NHL Power Rankings: Best trade additions of the offseason (so far)

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In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings we shift our focus to the trades that have taken place so far this offseason, and which teams have made the best addition.

We have not really seen a ton of blockbuster trades (and the one we thought we were going to get never actually happened) but there have still been some potentially impactful moves.

Some teams have been forced to shed salary for salary cap purposes. Some teams just needed to shake things up. Other teams were waiting to take advantage of both situations.

We are looking at a combination of factors when it comes to the rankings, from the talent of the player, to the fit with the new team, to the contract that player has, and what all the team had to give up in return.

Which additions do we like the most?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Nate Schmidt to Vancouver. By far the bright spot of Vancouver’s offseason. They took advantage of Vegas’ cap crunch and picked up a top-four defenseman for mid-round draft pick two years from now. They didn’t get Oliver Ekman-Larsson from Arizona, but given the contract and small trade cost this might work out better.

2. Brandon Saad to Colorado. Not sure Saad ever became the player a lot of people expected him to be, but he is still a 20-goal, possession driving forward that gives an already stacked team even more talent. Maybe he is not a franchise building block, but he should be a hell of a complementary piece.

3. Devon Toews to Colorado. The Islanders could not afford to pay Toews given their salary cap situation and the Avalanche were there to pounce. Toews’ style of play is a perfect fit for Colorado’s system. Their forwards get all of the attention, but the Avalanche have pieced together a sensational young defense.

4. Max Domi to Columbus. He is not likely to repeat his 28-goal, 72-point performance from two years ago and he has his flaws away from the puck. Even so, he is a talented playmaker that gives the Blue Jackets some much-needed help down the middle, while they also managed to get him at a fair price under the cap.

5. Eric Staal to Buffalo. Between this trade and the Taylor Hall signing the Sabres have given Jack Eichel some serious help at forward. Will it be enough to matter?

6. Kasperi Kapanen to Pittsburgh. You could argue they overpaid a little (a first-round pick and a good prospect) and did not fill a huge need, but Kapanen is a good player, seems like a good fit for the system, and he should make them better.

7. Paul Stastny to Winnipeg. The Jets needed some help down the middle and were another team able to take advantage of Vegas’ desperation to dump salary to fit Alex Pietrangelo under the cap. Stastny is not the player he was a couple of years ago, but he is still a big upgrade for them and didn’t cost anything significant in a trade.

8. Ryan Donato to San Jose. I like this move a lot for the Sharks. Forward depth was one of their many issues a year ago, and Donato is still a promising player that has produced in a little role. A very smart pickup for a cheap cost.

9. Andreas Johnsson to New Jersey. A very solid, under-the-radar pickup that did not get a lot of attention when it happened. He has 20-goal ability and should give the Devils some much-needed scoring depth.

10. Nick Bonino to Minnesota. The Wild needed centers, and Bill Guerin turned to a familiar face from his Pittsburgh days. Bonino gives the Wild a very solid defensive presence in the middle of its lineup that can also chip in 15-20 goals. Good player.

11. Jake Allen to Montreal. A backup goalie? Sure, why not. Goalie platoons are becoming more common across the league (and are very important!) and Allen gives Montreal a capable backup to keep Carey Price fresh. That could pay off in a big way.

12. Devan Dubnyk to San Jose. The Sharks had to address their goaltending. I just don’t know if this is the answer. On one hand, Dubynk was awful this past season. On the other hand, he seems like a solid bounce-back candidate, he didn’t cost the Sharks anything in a trade, and Minnesota picked up half of his remaining cap hit.

13. Josh Anderson to Montreal. There are a lot of reasons to like the player and still hate the risk. If Anderson is healthy, and if he regains the goal-scoring form he showed a couple of years ago, he could be a good fit and give Montreal the type of forward it needs. But those are two big ifs and Montreal already committed seven years and $38.5 million to him. Big question mark.

