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2018 NHL Transactions

Lisa Donovan follow @LDonovanator Updated Daily.

September 13, 2018

San Jose Sharks: Trade for Erik Karlsson D A+ Grade

San Jose hustled Ottawa on this trade. I have to give credit to Doug Wilson for saving face. Tony Mario believes this trade won't help the Sharks win the Stanley Cup and he follows the Sharks as a sports fan so I'm giving it an A grade.

Ottawa Senators: Trade for Chris Tierney and 2019 second round pick. F Grade

Ottawa got Chris Tierney and some draft picks including a 2019 second round pick and a 2020 first round pick. That's not much of a return though. Ottawa also traded their 2019 first round pick to the Colorado Avalanche so it feels like they got jipped big time here.

Dallas Stars: Re-Sign Tyler Seguin C to eight-year $78.8-million dollar extension A+ Grade

Dallas has two core players on offense with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn locked up for the long-term. They have Jamie Benn locked up until 2025 and Tyler Seguin locked up until 2027. Dallas now has a ten year window of opportunity to compete for a Stanley Cup. The Stars may not win a Stanley cup in the next ten years, but once they fix their defense and get stable goaltending, they will at least compete in one Stanley Cup Finals with the core of Seguin and Benn leading the way.

September 10, 2018

Vegas Golden Knights: Trade for Max Pacioretty LW C Grade

Vegas gave up Nick Suzuki, Tomas Tatar, and a 2019 second round pick to Montreal for Max Pacioretty. I feel like Vegas gave up too much to be completely honest. They did extend Pacioretty by giving him a 4-year $28-million dollar extension though.

Montreal Canadiens: Trade for Nick Suzuki and 2019 second round pick. C Grade

Solid return for Montreal, but nothing spectacular. The Canadiens get a C grade. Suzuki could be great down the road. Right now he needs another year of development.

September 4, 2018

Winnipeg Jets: Re-Sign Blake Wheeler RW five-year $41.25-million dollar deal A Grade

Blake Wheeler is a key piece for the Winnipeg Jets. He's someone the Jets need if they plan on making any type of run moving forward.

August 31, 2018

Calgary Flames: Re-Sign Noah Hanifin D six-year $27.9-million dollar deal B Grade

Calgary re-signed Hanifin to bolster their blue line. I see Hanifin as a line 2 defender at best so this is a solid move, but not a spectacular one.

August 10, 2018

Detroit Red Wings: Re-Sign Dylan Larkin C five-year $30.5-million dollar deal A Grade

Dylan larkin needed this extension with Henrik Zetterberg retiring. Excellent move that warrants an A+ grade.

August 4, 2018

Anaheim Ducks: Re-Sign John Gibson G eight-year $51.2-million dollar deal A Grade

John Gibson is one of the NHL's best goalies. he totally warrants a contract extension.

August 2, 2018

Buffalo Sabres: Trade for Jeff Skinner LW A Grade

Buffalo traded for Jeff Skinner. They gave up Cliff Pu, a 2019 second round pick, a 2020 third round pick, and a 2020 sixth round pick.

Carolina Hurricanes: Trade for Cliff Pu and draft picks C Grade

Solid return for Carolina, but nothing spectacular. The Hurricanes get a C grade.

July 25, 2018

Minnesota Wild: Re-Sign Jason Zucker LW five-year $27.5-million dollar deal A Grade

Jason Zucker is a top 6 forward on the Minnesota Wild. This is a great re-signing by Minnesota.

July 10, 2018

Tampa Bay Lightning: Re-Sign Nikita Kucherov RW eight-year $76-million dollar deal A Grade

Nikita Kucherov has improved his point totals in each of the last four years with the Tampa Bay Lightning going from 65 points, to 66 points, to 85 points when Steven Stamkos was injured to having 39 goals, 61 assists, and 100 points last season with a healthy Stamkos. Kucherov now has a cap hit of $9.5-million per season starting in 2019-2020 so this extension does not affect the Lightning's overall salary cap for this season.

This may cost them Erik Karlsson. It won't affect Tampa Bay that much if they trade someone like Ryan Callahan in order to get Karlsson. The other reason I love this move is because it keeps Tampa Bay's core together allowing the Lightning to remain competitive for years to come as long as Stamkos and Hedman remain healthy along with Kucherov.

July 7, 2018

Toronto Maple Leafs: Sign John Tavares C 7-year $77-million dollar deal B Grade

Toronto got the best Free Agent on July 1st and this is the biggest signing this offseason which is why its being listed as the most recent transaction. At what cost? They gave up James Van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak. They won't be as deep as they were last year, plus they neglected to address the blue line through Free Agency which has been what is keeping Toronto from winning a playoff series. Tavares will be the line 2 center behind 2016 first overall pick Auston Matthews who Toronto could have extended with $22-million dollars in cap space.

Instead, they overpay for a line 2 center and give up half of their salary cap room in the process. I gave Toronto a B grade instead of an A grade because of this because I believe paying a line 2 center $11-million dollars is fiscally irresponsible to a degree even for someone as skilled as Tavares.

