2022 NHL Offseason Grades: Central Division

Photo: AP News

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 continues their annual offseason grades and today, we look at what the Central Division teams have done.

Arizona Coyotes

Acquired: D Patrick Nemeth, conditional 2023 third-round pick, 2024 second-round, C Nick Bjugstad (one-year, $900,000), D Josh Brown (two years, $1.275 million cap hit), D Troy Stetcher (one-year, $1.25 million), RW Zack Kassian, 29th overall pick in 2022 NHL Draft, future second-round pick

Re-signed: N/A

Lost: D Kyle Capobianco, D Ty Emberson, 32nd overall pick in 2022 NHL Draft, future third-round pick

The Coyotes stuck with their rebuild, taking on Kassian and Nemeth’s contracts for compensation, while also taking bets on some low-risk, potential high reward-type fliers.

Grade: A-

Trending: Same

Chicago Blackhawks

Acquired: G Alex Stalock (one-year, $750,000 contract), RW Andreas Athanasiou (one-year, $3 million contract), C Max Domi (one-year, $3 million contract), G Petr Mrazek; 7th, 16th, 25th, 39th, 66th overall picks in 2022; 2024 third-round pick

Re-signed: N/A

Lost: G Kevin Lankinen, C Dylan Strome, C Henrik Borgstrom, G Collin Delia, RW Dominik Kubalik, RW Brett Connolly, 38th overall pick in 2022, C Kirby Dach, LW Alex DeBrincat

The Blackhawks blew up their roster this offseason and it backfired at first glance as they got just picks for DeBrincat and Dach in addition to not qualifying restricted free agents Strome and Kubalik. They got three first-round picks but let the Toronto Maple Leafs off the hook easy when they acquired Mrazek (it cost them to move down just 13 spots to get out of his contract).

Grade: D-

Trending: Down

Winnipeg Jets

Acquired: Capobianco (two-year contract, $750,000 cap hit), G David Rittich (one-year, $900,000 contract)

Re-signed: C Jansen Harkins (two-year contract, $850,000 cap hit)

Lost: LW Zach Sanford

The Jets barely made any changes after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2017. In addition, their top two centers in Mark Schiefele and Pierre-Luc Dubois have both questioned their futures with the organization.

Grade: D

Trending: Down

Nashville Predators

Acquired: Sanford, Lankinen (one-year, $1.5 million contract) C Mark Jankowski (one-year, $750,000 contract), C John Leonard, 2023 third-round pick, D Ryan McDonagh, 122nd overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft

Re-signed: LW Filip Forsberg (eight-year contract, $8.5 million cap hit)

Lost: C Luke Kunin, C Nick Cousins, D Philippe Myers, LW Grant Mismash, D Matt Tennyson, RW Mathieu Olivier

While not losing anyone significant, the Predators upgraded their defense with the addition of McDonagh for cheap since the Lightning were in a salary cap crunch, made some low-risk moves up front, and signed Lankinen to back up Juuse Saros. They also inked Forsberg to a reasonable extension.

Grade: B

Trending: Up

Dallas Stars

Acquired: D Colin Miller (two-year contract, $1.85 million cap hit), RW Mason Marchment (four-year contract, $4.5 million cap hit), G Scott Wedgewood (two-year contract that carries $1 million cap hit)

Re-signed: N/A

Lost: D John Klingberg (potentially), RW Vladislav Namestnikov, G Braden Holtby

The Stars have not made many moves over the offseason but the one that strikes out is signing Marchment, who is coming off of an excellent season with the Florida Panthers. With Klingberg possibly out as an unrestricted free agent, the team brought in Miller though there is a chance Klingberg returns.

Grade: B

Trending: Down

St. Louis Blues

Acquired: C Noel Acciari (one-year, $1.25 million contract), G Thomas Greiss (one-year, $1.3 million contract), 73rd overall pick in 2022 NHL Draft, RW Martin Frk (one-year, $750,000 contract), RW Matthew Highmore (one-year, two-way contract), RW Josh Leivo (one-year, $750,000 contract)

Re-signed: D Nick Leddy (four-year contract, $4 million cap hit), C Robert Thomas (eight-year contract extension, $8.125 million cap hit), D Niko Mikkola (one-year, $1.9 million contract)

Lost: G Charlie Lindgren, G Villie Husso, LW MacKenzie MacEachern

The Blues brought along some fourth-line forwards and a back-up goaltender after salvaging the 73rd overall pick out of a player that priced himself out of St. Louis in Husso, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent. Re-signing Thomas and Leddy was also big for them.

Grade: B

Trending: Same

Minnesota Wild

Acquired: C Nic Petan (two-year, two-way contract), RW Steven Fogarty (two-year, two-way contract), D Andrej Sustr (one-year, two-way contract), G Jonas Gustavsson, 19th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, Signing Rights To RHD Brock Faber

Re-signed: G Marc-Andre Fleury (two-year contract, $3.5 million cap hit), D Jacob Middleton (three-year contract that carries $2.4 million cap hit)

Lost: Bjugstad, D Jordie Benn, G Cam Talbot, LW Kevin Fiala

After being forced to trade Fiala for futures due to the cap charges after buying out right-wing Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter’s contracts last summer, the Wild re-signed Fleury and Middleton after the two thrived once joining Minnesota last season. They also made a goalie swap with the Ottawa Senators, sending Talbot to the nation’s capital for Gustavsson.

Grade: C

Trending: Down

Colorado Avalanche

Acquired: D Brad Hunt (two-year, two-way deal), G Alexander Georgiev

Re-signed: Georgiev (three-year contract, $3.4 million cap hit), LW Arturri Lehkonen (five-year contract, $4.5 million cap hit), D Josh Manson (four-year contract, $4.5 million cap hit), RW Darren Helm (one-year, $1.25 million deal), RW Valeri Nichushkin (eight-year contract, $6.125 million cap hit), D Jacob MacDonald (two-year contract, $762,500 cap hit), C Andrew Cogliano (one-year, $1.25 million contract)

Lost: G Darcy Kuemper, LW Nicolas Aube-Kubel, 97th and 161st overall picks in 2022, third-round pick in 2023, LW Andre Burakovsky, C Nazem Kadri (maybe)

The Avalanche re-signed their own players and let Kuemper and Burakovsky walk in free agency. It is understandable that they did not want to pay for goaltending with the system they have in place, but giving Georgiev the money they did was a bit expensive. Re-signing Lehkonen, Manson, and Nichushkin were huge for Colorado, who promoted assistant GM Chris MacFarland to GM and GM Joe Sakic to President of Hockey Operations. Being patient with Kadri and not overpaying the 32-year-old unrestricted free agent after he had a career-year is also smart.

Grade: B+

Trending: Down

Metropolitan Division Offseason Grades

Atlantic Division Offseason Grades

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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