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

Photo: SN

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 conclude with the Metropolitan Division.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Added: D Ivan Provorov, D Damon Severson, Head Coach Mike Babcock

Lost: D Gavin Bayreuther, C Lane Peterson, 2023 80th overall pick, RW Mathieu Olivier (two-year contract, $1.1 million cap hit), Head Coach Brad Larsen, conditional 2024 second-round pick

Re-signed: Severson (eight-year contract, $6.25 million cap hit), D Marcus Bjork (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), RW Trey Fix-Wolansky (two-year, two-way contract — $775,000 cap hit), RW Carson Meyer (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000)

Unsigned RFAs: D Tim Berni

First-Round Pick: C Adam Fantilli (third overall)

After making a head coaching change, Columbus bolstered their blueline, adding two former high first-round picks in Provorov and Severson, while not giving up a whole lot either.

The hope is that Fantilli, who fell to them in the first round, will be the No. 1 center they have been looking for since trading Ryan Johansen seven and a half years ago.

Columbus has done solid work this offseason but their lack of work to their offense could come back to haunt them.

Grade: A

Philadelphia Flyers

Added: D Sean Walker, G Cal Petersen, D Helge Grans, 2023 22nd overall pick, conditional 2024 second-round pick, 2024 second-round pick, D Victor Mete (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Marc Staal (one-year, $1.1 million contract), RW Garnet Hathaway (two-year contract, $2.375 million cap hit), C Rhett Gardner (two-year, two-way contract — $775,000 cap hit), C Ryan Poehling (one-year, $1.4 million contract), 2024 sixth-round pick

Lost: Provorov, D Kevin Connauton, RW Hayden Hodgson, D Tony DeAngelo, LW Brendan Lemieux, G Troy Grosenick, RW James Van Riemsdyk, C Kevin Hayes

Re-signed: LW Olle Lycksell (two-year, two-way contract — $787,500 cap hit), C Noah Cates (two-year contract, $2.625 million cap hit), D Cam York (two-year contract, $1.6 million cap hit), D Ronnie Attard (two-year, two-way contract — $775,000 cap hit, second year is one-way)

Unsigned RFAs: C Morgan Frost

First-Round Pick: RW Matvei Michkov (seventh overall), D Oliver Bonk (22nd overall)

Philadelphia brought in some depth and leadership at all positions as they stripped their roster down, trading Provorov and Hayes in addition to losing DeAngelo and Van Riemsdyk, under newly named full-time GM Daniel Briere. They also got Michkov, who fell to them in the first round.

Grade: A

Pittsburgh Penguins

Added: GM Kyle Dubas, LW Matt Nieto (two-year contract, $900,000 cap hit), LW Reilly Smith, RW Vinnie Hinostroza (one-year, $775,000 contract), LW Andreas Johnsson (one-year, $800,000 contract), D Will Butcher (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), RW Marc Johnstone (two-year, two-way contract — $775,000 cap hit), C Radim Zohorna (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), G Magnus Hellberg (one-year, $785,000 contract), C Lars Eller (two-year contract, $2.45 million cap hit), G Alex Nedeljkovic (one-year, $1.5 million contract), D Ryan Graves (six-year contract, $4.5 million cap hit), C Noel Acciari (three-year contract, $2 million cap hit)

Lost: Poehling, GM Ron Hextall, C Nick Bonino, LW Jason Zucker, 2024 third-round pick, RW Josh Archibald, D Brian Dumoulin, D Dmitry Kulikov

Re-signed: D Ty Smith (one-year, $775,000 contract), C Jonathan Gruden (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), G Tristan Jarry (five-year contract, $5.375 million cap hit)

Unsigned RFAs: LW Drew O’Connor

First-Round Pick: C Brayden Yager (14th overall)

Since replacing Hextall with Dubas, Pittsburgh has attempted to address their depth behind centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin while also making a couple of major additions in Smith, who has tallied at least 25 goals in a season three times during his 11-season NHL career and 50 points six, and Graves, which was arguably an overpay. They also brought back Jarry on a reasonable contract.

