With the big moves from this off season already over and done with, it is now time to focus on the regular season. We can speculate that some moves that every NHL team did this summer could blow up in their face. Other moves were perfect fits for players to go with certain NHL teams. Then there are the moves that you sit there and think to yourself that there is no reason why this would work.
The moves most important to look at is the moves that teams will regret as early as next summer. Moves that are made that look great right at the beginning, but once the players start to play with their new team and it either works or it doesn’t work. With the regular season right around the corner it is good to look at the moves that potentially can be detrimental to teams for the 2017-18 season.
The summer had a lot of interesting surprises, and players moving to different teams, along with players getting big extensions to stay with their current teams. It is interesting to see how all of these moves will pay off, and see what moves work and what moves did not work from the offseason. Looking forward players that signed big deals this summer are one of the more important things to look at for this upcoming 2017-18 season. With that being said here are the 15 offseason moves that these NHL teams will regret making by next summer.
15. Calgary Flames (Trading For Mike Smith)
The Calgary Flames traded Chad Johnson’s rights, Brandon Hickey, and a 2018 first round pick to Arizona for Mike Smith. Calgary has two years of Mike Smith left on his current deal, and the 35-year-old goaltender will be on the decline of his career during his tenure in Calgary. In Smith’s career he has a win/loss record of 195-198-60 which is not a good record for a starting goaltender to have.
Calgary’s thought process is that we have a good defense in front, and that will help Mike Smith out right. Well the Flames need to be able to score to help Smith out as well, and the Flames were 17th in the NHL in Goals Per Game, and will be able to be solid both offensively and defensively if this move is going to work for them. Looking at Smith’s track record of inconsistency, it looks like Calgary will be regretting this move.
14. Buffalo Sabres (Not Signing Their Goalie Of The Future)
The Buffalo Sabres signed both Chad Johnson, and Robin Lehner to one year deals this summer, and Buffalo will regret not having their goalie of the future this season. With Johnson being 31 and poised to be the backup, while Lehner is only 26 years old, but does not have the track record to prove that he would be a good number one goaltender. For any other team in the NHL these two goalies would be considered the backups, and they are both trying to build their resumes so that they can potentially be number one goaltenders in the future.
With Buffalo not having any actual number one goaltender is going to be hard for the Sabres to succeed in 2017-2018. That being said look for the Sabres to be regretting all season that they did not go out of their way to acquire a number one starting caliber goaltender that they have not had since they traded away Ryan Miller during the 2013-2014 season.
13. Boston Bruins (Not Protecting Colin Miller In The Expansion Draft)
The Boston Bruins did not make any huge moves this summer, but in the expansion draft the one player that they should not have made available was young defenseman Colin Miller. Miller will be 24 years old going into next season, and will be a restricted free agent in the summer. Looking back Miller was one of the better young defensemen that the Bruins had, and they should have exposed one of their other defenseman so Miller could stay in Boston.
Looking forward the Bruins want to a go in a young direction, as they will use their veterans on their top six, and top four while using their young talent such as Charlie McAvoy, and company in their bottom six, and part of their top six on defense. Look for the Bruins to miss Miller’s hard shot from the point, and have them say to themselves that they gave up the wrong Miller in the expansion draft.
12. Anaheim Ducks (Signing Ryan Miller)
The Anaheim Ducks signed Ryan Miller to a two year $4 million contract this summer, but I don’t think that it was the right move for both sides. Ryan Miller could have used a Buffalo Sabres reunion, while the Ducks prove that they do not have faith in John Gibson. Gibson was the primary starter a year ago, and now adding Miller to the fold just starts too much controversy. While looking at the Ducks team on defense, it is a solid group it should look like Ryan Miller will work out in Anaheim.
Unfortunately Miller has struggled over the past two seasons, and really has not been the guy he was during his tenure in Buffalo. With Miller being 37 years old, it makes it hard to believe that even at $2 million per season that the Ducks will regret that signing next summer.
