Grading Every NHL Team’s Offseason So Far: Pacific Division

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With the 2023 NHL Draft done and most of the marquee players on the trade block and in free agency off of the board, NoVa Caps grades each team’s offseason by division so far. We will also look at what may be remaining on each team’s to-do list for this offseason. With many big names still on the trade market, these grades could be updated prior to the start of training camp. We will start with the Pacific Divison.

Anaheim Ducks

Added: D Robert Hagg (one-year, $775,000 contract), D Radko Gudas (three-year contract, $4 million cap hit), LW Alex Killorn (four-year contract, $6.25 million cap hit), Head Coach Greg Cronin

Lost: C Jayson Megna, D Andrej Sustr, D Kevin Shattenkirk, Head Coach Dallas Eakins

Re-signed: N/A

Unsigned RFAs: RW Troy Terry, C Trevor Zegras, D Jamie Drysdale, G Lukas Dostal, C Benoit-Olivier Groulx

First-Round Pick: C Leo Carlsson (second overall)

Anaheim definitely improved over the offseason but handed out a couple of risky deals to Gudas, who averaged just 17:22 per game (fifth among Florida Panthers defensemen) and is 33 years old, and Killorn, who has scored at least 25 goals in a season three times over the last four but hit the 60-point plateau just once (64: last season) and it came in a contract year.

They also made a risky pick in selected Carlsson over center Adam Fantilli in the draft.

Anaheim still has plenty of work to do with their two leading scorers and former sixth overall pick from 2020 all without contracts for this season.

Grade: Incomplete (C so far)

San Jose Sharks

Added: G Mackenzie Blackwood, C Nathan Todd (two-year, two-way contract — $775,000 cap hit), D Leon Gawanke, LW Anthony Duclair, RW Ryan Carpenter (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), RW Givani Smith (two-year contract, $800,000 cap hit), D Kyle Burroughs (three-year contract, $1.1 million cap hit), C Filip Zadina (one-year, $1.1 million contract)

Lost: LW Andreas Johnsson, D Derick Pouliot, C Jasper Weatherby, D Artemi Kniazev, 2025 fifth-round pick, C Steven Lorentz, G James Reimer, LW Matt Nieto, 2023 sixth-round pick (164th overall)

Re-signed: Gawanke (one-year, two-way contract worth $775,000), Blackwood (two-year contract, $2.35 million cap hit) RW Scott Sabourin (two-year, two-way contract — $775,000 cap hit), RW Fabian Zetterlund (two-year contract, $1.45 million cap hit)

Unsigned RFAs: N/A

First-Round Picks: C Will Smith (fourth overall), LW Quentin Musty (26th overall)

San Jose was able to acquire a 31-goal scorer from just two seasons ago for pennies in Duclair and made a couple of low-risk but potential high-reward signings in Zadina, a former sixth overall pick who is still just 23, and Blackwood, whose NHL career started promising as he earned a .917 save percentage, 2.69 goals-against average, and five shutouts over his first two seasons and is only 26.

They were able to capitalize on their two first-round picks as Smith and Musty both had strong seasons.

San Jose made a couple of worthy gambles and did not lose anything significant but did not do anything to drastically improve either. The team still has at least another deal in the queue as reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson will likely be on the move and potentially soon. The Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins are reportedly the two finalists for the 33-year-old’s services. The trade will have a huge impact on San Jose’s offseason grade. The team will likely have to retain some of Karlsson’s $11.5 million cap hit for the next four seasons due to salary cap constraints across the NHL.

Grade: Incomplete (B so far)

Vancouver Canucks

Added: D Matt Irwin (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Carson Soucy (three-year contract, $3.25 million cap hit), C Teddy Blueger (one-year, $1.9 million contract), D Ian Cole (one-year, $3 million contract)

Lost: Burroughs, D Travis Dermott, RW William Lockwood, D Wyatt Kalynuk, D Brady Keeper, C Justin Dowling, G Collin Delia, D Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Re-signed: LW Nils Hoglander (two-year contract, $1.1 million cap hit), G Zach Sawchenko (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Akito Hirose (two-year contract ($787,500 cap hit), D Noah Juulsen (two-year, two-way contract — $775,000 cap hit)

Unsigned RFAs: LW Vitaly Kravtsov

First-Round Pick: D Tom Willander (11th overall)

Vancouver bolstered their blueline but Soucy, who averaged 16:18 per game with the Seattle Kraken last season, is the only one who will likely play in their top-four unit and Irwin will probably not get a sweater for every game. Blueger played an average of 2:37 on the penalty kill with the Pittsburgh Penguins before getting dealt to the Vegas Golden Knights, where he barely played shorthanded, on March 1.

The moves should improve a Vancouver penalty-kill that killed a league-worst 71.6% of their penalties last season.

The team did not lose anyone significant but the buyout of Ekman-Larsson will cost at least $2.1 million against their salary cap in each of the next six seasons after 2023-24, including almost $4.77 million for two from 2025-27. Though, the decision was arguably better than the alternative of paying him $8.25 million in each of the next four.