Grade: B+

New York Islanders

Added: RW Julien Gauthier (two-year contract, $787,500 cap hit), RW Karson Kuhlman (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), C Brian Pinho (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000)

Lost: D Parker Wotherspoon, RW Josh Bailey, 2026 second-round pick, C Andy Andreoff, RW Zach Parise (maybe)

Re-signed: G Ilya Sorokin (eight-year contract extension, $8.25 million cap hit), RW Pierre Engvall (seven-year contract, $3 million cap hit), D Scott Mayfield (seven-year contract, $3.5 million cap hit), G Semyon Varlamov (four-year contract, $2.75 million cap hit), D Samuel Bolduc (two-year contract, $800,000 cap hit), G Jakub Skarek (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), RW Oliver Wahlstrom (one-year, $874,125 contract)

Unsigned RFAs: N/A

First-Round Pick: N/A

New York has spent their offseason extending their own players, including Sorokin, Engvall, and Mayfield, all of whom got lots of term. The only major change on the Island came when they dealt Bailey and a pick to the Chicago Blackhawks, who subsequently bought out the final year of his contract.

Grade: B

New York Rangers

Added: Bonino (one-year, $800,000 contract), C Riley Nash (two-year, two-way contract — $775,000 cap hit), C Tyler Pitlick (one-year, $787,500 contract), LW Alex Belzile (two-year contract, two-way the first year — $775,000 cap hit), RW Blake Wheeler (one-year, $800,000 contract), Head Coach Peter Laviolette, G Jonathan Quick (one-year, $825,000 contract), 2023 152nd overall pick, D Erik Gustafsson (one-year, $825,000 contract), D Connor Mackey (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000)

Lost: Gauthier, G Jaroslav Halak, C Jayden Grubbe, RW Ryan Carpenter, D Niko Mikkola, LW Vladimir Tarasenko (maybe), LW Patrick Kane (maybe), Head Coach Gerard Gallant

Re-signed: D Zac Jones (two-year contract, $812,500 cap hit), LW Anton Blidh (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Ty Emberson (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D K’Andre Miller (two-year contract, $3.872 million cap hit)

Unsigned RFAs: LW Alexis Lafreniere, D Brandon Scanlin

First-Round Pick: RW Gabriel Perreault (23rd overall)

Since replacing Gallant with Laviolette, New York has added depth with Gustafsson, Wheeler, and Bonino on top of re-signing Miller.

New York still has to re-sign Lafreniere and may lose Kane and Tarasenko, which would dent their forward depth.

Grade: D

New Jersey Devils

Added: C Chris Tierney (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Kyle Criscuolo (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), C Justin Dowling (one-year, $775,000 contract), G Erik Kallgren (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Colin Miller, RW Tyler Toffoli, 2023 164th overall pick, LW Tomas Nosek (one-year, $1 million contract)

Lost: Severson, Graves, C Jesper Boqvist, D Mason Geertsen, RW Miles Wood, 2025 fifth-round pick, LW Yegor Sharangovich, G Mackenzie Blackwood

Re-signed: LW Jesper Bratt (eight-year contract, $7.875 million cap hit), C Michael McLeod (one-year, $1.4 million contract), RW Nathan Bastian (two-year contract, $1.35 million cap hit), C Shane Bowers (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), RW Timo Meier (eight-year contract, $8.8 million cap hit), C Erik Haula (three-year contract, $3.15 million cap hit)

Unsigned RFAs: D Kevin Bahl

First-Round Pick: N/A

New Jersey may have lost Graves and Severson but the subtractions created roster space for rookies Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec to step into their lineup full-time this season and the salary cap space to acquire Toffoli, a five-time 23-goal scorer who is coming off of a 73-point season with the Calgary Flames, for very good value. They also salvaged the pick traded to Calgary by dealing Severson’s pending unrestricted free agent rights.

They also re-signed Meier and Bratt to reasonable contracts and Haula, who is coming off of back-to-back 40-point campaigns, to a cheap one.

New Jersey has done masterful work this offseason but will rolling it back with Akira Schmid and Vitek Vanecek be the right decision?

