General Managers around the NHL have been busy in the past year with free agency, trades, and the draft. While some teams like the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs have added superstars such as goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and center John Tavares, respectively, others have been unloading contracts in an effort towards rebuilding. NoVa Caps grades every GM’s performance by division since the end of the 2017-18 season. Today, we continue our series with the Atlantic Division.
Tampa Bay Lightning
In: Curtis McElhinney, Danick Martel, Jan Rutta, Cameron Gaunce, Luke Schenn, Luke Witkowski, Gemel Smith
Out: Andy Andreoff, Anton Stralman, J.T. Miller, Chris Kunitz, Matthew Peca, Jake Dotchin, Slater Koekkoek, Ondrej Sustr, Peter Budaj
The Lightning have done a good job of keeping their core together for many years and that hasn’t changed over the past two. With the roster mainly intact after blowing everybody away during the regular season last year and players like forward Nikita Kucherov, center Steven Stamkos, defenseman Victor Hedman, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay should be the favorite to win the Stanley Cup this year. The Lightning still have to re-sign center Brayden Point, a restricted free agent, after he tied Kucherov for second on the team in goals (41) and was third in points (92) last season but are in great shape for a Stanley Cup run.
In: Charlie Coyle, Paul Carey, Par Lindholm, Joakim Nordstrom, Brett Ritchie, John Moore, Steven Kampfer, Jaroslav Halak
Out: Smith, Ryan Donato, Noel Acciari, Marcus Johansson
Like the Lightning, the Bruins have not made any significant changes to their core over the past couple years but have made some minor additions. Their top-line of forwards Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak may very well be the best in the NHL right now, their defense is as deep as any, and they have one of the best goaltenders in the business in Tuukka Rask. They need to re-sign defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo as both are currently restricted free agents, but Boston is in a good position to contend in the Atlantic Division again this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs
In: Tavares, Tyson Barrie, Jake Muzzin, Alexander Kerfoot, Cody Ceci, Ben Harpur, Aaron Luchuk, Nic Petan, GM Kyle Dubas, Kenny Agostino, Garrett Wilson, Pontus Aberg
Out: McElhinney, Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner, Connor Brown, Patrick Marleau, Nikita Zaitsev, Ron Hainsey, Calle Rosen, Michael Carcone, Matt Martin, Leo Komarov, Garret Sparks, Tyler Ennis, Josh Leivo, Michael Hutchinson, GM Lou Lamoriello, Assistant Coach D.J. Smith
The Maple Leafs have acquired a lot of talent over the past two years but that has come at a cost. Tavares, Barrie, and Muzzin were three excellent pick-ups by GM Kyle Dubas even if that meant that he had to unload players like Kadri, Gardiner, and Brown. Dubas has to re-sign forward Mitch Marner, a restricted free agent, after he led the Maple Leafs with 68 assists and 94 points last season but that will likely take care of itself by the time training camp starts. Toronto should be among the league’s top contenders for the 2019-20 season.
In: Peca, Max Domi, Tomas Tatar, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Keith Kinkaid, Nick Suzuki, Joel Armia, Jordan Weal, Dale Weise, Nick Cousins, Ben Chiarot, Phil Varone, Riley Barber, Christian Folin, Nate Thompson, Brett Kulak
Out: Agostino, Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec, Andrew Shaw, Jordie Benn, David Schlemko, Nicolas Deslauriers, Nikita Scherbak, Michael Chaput, Daniel Carr, Byron Froese, Jacob de la Rose, Ales Hemsky, Torey Mitchell, Kerby Rychel, Logan Shaw, Joe Morrow, Al Montoya
The Canadiens have been making a lot of headlines with their roster moves throughout the past few years, including trading Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights for Tatar and Suzuki and acquiring Domi from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Galchenyuk. GM Marc Bergevin has put his team in a good position to compete for a wild-card spot but needs to address the blueline before the Canadiens can take the next step.
