This NHL offseason should be a huge one. Here’s a look at three teams who could look very different after this summer.
This NHL offseason is shaking up to be an exciting one. With a number of players available on both the trade market and in free agency, there could be some teams who see some significant shakeups before next season. Not to mention the 2019 NHL Draft.
With just weeks before the draft and the free agent frenzy, I wanted to take a closer look at teams that are both going to be gaining players or losing players that could affect how well they are going to do in next years seasons.
Toronto Maple Leafs
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The Toronto Maple Leafs could be one of the most interesting teams to watch in the offseason. They’ll have to sign or replace forwards Andreas Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen, Mitchell Marner, and Tyler Ennis. The Leafs will have to do the same with Ron Hainsey, Martin Marinicin, and Jake Gardiner on defense.
According to capfriendly.com, the team will have just under $9 million available for cap space. That being said the team will likely move on from Hainsey and Gardiner. To make things more interesting, defensemen Nikita Zaitsev has asked to be traded, meaning half the defensive core could be gone for next season.
Zaitsev isn’t the only Maple Leafs player who has been involved with trade speculation. Forward Patrick Marleau has been rumored to be on the move with a cap hit of $6.25 million on the final year of his contract.
Even if the Leafs are able to move him, some have said the deal would have to be sweetened with another player, such as Johnsson or Kapanen. Out of the two, Johnsson is the one most likely to moved with Marleau to a new team.
Marner’s deal will most likely be in the range of $10 million, leaving enough room to sign Kapanen, Ennis, and Marinicin if Zaitsev and Marleau are to be moved. The Leafs would still have to be careful about what to do with what’s left of their salary cap space because they will have players like Travis Dermott, Conner Brown, Jake Muzzin and Garret Sparks to resign next year.
They could see defense prospects Timothy Liljergren (RD) and Rasmus Sandin (LD) raise to the occasion and be part of the team’s defense which would leave only one spot to be filled which could be done through free agency if the price is right. No matter the outcome of the offseason, expect to see a few new faces on the Leafs team next year.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets could be another team with a lot of new faces on it next year. they went all out at the trade deadline, acquiring Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Adam Mcquaid, and Keith Kinkaid to make a big push for the Stanley Cup.
Unfortunately, they fell short and have given up most of their draft picks for this year and, depending on if they resign Duchene or not, the first three rounds for next year as well. Here’s a list of the players that still need a contract for the Blue Jackets.
- Ryan Dzingel
- Erick Robinson
- Artemi Panarin
- Markus Hannikainen
- Matt Duchene
- Adam Clendening
- Scott Harrington
- Adam McQuaid
- Ryan Murray
- Zach Werenski
- Keith Kinkaid
- Sergei Bobrovsky
- Joonas Karpisalo
As you can see there are lots of players that need to be resigned between now and September. Duchene is the only one that has a conditional pick attached if they re-sign him, but they do have $32 million available in cap space.
With the likely hood of Duchene leaving and rumors of Panarin and Bobrovsky cutting ties with the Blue Jackets, they should have enough space to resign most of the others with the bigger contracts likely going to Werenski and Murray who have been some of their best defenders.
Losing Bobrovsky could really hurt the Blue Jackets. But the area I believe that will be most affected will be in the top six likely losing Duchene and Panarin and the uncertainty of Dzingel. The Blue Jackets could be in the market for top-six forwards in the offseason.
This is the last team I would say is going to make some changes in the offseason. With one year left on GM Jim Benning‘s contract, some might think he is going to have to make a splash to secure an extension with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks might have had an unexpected season losing two of their best forwards leaving and not having a good goaltender before the season started. It was a pleasant surprise to see Jacob Markstrom playing lights out for the Canucks most of the season and rookie sensation Elias Pettersson having a great year.
The Canucks finished just 9 points out of a playoff spot which surprised most. According to capfriendly.com, they have $30 million in cap space with Tyler Motte, Josh Levio, Nikolay Goldobin, Marcus Granlund, Derek Dorsett, Brock Boeser, Alexander Edler, Ben Hutton, Derrick Pouliot, Josh Teves, Luke Schenn, and Brogan Rafferty to resign.
Edler, Hutton, Levio and Boeser are the players that would affect their cap space the most and many of the others will likely not to be rejoining the Canucks next season. So they should have some money to go after big players in the offseason.
It is believed that the Jim Benning is in the market to add a top 6 winger and a top 4 right-handed defensemen having rumors surrounding players like Tyler Myers, Artemi Panarin, Nikita Zaitsev and others. I believe there is pressure on Jim Benning to make the playoffs next season which should make the summer interesting to watch for Canuck fans.
These are just some teams I think could have a busy offseason, maybe you feel like I am wrong about the teams i have chosen or other teams that should be on the list, let me know in the comments below.