Next up is the San Jose Sharks, who really did not do anything this offseason other than parting ways with Coach Todd McLellan. They then named Peter Deboer. They missed the playoffs last year after a total breakdown in the 2014 playoffs, and I don’t expect anything different this season.
St. Louis went through a busy offseason. After another playoff exit, they were due for a change. What surprised most people was keeping Hitchcock as the coach. Also a bit of a surprise was giving up Barrett Jackman, a long time Blues defenseman. Also on the move were Olli Jokinen, Zbynek Michalek, Chris Porter, Marcel Goc, and the biggest name, TJ Oshie. Oshie was traded to Washington for Troy Brouwer, who, while not as good, will strengthen the bottom six. An upgrade from Marcel Goc for the 4th line is Kyle Brodziak. The Blues will again be first or second in the Central Division.
Tampa really didn’t do much this offseason, and didn’t need to after making the Stanley Cup Finals last season. They are a strong team with a lethal offense and great goaltending. The one move they did make was acquiring Erik Condra, a great penalty-killer. They will be a contender again this season, and I believe they’ll finish in the top 2 in the Atlantic Division.
Toronto had quite a summer. First was getting Mike Babcock as a coach. Second was the trade of Phil Kessel, getting Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington in return. Nick Spalling is also headed to Toronto. Many people say Toronto was robbed, but I don’t quite think so with what they are doing. Kasperi Kapanen and next year’s first rounder. Toronto drafted Mitch Marner, whose game I love. He’s fast, defensively sound, has a good shot, and is an amazing passer. Toronto signed Shawn Matthais and Daniel Winnik, who will be able to fill in spots in their top 9. They also acquired Matt Hunwick and prospect Martin Marincin. It will definitely be a rebuilding year.
I feel like Vancouver were fleeced in every trade this summer and are now a worse team. They traded Eddie Lack to Carolina for only a 3rd rounder and a 7th rounder. They gave up Kevin Bieska, a solid player and fan favorite, for a 2nd round pick. Zach Kassian may not have lived up to expectations, but Brandon Prust isn’t anything really exciting. Brandon Sutter is a good acquisition, being a solid top 9 forward who can produce and kill penalties, but they gave up a little too much in my opinion. They may make the playoffs, but I don’t believe as high of a seed.
At first I thought Washington had a nice offseason, acquiring TJ Oshie and Justin Williams. I don’t think it is as good as I first did, though, after seeing who they lost. Acquring those 2 gives them 40 goals. Unfortunately, that production is cancelled out by losing Joel Ward and Eric Fehr. Then, by losing Trow Brouwer and Mike Green, they lose another 31 goals, leaving them a loss of 32 goals. That loses a ton of points in the standing as shown by Pittsburgh last year, who were down 20 goals from 2013-14, leaving them about 10 points less in the 2015 season. I’m not so sure they are a playoff team this season.
After a successful season last year, I don’t see the same fate this season for the Winnipeg Jets, even though I want to see Coach Mo do well. With some West teams getting stronger and the Jets having a quiet offseason, I don’t know if they can have the same luck. Minnesota and Dallas I think will take the wild card spots, and Winnipeg will not get a top 3 spot in the Central Division.