2022 NHL Offseason Grades: Metropolitan Division

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With the 2022 NHL Draft in the books and most of the key unrestricted free agents under contract for the 2022-23 camapign, teams have changed their teams for the better, worse, or maybe not much. NoVa Caps grades each team in the Metropolitan Division’s offseason so far.

Philadelphia Flyers

Acquired: Head Coach John Tortorella, C Cooper Marody, LW Nic Deslauriers (four years at $1.75 million per), D Tony DeAngelo (two years, $5 million cap hit)

Re-signed: D Justin Braun (one year, $1.75 million per)

Lost: LW Oskar Lindblom, 2024 second-round pick, 2023 conditional third-round pick, 2022 fourth-round pick, Interim Coach Mike Yeo

The Flyers did not change much this offseason in terms of their roster but did bring in a new coaching staff led by Tortorella. They acquired DeAngelo from the Hurricanes and signed two forwards that will play on their fourth-line at the highest most likely.

Philadelphia should be doing more as to offloading some players since this team seems poised to be in the conversation to land consensus 2023 first overall pick Connor Bedard.

Grade: C

Trending: Down

New Jersey Devils

Acquired: LW Ondrej Palat (five years, $6 million cap hit), D Brenden Smith (two years, $1.1 million cap hit), C Erik Haula, Assistant Coach Andrew Brunette, RFA G Vitek Vanecek, 46th overall pick in 2022 NHL Draft, D John Marino

Re-signed: N/A

Lost: D Connor Carrick, C Pavel Zacha, C Janne Kuokkanen (buyout), 37th overall pick, 70th overall pick in 2022 NHL Draft, D Ty Smith, 2023 third-round pick, D P.K. Subban

The Devils shook up their forward group with a couple of changes, including getting Palat after he notched 11 goals and 21 points in 23 postseason games for the Tampa Bay Lightning this Spring and trading Zacha to the Boston Bruins for Haula.

They didn’t change much other than that besides a defenseman shakeup when they traded Smith and a pick for Marino and acquired Vanecek. Though, adding Brunette to their coaching staff was a good move after he led the Florida Panthers past the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 26 years.

The Devils are in a position where they are hoping for more growth from their youth in 2022-23.

Grade: B

Trending: Up

Columbus Blue Jackets

Acquired: LW Johnny Gaudreau (seven-year contract that carries $9.8 million cap hit), D Erik Gudbranson (four-year contract that has $4 million cap hit), RW Mathieu Olivier

Re-signed: N/A

Lost: 122nd overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, D Gabriel Carlsson

The Blue Jackets got the prize of the free agent market when they signed Gaudreau, which should provide some much needed scoring punch up front.

The contract given to Gudbranson was a bit outrageous after the 30-year-old set career-highs with six goals, 11 assists, 17 points, a +15 rating, 57.56% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 53.18% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 55.64% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 78 games with the Calgary Flames last season.

The Blue Jackets made one other minor deal where they sent a mid-pick to the Nashville Predators for Olivier.

Grade: A

Trending: Up

New York Islanders

Acquired: Head Coach Lane Lambert, D Alexander Romanov, 98th overall pick in 2022

Re-signed: D Sebastian Aho (two-year contract with $825,000 cap hit), D Robin Salo (two-year contract with $800,000 cap hit)

Lost: Head coach Barry Trotz, assistant coach Jim Hiller, 13th overall pick in 2022

After firing Trotz, the Islanders have been quiet as their only on-ice transaction has been trading for Romanov. Missing the postseason and then watching teams like the Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, and Ottawa Senators improve while doing nothing is not ideal.

Grade: F

Trending: Down

Pittsburgh Penguins

Acquired: Smith, D Jeff Petry, RW Josh Archibald (one year, $900,000), C Drake Cagguila (one-year, two-way), D Jan Rutta (three-year contract that contains $2.75 million cap hit), G Dustin Tokarski (one-year, $775,000 contract), C Ryan Poehling, Devils’ 2023 third-round pick

Re-signed: C Evgeni Malkin (four-year contract that carries $6.1 million cap hit), C Rickard Rakell (six-year contract that carries $5 million cap hit), D Kris Letang (six-year contract that carries $6.1 million cap hit), G Casey DeSmith to two-year contract that carries $1.8 million cap hit

Lost: Marino, C Evan Rodrigues, LW Danton Heinen, RW Anthony Angello, D Mike Matheson, 2023 fourth-round pick

The Penguins have spent their offseason re-signing their core players (at very reasonable deals, with the exception of Rakell) and adding depth pieces. They did not lose anyone major besides Marino but got a replacement in return (even though Smith struggled last season).

The big move in Pittsburgh was acquiring a top-four defenseman in Petry from the Montreal Canadiens in addition to Poehling for Matheson and a pack.

Grade: C+

Trending: Same

New York Rangers

Acquired: C Vincent Trocheck (seven-year contract that carries $5.625 million cap hit), D Ty Emberson, G Louis Domingue (two-year contract with $775,000 cap hit), G Jaroslav Halak (one-year, $1.55 million contract), 97th and 161st overall picks in 2022

Re-signed: D Libor Hajek (one-year, $800,000 contract)

Lost: C Ryan Strome, C Andrew Copp, G Keith Kinkaid, G Alexander Georgiev, D Patrick Nemeth, conditional 2023 third-round pick, 2024 second-round pick, C Gregg McKegg, RW Frank Vatrano, C Kevin Rooney

The Rangers shook things up down the middle and in goal. While losing Copp and Strome hurts, Trocheck should be a formidable second-line center.