As an Islanders fan, I love Tavares, but the idea of Toronto paying Tavares more money then their proven line 1 center Matthews, is insulting to Auston who got the Maple Leafs to the playoffs in both of his first two seasons. Tavares didn't make the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Islanders until his fourth year in the league back in 2013 despite being the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Tavares won a playoff series in the opening round against the top seeded Florida Panthers back in 2016 when Toronto was the NHL's worst team. He will help Auston Matthews and Toronto will have the best group of centers in the NHL now. There is a reason Vegas is favoring Toronto to win the 2019 Stanley Cup thanks to this one signing.

Tavares even grew up a Maple Leafs fan living in Ontario. He's earned the right to be paid this much which is a huge reason why the Maple Leafs got him, they deserve him if my Islanders are too cheap to extend him. I just believe that at the end of the day, the San Jose Sharks and the New York Islanders would have gotten way more out of Tavares and used him as a line 1 center. Now the Islanders team captain will have to put his ego aside for Mike Babock and Auston Matthews in Toronto as a line 2 center.

Toronto gets a B grade for this reason. My favorite NHL team, the New York Islanders had more cap space then any NHL team and they still failed to re-sign their team captain. New York gets an F grade, San Jose gets a F grade, Toronto gets a B grade for overpaying for Tavares and you could argue this should be a B- with Tavares getting paid more then Connor McDavid now.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Re-Sign Boone Jenner C 4-year $15-million dollar deal B Grade

Boone Jenner is an integral player with the Columbus Blue Jackets. This was a necessary re-signing that needed to happen.

Arizona Coyotes: Sign Barrett Hayton C Sign 3-year $925,000 dollar deal C Grade

Arizona reached for Barrett Hayton. The fact that they signed him at 5 means they have confidence in him. Hayton signed his rookie deal isn't anything to read into since he's a player who will develop in the OHL for another season.

Buffalo Sabres: Sign Rasmus Dahlin D Sign 3-year $11.325-million dollar deal A+ Grade

Buffalo signed their top overall draft pick in Rasums Dahlin. Dahlin can play on the first line right now and he will get a $2.850-million incentive and if he receives that incentive in all three seasons then he can make up to $11.325-million on his rookie deal.

Detroit Red Wings: Sign Filip Zadina LW Sign 3-year $5.325-million dollar deal A+ Grade

Filip Zadina was one of the steals in the 2018 NHL Draft with 44 goals, 38 assists, and 82 points. Detroit will play Zadina right out the gate making this an A+ grade for the Red Wings. Zadina will get $850,000 in bonuses per year along with the $925,000 for each season he scores 40 goals with the Red Wings.

Colorado Avalanche: Sign Martin Kaut RW Sign 3-year $925,000 dollar deal C Grade

Martin Kaut signed his rookie deal. He could end up going to the NHL, and he may end up developing in the AHL for a year or two. This is a solid signing, but it certainly feels like Colorado is rushing Kaut.

July 3, 2018

Carolina Hurricanes: Sign Calvin de Haan D to 4-year 18.2-million dollar deal D Grade

Calvin de Haan was drafted by the Islanders in the first round of the 2009 NHL Draft. The same draft as John Tavares and they also lose him to Free Agency despite having the most cap space of any NHL team.

Carolina has a very good first line duo with Justin Faulk and Jacob Slavin. Their second line featured Noah Haninfin and Brett Pesce. They traded Hanifin to Calgary and with this signing, Pesce now gets demoted to the third line.

Carolina is paying five of their top six defenders 4-million per year while 2016 first round pick Jake Bean continues his development in the AHL. They also failed to re-sign long-time starting goalie Cam Ward so for a team that had one of the better 2018 NHL Drafts, they sure have screwed up during the 2018 NHL Free Agency period.

New York Islanders: Sign Tom Kuhnhackl RW to 1-year 650,000 dollar deal WTF Grade

Tom Kuhnhackl got offered 2-year 3-million dollar deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins to return to his former team. Pittsburgh offered Kuhnhackl a third of their overall cap room despite his regresssion this season after two dominant seasons during Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup run.

The Islanders did an awesome job getting the two-time Stanley Cup Champion for so little. I'm also kind of disgusted by how Lou Lamoriello got Kuhnhackl for peanuts, but that's why Lamoriello is one of the NHL's best GMs as he brought Barry Trotz to New York after Trotz won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals as a head coach.

The bottom line is this. Kuhnhackl is dumb for turning down more money with the Penguins and the Islanders are very savy for getting such an experienced player for so little in return.

That's why this signing gets the very first WTF grade in Draft Utopia history because Kuhnhackl gets an F grade for being an idiot and turning down more money with the Penguins, plus my favorite NHL team deserves some slack for hustling Kuhnhackl by obtaining him for so little.

July 2, 2018

Tampa Bay Lightning: Re-sign Slater Koekkoek D to 1-year 865,000 A- Grade

The Tampa Bay Lightning had six reliable defenders not named Ryan McDonagh or Slater Koekkoek heading into this season. Andrej Sujster was the only player they lost to Free Agency, so Tampa Bay has all of their top five defenders back, plus Ryan McDonagh who the Lightning extended following his strong performance in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Slater Koekkoek was hands down the worst first round selection Steve Yzerman made in his tenure as a GM. Getting him to re-sign for under $1-million dollars is a huge bargain though because Hedman got injured this season and if someone on this top 6 gets injured, the Lightning will need to bring up a reserve player for a few games.

Slater Koekkoek is a bust. Yet Yzerman got his former tenth overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft to re-sign with Tampa Bay for under 1-million dollars. Koekoek's eventual replacement Callan Foote will wait for another year in the AHL before having an impact in 2019-2020.

Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh got paid line 1 money. Now you got Dan Girardi, Braydn Coburn, and Anton Strallman who are all capable of compimenting Hedman on that top line in contract years. Koekkoek did sign a 1-way contract, but he will probably be a player that Jon Cooper scratches from the active roster unless someone gets injured so he has far more value as a reserve then someone like John Tavares does as a line 2 center. Yzerman undersands value with players and that's why he's one of the NHL's best GMs.

I honestly feel like the Tampa Bay Lightning will win the 2019 Stanley Cup with everything they put together after picking the Capitals and Golden Knights to play in the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals. We'll see if the Lightning make my early prediction a reality, but you have to feel optmistic about this signing while Adam Foote's son develops in the AHL for another year.

New York Islanders: Sign Tom Kuhnhackl RW to 1-year 650,000 dollar deal WTF Grade

Tom Kuhnhackl got offered 2-year 3-million dollar deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh offered Kuhnhackl a third of their overall salary cap despite his regresssion this season.

The Islanders did an awesome job getting the two-time Stanley Cup Champion for so little. I'm also kind of disgusted by how Lou Lamoriello got Kuhnhackl for peanuts, but that's why Lamoriello is one of the NHL's best GMs as he brought Barry Trotz to New York after Trotz won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals as a head coach.

The bottom line is this. Kuhnhackl is dumb for turning down more money with the Penguins and the Islanders are very savy for getting such an experienced player for so little in return. That's why this signing gets the very first WTF grade in Draft Utopia history.

San Jose Sharks: Re-Sign Joe Thornton C to 1-year 5-million dollar deal B Grade

I feel like Joe Thornton is due to decline this year. However, one Thornton had absoultely all the freaking leverage after his constant contrbiutions with the Sharks.

Two, San Jose's GM Doug Wilson is one of the worst General Managers in the NHL. For every rock solid move he makes, he ends up doing something completely idiotic to compliment a semi-brilliant decision. Doug Wilson is just as incompetent as the Miami Dolphins exectuives, but at least he put together a team that won the Western Conference and made the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals so I can't give the Sharks anything worse then a B grade since they had to pay Thornton after losing out on Tavares.

Calgary Flames: Sign James Neal LW to 5-year 28.75-million dollar deal C Grade

James Neal went form being a borderline elite winger with the Pittsburgh Penguins to being a journeyman. Calgary has a top line left winger in Johnny Gaudreau who had 24 goals 60 assists, and 84 points so I don't see why they gave Neal this contract so I'm giving Calgary a red hot flaming C grade just like their damn logo.

Dallas Stars: Re-Sign Valeri Nichuskin LW two-year $5.9-million dollar deal A+ Grade

The Dallas Stars needed a top 6 winger who was versatile enough to play left wing and right wing behind Jamie Benn on their second line. Jason Spezza can play center or winger as a two-way forward. Nichuskin can play left wing or right wing with him making $2.95-million per year.

Dallas has severly lacked depth behind Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov at the wing, but with Valeri Nichuskin, a top 5 prospect from the 2013 NHL Draft, who fell to Jim Nill's lap at 10 returning to Dallas following his two-year loan to the KHL, Dallas fans have to be thrilled about Nichuskin's return to Dallas since he was on the Dallas Stars when they had the top seed in the Western Conference two years ago. Nichuskin is a reliable top 6 winger and this was quite the haul, because getting a top 6 winger for under $3-million dollars per year is a huge win financially in the NHL.

Dallas Stars: Sign Anton Khudobin G two-year 2.5-million dollar deal B- Grade

Khudobin is younger than Halak plus he's 12 lbs heavier so I have to give Nill some credit here for obtaining Khudobin as a reliable stop gap backup to fill in for Ben Bishop when he needs to rest. Khudobin went 16-6-7 with a 2.56 GAA and a .913 save percentage last season. It's a solid signing, but the Stars get a B- grade because while this was a decent signing, it wasn't their best signing despite paying Khudobin the most amount of money.

Dallas Stars: Sign Blake Comeau LW three-year $2.4-million dollar deal A+ Grade

The Dallas Stars replaced the ineffective Antoine Russell with a much better third line left winger in Blake Comeau who instantly gives Dallas some much needed depth on their third line at left wing. Russell had 1 goal, 16 assists, and 17 points as a third line left winger in Dallas. Comeau had 13 goals, 21 assists, and 34 points as a third line left winger with the Colorado Avalanche so this is an upgrade with a capital U.

Dallas Stars: Sign Roman Polak D one-year $1.3 million dollar deal A+ Grade

Here's a stat about Roman Polak that most don't know. Last year he led Toronto with 131 hits and 84 blocked shots for a 6-2 235 lb defenseman. Polak is one player Toronto needed to extend despite getting Tavares. Well done by Nill to bring him in for a one year deal. If Dallas gets Karlsson and somehow keeps Heiskanen and Polak this team is a legitimate dark horse to make the Stanley Cup. I'm actually going to go out on a limb and say this is the team that loses to the Lightning in 2019.