Grade: C-

Calgary Flames

Added: LW Yegor Sharangovich, 80th overall pick in 2023, D Brady Lyle (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Jordan Oesterle (one-year, $925,000 contract), GM Craig Conroy, Head Coach Ryan Huska

Lost: LW Milan Lucic, RW Tyler Toffoli, C Matthew Phillips, D Troy Stecher, RW Trevor Lewis, GM Brad Treliving, Head Coach Daryl Sutter

Re-signed: Sharangovich (two-year contract, $3.1 million cap hit), LW Clark Bishop (two-year, two-way contract — $775,000 cap hit), RW Martin Posipil (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), C Dryden Hunt (two-year, two-way contract — $775,000 cap hit)

Unsigned RFAs: N/A

First-Round Pick: LW Samuel Honzek (16th overall)

Most of the action in Calgary to date has been off of the ice as they overhauled their front office and coaching staffs after a disappointing 2022-23 campaign, which included firing Sutter in a move that needed to happen as many players requested trades out of town because of him.

The team has been dealt a bad hand as Toffoli, center Elias Lindholm, and defenseman Noah Hanifin have all been reluctant (at least) to sign extensions as all can become unrestricted free agents after this season. Calgary has already dealt their leading goal- and point-scoring leader in Toffoli to the New Jersey Devils but arguably got a weak return. Though, Sharangovich, who has 53 goals and 106 points in 205 career regular-season games, is not a bad piece for their top-six forward group.

We will have to see what happens with Lindholm and Hanifin before determining how Calgary has done this offseason.

Grade: Incomplete (D so far)

Seattle Kraken

Added: C Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (one-year, $775,000 contract), D Connor Carrick (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), RW Kailer Yamamoto (one-year, $1.5 million contract), D Brian Dumoulin (two-year contract, $3.15 million cap hit), LW Marian Studenic (one-year, $775,000 contract)

Lost: Soucy, RW Karson Kuhlman, C Alexander True, D Brogan Rafferty, C Ryan Donato, RW Daniel Sprong, C Morgan Geekie, G Martin Jones

Re-signed: D Cale Fleury (two-year contract, $800,000 cap hit), RW Kole Lind (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Will Borgen (two-year contract, $2.7 million cap hit), C John Hayden (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), G Joey Daccord (two-year contract, $1.2 million cap hit), D Gustav Olofsson (two-year, two-way contract — $775,000)

Unsigned RFAs: D Vince Dunn

First-Round Pick: LW Eduard Sale (20th overall)

Seattle made tweaks to their forward group, including a low-risk, potential high-reward signing of Yamamoto (49 goals, 93 points in 218 games over the last four seasons, including a 20-goal, 41-point output in 81 games during 2021-22 campaign). They replaced Geekie with Bellemare, who averaged 2:17 on the penalty-kill last season (second among Tampa Bay Lightning forwards).

They brought in much-needed help on the blueline by signing Dumoulin, who provides a steady defensive presence and led Pittsburgh with an average of 2:58 time-on-ice per game on the penalty-kill, where Seattle ranked 21st (76.7%).

Though Seattle made some upgrades, they lost Sprong (who scored 21 goals and 46 points in 66 games) and Donato (14 goals, 27 points in 71 games) for nothing. They did not tender Sprong a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent.

Seattle also has yet to re-sign Dunn, who led the team in assists (50) in addition to average time on ice-per-game (23:40) and was second in points (64).

Grade: C+

Los Angeles Kings

Added: Lewis (one-year, $775,000 contract), G Cam Talbot (one-year, $1 million contract), C Pierre-Luc Dubois, D Kevin Connauton, RW Hayden Hodgson, C Akil Thomas (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Joe Hicketts (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Steven Santini (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), G David Rittich (one-year, $875,000 contract), D Andreas Englund (two-year contract, $1 million cap hit), D Kevin Connauton, RW Hayden Hodgson

Lost: LW Alex Iafallo, C Gabriel Vilardi, C Rasmus Kupari, D Sean Durzi, D Sean Walker, G Cal Petersen, D Helge Grans, 2023 first-round pick (22nd overall), 2024 second-round pick, G Joonas Korpisalo, RW Zack MacEwen, C Lias Andersson,

Re-signed: Dubois (eight-year contract extension, $8.5 million cap hit), D Vladislav Gavrikov (two-year contract extension, $5.875 million cap hit), D Tobias Bjornfot (two-year contract, $775,000 cap hit), LW Samuel Fagemo (one-year, two-way contract —$775,000), RW Tyler Madden (one-year, two-way contract —$775,000), C Anze Kopitar (two-year contract extension, $7 million cap hit), C Jaret Anderson-Dolan (one-year, $775,000 contract)

Unsigned RFAs: N/A

First-Round Pick: N/A

Los Angeles has been one of the busiest teams this offseason, which began with a massive three-way trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers that saw the team offload Petersen’s $5 million cap hit for the next two seasons and move Walker. The move allowed Los Angeles to keep Gavrikov, who thrived after getting acquired from Columbus at the NHL Trade Deadline.

