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Trick or Treat: Which team's offseason moves are for real?

Trick or Treat: Which team's offseason moves are for real?

01/11/2020, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30106777

Halloween arriving in the middle of the NHL's offseason may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Let's look at how a handful of teams have fared so far this fall, evaluating each squad's moves using a theme connected to Saturday's holiday.

Trick = A team that's either further removed from contender status than before this offseason, or isn't as close to contending as the club's splashy moves seem to indicate.

Treat = A team that's vaulted closer to contention thanks to its offseason moves.

Bruins: Trick

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Key arrivals: Craig Smith
Key departures: Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara (unsigned), Joakim Nordstrom

Boston entered the offseason fresh off an underwhelming showing in the playoffs, and with ample cap space to make an impact in free agency. But surprisingly, the Bruins were just passengers throughout the frenzy.

Smith is a nice addition, especially at $3.1 million per season. But only making one signing after another campaign in which an aging core didn't yield a championship is curious, to say the least.

The Bruins also let Krug walk, and they didn't bring anyone in to replace him. There are still strong pieces on Boston's blue line, but without Krug - and Chara still unsigned - the unit is looking thinner than ever before. Tie all that in with long-term surgery recoveries for superstars David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, and Boston's immediate future after a bland offseason seems precarious.

Canadiens: Treat

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Key arrivals: Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli, Joel Edmundson, Jake Allen, Alexander Romanov
Key departures: Max Domi

Montreal's biggest issue last season was scoring, as the Habs were possession darlings, but they often struggled to finish. Adding Toffoli and Anderson should help in a big way.

The Canadiens can now roll out three potent lines next year, and young centers Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi will also provide a boost after making strides during the team's impressive playoff showing. Montreal lacks star power up front, but the club boasts quality depth.

Edmundson's contract (four years, $3.5M AAV) could come back to haunt general manager Marc Bergevin. But the squad's blue line should improve overall, especially if the 20-year-old Romanov can make the leap from the KHL to the NHL with ease.

Allen, meanwhile, is one of the NHL's best backups, and he'll help to keep Carey Price fresh - which will be crucial during a potentially condensed schedule.

Sabres: Trick

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Key arrivals: Taylor Hall, Eric Staal, Cody Eakin, Tobias Rieder
Key departures: Marcus Johansson, Jimmy Vesey, Johan Larsson, Dominik Kahun (unsigned)

The Sabres have enjoyed a great offseason - we're not arguing that. Hall and Jack Eichel will be one of the league's scariest offensive duos, and Staal fills a massive hole as a second-line center.

However, there are still far too many question marks for this team to contend. The bottom-six forward group is a mess. There are some nice blue-line pieces in Buffalo, but the group is unbalanced and lacks a reliable shutdown pair. And the team's goaltending is suspect, despite some encouraging signs from Linus Ullmark a year ago.

Maple Leafs: Treat

Mark Blinch / National Hockey League / Getty

Key arrivals: TJ Brodie, Zach Bogosian, Mikko Lehtonen, Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmonds, Jimmy Vesey, Joey Anderson
Key departures: Andreas Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen, Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci

After a disappointing defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets in this summer's qualifying round, Kyle Dubas got busy addressing some of the Maple Leafs' clear needs. Toronto became tougher and more experienced throughout its lineup, and adding Brodie gives the Leafs their strongest group of blue-liners in recent memory.

While the Maple Leafs appear deeper after their bevy of additions, the most impressive aspect of Toronto's offseason could be its salary-cap navigation. Dubas not only bolstered each position, but he also retained restricted free agents Ilya Mikheyev and Travis Dermott at discounted rates, and without going over the stagnant cap.

Islanders: Trick

Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

Key arrivals: Ilya Sorokin
Key departures: Devon Toews, Derick Brassard (unsigned), Thomas Greiss

New York has been silent so far this offseason and unable to build on the momentum from a surprising run to the Eastern Conference Final. Recouping two second-round picks in the Toews deal is a decent haul, but it's hard to understand why the young, dynamic blue-liner needed to be the Islanders' cap casualty. The club also hasn't signed a single free agent yet.

Lou Lamoriello has always been one to wait, and he's sure showcasing his patience when it comes to locking down two key RFAs. Foundational pieces Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock need new deals, and the Islanders only hold $8.9 million in available cap space. The final prices of those two contracts will define New York's offseason, either bailing out Lamoriello after his inactivity, or further crippling the club's financial future.

Avalanche: Treat

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Key arrivals: Brandon Saad, Devon Toews
Key departures: Nikita Zadorov

The Avalanche are enjoying yet another solid offseason. GM Joe Sakic didn't go big-game hunting with his cap space, but he continued his trend of acquiring strong two-way players cheaply. Adding Saad to one of the NHL's deepest forward groups is scary for Colorado's Western Conference opponents, and Sakic even managed to convince Chicago to retain some of the veteran winger's salary.

Toews essentially replaces Zadorov on the blue line after the latter went to the Blackhawks in the deal, which is a major upgrade. The 26-year-old is one of the NHL's best puck-moving defensemen, and the four-year, $16.4 million contract he signed after the trade could become a highly team-friendly deal.