14. Matt Murray to Ottawa. Which player are the Senators getting? The two-time Stanley Cup winner, or the inconsistent one we have seen the past couple of years? It is a big gamble, made even bigger by that four-year, $25 million price tag. No goalie signed a bigger contract this offseason.

15. Ryan Murray to New Jersey. If Murray stays healthy, they get a very good defensive player. If it does not work out it only cost them a fifth-round pick.

16. Luke Kunin to Nashville. Still very young and looks like he has 20-goal potential. Still a bit of a question mark and his underlying numbers in Minnesota were fairly weak.

17. Patric Hornqvist to Florida. He is going to bring energy, effort, toughness, and leadership to the Panthers, but given his playing style there is reason to wonder how he will age on the ice. With that contract it is a concern.

18. Mike Matheson to Pittsburgh. I actually like the idea of Matheson in Pittsburgh because I think they can get a lot of out of him. But that contract. The Penguins have had a tendency to pay too much money to bottom-of-the-lineup players, and Matheson is now under contract longer than any player currently on the roster. Does anyone really need that much Mike Matheson?

19. Marcus Johansson to Minnesota. He is a good player, but I am not sure he serves as any sort of an upgrade over what Minnesota gave up (Eric Staal) to get him.

20. Joel Edmundson to Montreal. He is an okay player that might help their blue line, but the contract seems to be a little much for what he is.

21. Lias Andersson to Los Angeles. Look, it’s a great gamble for the Kings and they have very little to lose here. Maybe it works out and they stumble upon another skilled, impact player to add to an impressive collection of prospects. But I also feel like if he was going to be that player we would have seen some sort of sign of it by now.

22. Olli Maatta to Los Angeles. A smart player that is solid defensively but lacks the speed or offensive ability to make a huge impact at both ends of the ice. He is not going to hurt your team, but the $4 million price tag is a little steep.

23. Nikita Zadorov to Chicago. Not sure if Zadorov does much to change the outlook of the Blackhawks’ defense. The bigger issue is this: Chicago trades Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad. Chicago trades Brandon Saad for Nikita Zadorov. In three years Chicago turned a top-five winger and offensive force into Nikita Zadorov. That is moving in the wrong direction.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Rangers sign Filip Chytil to 4-year extension

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NEW YORK — The New York Rangers have signed forward Filip Chytil to a four-year contract extension worth $17.75 million, locking up another member of their core long term.

The team announced the deal Wednesday night. Chytil will count just under $4.44 million annually against the salary cap through the 2026-27 season.

Chytil, 23, is in the midst of a career year. He has set career highs with 22 goals, 20 assists and 42 points in 66 games for the playoff-bound Rangers.

The Czech native is the team’s sixth-leading scorer and ranks fourth on the roster in goals. The 2017 first-round pick has 144 points in 342 NHL regular-season and playoff games. He was set to be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

New York already had top center Mika Zibanejad signed through 2030, No. 1 defenseman Adam Fox through 2029, veteran Chris Kreider through 2027, winger Artemi Panarin through 2026 and reigning Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Igor Shesterkin through 2025.

General manager Chris Drury’s next order of business is an extension for 2020 top pick Alexis Lafrenière, who is only signed through the remainder of this season and can be a restricted free agent.

Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews returns to ice, hints at retirement

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CHICAGO — Longtime Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews returned to the ice but hinted his stellar NHL career could be winding down after 15 years.

Toews, 34, skated with teammates prior to Chicago’s game with the Dallas Stars. It was his first time practicing with them since a game in Edmonton on Jan. 28.

He made a statement through the team on Feb. 19 saying he would be stepping away because of the effects of Chronic Immune Response Syndrome and “long COVID.”

In meeting with reporters, Toews stopped short of saying he hoped to play in any of last-place Chicago’s nine remaining games. His eight-year, $84 million contract is set to expire at the end of the season.

Toews said he’s feeling stronger, but isn’t sure if he’ll be able to play again for the Blackhawks or another team.

“Both if I’m being fully honest,” Toews said. “I feel like I’ve said it already, that I’ve gotten to the point where my health is more important.