In: Bobrovsky, Stralman, Acciari, Mike Hoffman, Brett Connolly, coach Joel Quenneville
Out: Hutchinson, Roberto Luongo, James Reimer, Jared McCann, Nick Bjugstad, Derick Brassard, Jamie McGinn, Riley Sheahan, Troy Brouwer, Micheal Haley, Derek MacKenzie, Chris Wideman, Alexander Petrovic, Bogdan Kiselevich, Connor Brickley, coach Bob Boughner
The Panthers were relatively quiet last offseason but their one move was a good one: landing one of the top goal scorers in the game in Hoffman. The same cannot be said this offseason as they’ve arguably had the best summer out of any team in the NHL, landing one of the league’s top goaltenders in Bobrovsky, a top-four defenseman in Stralman, some scoring in Connolly, and one of the best coaches in NHL history in Quenneville.
In: Johansson, Jeff Skinner, Rasmus Dahlin, Conor Sheary, Carter Hutton, Brendan Montour, Colin Miller, Jimmy Vesey, Henri Jokiharju, Tage Thompson, Vladimir Sobotka, Matt Hunwick, Head Coach Ralph Krueger
Out: Ryan O’Reilly, Robin Lehner, Nathan Beaulieu, Patrick Berglund, Alexander Nylander, Chad Johnson, Seth Griffith, Danny O’Reagan, Brendan Guhle, Matt Tennyson, Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste, Kyle Criscuolo, Hudson Fasching, Jacob Josefson, Matt Moulson, Benoit Pouliot, Victor Antipin, Cliff Pu, Taylor Fedun, Justin Falk, Josh Gorges, Zach Redmond, Head Coach Phil Housley
The Sabres have made a lot of changes since finishing last in the NHL in 2018, acquiring Skinner, Sheary, Dahlin, and Miller and letting go of O’Reilly, Lehner, Nylander, and Beaulieu since. Buffalo has done a nice job putting pieces together to make it back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2011 but they likely need more time as the East is too competitive.
Detroit Red Wings
In: de la Rose, Filip Zadina, Valterri Filpulla, Madison Bowey, Patrick Nemeth, Dylan McIlrath, Jonathan Bernier, Calvin Pickard, GM Steve Yzerman
Out: Witkowski, Henrik Zetterberg, Gustav Nyquist, Thomas Vanek, Nick Jensen, Martin Frk, Jared Coreau, Wade Megan, Jake Chelios, Libor Sulak, David Booth, GM Ken Holland
The Red Wings have not made a lot of changes in the past year but traded Nyquist and Jensen at the deadline last year in an effort to rebuild for the future. They picked up a skilled forward in the 2018 NHL Draft in Zadina and have a bright future, but it will take time for Zadina and the others to develop. There will be a bit of a wait in Detroit for them to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs again, but with the bright, young talent that they have, the Red Wings should be back in the race in the Eastern Conference in 2-3 years.
In: Smith, Brown, Hainsey, Zaitsev, Carcone, Ennis, Brady Tkachuk, Artem Anisimov, Mikael Boedker, Anthony Duclair, Chris Tierney, Anders Nilsson, Vitaly Abramov, Rudolfs Balcers, Erik Brannstrom, Dylan DeMelo
Out: Ceci, Harpur, Luchuk, Hoffman, Carey, Falk, Wideman, Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Head Coach Guy Boucher, Brian Gibbons, Oscar Lindberg, Zach Smith, Fredrick Claesson, Tom Pyatt, Magnus Paajarvi, Max McCormick, Erik Burgdoerfer, Mike McKenna, Marian Gaborik, Alexandre Burrows, Gabriel Dumont, Jim O’Brien, Nick Shore, Ben Sexton
The Senators have been in rebuild mode for the past year and a half and have dealt key contributors such as Karlsson, Stone, Duchene, Hoffman, and Dzingel over that time. They have arguably got underwhelming returns for three of those players (Karlsson, Stone, Hoffman). The Senators are not going anywhere any time soon but have picked up some nice pieces like Anisimov, Brannstrom, Brown, and Tkachuk. Unfortunately, those player pale in value compared to the pieces that they’ve lost.
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By Harrison Brown