He joins a promising defensive corps that already features Cale Makar and Samuel Girard, along with prospects Bowen Byram and Conor Timmins waiting in the weeds. The rich get richer.

Canucks: Trick

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Key arrivals: Nate Schmidt, Braden Holtby
Key departures: Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev, Tyler Toffoli, Josh Leivo, Troy Stecher, Oscar Fantenberg

We love adding Schmidt, especially at the cost (third-round pick). But there's no denying the Canucks became worse.

Schmidt replaces Tanev, which is an upgrade, but GM Jim Benning hasn't added anyone to fill Stecher's spot, and he doesn't hold the cap space to make that move. Is Olli Juolevi ready? Tyler Myers playing heavier minutes could be a spooky reality.

Losing Toffoli hurts, too, especially after how well he meshed with Vancouver's top-six forwards. Benning may have been able to keep Toffoli around if he didn't allocate so much money to uninspiring veterans like Brandon Sutter ($4.38 million), Micheal Ferland ($3.5 million), Antoine Roussel ($3 million), and Jay Beagle ($3 million). Not bringing back Leivo, who only received $875K from the Calgary Flames, is questionable too.

Holtby, who's posted three straight poor seasons, is a definite downgrade from Markstrom. Thatcher Demko had better be ready to play at least half of the Canucks' games. He certainly looked like a No. 1 netminder in the postseason.

Golden Knights: Treat

Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

Key arrivals: Alex Pietrangelo, Carl Dahlstrom
Key departures: Nate Schmidt, Paul Stastny

Is upgrading from Schmidt to Pietrangelo worth the cost of trading away Stastny? We think so. That's Vegas' offseason in a nutshell. The Golden Knights have now assembled one of the league's best blue lines, and they were able to re-sign goalie Robin Lehner.

Center depth beyond William Karlsson is the club's biggest weakness, but 2016 No. 6 pick Cody Glass provides plenty of upside, and veteran Chandler Stephenson fit in with Vegas extremely well after being acquired in a midseason trade last year from the Washington Capitals.

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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2041412
OHL hasn't ruled out bodychecking despite provincial government's mandate

OHL hasn't ruled out bodychecking despite provincial government's mandate

31/10/2020, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30106147

The Ontario Hockey League will follow scientific studies' direction to form its return plan despite the Ontario provincial government mandating that bodychecking won't take place in sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"If there’s studies that really, clearly state that body contact is a contributor to the spread of the virus, then obviously we’ll have to look at it," OHL commissioner David Branch said Friday, according to Sportsnet. "But we’ve not looked at it yet."

Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's minister of sport, believes removing purposeful contact is necessary to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. The QMJHL, which has already seen several outbreaks, influenced her decision.

"Our public health officials have been clear," MacLeod said Friday. "Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports is not permitted. We will continue to work with (the OHL) on a safe return to play.”

The OHL announced Thursday it plans to run a shortened 40-game season beginning Feb. 4.

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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2045917
Stars sign Honka to 1-year contract

Stars sign Honka to 1-year contract

31/10/2020, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30105803

The Dallas Stars have signed defenseman Julius Honka to a one-year, two-way contract, the team announced Friday.

Honka posted 15 points in 46 games in Finland last season. The 24-year-old went overseas after being unable to work out a deal as a restricted free agent with the Stars.

Dallas drafted Honka 14th overall in 2014, but he's only played in 87 NHL games. He's spent the majority of his career in the AHL or as a healthy scratch with the big club.

Honka previously requested a trade out of Dallas but nothing ever materialized.

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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2045921
Bodychecking prohibited in OHL this season

Bodychecking prohibited in OHL this season

31/10/2020, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30105802

The Ontario Hockey League will not have bodychecking during its upcoming campaign.

The province's minister of sport, Lisa MacLeod, confirmed the decision Friday afternoon, according to The Canadian Press.

MacLeod believes removing purposeful contact is a necessary step in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The QMJHL, which has already had several outbreaks, influenced her decision.

"It would be safe to say that body contact unless it's incremental, will not be permitted as a result of COVID-19," MacLeod said earlier this month. "That would pose a challenge in terms of how they amend their play."

The OHL announced Thursday that it plans to run a shortened 40-game season beginning Feb. 4.

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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2045917
Maple Leafs sign Joey Anderson to 3-year extension

Maple Leafs sign Joey Anderson to 3-year extension

31/10/2020, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30105654

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed forward Joey Anderson to a three-year contract, the team announced Friday.

Anderson's deal is a two-way contract in the first two years and carries an annual cap hit of $750,000.

Toronto acquired Anderson in the trade that sent Andreas Johnsson to the New Jersey Devils earlier this offseason. New Jersey selected Anderson in the third round of the 2016 draft, and he's tallied 13 points in 52 career NHL games.

The 22-year-old has earned comparisons to Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman.

"That's something I strive to be ... a guy that does things the right way, plays hard, he's in the right spots, doesn't take short cuts," Anderson told TSN's Mark Masters after the trade. "Definitely a player I would like to follow in the footsteps of."