Dallas Stars: Sign Colton Point G three-year two-way contract B+ Grade

Colton Point only has one year of experience as a starting goalie at Colgate University. He only had ten career starts as a freshman at Colgate before the Dallas Stars drafted him in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. With Point making more progress then expected he's gonna push Jake Oettinger, the Stars' 2017 first round pick out of Boston University to be the goalie of the future in Dallas because Dallas actually signed him to his rookie deal before last years first round pick.

Jim Nill can be patient and maximize Oettinger's potential while he develops. At the same time, Colton Point will become the new face for the 2018 Calder Cup runner up Texas Stars who won the Western Conference in the AHL this past season.

SKA Saint Petersburg: Sign Nail Yakupov LW Deported From The NHL Grade

Nail Yakupov played for three different NHL teams since being drafted first overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft making him easily the most disappointing number one pick since Alexander Diagle back in 1993.

After a promising rookie seson as a third line right winger, he never really grew and took that next step. He even got demoted to the fourth line before brief stints with the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche. Yakupov is fast, he can play the wing on either side, yet he's a former number one pick replacing Ilya Kovalchuk and Valeri Nichuskin who both had success in Russia before returning to the NHL.

Maybe Nail will finally get his head on straight and grow up in Russia. The thing is, SKA Saint Petersburg is getting the kind of return that Donald Trump would vent about when he mentioned the Iran Deal. Let's move on to the Buffalo Sabres St. Louis Blues trade that took place prior to these transactions because that's a trade we need to get to.

July 1, 2018

St. Louis Blues: Trade for Ryan O'Reilly C D Grade

Buffalo absolutely hosed the Blues on this trade. Ryan O'Reilly is a very good line 2 center, but that's his ceiling which is kind of sad. You don't give up three future prospects, a 2019 first round pick, and a 2021 second round pick for Ryan O'Reilly. Any Avalanche fan that saw Ryan O'Reilly play for Colorado back in the day will tell you the Blues got completely hosed on this trade.

Buffalo Sabres: Trade for three prospects plus a 2019 first round pick A+ Grade

The Buffalo Sabres got a great third line forward in Tage Thompson who, the Blues never should have traded. They also got a 2019 first round pick plus a 2021 second round pick and the only reason I bring this up is because this could end up being the pick that gets the Sabres Jack Hughes who is the clear cut number one prospect in next years NHL Draft. Hughes would be an upgrade over Sam Reinhart on the second line right now.

Buffalo won't be the worst team in the NHL next season. The most fascinating thing about the Sabres, thanks to this trade, is that they get the number one pick in the 2019 NHL Draft if the St. Louis Blues somehow win next years lottery at the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery, which could happen. We've seen stranger things happen. Same is said with the Colorado Avalanche if the Ottawa Senators do poorly which they should.

Detroit Red Wings: Re-Sign Mike Green D two-year deal $10.75-million A+ Grade

You can certainly argue that Detroit overpaid Mike Green. At the same time, he was Detroit's most effective defender when healthy. This guy can put up a big season if he plays all 82 games. Detroit needs a veteran with that skill if they cannot trade for Erik Karlsson or Justin Faulk.

Detroit got the best player on their board in the 2018 NHL Draft with Filip Zadina who has been excelling in Detroit mini camps with the team. Michael Rasmussen and Andrei Svechnikov are finally ready to take that next step. Jimmy Howard is ready to have his biggest season at Little Ceasars Arena in a contract year as the starting goalie.

Detroit can make the playoffs if their blue line shows a vast improvement in overall execution. That's a big if though. They won't get past the first round, but this team has enough star power to return to the playoffs for the first time since leaving Joe Lewis Arena.

Detroit Red Wings: Sign Jake Chelios D one-year deal $650,000 A+ Grade

The Detroit Red Wings got Chris Chelios's son for under $1-million dollars on a one-year prove it deal. This is an awesome signing for multiple reasons. He's got that Chicago background where he began his junior hockey career in the USHL on the Chicago Steel. He played College Hockey at Michigan State for all four years.

After excelling in the AHL, the Red Wings finally saw a future star in Jake Chelios. If Jake Chelios is even half the player his father Chris Chelios was, Detroit will be in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs even if their stint is brief.

Detroit Red Wings: Sign Thomas Vanek LW one-year deal $3-million A+ Grade

The Detroit Red Wings got Thomas Vanek after a big season with Vancouver following a rough start with Columbus.

Philadelphia Flyers: Sign James Van Riemsdyk LW five-year deal $35-million dollar deal C Grade

The Flyers got a solid winger to boost their depth at the wing with former Flyer James Van Riemsdyk who the team drafted second overall behind Patrick Kane in 2007. He's a top 6 winger for sure. My biggest issue is that James Van Riemsdyk is getting $7-million per year.

Chicago Blackhawks: Sign Cam Ward G one-year deal $3-million dollar deal A+ Grade

The Blackhawks needed a backup to replace Scott Darling. They got the one guy in Free Agency that could actually start for a team and help them win short-term. Ward is a guy that Buffalo, the New York Islanders, and the Colorado Avalanche should have aggressively pursued to be a starting goalie since he won the 2006 Stanley Cup over the Edmonton Oilers after the lockout. Now he goes to Chicago and gets to be Corey Crawford's backup. With these two Stanley Cup winning goalies, its hard to believe that Chicago won't be pushing for a playoff spot next season.

