Every crew has some urgent want to deal with earlier than the 2022-23 season opens, and the time to behave has come.
What is the one factor every crew should accomplish throughout this offseason, whether or not it’s within the draft, by free company or with a commerce? The Athletic requested the writers who know the groups greatest. Here’s what they mentioned.
The Ducks are in severe want of a top-four defenseman after buying and selling away Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson. Cam Fowler can’t do every thing for them, Kevin Shattenkirk is greatest fitted to a third-pairing function at this stage of his profession, and Jamie Drysdale continues to be studying the right way to deal with the chore of enjoying large minutes night time after night time. They may additionally use one other scoring winger within the worst manner, however shoring up the blue line needs to be the primary order of enterprise.
— Eric Stephens
If you add the gamers traded away on the deadline to those on expiring contracts (together with Phil Kessel, Anton Stralman, Antoine Roussel, Loui Eriksson), the Coyotes have a necessity for extra serviceable NHL gamers and the cap room to accommodate any crew making an attempt to dump a high-salaried, underperforming participant. That was final summer season’s blueprint, and it isn’t altering now.
— Eric Duhatschek
Center. Even if Patrice Bergeron returns, the Bruins want assist in the center. Bergeron shall be 37 and coming off elbow surgical procedure. Erik Haula and Charlie Coyle are the second- and third-line facilities. Haula is unrestricted on the finish of 2022-23 and never assured to return. Meanwhile, whether or not prospects Trent Frederic and Jack Studnicka can turn out to be full-time NHL facilities is unknown.
— Fluto Shinzawa
The Sabres re-signed Craig Anderson to a one-year take care of a $1.5 million cap hit this week. But common supervisor Kevyn Adams was fast to level out that the signing received’t forestall them from making one other transfer in web. Anderson is 41, and the Sabres’ solely possibility behind him in the meanwhile is Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who has promise however stays unproven. Buffalo wants to seek out one other dependable goalie who can play a starter’s share of video games, as a result of there’s no assure Anderson or Luukkonen will be capable of do this this coming season.
— Matthew Fairburn
This depends upon how free company goes. If Johnny Gaudreau stays in Calgary, then the most important want would doubtless be filling out the protection group and depth forwards. If Gaudreau leaves, the main focus would shift to discovering a technique to exchange his ability degree and offensive manufacturing — or on the very least discovering a substitute who can get near it. In different phrases, the Flames might want to discover a new top-line participant.
— Hailey Salvian
The Canes have struggled with scoring by their previous two playoff runs and will use a power-play weapon/scoring winger as they gear up for 2022-23. It appears unlikely that may occur in free company contemplating their cap area predicament, in order that piece is likely to be greatest acquired in a commerce.
— Sara Civian
The Blackhawks want nearly every thing wanting a No. 1 defenseman, a No. 1 left wing and a No. 1 proper wing. But greater than something, they want picks, prospects and younger gamers. Stan Bowman left the cabinet fairly naked, so Kyle Davidson’s focus shall be on piling up futures within the hope that a few of them will pan out. Oh, and a goalie or two can be good, contemplating they don’t have any NHL goalies underneath contract for subsequent season.
— Mark Lazerus
Colorado simply received the Stanley Cup, so its 2021-22 roster didn’t end with many wants. This offseason’s wants will rely on which free brokers common supervisor Joe Sakic decides to re-sign. Forwards Nazem Kadri, Valeri Nichushkin, Andre Burakovsky, Darren Helm, Andrew Cogliano and Nico Sturm are free brokers, in addition to defensemen Josh Manson, Jack Johnson and Ryan Murray and goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
— Peter Baugh
Zach Werenski is the Blue Jackets’ clear-cut No. 1 defenseman, and he’s on an island till they kind out the fitting aspect of their blue line. Andrew Peeke performed above his head to pair with Werenski final season, however that’s not seen as a long-term repair. The Jackets could have addressed this in final yr’s draft by choosing Corson Ceulemans late within the first spherical, however he’s most likely a few years away. Adam Boqvist, Jake Bean and Nick Blankenburg can all play the fitting aspect, however the supreme enjoying companion for Werenski is almost definitely not presently with the group.
— Aaron Portzline
The Stars want so as to add scoring, which is a broad goal that may be addressed by totally different avenues. They’ve already accomplished that in teaching by hiring Pete DeBoer, however they now want so as to add gamers as properly. This contains forwards and defensemen. Given the Stars’ tight salary-cap state of affairs, it’ll principally come by discount offers or inside choices with a handful of promising prospects.
