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

1 Comment

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.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

Rasmus Sandin
Julian Avram/Getty Images

TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.

Back with Wild, Fleury welcomes big workload as clear No. 1

marc-andre fleury
David Berding/Getty Images

ST. PAUL, Minn. — With his ever-present smile, tireless approach and long list of accomplishments in the net, Marc-Andre Fleury has always embraced a heavy workload.

The Minnesota Wild sure haven’t shied away from leaning hard on their new – and 37-year-old – goalie. After arriving in a deadline-day trade in March and re-signing with the Wild in July, the guy everyone calls “Flower” is still fully abloom as he begins his 19th season in the NHL.

“They say, `You play,’ I play, unless maybe I’m hurt or something,” Fleury said. “But other than that, I like playing.”

Wild general manager Bill Guerin initially planned to bring back both Fleury and Cam Talbot, who made the All-Star team and went 13-0-3 in his last 16 regular season starts before being benched in favor of Fleury for the first-round playoff series against St. Louis. The Wild lost in six games, after Talbot got the cold start in the elimination game and gave up four goals on 26 shots.

Guerin changed his mind, though, after signing Fleury to a two-year, $7 million contract. Realizing Talbot’s frustration from the lack of postseason action, he didn’t want to risk any tension or discontent. Talbot was traded to Ottawa for Filip Gustavsson, who will be the No. 2 goalie while top prospect Jesper Wallstedt gets more development in the AHL.

Gustavsson has only 23 career regular-season starts, nearly 200 fewer than Talbot, so it’s a good bet that Fleury will get the majority of the games.

“I was ready to share the load with him, but things didn’t work out and happy to be having the chance to play maybe a bit more. It’s fun to play. It’s more fun than sitting on the bench,” said Fleury, who went 28-23-5 in 56 combined starts for Chicago and Minnesota last season with a 2.90 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.

The Wild reconvened for training camp last week, beginning their quest to recapture the mojo they enjoyed last season while setting franchise records for points (113), wins (53) and goals (305). The only team that finished ahead of them in the Western Conference was Colorado, which went on to win the Stanley Cup, but they never met the Avs in the playoffs because the Blues got to them first.

There’s a strong chemistry in place, at least, to build upon.

“We still have a lot of guys here who were here last year. We’re just trying to make it even better, just trying to listen to everybody,” center Joel Eriksson Ek said. “We want to set a standard and a way for how hard this team’s going to work.”

The Wild start the regular season by hosting the New York Rangers on Oct. 13.


The most significant roster move of the summer amongst the skaters was the inevitable salary-cap-driven trade of second-leading scorer Kevin Fiala to Los Angeles. Fiala had a career-high 33 goals and 52 assists last season. Guerin otherwise dabbled mostly in two-way contracts in free agency for depth. Former Anaheim center Sam Steel signed with Minnesota last month, one day after defenseman Dimitry Kulikov was dealt to the Ducks.


The Wild were done in during the playoffs by abysmal special teams. They went just 4 for 24 on the power play against the Blues, and head coach Dean Evason had the team working on that on the first day on the ice. The penalty kill that lagged last season was a focus of the second practice.

“It has to get better, no question,” Evason said.


Captain Jared Spurgeon has been placed with Jonas Brodin on the first pair on defense, and Jake Middleton has joined Matt Dumba on the second unit. Dumba and Brodin are close friends who’ve been paired together for several seasons.

“Dumbs is a shooter too,” said Middleton, who re-signed for three years and $7.35 million. “It’s pretty exciting. I can get some cookies passing him the puck. That’d be a big plus. I think it’ll work well. He loves hitting guys too. He plays a gritty game as well so I think we’ll be a good combo.”


With Jordan Greenway recovering from offseason surgeries, Tyson Jost will get the first chance to skate with Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno. The departure of Fiala has opened at least one spot for a rookie to make the team, with 2020 first-round draft pick Marco Rossi in line for it.


This is the first time in eight years the Wild will play their regular-season opener at home. After three more games at Xcel Energy Center, they don’t hit the road until a five-game trip that starts Oct. 22 at Boston. The Wild have a season-long nine-game homestand from Feb. 9-21.

Stars expect to open camp without unsigned scorer Jason Robertson

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

FRISCO, Texas — Young 40-goal scorer Jason Robertson is expected to miss the start of training camp for the Dallas Stars because the team and the restricted free agent haven’t agreed on a new contract.

General manager Jim Nill said there’s been steady, ongoing negotiations over the last couple of weeks with Robertson and his representatives. Nill wouldn’t say what has kept the two sides from reaching a deal, adding there have been “very good discussions.”

The Stars, with new coach Pete DeBoer, open camp Thursday in Cedar Park, Texas, at the home of their AHL team. They have three days of work there before returning to North Texas for their exhibition opener at home on Monday night. They open the regular season Oct. 13 at Nashville.

“I think he’s disappointed he’s not at camp, we are too,” Nill said before the team departed for the Austin area. “I think it’s very important for a younger player and as you mentioned, the (new) coaching staff. … We do have some time on our side, but we wish he gets here as soon as he can.”