Chicago Blackhawks: Sign Adam Boqvist D three-year deal $900,000 A- Grade

The Blackhawks have voided Adam Boqvist's SHL contract with Brynas I.F. by locking him up to an official contract. His rookie deal will go into effect immediately in 2018-2019 meaning he will either be on Rockford or the Blackhawks.

Chicago probably shouldn't have offered him a deal this early, but since they did, just bring Boqvist up now and let him learn behind Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook and hope he's ready to lead the blue line when they retire cause Chicago has nobody that can defend outside of Keith and Seabrook just limit him to the second line and the second line for your power play unit and mold Boqvist into the next Erik Karlsson over time.

Chicago rushed Boqvist by signing him before his eighteenth birthday in August. The irony here is that if he pans out, then you are getting player who can be the cornerstone of Chicago for potentially the next two decades if he lives up to his ceiling as well as a player who could play from as early as this season all the way to potentially 2040 assuming he toughens up, adds more strength, and improves defensively since he's capable of getting 30 goals and 50 assists ten years from now in his prime.

Chicago Blackhawks: Sign Chris Kunitz LW one-year deal $1-million dollar deal A+ Grade

The Blackhawks lost Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp to retirement. They got Kuntiz for under 1-million dollars. That's a win in my book.

Chicago Blackhawks: Sign Adam Boqvist D three-year deal $900,000 A- Grade

The Blackhawks have voided Adam Boqvist's SHL contract with Brynas I.F. by locking him up to an official contract. His rookie deal will go into effect immediately in 2018-2019 meaning he will either be on Rockford or the Blackhawks.

Chicago probably shouldn't have offered him a deal this early, but since they did, just bring Boqvist up now and let him learn behind Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook and hope he's ready to lead the blue line when they retire cause Chicago has nobody that can defend outside of Keith and Seabrook just limit him to the second line and the second line for your power play unit and mold Boqvist into the next Erik Karlsson over time.

Montreal Canadiens: Sign Jesperi Kotkaniemi C three-year deal $900,000 B Grade

The Canadiens are rushing up Jesperi Kotkaniemi without developing him. This is a move that I really question since he could have used another season in Assat to develop his game. Montreal needed a center and they got one so I have to give them some credit to see if this pans out.

Carolina Hurricanes: Sign Andrei Svechnikov RW three-year deal $10.75-million A+ Grade

The Hurricanes only get a 925,000 cap hit for signing the second overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. Svechnikov can earn up to 10-million in team incentives through his rookie deal which is pretty rare to me because he gets $2.6250-million per season in team incentives if he meets team benchmarks. That's why Svechnikov got 10.75-million per year despite taking such a low cap hit.

Carolina Hurricanes: Sign Petr Mrazek G three-year deal $1.5-million B Grade

Petr Mrazek did well with the Flyers last year. I still feel a little uncomfortable about him replacing Cam Ward though so I'll give this a B grade since its a solid signing.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Jordan Subban D Signs one-year $650,000 B Grade

Toronto signs Jordan Subban to a 1-year prove it deal. He's not as big as PK, but I'd like to give Toronto some credit for finally doing something smart and getting a quality defender on a one-year prove it deal.

Vancouver Canucks: Re-Sign Sven Baertschi LW three-year $10.1-million dollar deal C+ Grade

The Vancouver Canucks overpaid Sven Baertschi big time. It's understandable though when you consider Vancouver's two best players Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin retired.

Vancouver Canucks: Sign Jay Beagle C four-year $12-million dollar deal B Grade

Jay Beagle had the best face off percentage among centers on the Washington Capitals. He also played an integral role during Washington's 2018 Stanley Cup role.

Vancouver Canucks: Sign Antoine Roussell LW four-year $12-million dollar deal Gary Betman Grade

This signing is almost as awful as Gary Betman's tenure as commissioner of the NHL. This signing gets a Gary Betman grade. There is a reason Dallas got rid of Roussell.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Sign Jack Johnson D five-year $16.25-million dollar deal A Grade

Jack Johnson has a lot of experience on the top two lines from his tenture in Columbus. With Pittsburgh being stacked on the first two lines, adding Johnson for depth was necessary.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Re-Sign Ryan McDonagh D seven-year $47.25-million dollar deal A Grade

The Tampa Bay Lightning now have one of the deepest cores in the NHL now on the blue line. Fantastic signing by Tampa Bay.

Los Angeles Kings: Sign Ilya Kovalchuk LW three-year $18.75-million dollar deal A Grade

Ilya Kovalchuk has dominated in the KHL the last few years. He can help the Los Angeles Kings out as early as next season.

Colorado Avalanche: Sign Ian Cole D three-year $12.75-million dollar deal A Grade

Ian Cole will bolster Colorado's depth on the blue line with Brooks Orpik. With these recent additions the upside to make the second round of the Western Conference in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs is there for the Colorado Avalanche.

Los Angeles Kings: Sign Paul Stastny C three-year $19.5-million dollar deal C Grade

Paul Stastny is a good center. Vegas overpaid for him though considering Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki are in their system.

June 30, 2018

Los Angeles Kings: Re-Sign Drew Doughty D eight-year $88-million dollar deal A+ Grade

Drew Doughty was about to enter a contract year. This was a fantastic re-signing by the Los Angeles Kings.

San Jose Sharks: Re-Sign Logan Coture C eight-year $64-million dollar deal A Grade

The Sharks got a bargain by obtaining Logan Coture for 8-million a year. That's a great signing by the San Jose Sharks.

