Seven NHL teams that improved the most in the offseason

Seven NHL teams that improved the most in the offseason

USA TODAY Sports NHL players sketch team logos to fantastic results USA TODAY Sports asked NHL players to sketch their team logos at NHL/NHLPA media tour in New York on Sept. 7. Here are the results.

When the Dallas Stars staff was discussing defensemen who might be available this summer, coach Ken Hitchcock quickly narrowed his list to one name.

© Jamie Sabau, Getty Images Defenseman Marc Methot (right) will provide the Dallas Stars with a gritty, shutdown presence.

Hitchcock said the priority should be Ottawa Senators veteran Marc Methot, a player he knew well from their days together in Columbus.

“Ken was adamant,” general manager Jim Nill told USA TODAY Sports. ”He said, 'If you can get this guy he could be the missing piece we are looking for.'"

The Senators didn’t want to lose the gritty shutdown defender, but they had protection issues heading into the expansion draft.  The Vegas Golden Knights claimed Methot and shipped him to the Stars.

“He’s just a natural leader,” Nill said. “He will be a voice in the room, which will help our leadership group. He will be a presence on the ice. He’s a big body. He knows how to play the game. To develop a guy like him takes years.”

The Stars did more in the offseason to improve themselves than any other team. The Stars also added goalie Ben Bishop, rugged center Martin Hanzal and scoring winger Alexander Radulov.

Bishop’s career .919 save percentage is a welcome addition for a Stars team that was last in the NHL in 2016-17 with an .893 save percentage.

“He is a great puck handler and he’s going to help our defense and forwards with their transition," Nill said.

At 6-foot-5, Hanzal has the size to be effective in a Western Conference that boasts several big-bodied centers including Ryan Getzlaf, Joe Thornton, Anze Kopitar and Mikko Koivu.

“He’s a much bigger addition than people realize,” Nill said. “I know our players were excited because they know he is hard to play against.”

Because of a strong center core, Radulov has 25-30 goal potential in Dallas. “It’s no secret, he’s a high-end skill player,” Nill said.

Here are six other teams that did the most to improve their team this summer:

Nashville Predators

After advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history, general manager David Poile didn’t stand pat.

With Mike Fisher retiring, he signed versatile center Nick Bonino.

"He was a big part of the Penguins team," defenseman Roman Josi said. "He's good at the penalty kill and good at the power play. He's the kind of player you can use anywhere. He definitely gives us more strength down the middle."

Poile added some fire and grit by signing Scott Hartnell. Although the Predators already owned one of the league’s best defenses, Poile also acquired Alexei Emelin, who adds physicality.

Carolina Hurricanes

In addition to adding veteran Justin Williams, a player with 36 playoff goals, the ‘Canes upgraded their goaltending with Scott Darling.

Darling was a backup in Chicago, but has the potential to be a difference-maker.

Carolina also added role player Marcus Kruger, plus depth defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk.

"There's a lot of buzz around the city about the organization," Carolina forward Jeff Skinner said. "It's deserved based on what management has done so far in the offseason. We made some really good moves."

Vegas Golden Knights

Thanks to George McPhee’s thorough game plan, the expansion Golden Knights are off to the best possible start.

James Neal is a proven scorer, and Marc-Andre Fleury has Stanley Cup championships on his resume. Both were picked in the expansion draft.

Vadim Shipachyov, signed out of Russia, has a chance to be a top 25 scorer in the NHL this season. 

Among McPhee’s best moves were the acquisitions of top young prospects Shea Theodore and Alex Tuch.

Arizona Coyotes

General manager John Chayka added defenseman NIcklas Hjalmarsson to play with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and center Derek Stepan to be the offensive catalyst the team had been lacking. Henrik Lundqvist's former backup Antti Raanta gives them a new look in net.

Tampa Bay Lightning

 It doesn't seem unrealistic to forecast the Lightning going from missing the playoffs to winning the Stanley Cup.

GM Steve Yzerman's offseason included signing shot blocker Dan Girardi on defense, plus Chris Kuntiz, who has a reputation for being a clutch playoff performer.

Prized young defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, acquired from Montreal in the Jonathan Drouin trade, is a wild card. If Sergachev is ready, he could be a difference-maker on the blue line.       

Calgary Flames

The addition of Travis Hamonic gives the Flames one of the top four or five defensive groups. Mike Smith is expected to stabilize the goaltending position. His expertise in playing the puck adds to the team’s defensive prowess and transition game.