“When you’re young and you’re playing for a Stanley Cup and everyone’s playing through something, that means something and it’s worthwhile. But I’m at that point where it feels like more damage is being done than is a good thing.”

Toews, the Blackhawks’ first-round draft pick (third overall) in 2006, joined the team in 2007 and was a pillar of Stanley Cup championship clubs in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

At the peak of his career, he was one of the NHL’s top two-way centers, winning the Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward in 2013.

In 1,060 regular-season games, Toews has 371 goals and 509 assists. In 139 playoff games, he’s posted 45 goals and 74 assists, and he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2010.

Toews missed the entire 2020-21 season with Chronic Immune Response System, which caused debilitating inflammation and fatigue.

He appeared in 71 games in 2021-22, then started this season with renewed energy before slowing and eventually shutting himself down.

Entering this season, it looked as if Chicago might deal him, as it did fellow star Patrick Kane, before the March trade deadline. But Kane went to the New York Rangers and Toews to injured reserve.

Toews believed he was progressing before a relapse in January left him so sore and tired that he could barely “put on my skates or roll out of bed to come to the rink.”

Toews said his progress over the past month has been “pretty encouraging” and he’s delighted to be back among his teammates. He has no timetable beyond that.

“We’re just going to go day by day here,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. He deserves anything he wants to try to achieve here.”

Richardson hoped Toews “can take that next step later in the week and hopefully (he) gives us the green light to go in a game.”

But Toews emphasized his long-term health and ability to lead a “normal life” is most important. He wants to go out on a positive note and not hit the ice for a game playing through excessive pain and dysfunction.

“It’s definitely on my mind that this could be my last few weeks here as a Blackhawk in Chicago,” Toews said. “It’s definitely very important for me to go out there and enjoy the game and just kind of soak it in and just really appreciate everything I’ve been able to be part of here in Chicago.”

Budding Wild star Matt Boldy more willing to shoot, and it shows

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matt Boldy was unable to resist a smile in the aftermath of his second hat trick in five games for the Minnesota Wild, a young right wing and reluctant star trying to make sense of a remarkable hot streak.

Does the puck feel as if it’s automatically going in the net these days each time he shoots?

“Yeah, it does,” Boldy said in the locker room after leading the first-place Wild to a 5-1 win over Seattle. “My linemates are playing great. Hopefully you guys are giving them a lot of credit. You look at some of those goals – just putting it on a tee for me.”

This non-attention-seeker has found himself squarely in the NHL spotlight. Boldy has 11 goals in nine games since Wild superstar Kirill Kaprizov was sidelined with a lower-body injury to raise his goal total to 28, in part because he’s been more willing to shoot. With vision and stickhandling as strengths and the humility of being a second-year player, it’s easy to be in a pass-first mindset.

“Everybody kind of took turns talking to him. But it’s not that he didn’t want to. A lot of times a situation like that where a guy’s got that skillset, it’s a real unselfish quality, right?” coach Dean Evason said. “But I think he gets now that he helps the team a lot when he scores goals.”

The Wild were confident enough in Boldy’s scoring ability to commit a seven-year, $49 million contract extension to him earlier this winter, after all.

“I think I’ve always had that mentality, but sometimes you just get into spots and it comes off your stick good,” Boldy said. “When things are going well, the puck goes in the net.”’

The Wild are 6-1-2 without Kaprizov. Boldy is a big reason why.

“You go through the slumps, you learn what you need to do to score. I think he’s found a good way to be in the right spot and shoot the puck when he had a good opportunity,” center Joel Eriksson Ek said.

The Wild have only won one division title in 22 years, the five-team Northwest Division in 2007-08. They’re leading the eight-team Central Division with eight games to go, with both Colorado and Dallas too close for comfort. They haven’t won a playoff series since 2015.

With Kaprizov due back before the postseason and Boldy on this heater, a Wild team that ranks just 23rd in the league in goals per game (2.93) ought to have a better chance to advance. Eriksson Ek and Marcus Johansson have been ideal linemates for the Boston College product and Massachusetts native.