The team was part of another blockbuster when they acquired Dubois (who recorded 55 goals, 123 points in 154 points over the last two seasons) from the Winnipeg Jets in a deal where they paid a steep price parting with Iafallo, one of their top young players in Vilardi, Kupari, and a second-round pick. They extended Dubois, who has never scored more than 63 points in a season over his six-year NHL career, to an expensive contract that he could ultimately live up to.

Los Angeles changed up their goaltending tandem, letting Korpisalo walk and signing Talbot (17-14-2, .898 save percentage, 2.93 goals-against average, shutout in 36 games with the Ottawa Senators) and Rittich to form their duo.

They also re-signed Kopitar to a reasonable contract extension and dealt Durzi to Arizona for the pick traded to Winnipeg as part of the package to land Dubois. Will all of their changes be enough to get by center Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers in the postseason?

Grade: B-

Edmonton Oilers

Added: G Olivier Rodrigue (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Ben Gleason (two-year contract, $775,000 cap hit), RW Connor Brown (one-year, $775,000 million contract), C Lane Peterson (two-year contract, $775,000 cap hit), RW Drake Caggiula (two-year, two-way contract — $775,000 cap hit)

Lost: Yamamoto, C Klim Kostin, C Nick Bjugstad, C Devin Shore

Re-signed: LW Mattias Janmark (one-year, $1 million contract), C Derek Ryan (two-year contract, $900,000 cap hit)

Unsigned RFAs: D Evan Bouchard, C Ryan McLeod, RW Raphael Lavoie, C Noah Philip

First-Round Pick: N/A

Edmonton traded Yamamoto and Kostin to the Detroit Red Wings, who bought Yamamoto’s contract out, and signed Brown (has scored at least 10 goals in a season five times and 28 points six in his six full-year NHL career).

The team has to re-sign 23-year-olds Bouchard, who broke out for 13 assists and 17 points in 12 postseason outings, and McLeod, who earned 11 goals and 23 points in just 57 regular-season games.

Grade: Incomplete (B- so far)

Vegas Golden Knights

Added: D Mason Geertsen (two-year contract, $775,000 cap hit), 2024 third-round pick

Lost: Blueger, G Laurent Brossoit, G Jonathan Quick, LW Reilly Smith

Re-signed: G Jiri Patera (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Brayden Pachal (two-year contract, $775,000 cap hit), G Adin Hill (two-year contract, $4.9 million cap hit), LW Ivan Barbashev (five-year contract, $5 million cap hit)

Unsigned RFAs: C Brett Howden

First-Round Pick: C David Edstrom (32nd overall)

The defending Stanley Cup Champions traded Smith, a five-time 20-goal and six-time 50-point scorer in 11 full NHL seasons who scored 26 goals and 56 points in 78 games during 2022-23, to Pittsburgh for just a third-round pick.

Getting Smith’s $5 million salary off of their cap allowed them to re-sign Hill to a lucrative contract for a goaltender who has yet to play more than 27 games in a lone regular-season and has appeared in 25 just twice. They also re-signed Barbashev, who fit in beautifully with Vegas after getting acquired at the trade deadline.

Vegas now has to get Howden, who tallied five goals and 10 points in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games, under contract.

Grade: C-

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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2 Responses to Grading Every NHL Team’s Offseason So Far: Pacific Division

  1. Prevent Defense says:

    Ahoy Harrison! Thanks for the PAC analysis

    Has it not been amazing, to watch the angst-filled 2023 offseason as nearly every NHL team with a chance at “contending” is all but totally hamstrung by the “Flat” salary cap?

    PAC provides two major “leadership” observations: CGY has verifiable “train wreck” symptoms as top players were revolted by their previous Head Coach. Now there’s a brand new GM and a new Headcoach with a clean-slate resume (another way of saying a complete unknown). We wish CGY luck with all those starters wanting to leave town!

    Then there is ANA. I predict they will strongly exceed expectations simply with the change behind the bench. Between ANA and CGY we had two of the most demoralized teams in the NHL – one for complete coaching cluelessness, the other for raw belligerence. The new ANA coach is obscure to most fans too. For that matter, so is Newcoach Carbery.

    With all these identical $83.5 million teams trying to climb the same greased flagpole … Coaching acumen and chemistry comes into play dramatically. I think Newcoach Carbery will be worth 5 more Caps wins on the season. A healthy Tom Wilson for a whole season is worth another 5 wins. We’ll see if that’s enough.

  2. Stewart Trickett says:

    Vancouver deserves more credit for their moves this offseason. They methodically addressed their biggest weaknesses without overpaying, and that could make a big difference. Buying out Ekman-Larsson alone is a substantial upgrade.

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