11. New York Rangers (Trading Antti Raanta)
The New York Rangers might have had their future goaltender after Henrik Lundqvist retires, but instead they decided to trade him to the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes sent Anthony DeAngelo and the 2017 7th overall selection to the New York Rangers for Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta. Raanta will be poised to be the number one goaltender in Arizona and the Coyotes will only have to pay him $1 million for next season, and then he will be an unrestricted free agent.
Raanta is definitely a number one goaltender in the NHL, and will thrive down in Arizona. With that being said the Rangers not only lost their goalie of the future, but they lost the chance of actually having a solid goaltender after Henrik Lundqvist decides to hang them up.
10. Winnipeg Jets (Signing Steve Mason)
Steve Mason and the Winnipeg Jets signed a two year, $8.2 million contract this summer, and the Jets will instantly regret it next summer. Steve Mason is a former Calder Memorial Trophy Winner, and has been a decent goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers over the past four and a half seasons. Winnipeg does not have the talent on defense the Flyers do, so you will see his numbers take a big hit, especially playing in the Western Conference. That will be a tough transition for Mason.
With Mason playing teams like the Blackhawks, Ducks, and the other elite Western Conference teams more than twice a year now will be a struggle. The Jets are a good defenseman away from being a playoff team, but Steve Mason is not the right fit to be in between the pipes for the Jets.
9. Ottawa Senators (Not Locking Up Erik Karlsson Long-Term)
Erik Karlsson is one of the best offensive defensemen in the National Hockey League today, and is currently under contract for two more seasons. Ottawa made the mistake of not being able to sign him for the remainder of his career this summer. Karlsson is in the prime of his career, and has been a big asset for the Senators in his eight year career. In his 556 games that he has played he has tallied 117 goals to go along with 339 assists for a total of 456 points.
He is one of the best defensemen in the league, and needs to be locked up if Ottawa wants him for the remainder of his career. If he is able to walk and Ottawa doesn’t re-sign him/get anything for him it will be the biggest regret in franchise history. With the Senators being one goal separating them from their second ever Stanley Cup Final appearance, they need to be able to keep their core for the foreseeable future, and Karlsson is the biggest piece of that core.
8. San Jose Sharks (Giving Marc-Edouard Vlasic $7 Million Per Season)
The San Jose Sharks and Marc-Edouard Vlasic agreed to an eight year extension worth $56 million. That is a lot of money for a defenseman to make, especially if he is not one of your top two defenseman. The Sharks made the mistake of giving a player a huge contract who is going to be 31 years old when the extension starts, and will be 39 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
If San Jose Sharks were a smart organization they would have waited for the start of the 2017-18 season before negotiating a contract with Vlasic. They would have had the advantage in the contract talks, and could have signed Vlasic to a cheaper deal than the one they signed him to. Look for San Jose to regret giving that much money to one defenseman after the upcoming season.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs (Giving Patrick Marleau A Three Year Contract)
Patrick Marleau and the Toronto Maple Leafs agreed to a three year $18.75 million contract this summer, and there is nothing wrong with the money that they gave him, but he should not have gotten a three year deal. The former number two overall selection in the 1997 NHL Draft played his entire 19 year career with the San Jose Sharks, and will play his first season not in a San Jose Sharks uniform this season. Marleau should have gotten a one year deal, due to the fact that he is 37 years old, and will have twenty years in the league after the 2017-2018 season.
Looking forward Marleau will have one ok year in Toronto, and then he will absolute take a huge giant step back due to the fact that his age is going to be catching up to him. Look for the Maple Leafs to regret giving Marleau more than one year by next summer.
6. Montreal Canadiens (Giving Karl Alzner $4.625 Million A Year)
The Montreal Canadiens and defenseman Karl Alzner agreed to a five year $23.125 million contract this summer, and that is way too high for Alzner’s production value. Alzner has not been a big offensive threat, but he is good, serviceable defenseman in the defensive zone. The Montreal Canadiens could have gotten Alzner for much cheaper, because he is definitely not worth a $4.625 million average salary.
Montreal drastically altered their defense this summer, but Alzner will be the one move that they will look back on and regret come next summer. Look for Montreal to regret not only giving Alzner all that money per season, but giving him a modified no trade clause as well. When he does not work out in Montreal, he is stuck there due to the fact that he can only be traded to one of the teams on his seven team list.