Since the Wild entered the league in the 2000-01 season, only five NHL players have had more hat tricks at age 21 or younger than Boldy with three: Patrik Laine (eight), Marian Gaborik (five), Steven Stamkos (five), Alex DeBrincat (four) and Connor McDavid (four). Boldy turns 22 next week, so there’s still time for one or two more.

“He’s big. He controls the puck a lot. He’s got a good shot, good release. He’s smart. He switches it up. He’s got good moves on breakaways. He’s a total player,” goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said. ”Fun to watch him grow this year.”

Pezzetta scores shootout winner; Canadiens beat Sabres 4-3

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BUFFALO, N.Y. ⁠— Brendan Gallagher and the Montreal Canadiens rallied back to avoid playoff elimination with less than three weeks left in their season. The Buffalo Sabres, meanwhile, are running out of chances to stay in the Eastern Conference wild-card hunt.

Gallagher forced overtime by scoring his 200th career goal, and Michael Pezzetta scored the decisive shootout goal in a 4-3 win over the Sabres on Monday night.

“It’s one of those things I think we earned that chance. We weren’t fantastic but we did enough on the road tonight to get a win,” Gallagher said. “Smiles all around.”

The Canadiens could laugh, especially after Pezzetta celebrated his goal by putting his stick between his legs and riding it like a wooden horse — much like former NHL tough guy Dave “Tiger” Williams did during his 14-year NHL career spanning the 1970s and 80s.

“I’m not sure we’ll see that again. One of a kind,” said Gallagher. “I’d be worried about falling over.”

Pezzetta scored by driving in from the right circle to beat Eric Comrie inside the far post. Buffalo’s Jack Quinn scored in the fourth shootout round, but was matched by Montreal’s Jesse Ylonen, whose shot from in tight managed to trickle in through Comrie.

Jordan Harris and Alex Belzile also scored for Montreal, and Jake Allen stopped 30 shots through overtime, while allowing one goal on six shootout attempts.

Montreal would have been eliminated from playoff contention for a second straight season – and two years removed from reaching the Stanley Cup Final – with any type of loss.

The Sabres squandered a 3-2 third-period lead to drop to 3-6-3 in their past 12. Buffalo also blew a chance to move to within four points of idle Pittsburgh, which holds the eighth and final playoff spot.

“Just a little hesitation,” forward JJ Peterka said of the Sabres third-period lapse. “We didn’t play with much energy and we didn’t play that aggressive as we played the two periods before. I think that was the difference.”

Buffalo’s Lukas Rousek scored a goal and added an assist while filling in for leading scorer Tage Thompson, who did not play due to an upper body injury. Peterka and defenseman Riley Stillman also scored, and Comrie stopped 38 shots through overtime, and allowed two goals on six shootout attempts.

Montreal blew two one-goal leads to fall behind 3-2 on Stillman’s goal at the 8:31 mark of the second period.

Gallagher scored on the fly by using Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin as a screen to snap in a shot inside the far left post. With the goal, Gallagher tied Bobby Rousseau for 24th on the Canadiens career scoring list.

“I liked the way we corrected ourselves, it’s a sign of maturity, in the way we stayed on task,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said, in recalling how the Canadiens recently unraveled in an 8-4 loss two weeks ago to Colorado, which plays a similar up-tempo style as Buffalo.


The Sabres hosted their third Pride Night, with Russian D Ilya Lyubushkin electing not to participate in warmups by citing an anti-gay Kremlin law and fears of retribution at home in Moscow, where he has family and visits in the offseason. The remainder of the team wore dark blue jerseys with the Sabres logo on the front encircled by a rainbow-colored outline.

During the first intermission, the Sabres broadcast a video in which GM Kevyn Adams said: “This is about recognizing someone’s humanity and true identity. We know there are people out there struggling with who they are, and we want them to know that they have an ally in the Buffalo Sabres.”


Canadiens: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

Sabres: Host the New York Rangers on Friday night.