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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 campaign, 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 most likely play on their fourth-line.

Philadelphia should be doing more as 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 the 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 PK 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. Although, 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 a $9.8 million cap hit), D Erik Gudbranson (four-year contract that has a $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 a $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 a two-year contract that carries a $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 pick 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 and 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 didn’t 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 a $1.1 million cap hit), G Darcy Kuemper (five-year contract that carries a $5.25 million cap hit), D Erik Gustafsson (one-year, $800,000); 37th, 70th overall picks in the 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 2020 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 between Thanksgiving and the NHL All-Star Break with a torn Center Nicklas Backstrom with ACL and Strome 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. Although, they may need to shed a forward or two at some point in the near future.

Trending: Up

Grade: B+

By Harrison Brown