5. Dallas Stars (Giving Alexander Radulov $6.25 Million A Year)
The Dallas Stars and Alexander Radulov both agreed to a five year $31.25 million contract this summer. Now I am not taking away from the talent that Radulov has, because he does but for a guy who is 30 years old and has only played four seasons in the NHL. However, that also makes it hard to believe that he should be making $6.25 million in average salary. In defense of Radulov, he has not played his entire professional hockey career in the United States, as he had his fair share of stints in the KHL.
Now Radulov was a solid player in the KHL, and could produce around 65-70 points in a season, which he could well enough do in Dallas, but in order to potentially keep a guy like Seguin in a couple years when his contract is up, it makes it hard when you owe a guy like Radulov $6.25 million average per season. Look for Dallas to realize the mistake they made, and try to help themselves in the long run.
4. Colorado Avalanche (Not Moving Either Gabriel Landeskog Or Matt Duchene)
The Colorado Avalanche are going through a rebuilding process, and they should have tried to move either Duchene or Landeskog this summer to solidify it. Duchene has two years left on his current deal, and Landeskog has four years left. With the likely chance they will leave Colorado when they get the chance, at least the Avalanche should trade them to get something back for them instead of having them walk for nothing.
Now I can see why they still have Landeskog with his four years left on his deal, but Duchene on the other hand should have been traded this offseason. Duchene could have gotten a good package back that could have helped the Avalanche’s rebuilding process. Look for Colorado to look back and realize that they could have gotten a better package trading him in the summer, than during the season.
3. Washington Capitals (Paying Kuznetsov $7.8 Million Per Season)
The Washington Capitals may have made one of the worst signings of the summer by agreeing with center Evgeny Kuznetsov to an eight year, $62.4 million contract. Now Kuznetsov has been very well the past two seasons, but is that seriously a good enough reason to pay him an average salary of $7.8 million? Not to mention, a modified no trade clause starting in the 2019-20 season. The reasoning behind it makes no sense. I understand that they are doing their very best to get Alexander Ovechkin a ring before his hall of fame career is over, but overpaying players who have had two good seasons is a stretch.
Looking forward, Ovechkin does not have that many years left in his prime, and there’s the potential of Nicklas Backstrom leaving after the 2019-20 season, which is the year before Ovechkin hits the free agent market. Look for the Capitals to regret signing Kuznetsov not because of the years, but because of how much money he will take up.
2. New York Islanders (Not Locking Up John Tavares)
With John Tavares entering the final year of his contract, it is seeming more and more unlikely that he will return to the Islanders after this season. The former number one overall selection in the 2009 NHL Draft could take his talents elsewhere once he hits free agency. The only realistic chance that the Islanders had of keeping him was to acquire some talent this offseason, or to have him agree to an extension.
They added Jordan Eberle, but that is not enough to keep Tavares in New York. Also they did not agree to an extension, which will make all the Islanders fans very upset going into next season. Obviously it is hard to lose the face of your franchise, but with Tavares having a no movement clause now, it makes it impossible for the Islanders to get talent for him via a trade, unless Tavares agreed to waive his NMC. Look for the Islanders to take that mistake as one of the worst in franchise history.
1. Detroit Red Wings (Not Moving One Of Their Two Starting Caliber Goaltenders)
Now this is one of the most controversial moves that took place this summer. With Detroit having two starting caliber goaltenders, they did not move one to try and get some pieces in return to help themselves out. Instead now they are paying Jimmy Howard $5 million this season, and Petr Mrazek $4.15 million. So that’s a combined $9.15 million for two goaltenders which is absurd to think about, especially since Mrazek is a restricted free agent after this season. Now the Red Wings exposed him in the NHL Expansion Draft, but the Vegas Golden Knights decided not to take him.
Now they should have tried to move Mrazek since they clearly favored Howard over him in the protected list. With that being said the Red Wings made the biggest mistake of the offseason because now they have two guys still splitting time, rather than having a true number one goaltender for the future to help build around.
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