Around the Atlantic: Breaking down each teams’ changes this summer
Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
By Scott Ony1 year ago
There haven’t been any major signings in the Atlantic division over the last week so this a good time to breakdown each team’s roster changes from last season. While not all the rosters are complete, most will not be making any significant adds between now and training camp. As usual in the salary cap era, the top teams have taken a hit on paper and the bottom feeders look to have improved. This list has been compiled in order of last year’s standings.
Additions: Matthew Tkachuk, Marc Staal, Rudolfs Balcers, Michael Del Zotto, Chris Tierney, Gerry Mayhew
Subtractions: Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Claude Giroux, Mason Marchment, Ben Chiarot, Noel Acciari, Markus Nutivaara
It’s not often a team brings in a player of Matthew Tkachuk’s talent and seems to have gotten worse, but that’s the case with the Panthers this summer. Credit general manager Bill Zito for taking a massive risk by trading Huberdeau and Weegar for Tkachuk but it hard to imagine this team will be pushing for the President’s trophy again.
Mason Marchment leaving could also be a huge loss for Florida. He was nearly a point per game player last season with 47 in 54 games but it’s his style of play that will be missed more than anything. Outside of Tkachuk, none of the new players Zito brought in play the hard-nosed physical game him and Marchment bring.
Rudolfs Balcers is a defensively sound depth winger and Marc Staal can still provide quality leadership from the third pairing, but these additions aren’t enough to make up for all the players they’ve lost.
Toronto Maple Leafs:
Additions: Matt Murray, Calle Jarnkrok, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Ilya Samsonov, Adam Gaudette, Victor Mete
Subtractions: Jack Campbell, Ilya Mikheyev, Ondrej Kase, Ilya Lyubushkin, Petr Mrazek, Colin Blackwell
The core of the Leafs is still intact and while they haven’t been able to win a playoff series yet, that’s a good thing. Obviously, the big question mark next year is the goaltending position but when has it not been? This team has been one of the most dangerous in the league for several seasons now without elite goalie play. Even if Matt Murray is unable to return to his Pittsburgh form, they will be one of the best teams in the league.
Can they go on a deep run without high-end goaltending? I believe they can. The Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley cup despite Darcy Kuemper only posting a .902 SV%. If the combination of Murray and Samsonov can just be league average, this team will be a legitimate cup contender.
Losing both Ilya Mikheyev and Ondrej Kase hurts but Calle Jarnkrok and Nicolas Aube-Kubel are sneaky good depth adds that will help keep the puck out of their net. A young player like Nick Robertson could be in line for a breakout year as well.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Additions: Vladislav Namestnikov, Ian Cole, Phillippe Myers, Haydn Fleury
Subtractions: Ondrej Palat, Ryan McDonagh, Jan Rutta
In the salary cap era it is impossible to keep your team while going on Stanley Cup runs. The Lightning have been to the final three consecutive seasons which makes guys get paid. Ondrej Palat and Ryan McDonagh both played a huge role for this team, but they are still deep without them.
Namestnikov is an interesting signing. He had his best years playing for Tampa Bay before being traded to the Rangers in 2018. He was playing up the lineup with Stamkos and Kucherov and is expected to be a depth piece now, but he will provide quality two-way play no matter where he is slotted.
It is not a very exciting offseason for Tampa Bay however, they still have a Vezina candidate, a Norris candidate and three elite forwards. They will be just fine.
Additions: Pavel Zacha
Subtractions: Erik Haula, Curtis Lazar
The Bruins are the only team in this division that still has major moves to make. Patrice Bergeron still hasn’t signed and neither has the newly acquired Pavel Zacha. They also don’t have the cap space to sign both. General manager Don Sweeney needs to get to work moving salary out and making sure Bergeron returns. If he chooses to retire, this team could head towards a rebuild rapidly. Brad Marchand is already 34 years old and David Pastrnak has just one year remaining on his contract. It’s hard to imagine Pastrnak staying in Boston without an elite center to play with.
Additions: Eric Comrie, Ilya Lyubushkin
Subtractions: Colin Miller, Mark Pysyk, Will Butcher
This team hasn’t changed much on paper, and they may not improve much either. That said, this is an exciting season for Sabres fans. They boast one of the youngest teams and deepest prospect pools in the league. Even without adding any established players, it will be a fun year to watch their young guys develop.
Owen Power impressed in his eight games last season and should step in and immediately be a top four talent. Rasmus Dahlin is still developing as well. Up front Dylan Cozens, Peyton Krebs and Jack Quinn have enough potential to keep fans interested even if this season is another difficult one overall.
Detroit Red Wings
Additions: Andrew Copp, David Perron, Ville Husso, Ben Chiarot, Dominik Kubalik, Olli Maatta, Mark Pysyk
Subtractions: Marc Staal, Thomas Greiss, Olli Juolevi
Finally the Red Wings look to be competitive again. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2016 and haven’t tried to for years. With Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond making an immediate impact last season, Steve Yzerman was right to add to this young core that already had established players in Larkin, Bertuzzi and Vrana.
Depth scoring was a major issue with this team in 2021-22. The additions of Copp, Perron and Kubalik should solve that problem. They are now three lines deep up front.
Getting Ville Husso from the Blues for just a third-round pick was an absolute steal as well. Alex Nedeljkovic was great for the Wings early last season, but he fell off in the second half. Having Husso to challenge him and split the starts should improve his play and give them above average goaltending.
Additions: Alex Debrincat, Claude Giroux, Cam Talbot
Subtractions: Matt Murray, Connor Brown, Filip Gustavsson, Michael Del Zotto, Chris Tierney, Adam Gaudette, Victor Mete
What a summer for Pierre Dorion. Much like the Red Wings this team has been in the basement for years and is ready to push for the playoffs again after building around their young core. Adding both Giroux and Debrincat presumably to play alongside young center Tim Stutzle gives them two solid scoring lines. Cam Talbot should be an improvement on Murray as well.
Another name to watch out for is rookie defenceman Jake Sanderson. The fifth overall pick in 2020 was over a point per game for North Dakota in the NCAA last season and will be a Calder trophy candidate.
Additions: Kirby Dach, Evgeny Dadonov, Mike Matheson
Subtractions: Jeff Petry, Alexander Romanov
Last season was a complete disaster for the Canadiens and if Carey Price doesn’t return this one will be too. They just don’t have the defence or goaltending to compete in this division. Kirby Dach is an intriguing add and gives them better center depth, but they will still miss Phillip Danault.
This season will be about watching the young guys develop. Hopefully first overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky can make an impact right away but that is not a guarantee. If Cole Caufiled can continue his second half play and Nick Suzuki can build on his 61 point season, there will be hope going forward.
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