After trading Georgiev, they acquired Halak to back-up Igor Shesterkin and Domingue to be their third string.

The Rangers dumped Nemeth’s $2.5 million cap hit for the next two seasons to (who else?) the Arizona Coyotes. Losing Vatrano was also not ideal.

Grade: C-

Trending: Down

Carolina Hurricanes 

Acquired: LW MacKenzie MacEachern (one-year, $750,000 contract), G Zach Sawchenko (one-year, two-way deal), LW Max Pacioretty, D Dylan Coghlan, RW Ondrej Kase (one-year, $1.5 million contract), D Brent Burns, C Lae Peterson; Flyers’ 2024 second, 2023 conditional third, 2022 fourth-round picks

Re-signed: N/A

Lost: DeAngelo, RW Josh Leivo, G Alex Lyon, C Max Domi, C Steven Lorentz, G Eetu Makiniemi, Conditional 2023 Third-Round Pick

The Hurricanes finally got their finisher when they acquired Pacioretty (as well as Coghlan) from the Vegas Golden Knights and did not have to give up anything to get him.

After trading DeAngelo, they picked up another offensive-minded defenseman in Burns with the only major piece heading to the San Jose Sharks was Lorentz, Carolina’s fourth-line center last season.

The Hurricanes also bet low on Kase, who has upside as a 20-goal scorer in 66 games during the 2017-18 season with the Anaheim Ducks.

With a couple of major acquisitions, Carolina could be in the Presidents’ Trophy race in 2022-23.

Trending: Up

Grade: A

Washington Capitals

Acquired: C Dylan Strome (one-year, $3.5 million contract), RW Connor Brown, C Henrik Borgstrom (one-year, two-way contract), G Charlie Lindgren (three-year contract that carries $1.1 million cap hit), G Darcy Kuemper (five-year contract that carries $5.25 million cap hit), D Erik Gustafsson (one-year, $800,000); 37th, 70th overall picks in 2022 NHL Draft

Re-signed: D Matt Irwin (one-year, two-way contract), RW Marcus Johansson (one-year, $1.1 million contract)

Lost: Vanecek, Larsson, 2024 second-round pick, D Justin Schultz, G Ilya Samsonov, 46th overall pick in 202 NHL Draft

After their fourth straight first-round exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Capitals have been busy as they acquired Brown from the Senators with right-wing Tom Wilson expected to be out somewhere in between Thanksgiving and the NHL All-Star Break with a torn ACL and Strome with center Nicklas Backstrom expected to miss most of this season after undergoing a hip resurfacing procedure.

They also went under big renovations in net, letting both Samsonov and Vanecek go and signing Kuemper fresh off of winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in addition to Lindgren, who impressed during a five-game stint in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues last season.

On defense, they added a defenseman with some offensive upside in Gustafsson on a cheap deal to replace Schultz and retained Irwin to be the seventh blueliner.

The pressure was on with the team’s core aging and a couple of star players on the shelf for significant parts of the season but the Capitals extended their Stanley Cup window with an active and productive offseason. Though, they may need to shed a forward or two at some point in the near future.

Trending: Up

Grade: B+

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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5 Responses to 2022 NHL Offseason Grades: Metropolitan Division

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Caps will compete with NYR, CAR and PITT again this year.
    Strome had 46 pts on a bad team last year. Hope he has a great year.
    Sure hope TW gets back by Jan.

  2. steven says:

    The signings and trades have made this offseason very interesting for this team. They solidified the goal but still have BIG cap issues. Very nice to see them sign a young player in Strome, just wish that is was for more than 1 year. It would really help this team if Backy just retired and let this team get younge and have some cap space. Dont get me wring as a player I love his skills but at his age and cap number and after his 2nd hip surgery it might be better if he thought about his life after hockey not about playing. Next off season is going to be just asbad as they have, a gasp, 11 players who will be UFA and 3 who willbe RFA. Might be niceto tradeEller and Carlson before the seasonto get younger and reduce the cap rather than lose so many of the players on this team next summer. Once again the retirement of Backy rears its head and says if this is dont it will really help the team. I realize that heis only 34 but with his 2 hip surgeries he is an old 34, similar hip surgeries have ended the careers of Florida Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski, only played 37 games after surgery and the sad part is that’s considered the most successful return for an NHLer after getting a resurfacing done, Ryan Kesler had it done in 2019 and never played again, Andy Murray had it done but he plays a non-contact sport.

    • Anonymous says:

      This team doesn’t have cap issues. Like you said 11 UFA’s and 3 RFA’s after this season. Cap issued teams are up against the cap and don’t have a bunch of players becoming UFA’s the following year. Also, Strome will be an RFA at the end of the year and if he has a great season I can see him getting a longer deal since Eller’s contract is up.

  3. JoAnne says:

    Carolina also lost Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederrieter, who combined for 45 goals and 95 points last season. Those losses are certainly worth noting.

    • Rob says:

      Niederreiter is still un-signed but the acquisition of Pacioretty may have signaled his exit. Necas still needs a contract too. That Kotkianemi deal looks really bad right now.

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