Los Angeles Kings: Re-Sign Ryan Reaves RW three-year $5.55-million dollar deal B Grade

Ryan Reaves did well in the Stanley Cup scoring the game-winning goal for the Vegas Godlen Knights.

June 27, 2018

Pittsburgh Penguins: Trade for 2019 fourth round pick D Grade

Conor Sheary is worth a second or third round pick easily. Why in the hell are the Penguins dealing Conor Sheary? I'm guessing they did this to clear up cap space after re-signing Bryan Rust. Still a questionable move though.

Buffalo Sabres: Trade for Conor Sheary LW A+ Grade

The Buffalo Sabres just continue to dominate the offseason. Fantastic acquisition by the Buffalo Sabres.

June 26, 2018

Pittsburgh Penguins: Re-Sign Bryan Rust RW four-year $14-million D Grade

Conor Sheary is worth a second or third round pick easily. Why in the hell are the Penguins dealing Conor Sheary? I'm guessing they did this to clear up cap space after re-signing Bryan Rust. Still a questionable move though.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Re-Sign J.T. Miller C five-year $26.25-million A Grade

The Lightning retained J.T. Miller in a contract year where he finally put everything together. If he plays this good next season Tampa Bay can put together a potential Stanley Cup run.

Detroit Red Wings: Re-Sign Tyler Bertuzi LW two-year deal $2.8-million A+ Grade

Tyler Bertuzi was a line four left winger on Detroit last season. He's a solid role player and I can't fault Detroit for re-signing him.

Detroit Red Wings: Re-Sign Martin Frk RW one-year deal $1.05-million A+ Grade

The Detroit Red Wings brought back Martin Frk. This is a good move by the Detroit Red Wings as Frk can contribute on the back 6.

June 24, 2018

Arizona Coyotes: Re-Sign Niklas Hjalmarsson D two-year $10-million A Grade

Arizona already extended Oliver Ekman-Larsson prior to the 2018 NHL Draft. Now they bring back Niklas Hjalmarsson back too. Good job keeping your blue line together Arizona.

Boston Bruins 2019 Free Agents

Zdeno Chara, D, Boston Bruins

Adam McQuaid, D, Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins 2018 Offseason Outlook: Boston has $4,309,335 in cap space for 2018. They should have enough cap space to bring back their best defender Zdeno Chara back next season. Also Charlie McAvoy will enter the first year where his rookie contract is up.

2019 Boston Bruins Offseason Needs


Buffalo Sabres 2019 Free Agents

Jason Pominville, RW, Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres 2018 Offseason Outlook: Buffalo has $13,685,476 for 2018. They finally shored up their blue line by drafting Rasmus Dahlin at one. Then you bring up Casey Middlestadt and trade for Conor Sheary. Buffalo has an extremly bright future plus they have two first round picks in 2019. Patrik Berglund is also replacing Ryan O'Reilly.

2019 Buffalo Sabres Offseason Needs


Detroit Red Wings 2019 Free Agents

Thomas Vanek, LW, Detroit Red Wings

Gustav Nyquist, RW, Detroit Red Wings

Niklas Kronwall, D, Detroit Red Wings

Jake Chelios, D, Detroit Red Wings

Jimmy Howard, G, Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings 2018 Offseason Outlook: Detroit has $8,423,574 for 2018 at the moment. A lot of their offensive draft picks are coming up and they got Jake Chelios plus Jonathan Bernier in Free Agency to compliment Jimmy Howard. They should be better. I don't know if they will do enough to push for a playoff spot, but they should be better then the sixth worst NHL team.

2019 Detroit Red Wings Offseason Needs


Florida Panthers 2019 Free Agents

Jamie McGinn, LW, Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers 2018 Offseason Outlook: Florida has $17,891,585 for 2018 at the moment. Florida did nothing in either Free Agency or the NHL Draft to improve their team so they should suck next year.

2019 Florida Panthers Offseason Needs


Montreal Canadiens 2019 Free Agents

Max Pacioretty, LW, Montreal Canadiens

Jordie Benn, D, Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens 2018 Offseason Outlook: Montreal has $12,964,523 for 2018 at the moment. Jesperi Kotkaniemi may come up, but the Canadiens had a really bad offseason and could have done a lot more.

2019 Montreal Canadiens Offseason Needs


Ottawa Senators 2019 Free Agents

Matt Duchene, C, Ottawa Senators

Chris Wideman, D, Ottawa Senators

Ottawa Senators 2018 Offseason Outlook: Ottawa has $18,866,667 for 2018. They have enough to extend their best player Erik Karlsson. It seems like he wants out though and I expect him to get traded and extended to another team which is why I didn't list him.

2019 Ottawa Senators Offseason Needs


Tampa Bay Lightning 2019 Free Agents

Anton Stralman, D, Tampa Bay Lightning

Braydon Coburn, D, Tampa Bay Lightning

Dan Girardi, D, Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning 2018 Offseason Outlook: Tampa Bay has $3,446,220 for 2018 at the moment. The Lightning want to trade for Erik Karlsson and then extend him, but they won't do that now thanks to Nikita Kutcherov's extension.