— Saad Yousuf
Left-side protection. There’s actually a case for a No. 2 heart, however Detroit might be changing almost all the left aspect of its blue line, with solely Jordan Oesterle presently underneath contract. Top prospect Simon Edvinsson is predicted to problem for a roster spot, however even then, important minutes can be found on a blue line that desperately wants to enhance.
— Max Bultman
Probably goaltending, and that’s significantly the case if Mike Smith’s profession is over. Smith was wonderful down the stretch and had his moments within the playoffs, however he’s contemplating hanging up the pads at age 40. The Oilers have restricted cap area, and Smith has only a $2.2 million hit, so discovering a really perfect substitute might be troublesome. Edmonton has proven curiosity in pending unrestricted free brokers Darcy Kuemper and Ville Husso earlier than.
— Daniel Nugent-Bowman
Until a couple of days in the past, it was a coach. Now Paul Maurice is formally within the fold. Maurice has coached extra NHL video games than all however three different folks, with out a lot playoff success, and the Jets had been a large number by the tip of his time in Winnipeg. We’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, past the requisite roster tweaks you see from groups within the Panthers’ place, you need to assume Bill Zito wish to begin speaking extensions with Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar.
— Sean Gentille
The high want is a left-side defenseman, simply barely forward of one other top-six scorer. With Drew Doughty and Sean Walker coming back from long-term accidents, the fitting aspect of the protection is loaded, however the left is skinny past Mikey Andersson.
— Eric Duhatschek
Besides awaiting a call from Marc-Andre Fleury that may decide whether or not the Wild must pursue a second goalie, they want aim scoring. With restricted cap area, that doubtless might want to come internally, although. There’s some hope that Marco Rossi can step in and supply a Calder Trophy-contending season. And there’s a wing and a prayer that a number of gamers who had profession seasons received’t regress. But the fact is it received’t be simple to switch the manufacturing of Kevin Fiala, who was traded to Los Angeles after a career-best 33-goal, 85-point season, while you’re a crew that may’t throw round cash this offseason … and the subsequent two, for that matter.
— Michael Russo
Cap aid. The Canadiens will take heed to proposals concerning nearly anybody underneath contract not named Suzuki or Caufield as a result of they should create some monetary oxygen with the state of Carey Price’s knee nonetheless up within the air. Regardless of what occurs with Price, gamers underneath contract — led by defenceman Jeff Petry — can be found. The query is whether or not there’s a market on the market for a lot of of them with virtually all the league needing to depend each greenback.
— Arpon Basu
Another high-impact ahead. Make it two if Filip Forsberg finally ends up elsewhere. The Preds may additionally use defensive assist, however the largest drawback final season was discovering two different top-six forwards to go together with Forsberg, Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen and Mikael Granlund. Philip Tomasino is rising. But a big manufacturing void stays.
— Joe Rexrode
Goaltending is excessive on the checklist after this previous season’s catastrophe between the pipes, and a high-end winger is true up there, as properly. How the group views Mackenzie Blackwood at this level determines the precise order. Maybe it’s truthful to say (1A) goaltender and (1B) winger.
— Shayna Goldman
The Islanders had been too gradual and plodding on protection final season, and assuming Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene aren’t coming again, they’ll want some contemporary younger legs on the again finish. In an ideal world, they’ll discover a puck-moving, offensive defenseman to play with rising teenager Noah Dobson.
— Kevin Kurz
To maintain as a lot of the Eastern Conference finalist crew collectively for subsequent season and past. The Rangers introduced in a lot of assist on the commerce deadline, they usually can’t maintain most of these reinforcements. The problem is to spice up their depth, particularly at ahead, and never take a step backward.
— Arthur Staple
There is a wholesome debate in Ottawa proper now as as to whether the Senators want a top-six ahead or a top-four defenceman. In actuality, each are urgent wants. The Senators seem set on the left aspect of their protection with Thomas Chabot and Jake Sanderson, however they might most likely use a gradual and dependable right-handed defenceman of their high 4. Up entrance, the crew has determined to maneuver Tim Stützle to the centre-ice place, which has created a gap for one more top-six winger.