Brace Hemmelgarn, USA TODAY Sports NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Minnesota Wild 1 Eric Hartline, USA TODAY Sports NHL: Florida Panthers at Philadelphia Flyers 1 Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY Sports NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Buffalo Sabres 1 Perry Nelson, USA TODAY Sports NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers 1 Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins-Championshp Parade 1 Brace Hemmelgarn, USA TODAY Sports NHL: New Jersey Devils at Minnesota Wild 1 Christopher Hanewinckel, USA TODAY Sports NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators 1 Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY Sports NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Buffalo Sabres 1 Caylor Arnold, USA TODAY Sports NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Chicago Blackhawks 1 Perry Nelson, USA TODAY Sports NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers 1 Jean-Yves Ahern, USA TODAY Sports NHL: Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens 1 Robert Leifheit, USA TODAY Sports USP NHL: NEW YORK RANGERS AT Columbus Blue Jackets S HKN USA OH 1 Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports USP NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-WASHINGTON CAPITALS S HKN PIT WSH USA PA 1 Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports USP NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-WASHINGTON CAPITALS S HKN PIT WSH USA PA 1 Anne-Marie Sorvin, USA TODAY Sports NHL: San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks 1 Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports USP NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Ottawa Senators AT P S HKN PIT OTT USA PA 1 Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports USP NHL: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS-Championshp Parade S HKN USA PA 1 Perry Nelson, USA TODAY Sports 7-1-17-thornton 1 Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports 7-1-17-shattenkirk2 1 Bruce Fedyck, USA TODAY Sports USP NHL: Minnesota Wild AT WINNIPEG JETS S HKN WPG MIN CAN MA 1 Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports 7-1-17-daley 1 Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports 7-1-17-bonino 1 John E. Sokolowski, USA TODAY Sports USP NHL: WASHINGTON CAPITALS AT TORONTO MAPLE LEAF S HKN TOR WSH CAN ON 1 Sergei Belski, USA TODAY Sports 7-1-17-elliott 1 Sergei Belski, USA TODAY Sports 7-1-17-stone 1 Adam Hunger, USA TODAY Sports 7-1-17-smith 1 John E. Sokolowski, USA TODAY Sports 7-1-17-williams. 1 Perry Nelson, USA TODAY Sports 7-1-17-jones 1 Stan Szeto, USA TODAY Sports 7-1-17-vlasic 1 Christopher Hanewinckel, USA TODAY Sports 7-1-17-fowler 1 Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports 6-30-17-orlov 1 Mike Dinovo, USA TODAY Sports USP NHL: Minnesota Wild AT Chicago Blackhawks S HKN USA IL 1 Brad Rempel, USA TODAY Sports 6-30-17-pominville 1 Sergei Belski, USA TODAY Sports 6-30-17-Cammalleri 1 Peter Power, AP 6-30-17-jokinen 1 Greg M. Cooper, USA TODAY Sports USP NHL: DALLAS STARS AT BOSTON BRUINS S HKN BOS DAL USA MA 1 Perry Nelson, USA TODAY Sports NHL: Ottawa Senators at Edmonton Oilers 1 Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports 6-25-17-panarin 1 Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports 6-25-17-saad 1 Matt Marton, AP 6-25-17-Hjalmarsson 1 Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports 6-25-17-hamonic2 1 Adam Hunger, USA TODAY Sports 6-25-17-raanta 1 Christopher Hanewinckel, USA TODAY Sports 6-25-17-reaves 1 John Hefti, USA TODAY Sports 6-25-17-stepan 1 Sergei Belski, USA TODAY Sports 6-22-17-strome 1 Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports 6-22-17-strome 1 Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports 617-17-smith 1 Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports USP NHL: Chicago Blackhawks AT Tampa Bay Lightning S HKN TBL CHI USA FL 1 Adam Hunger, USA TODAY Sports 6-17-17-girardi2 1 Ed Mulholland, USA TODAY Sports 6-17-17-beauchemin 1 Sergei Belski, USA TODAY Sports USP NHL: LOS ANGELES KINGS AT CALGARY FLAMES S HKN CGY LAK CAN AL 1  

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/seven-nhl-teams-that-improved-the-most-in-the-offseason/ar-AArW3ij

Related Posts