2019 Tampa Bay Lightning Offseason Needs


Toronto Maple Leafs 2019 Free Agents

Jake Gardiner, D, Toronto Maple Leafs

Ron Hainsey, D, Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs 2018 Offseason Outlook: Toronto has $15,529,167 for 2018 at the moment. They have enough money to extend Auston Matthews and I feel like Toronto will make that a priority at some point while they continue to build around the blue line.

2019 Toronto Maple Leafs Offseason Needs


Carolina Hurricanes 2019 Free Agents

Jeff Skinner, LW, Carolina Hurricanes

Justin Williams, RW, Carolina Hurricanes

Petr Mrazek, G, Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes 2018 Offseason Outlook: Carolina has $13,097,501 to spend on Free Agents and the draft in 2018. Carolina just has to keep this core in tact for next season.

2019 Carolina Hurricanes Offseason Needs


Columbus Blue Jackets 2019 Free Agents

Artemi Panerin, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets

Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets 2018 Outlook: Columbus has $10,959,167 for 2018. The Blue Jackets need to lock up Sergei Bobrovsky long-term.

2019 Columbus Blue Jackets Offseason Needs


New Jersey Devils 2019 Free Agents

Ben Lovejoy, D, New Jersey Devils

Keith Kinkaid, G, New Jersey Devils

Eddie Lack, G, New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils 2018 Offseason Outlook: New Jersey has $23,098,332 million to spend in 2018. The Devils lose two goalies to Free Agency plus their 2015 second round pick MacKenzie Blackwood is an RFA and may demand a one-way contract to the NHL.

2019 New Jersey Devils Offseason Needs


New York Islanders 2019 Free Agents

Jordan Eberle, RW, New York Islanders

Anders Lee, C, New York Islanders

Valtteri Filppula, C, New York Islanders

Tom Kuhnhackl, RW, New York Islanders

Robin Lehner, G, New York Islanders

New York Islanders 2018 Offseason Outlook: New York has $19,039,167 to spend on Free Agents in 2018. They lost John Tavares and are looking at a total rebuild with Eberle being in a contact year next season.

2019 New York Islanders Offseason Needs


New York Rangers 2019 Free Agents

Mats Zuccarello, RW, New York Rangers

New York Rangers 2018 Offseason Outlook: New York will have $23,550,556 in cap space in 2018. New York has quite a bit to spend and does not have a backup goalie to make matters worse.

2019 New York Rangers Offseason Needs


Philadelphia Flyers 2019 Free Agents

Wayne Simmons, RW, Philadelhpia Flyers

Brian Elliott, G, Philadelphia Flyers

Michael Neuvirth, G, Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers 2018 Offseason Outlook: Philadelphia will have $13,940,770 in 2018. The Flyers have the talent to be a top 2 team in their division. The big quesion is whether they take that next step and finally win a playoff series with this core.

2019 Philadelphia Flyers Offseason Needs


Pittsburgh Penguins 2019 Free Agents

Carl Hagelin, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins

Derick Brassard, C, Pittsburgh Penguins

Riley Sheahan, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins

Chad Ruhwedel, D, Pittsburgh Penguins

Casey DeSmith., G, Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins 2018 Offseason Recap: Pittsburgh will have $3,532,501 in cap space for 2018. Pittsburgh filled a lot of needs and despite the loss of Conor Sheary they have one of the deepest teams in the Eastern Conference.

2019 Pittsburgh Penguins Offseason Needs


Washington Capitals 2019 Free Agents

Brett Connolly, RW, Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals 2019 Offseason Outlook: Washington has $8,265,705 for 2018 at the moment. Washington only loses one Free Agent next season in 2019.

2019 Washington Capitals Offseason Needs


Top 8 Eastern Conference Teams heading Into 2018 1. Tampa Bay Lightning, 2. Pittsburgh Penguins, 3. Boston Bruins, 4. Philadelphia Flyers, 5. Columbus Blue Jackets, 6. Buffalo Sabres, 7. Detroit Red Wings, 8. Washington Capitals.

Chicago Blackhawks 2019 Free Agents

Chris Kunitz, LW, Chicago Blackhawks

Jan Rutta, D, Chicago Blackhawks

Cam Ward, G, Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks 2018 Offseason Outlook: Chicago has $2,050,705 for 2018 at the moment. The Blackhawks have a nice core of talent back and should push for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

2019 Chicago Blackhawks Offseason Needs


Colorado Avalanche 2019 Free Agents

Colin Wilson, C, Colorado Avalanche

Gabriel Bourque, LW, Colorado Avalanche

Semyon Varlamov, G, Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche 2018 Offseason Outlook: Colorado has $14,731,905 for 2018. The Avalanche put a nice core together and should be able to compete long-term. They got a few short-term assets to bolster the blue-line, but didn't make a splash to upgrade their blue=line long-term.

2019 Colorado Avalanche Offseason Needs


Dallas Stars 2019 Free Agents

Jason Spezza, C, Dallas Stars

Marc Methot, D, Dallas Stars

Roman Polak, D, Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars 2018 Offseason Outlook: Dallas has $10,670,000 to spend in 2018. Tyler Seguin needs to get extended. Dallas is also considering bringing in Erik Karlsson via trade.

2019 Dallas Stars Offseason Needs


Minnesota Wild 2019 Free Agents

Eric Staal, C, Minnesota Wild

Eric Fehr, C, Minnesota Wild

Nate Prosser, D, Minnesota Wild

Alex Stalock, G, Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild 2018 Offseason Outlook: Minnesota has $9,928,077 to spend on Free Agents and the draft. Minnesota is keeping most of their core together next season. I expect a big year from the Minnesota Wild. They finally need to take that leap and make a run.