Grade: A

Carolina Hurricanes

Added: Lemieux (one-year, $800,000 contract), RW Michael Bunting (three-year contract, $4.5 million cap hit), D Dmitry Orlov (two-year contract, $7.75 million cap hit), D Griffin Mendel (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000)

Lost: Nash, D Maxime Lajoie, D Calvin de Haan, D Shayne Gostisbehere, LW Max Pacioretty

Re-signed: G Frederik Andersen (two-year contract, $3.4 million cap hit), G Antti Raanta (one-year, $1.5 million contract), LW Jesper Fast (two-year contract, $2.4 million cap hit), C Jordan Staal (four-year contract, $2.9 million cap hit), D Dylan Coghlan (one-year, $850,000 contract)

Unsigned RFAs: N/A

First-Round Pick: LW Bradley Nadeau (30th overall)

Carolina rolled it back with their goaltending duo of Andersen and Raanta despite Pytor Kochetkov’s successful 24-game run last season and signed Bunting (54 goals in 187 games over the last four seasons and is coming off of back-to-back 23-goal campaigns with Toronto) to try to fulfill their need for a natural goal-scorer. But, did they need a more proven sniper?

The team also added some grit to their fourth-line as they signed Lemieux and bolstered their already deep blueline with the signing of Orlov, which came at a high price that they awarded to drive the term down. Carolina, who also re-signed Staal and Fast, could part with defenseman Brett Pesce soon if the two sides cannot agree to a contract extension before the season begins.

Grade: B+

Washington Capitals

Added: Pacioretty (one-year, $2 million contract), C Alex Limoges (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Chase Priskie (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), C Matthew Phillips (one-year, $775,000 contract), Head Coach Spencer Carbery, D Joel Edmundson

Lost: Laviolette, Pinho, D Matt Irwin, RW Craig Smith, LW Conor Sheary, RW Connor Brown, 2024 third-round pick, 2024 seventh-round pick

Re-signed: D Martin Fehervary (three-year contract, $2.675 million cap hit), C Riley Sutter (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000), D Dylan McIlrath (one-year, two-way contract — $775,000)

Unsigned RFAs: N/A

First-Round Pick: RW Ryan Leonard (eighth overall)

Washington has been aggressive in trade talks, according to GM Brian MacLellan, but nothing has panned out so far. The team is still looking to make a hockey trade in their top-six forward group, which would most likely feature center Evgeny Kuznetsov (who requested a trade) and/or left-wing Anthony Mantha.

After hiring Carberry to replace Laviolette, Washington signed Pacioretty for cheap as a scorer, acquired Edmundson from the Montreal Canadiens, and let Sheary walk. They also re-signed Fehervary to a reasonable contract.

MacLellan made it known Washington is not done so assessing their offseason in ink would be premature.

Grade: Incomplete (C- so far)

Previous Offseason Report Cards

Pacific Division

Central Division

Atlantic 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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4 Responses to Grading Every NHL Team’s Offseason So Far: Metropolitan Division

  1. andrew777dc says:

    D sounds kinda harsh for NYR 🙂 Kane and Tarasenko were new plug-ins anyway, so even if they go, it’s more of the same. While they do need some variability up front, their defense seemed to be lagging at times. Maybe they just aren’t done yet. But Lavi doesn’t look like a good match for them, that’s correct))
    Most importantly, we still need more certainty on our top-9, which includes Backy and TJ. So the roster and four lines could indeed look very different come October)

    • Byronleemarley says:

      I agree it was harsh. They did the best they could with the little money they had to work with. Getting Wheeler for the minimum has huge upside potential. I didn’t agree with the Laviolette hiring, but anything was better than Gallant. If Lavy gives Kakko and Lafreniere actual opportunities on the PP and more ice time, they’ll both have break-out seasons. They deserve at least a B-.

    • Stephen says:

      I agree all 4 Caps lines could look different–I read that the Caps are considering bringing in several forwards from the Bears, whether or not Kuzy & Mantha are traded. Pacioretty is a bit of a gamble, like fan favorites Oshie and Backstrom. Sadly, as we all know, these players get older, they sustain more injuries and need more time to recover. The Caps seem to do well the first half of the season, but then recently they falter after New Years once teams fight for playoff berths and game intensity increases.

      Laviolette was not in favor of the younger guys here in DC, so I wonder how well things will go with NYR who are a much younger team.

  2. dwgie26 says:

    Lots of good grades in the metro. Sure hope the Caps can find some trade partners to move some people out even if only to make room for some Bears. We have a lot of players ready to see what they can do in the NHL.

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