Anderson may compete for a job with the Maple Leafs this upcoming season, but his two-way contract indicates he'll likely start the year with the AHL's Toronto Marlies.

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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2045884
Report: Flames looking to add right-side defenseman

Report: Flames looking to add right-side defenseman

31/10/2020, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30105552

The Calgary Flames aren't done adding to the roster this offseason.

General manager Brad Treliving is looking to add an experienced right-side defenseman, TSN's Darren Dreger reported Thursday.

The Flames lost longtime rearguard T.J. Brodie, who played the right side on the club's top pair, in free agency this offseason. Treliving added Chris Tanev to fill that void, but hopes to add more depth on the blue line.

Here's how Calgary's back end currently shapes up:

LD RD
Mark Giordano Chris Tanev
Noah Hanifin Rasmus Anderson
Juuso Valimaki
Oliver Kylington
Nikita Nesterov

Sami Vatanen and former Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic are intriguing right-side options, but Calgary has just $1 million in projected cap space and still needs to sign Oliver Kylington - a restricted free agent - to a new deal.

More realistic free-agent options include veterans Andy Greene and Ron Hainsey. The Flames could address their need via trade as well.

Calgary finished 17th defensively in 2019-20, allowing 3.03 goals against per game.

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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2045730
Coyotes renounce rights to Mitchell Miller

Coyotes renounce rights to Mitchell Miller

31/10/2020, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30105500

The Arizona Coyotes are renouncing the rights to 2020 fourth-round draft pick Mitchell Miller, the team announced Thursday.

Arizona said on Oct. 26 that the organization wouldn't cut ties with Miller despite having knowledge that in 2016 he bullied Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, a former classmate who is Black and has a developmental disability. However, the club has since reversed course.

"We have decided to renounce the rights to Mitchell Miller, effective immediately," Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez said in a statement. "Prior to selecting Mitchell in the NHL draft, we were aware that a bullying incident took place in 2016. We do not condone this type of behavior but embraced this as a teachable moment to work with Mitchell to make him accountable for his actions and provide him with an opportunity to be a leader on anti-bullying and anti-racism efforts.

"We have learned more about the entire matter, and more importantly, the impact it has had on Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family. What we learned does not align with the core values and vision for our organization and leads to our decision to renounce our draft rights. On behalf of the Arizona Coyotes ownership and our entire organization, I would like to apologize to Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family. We are building a model franchise on and off the ice and will do the right thing for Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family, our fans, and our partners. Mr. Miller is now a free agent and can pursue his dream of becoming an NHL player elsewhere."

Meyer-Crothers said Miller consistently harassed him, beat him up, and frequently called him the N-word and "brownie" while the two grew up together in Ohio.

Miller was set for his freshman season at North Dakota, but on Friday, the school announced he is no longer a member of the hockey program. He can still attend the university as a student.

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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2045650
2020 Hall of Fame class to stand alone in postponed ceremony in 2021

2020 Hall of Fame class to stand alone in postponed ceremony in 2021

31/10/2020, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30105479

The 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony has been moved to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, chairman Lanny McDonald announced Friday.

However, this year's class will stand alone, as no new members will be inducted in 2021.

"The magic of the induction weekend from the perspective of the new inductees is participating in several days of close interaction with family, friends, former teammates, fellow legends, and fans," McDonald said. "On that premise, the board felt that this was the right decision to bestow upon the class of 2020 the recognition and lifetime experience they so richly deserve in all ways consistent with past induction classes."

This year's weekend of events was originally scheduled for Nov. 13 to 16. Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, Doug Wilson, and Kim St. Pierre headline the inductees in the player category, while current Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland is set for enshrinement in the builder category.

Some notable candidates for the now-delayed 2021 class include Henrik and Daniel Sedin, as well as Henrik Zetterberg.

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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2045845
Best of the rest: Top remaining NHL UFAs by position

Best of the rest: Top remaining NHL UFAs by position

31/10/2020, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30105360

With free agency underway, here's a roundup of all the best players still available.

Centers

  • Erik Haula
  • Carl Soderberg
  • Derick Brassard
  • Melker Karlsson
  • Trevor Lewis
  • Riley Sheahan
  • Brian Boyle
  • Frederik Gauthier
  • Nick Shore

Wingers

  • Mike Hoffman
  • Anthony Duclair
  • Mikael Granlund
  • Andreas Athanasiou
  • Dominik Kahun
  • Ilya Kovalchuk
  • Conor Sheary
  • Corey Perry
  • Drake Caggiula
  • Michael Frolik
  • Michael Grabner
  • Matt Martin
  • Colin Wilson
  • Brendan Perlini

Defensemen

  • Sami Vatanen
  • Travis Hamonic
  • Zdeno Chara
  • Andy Greene
  • Ben Hutton
  • Madison Bowey
  • Ron Hainsey
  • Jan Rutta
  • Michael Del Zotto
  • Slater Koekkoek
  • Karl Alzner
  • Michael Stone
  • Deryk Engelland

Goalies

  • Craig Anderson
  • Jimmy Howard
  • Ryan Miller

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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2038015
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