2020 Offseason Report Cards: Pacific Division

Photo: LVRJ

As a result of the revenue impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL salary cap will remain flat for the next three years. The unexpected cap constraint has impacted how companies have managed free agency. NoVa Caps grades each of the 31 teams’ offsaeasons so far in a four-part series. Yesterday we looked at the Central Division (here). Today, we review the Pacific Division teams.

San Jose Sharks

In: G Devan Dubnyk, C Ryan Donato, F Patrick Marleau, F Matt Nieto

Out: C Joe Thornton, G Aaron Dell, C Melker Karlsson, D Tim Heed

Re-signings: F Kevin LaBanc, F Stefan Noesen

First-round pick: F Ozzy Wiesblatt

Remaining RFAs: N/A

Analysis: After their .9012 team save percentage was the worst in the NHL in 2019-20, the Sharks acquired Dubnyk but he is coming off of a season where he lost the starting job with the Wild where he recorded an .890 save percentage and a 3.35 goals-against average. However, for a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist, giving up just a fifth-round pick was not bad, especially since Dubnyk can be viewed as an upgrade over Dell, who has posted a .897 save percentage with the Sharks over the last two seasons. They also reunited with Marleau after Thornton jumped ship following 15 seasons in the Bay Arena. Donato, who recorded 14 goals and 23 points in 62 games last season, was not a bad add for a team that was tied for 27th with an average of 2.57 goals-per-game. Besides that, the Sharks have made some minor tweaks and gave LaBanc a four-year contract that carries a $4.725 million cap hit after his -33 rating during the regular season was among the league’s worst and his production declined from the previous year.

Grade: B-

Los Angeles Kings

In: D Olli Maatta

Out: D Ben Hutton, F Trevor Lewis, D Paul LaDue, F Tim Schaller, D Joakim Ryan, C Brad Morrison

Re-signings: F Austin Wagner, F Martin Frk, D Kurtis MacDermid, D Sean Walker

First-round pick: C Quinton Byfield

Remaining RFAs: N/A

Analysis: The Kings added to their defense by acquiring Maatta and only giving up Morrison, which should solidify their top-four. There have been quite a few exits but nothing significant from Los Angeles. The biggest noise made by the Kings was during the draft when they selected Byfield, who recorded 50 assists and 82 points in 45 games with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves last season, with the second overall pick. The Kings showed promise during the regular season as they went out on a seven-game winning streak and have some prospects coming in, but more time is needed for the team.

Grade: B

Anaheim Ducks

In: D Kevin Shattenkirk, C Derek Grant, F Vinnie Lettieri

Out: D Michael Del Zotto, C Devin Shore, D Erik Gudbranson, D Matt Irwin

Re-signings: D Christian Djoos, F Sonny Milano, C Troy Terry, D Jacob Larsson

First-round pick: D Jamie Drysdale, C Jacob Perreault

Remaining RFAs: N/A

Analysis: Like the Kings, the Ducks did not lose anyone significant but added to their defense with the acquisition of Shattenkirk, who bounced back nicely with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019-20, and the selection of Drysdale, one of the top defensemen available in this fall’s draft class. Grant, who recorded 15 goals and 25 points in 56 games last season, was not a bad add upfront for only $1.5 million. The Ducks also re-signed some of their key young players this offseason. The moves will not get them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Ducks are definitely better than they were last season.

Grade: B+

Arizona Coyotes

In: C John Hayden, F Tyler Pitlick, F Johan Larsson, GM Bill Armstrong

Out: F Taylor Hall, C Carl Soderberg, F Vinnie Hinostroza, F Michael Grabner, C Brad Richardson

Re-signings: F Christian Fischer

First-round pick: N/A

Remaining RFAs: N/A

Analysis: What a disaster of an offseason this has been in the desert. After losing their second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and first-rounder in 2021 for violating the NHL’s Combine Testing Policy, they lost Hall for nothing in free agency. They did not have their first-round pick this year after they shipped it to the New Jersey Devils to acquire Hall. Besides Hall, the Coyotes lost some bottom-six forwards but only acquired some fringe fourth-liners in return. They were also not able to work out a trade to deal captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who would only accept a deal to go to the Vancouver Canucks or the Boston Bruins, before his deadline to move his no-movement clause. On the bright side, the Coyotes were able to find a GM in Armstrong that fit their plans.

