFA)
RW Brandon Yip (UFA)
C Nick Spaling (RFA)
D Jonathon Blum (UFA)
The Preds had a fascinating offseason. They had a bit of luck in the draft when Seth Jones fell to them, and he should be a top-four defenseman for them this year.
After the draft, Nashville seemed intent on signing every available bottom-six forward of note, and in came Hendricks, Cullen, Nystrom and Stalberg. Stalberg will be a top-six forward for Nashville and will have a lot of pressure to produce.
Nashville will be the same annoying team to play against, and last season had some sparks of a heated rivalry in the games between the two teams.
St. Louis Blues (~$9 million left in cap space)
New to town:
RW Mark Mancari (From Buffalo, 1 yr/$600K)
C Derek Roy (From Vancouver, 1 yr/$4 million)
C Maxim Lapierre (From Vancouver, 2 yrs/$2.2 million)
C/W Keith Aucoin (From NYI, 1 yr/$625K)
C Alexandre Bolduc (From Phoenix, 1 yr/$550K)
RW Jamie Langenbrunner
C Andy McDonald (retired)
C Scott Nichol (retired)
D Kris Russell (Traded to Calgary)
D Jordan Leopold (2 yrs/$4.5 million)
G Jake Allen (RFA)
RW Chris Stewart (RFA)
D Alex Pietrangelo (RFA)
While Dallas was out trading for all the available centers, St. Louis was out signing all of the available free agent centers, most notably Derek Roy. The Blues now have an interesting dilemma as they have too many centers and not enough center spots.
It seems their solution could be moving David Backes to wing and most likely having Roy center the first line.
St. Louis still has some big players to re-sign, Pietrangelo in particular, so that cap space should be used up soon.
Winnipeg Jets (~$20 million in cap space left)
New to town:
RW Devin Setoguchi (Trade from Minnesota)
RW Michael Frolik (Trade from Chicago)
RW Jerome Samson (From Carolina, 1 yr/$600K)
RW Andrew Gordon (From Vancouver, 1 yr/$550K)
D Adam Pardy (From Buffalo, 1 yr/$600K) (also, HA!)
D Jacob Trouba (ELC purchased and up from the minors)
C Alexander Burmistrov (Went to KHL)
G Al Montoya (1 yr/$601K)
D Grant Clitsome (3 yrs/$6.2 million)
RW Blake Wheeler (RFA)
LW Antti Miettinen (UFA)
LW Eric Tangradi (RFA)
C Nik Antropov (UFA)
C Kyle Wellwood (UFA)
C Bryan Little (RFA)
D Zach Bogosian (RFA)
D Zach Redmond (RFA)
D Paul Postma (RFA)
D Ron Hainsey (UFA)
Winnipeg has been pretty dormant so far this offseason. They made a couple of trades and brought in wingers Setoguchi and Frolik, both on the final year of their contracts.
Other than that, it’s been very quiet up in Winnipeg. They had a couple of re-signings, hilariously brought in Adam Pardy, and noted prospect Alexander Burmistrov finally had enough and left for the KHL.
They have a couple of platoons of their own free agents waiting to be re-signed, so it’s just a matter of when and how much. Other than that, I have no idea what the Jets are going to do.