While the Boston Bruins added a couple of small, but important pieces to their team this offseason in goaltender Jaroslav Halak and defenseman John Moore, their two biggest Atlantic Division rivals seem to be working at a much bigger scale. The Toronto Maple Leafs have already successfully signed superstar center John Tavares to a long-term deal, while the Tampa Bay Lightning are trying hard to acquire superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson.
Those two moves (although nothing is definite about Karlsson going to Tampa) suggest that maybe Boston isn’t doing enough to improve their own team. The team looks like they lost veteran Rick Nash who is still trying to decide if he intends to return to the NHL and hasn’t added much to their forward core this season. No doubt Boston general manager Don Sweeney is trying to work the trade market in hopes of picking up a Jeff Skinner or Artemi Panarin. However, NBC Sports Joe Haggerty writes that there is nothing wrong if the team can acquire such a player, but the team needs to stay the course and not overreact to the whatever the Maple Leafs or Lightning do.
Haggerty writes the team had a plan at the end of the season and they need to stick to it, which means the team must hold onto their talented young players and not consider moving them for big-name players. The team already had a plan in place in hopes to upgrade its team, using prospects and pieces such as Torey Krug and Anders Bjork. However, the team also needs to keep their elite young players like Charlie McAvoy and Jake Debrusk, because they will need them to stay with the organization for the next decade. The team shouldn’t panic and attempt to grab a big-name player if it will cost them their long-term future.
- The Florida Panthers could be making major shakeups in their lineups next season, according to Matthew DeFranks of the SunSentinel. With the addition of more talent this season, including Mike Hoffman and a host of young talent, coach Bob Boughner has a lot of option for loading up his top line which features star Aleksander Barkov. The talented center has spent much of the last three years playing alongside Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgeni Dadonov, who arrived last season. However, with Hoffman and how well forward Nick Bjugstad played on the top line at times last season, it’s likely Barkov could get all new linemates next season, giving the team more depth on both their second and third lines.
- Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette writes that the Montreal Canadiens have done nothing to get better this offseason. The scribe writes that when you finished the season as the 28th worst team in the league, you need to make big changes. Instead, the team’s biggest trade of Alex Galchenyuk for Max Domi didn’t make the team better, especially since most experts believe that Arizona won the deal, but at best it’s a wash. Then the team’s biggest free agent signing was bringing back Tomas Plekanec, who isn’t the same player he once was and since he spent the majority of the season with Montreal last season, also can’t be anything more than a wash as well. The scribe also points out that if the team was rebuilding then they wouldn’t have tried so hard to go after Tavares or Paul Stastny this offseason. It just looks like another down year in Montreal.