Grade: D

Calgary Flames

In: G Jacob Markstrom, D Chris Tanev, G Louis Domingue, F Joakim Nordstrom, F Dominik Simon

Out: G Cam Talbot, D T.J. Brodie, D Travis Hamonic, F Tobias Reider, C Mark Jankowski, D Derek Forbort, D Michael Stone, F Alan Quine

Re-signings: F Andrew Mangiapane

First-round pick: C Connor Zary

Remaining RFAs: D Oliver Kylington

Analysis: The Flames finally solidified their No. 1 option in the crease by signing Markstrom, one of the best goaltenders in the NHL last season when he 23-16-4 with a .918 save percentage, a 2.75 goals-against average, and two shutouts for the Canucks. While Talbot was very good for the Flames last season, Markstrom is an upgrade in net. The Flames underwent a lot of turnover on the blueline, losing four defensemen, but they were able to acquire a solid defensive defenseman in Tanev and have a couple of young, promising options in Kylington and Jusso Valimaki to help fill those holes. Up front, the Flames only lost some depth pieces, though Jankowski was one of their top penalty killers and defensive forwards and it is unclear who will replace him.

Grade: B

Vancouver Canucks

In: G Braden Holtby, D Nate Schmidt, C Jayce Hawlerchyk

Out: Markstrom, Tanev, Domingue, F Tyler Toffoli, D Troy Stetcher, D Oscar Fantenberg, F Tim Schaller, F Josh Leivo

Re-signings: F Jake Virtanen, C Adam Gaudette, F Tyler Motte, F Zack McEwen

First-round pick: D Joni Jurmo

Remaining RFAs: N/A

Analysis: After qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in five seasons, the Canucks lost their No. 1 goaltender and some depth this season. While Thatcher Demko was outstanding when Markstrom went down in the second round, he posted just a .905 save percentage and a 3.06 goals-against average in the regular season and has just 37 games of NHL experience. While they signed former Vezina Trophy winner Holtby to help cover the hole left by Markstrom, the 31-year-old is coming off of his worst career season where he posted an .897 save percentage and a 3.11 goals-against average. The Canucks were able to take advantage of the Golden Knights’ salary cap crunch, acquiring a top-four defenseman in Schmidt for just a third-round pick which should help make up for the loss of Tanev. Toffoli’s departure left a hole in the Canucks’ top-six after he fit in well, recording 10 points in 10 games after being dealt to Vancouver at the trade deadline. While the Canucks lost some depth this offseason, they were able to get Schmidt for cheap and Holtby at a reasonable cost.

Grade: C+

Edmonton Oilers

In: Quine, D Tyson Barrie, F Seth Griffith, C Kyle Turris

Out: F Tomas Jurco, F Andreas Athanasiou, C Riley Sheahan, C Sam Gagner, D Matt Benning, C Markus Granlund, D Mike Green

Re-signings: G Mike Smith, F Tyler Ennis, F Josh Archibald, F Jesse Puljajarvi, D Kris Russell

First-round pick: F Dylan Holloway

Remaining RFAs: D Ethan Bear

Analysis: The Oilers upgraded their defense with the acquisition of Barrie, who had a down season with the Toronto Maple Leafs but should only improve the team’s power-play after it finished first in the NHL by 4.3% during the regular season. They did not lose anything significant but Turris should be an upgrade over Sheahan and Granlund behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers also brought Puljajarvi back after he jumped ship and recorded 24 goals, 53 points, and a +30 rating in 56 games with the Liiga’s Karpat. They also re-signed Smith after he recorded a .902 save percentage and a 2.95 goals-against average during the regular season.

Grade: B+

Vegas Golden Knights

In: Jurco, D Alex Pietrangelo, D Carl Dahlstrom, C Dylan Sikura

Out: Schmidt, C Paul Stastny, D Deryk Engelland, C Nick Cousins, F Brandon Pirri

Re-signings: G Robin Lehner, C Chandler Stephenson, F Tomas Nosek

First-round pick: F Brenden Brisson

Remaining RFAs: N/A

Analysis: While the Golden Knights gave up Schmidt for an underwhelming return, they locked up the biggest unrestricted free agent in Pietrangelo. The team also dealt Stastny to make room to sign Pietrangelo. After ending the regular season on an 11-2-0 run and advancing to the Western Conference Final, the Golden Knights have made some depth moves but locked in their No. 1 goaltender in Lehner after he went 9-7 with a .917 save percentage, a 1.99 goals-against average, and four shutouts in the postseason and 3-0-0 with a .940 save percentage, a 1.67 goals-against average, and one shutout after the trade in the regular season. They also re-signed Stephenson to a four-year contract that carries a $2.75 million cap hit. after he fit in beautifully with the team following the trade that sent him to the Golden Knights.

Grade: B

Previous Offseason Report Cards:

Central Division

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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