Robertson had a base salary of $750,000 last season, the end of a $2.775 million, three-year contract. He still has five more years before he has the opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent.

The left wing turned 23 soon after the end of last season, when he had 41 goals and 38 assists for 79 points in his 74 games. Robertson joined Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Modano, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin as the only 40-goal scorers since the franchise moved to Dallas in 1993.

A second-round draft pick by the Stars in 2017, Robertson has 125 points (58 goals, 67 assists) in his 128 NHL games. He had one goal and three assists in his first postseason action last season, when Dallas lost its first-round playoff series in seven games against Calgary.

DeBoer said he looks forward to coaching Robertson, but that the forward’s absence won’t change his plans for camp.

“It doesn’t impact what I’m doing,” DeBoer said. “Listen, I laid awake at night with the excitement of coaching Jason Robertson, 40-plus goals, but he’s not here. So, you know, until he gets here, I can’t spend any energy on that.”

Nill said the Stars are open to a long-term extension or a bridge contract for Robertson, who was part of the team’s top line last season with veteran Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz. They combined for 232 points, the second-most in franchise history for a trio.

“We’re open to anything. But other than that … I’m not going to negotiate through the media,” Nill said. “As I said, we’ve had good conversations. We’ll see where it goes.”

Training camps open around NHL after another short offseason

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Training camps open around the NHL after another short offseason, a third in a row squeezed by the pandemic. That doesn’t bother Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon one bit.

For one of hockey’s best players and his teammates, it’s already time to get back on the ice and defend their Stanley Cup title, less than three months since they knocked off the back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I still feel like I just was playing,” MacKinnon said. “I took two weeks off, and then I started skating again. It’s just fun. I enjoy it, and I like the short summer. It feels like the season’s just kind of rolling over again.”

The NHL rolls into fall coming off an entertaining playoffs and final with the chance to finally get back on a normal schedule. That means full camps for teams that got new coaches and the benefits of a regular routine.

That means a mere 88 days between Game 6 of the final and the first-on ice practice sessions.

“We’re kind of used to it now,” Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy said after he and the Lightning lost in the final for the first time in three consecutive trips. “It’s a little harder, of course, because you don’t have that much time to rest. It’s basically a few weeks and you have to get back at it. But, yeah, I can’t complain. You want your summers to be short every year.”

It was a little longer for Connor McDavid and the Oilers after losing to Colorado in the West final. Despite the lack of downtime, McDavid “wouldn’t trade that in for anything” and aims to make it even further since Edmonton shored up its goaltending situation by adding Jack Campbell.

A few spins of the goalie carousel ended with the Avalanche acquiring Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers and Cup winner Darcy Kuemper landing with Washington. Joining new teammates, many of whom hoisted the Cup in 2018, Kuemper is not worried about less time off.

“It was definitely a very unique summer,” Kuemper said. “With how short it was, you start getting back into the gym and you’re kind of a little bit worried that your training’s going to be so short. But you kind of felt like you weren’t getting back into shape. You were already there.”


The Oilers are one of several teams settling in for training camp under a new coach. Jay Woodcroft took over as interim coach in February but has the full-time job now.

“Looking forward to a camp with him,” McDavid said. “He did a great job coming in during the middle of the season, but it’s never easy on a coach, for sure. I’m sure there’s things that he wanted to touch on that you wasn’t able to kind of in the middle of the year, so he’ll be able to to touch on all of it this year.”

The same goes for Bruce Boudreau in Vancouver, 11 months since being put in charge of the Canucks. Philadelphia’s John Tortorella, Boston’s Jim Montgomery, Vegas’ Bruce Cassidy, Dallas’ Peter DeBoer, Florida’s Paul Maurice, Chicago’s Luke Richardson, Detroit’s Derek Lalonde and the New York Islanders’ Lane Lambert are all starting the job fresh.


Roughly 40 players are attending a camp on a professional tryout agreement with the chance to earn a contract for the season. James Neal has that opportunity with the Blue Jackets, and Derek Stepan returned to Carolina to seek a job with the Hurricanes.

The most intriguing situation involves 37-year-old center Eric Staal, who agreed to the tryout with Florida the same time brother Marc signed a one-year contract. Younger brother Jordan was with Eric and Marc on the 18th green at Pebble Beach to witness the occasion.

“They’re both just super pumped, as was I,” said Jordan Staal, who is the captain of the Hurricanes. “Eric is excited about the opportunity and Marc, as well. Really cool. Really cool thing.”


Before the puck drops on the NHL season in North America on Oct. 11, the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks play twice in Prague on Oct. 7 and 8. And those are not exhibitions.

“We still play two important games,” said Sharks forward Tomas Hertl, who is a native of Prague. “It’s not just preseason where you coming here to warm up.”

Colorado and Columbus will also play two games in Tampere, Finland, on Nov. 4-5 as part of the NHL’s Global Series.

And just as the league gets used to a regular schedule, work is ongoing between the league and NHL Players’ Association to stage a World Cup of Hockey in February 2024, which is popular among players even if it knocks the calendar off kilter again.

“I think they missed out on a huge, huge portion of the international game that’s really going to be missed,” McDavid said. “We need to figure out a way to get an international tournament in as quickly as possible.”