In two consecutive years a superstar offensive talent in his prime has changed teams in unrestricted free agency. Something that was previously almost unheard of went down in 2018 when John Tavares ditched the New York Islanders in favor of his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, and this summer featured a sequel. Artemi Panarin took the money and ran to the New York Rangers for a whopping seven-year, $81.5MM deal, leaving the Columbus Blue Jackets searching for an answer up front. That wasn’t the only thing the Rangers did. Jacob Trouba and Adam Fox have reshaped the right side of their defense, while they also just so happened to nab Kaapo Kakko with the second overall pick.
Does that make them the early winners of the offseason? New York wasn’t the only team making sweeping changes.
Just down the highway the New Jersey Devils weren’t going to be left behind. Adding Jack Hughes and P.K. Subban in a matter of days completely changed the face of the franchise, while Wayne Simmonds and Nikita Gusev came a little later to the party. If the big task for GM Ray Shero this summer was showing Taylor Hall the team was heading in a competitive direction, mission successful.
The Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres have all made meaningful additions through trade as well, acquiring names like Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, Erik Haula, Jimmy Vesey, Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju. The latter came to Buffalo in a deal from the Chicago Blackhawks, who have certainly shaken things up over the last couple of months.
You can’t forget the Arizona Coyotes who finally have that star forward to build their offense around in Phil Kessel. The team has plenty of young talent and will happily welcome in the two-time Stanley Cup Champion, while also accepting a new owner into the fold.
Several teams around the league have taken drastic steps forward in their pursuit of playoff glory, but who had the best offseason of them all? Cast your vote below and make sure to explain yourself in the comments!
[Mobile users click here to vote]