2019 Minnesota Wild Offseason Needs


Nashville Predators 2019 Free Agents

Ryan Ellis, D, Nashville Predators

Pekka Rinne, G, Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators 2018 Offseason Outlook: Nashville will have $12,588,737 in cap space for 2018. They got the money to extend Pekka Rinne now. That's why I'm surprised they haven't reached out to him yet. They may have barely enough, yet still enough to re-sign Rinne.

2019 Nashville Predators Offseason Needs


St. Louis Blues 2019 Free Agents

Jay Bouwmeester, D, St. Louis Blues

Carl Gunnarsson, D, St. Louis Blues

Robert Bortuzzo, D, St. Louis Blues

Chad Johnson, G, St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues 2018 Offseason Outlook: St. Louis has $6,129,013 for 2018 at the moment. St. Louis will have all their forwards back depsite having some defenseman in contract years along with not having a first round pick for the second year in a row.

2019 St. Louis Blues Offseason Needs


Winnipeg Jets 2019 Free Agents

Blake Wheeler, RW, Winnipeg Jets

Tyler Myers, D, Winnipeg Jets

Ben Chiarot, D, Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets 2018 Offseason Outlook: Winnipeg has $26,806,501 for 2018 at the moment. Winnipeg hasn't made a single move this offseason after getting to the 2018 Western Conference Finals.

2019 Winnipeg Offseason Needs


Anaheim Ducks 2019 Free Agents

Adam Henrique, C, Anaheim Ducks

Andrej Sustr, D, Anaheim Ducks

Ryan Miller, G, Anaheim Ducks

Anaheim Ducks 2018 Offseason Outlook: Anaheim has $9,463,890 to spend on Free Agents. Anaheim has a solid core that they need to keep together if they want to contend in the future.

2019 Anaheim Ducks Offseason Needs


Arizona Coyotes 2019 Free Agents

Dave Bolland, C, Arizona Coyotes

Markus Kruger, C, Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes 2019 Offseason Outlook: Arizona should be in a rebuild this season. They have all of their defenders and goalies locked up under contract. Dylan Strome and Barrett Hayton will be ready to play on the third and fourth lines by 2019 and that's when I expect the Coyotes to put everything together.

2019 Arizona Coyotes Offseason Needs


Calgary Flames 2019 Free Agents

Mike Smith, G, Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames 2018 Offseason Outlook: Calgary has $12,863,690 for 2018 at the moment. They will need goalies for 2019.

2019 Calgary Flames Offseason Needs


Edmonton Oilers 2019 Free Agents

Kevin Gravel, D, Edmonton Oilers

Cam Talbot, G, Edmonton Oilers

Mikko Koskanen, G, Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers 2018 Offseason Outlook: Edmonton has $4,978,835 for 2018 at the moment. Both of their goalies are Free Agents next season.

2019 Edmonton Oilers Offseason Needs


Los Angeles Kings 2019 Free Agents

Peter Budaj, G, Los Angeles Kings

Los Angeles Kings 2018 Offseason Outlook: Los Angeles has $2,154,773 for 2018 at the moment. The Kings already extended Drew Doughty and are now set to compete long-term for the Pacific Division in the Western Conference. Despite getting swept by the Vegas Golden Knights this team has the most long-term talent in place.

2019 Los Angeles Kings Offseason Needs


San Jose Sharks 2019 Free Agents

Joe Pavelski, LW, San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks 2018 Offseason Recap: San Jose has $8,217,916 for 2018 at the moment. While Logan Couture and Joe Thornton got locked up long-term, the Sharks spent a first round pick on Ryan Merkley who had maturity issues, plus you can question a lot of Doug Wilson's decisions as a General Manager.

2019 San Jose Sharks Offseason Needs


Vancouver Canucks 2019 Free Agents

Alexander Edler, D, Vancouver Canucks

Michael Del Zotto, D, Vancouver Canucks

Anders Nillson, G, Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks 2018 Offseason Recap: Vancouver has $12,774,668 for 2018 at the moment. Vancouver has issues pretty much everywhere and is in a total rebuild. With the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver, this Canucks team is an overwhelming favorite to be the leagues worst team and get the top pick in the 2019 NHL Draft after the Sedin Brothers retired.

2019 Vancouver Canucks Offseason Needs


Vegas Golden Knights 2019 Free Agents

Nate Schmidt, D, Vegas Golden Knights

Deryk Engelland, D, Vegas Golden Knights

Brad Hunt, D, Vegas Golden Knights

Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights 2018 Offseason Outlook: Vegas has $17,897,153 for 2018 at the moment. Outside of winger James Neal, Vegas really didn't lose any players to Free Agency and has the rest of their core back for next season outside of James Neal. They also have enough cap room to re-sign Marc-Andre Fleury at goaltender.

2019 Vegas Golden Knights Offseason Needs


Top 8 Western Conference Teams heading Into 2018 1. Vegas Golden Knights, 2. Nashville Predators, 3. Los Angeles Kings, 4. Minnesota Wild, 5. Dallas Stars, 6. Anaheim Ducks, 7. Winnipeg Jets, 8. Chicago Blackhawks.

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