— Ian Mendes
If the Flyers are intent on making an attempt to show round their crew shortly, they desperately want an infusion of high-end expertise. Sean Couturier is coming off again surgical procedure, and though he’s an ideal participant, he’s not one who actually scares defenses. And now Claude Giroux is gone and unlikely to return through free company. They want game-changers — offensive weapons who can spearhead an influence play and create matchup points. Whether they will get one (or extra) is one other story, as these kinds of gamers usually are not simple to seek out.
— Charlie O’Connor
Either re-signing No. 2 heart Evgeni Malkin and No. 1 defenseman Kris Letang to team-friendly new contracts (each are pending UFAs) or changing one or each gamers with out overspending on the open market. The Penguins will discover neither possibility is simple.
— Rob Rossi
The Sharks want to attain extra objectives subsequent season. They may use an elite aim scorer however could not have the cap flexibility to land one. If not that, a few top-nine forwards who might help enhance the depth behind Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier mixed with William Eklund’s ascension or a few rookies from final yr making a leap may get San Jose nearer to a league-average offense.
— Corey Masisak
Top-six forwards and goaltending. The Kraken had been twenty ninth in objectives scored final season. As for goaltending, it’s a layered dialogue. It begins with discovering a stopgap measure now that Chris Driedger is out for many of the common season. Another part is discovering a goaltending coach who might help repair what proved to be a serious problem final season.
— Ryan S. Clark
The Blues’ largest want stays a top-four left-shot defensemen. They addressed it on the commerce deadline final yr by buying Nick Leddy from Detroit, however Leddy is ready to turn out to be a UFA and there’s no assure he’ll be re-signed. If Leddy does depart in free company, the Blues may revisit choices resembling Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun or Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov. They’ll want somebody to play with Colton Parayko or Justin Faulk.
— Jeremy Rutherford
The Lightning firmly imagine they’re “not done,” saying they’ll have an opportunity to compete for Cups in coming years. They don’t want a lot, particularly if they will retain UFA Ondrej Palat after already re-signing Nick Paul. GM Julien BriseBois mentioned he has talked to Palat’s agent, together with Jan Rutta’s, and that each need to keep. Other than that, bringing in some pace for depth up entrance may assist.
— Joe Smith
With Jack Campbell a UFA and Petr Mrazek doubtless additionally on the outs, discovering a manner so as to add two high quality goaltenders regardless of restricted cap area stands as the most important precedence. Given a skinny free-agent crop in aim, Kyle Dubas has his work minimize out.
— James Mirtle
Cap area. There are, after all, apparent wants on Vancouver’s roster, with the again finish, specifically, protruding as a weak point. But Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin have repeatedly emphasised the significance of releasing up cash. After all, with out cap area, the membership received’t have the flexibleness to reap the benefits of alternatives on the commerce market and/or free company anyway. Look for the Canucks to doubtlessly store a few of their top-nine expertise to create that cap room.
— Harman Dayal
Vegas’ largest offseason want is cap area. The Golden Knights are already pressed towards the wage ceiling with an $85.2 million projected cap hit for subsequent season and nonetheless hope to signal pending UFA Reilly Smith and their 4 key RFAs to contract extensions. Vegas already shed $5 million by buying and selling Evgenii Dadonov to Montreal and can doubtless be in search of no less than yet another cap-shedding maneuver this summer season.
— Jesse Granger
They desperately want a No. 1 goalie. RFAs Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek have been given ample alternative to determine themselves however, to this point, haven’t. The Caps can’t afford to attend any longer. GM Brian MacLellan, it appears, has two choices: (1) Sign a starter from a weak pool of unrestricted free brokers or (2) swing a commerce. The second possibility appears to be the very best route however, sadly for MacLellan, he’s not the one GM of crew in want of assist between the pipes.
— Tarik El-Bashir
Winnipeg’s largest want is for Rick Bowness to generate buy-in such that Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mark Scheifele stay a part of the crew’s long-term plans. Dubois has reportedly communicated an intention to check the 2024 UFA market, whereas the contracts of Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Connor Hellebuyck all expire that very same summer season. If the Jets signal Dubois for the quick time period and don’t make any drastic modifications, then they want top-six ahead depth, significantly on the fitting aspect, a little bit sandpaper, a backup goaltender (who may properly be UFA Eric Comrie) and a plan for his or her crowded protection corps.
— Murat Ates
(Top picture of Toronto goalie Jack Campbell, an unrestricted free agent: Mark Blinch / NHLI through Getty Images)