The circus that is the NHL Free Agency has come and gone… for the most part. Every team got in on the action with trades and signings but only a handful can truly say they made significant enough moves to shift their Stanley Cup odds.
Let’s take a peak at a few teams, which have seen plenty of line movement via the online sportsbooks and determine if the movements are justified or if it’s all smoke.
These teams may or may not have improved, but the public is lining up to buy their stocks anyhow. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, so they say.
Shorter Stanley Cup Odds?
Notable Additions: F Nick Foligno, D Derek Forbort, G Linus Ullmark
Notable Losses: D Jeremy Lauzon, G Jaroslav Halak
The Toronto Maple Leafs (+1100) may have overtaken the Bruins in the NHL odds, but you can chalk that to the usual Leafs hype every offseason. But Boston took one of their more notable players: Nick Foligno who should provide additional scoring and leadership.
Boston also snagged one of the more sought after netminders in Linus Ullmark, who was a rare bright spot for the Buffalo Sabres. But the Bruins’ biggest positive is managing to re-sign Taylor Hall. The team’s offense went from 19th to fifth with Hall’s addition as they look to head into 2022 even better.
Notable Additions: D Duncan Keith, F Warren Foegele, D Zach Hyman, D Cody Ceci
Notable Losses: D Ethan Bear, D Adam Larsson, D Dmitri Kulikov
The Oilers fired the first big salvo of the offseason when they acquired two-time Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith from the Chicago Blackhawks. But they didn’t stop there. Through a series of deals, they balanced their team with defensemen and two-way players.
I dunno… this looks infinitely preferable to Duncan Keith and that’s without the cap hit and the acquisition cost! https://t.co/Kw1B6OX6V9
— Romulus’ Apotheosis (@RomulusNotNuma) July 29, 2021
But all the Oilers did was move laterally. Even if Keith can recapture some of his Norris years, the Oilers still lost plenty on the blue line. There’s also this habit with goaltender Mike Smith, who they re-signed, following up a solid season with a terrible one. Close your eyes and guess which Smith shows up this coming season.
Los Angeles Kings
Current Odds: +6000
Notable Additions: F Viktor Arvidsson, F Phillip Danault, D Brandt Clarke
Notable Losses: N/A
Most of the teams on this list improved some but also lost some. That’s not true with the Kings, who have retained over 90 percent of last year’s talent. The Kings are like the Golden State Warriors of the NBA, combining stars from the previous dynasty with up-and-coming talent. Why can’t they have the best of both worlds?
Los Angeles added two-way center Danault, who was a playoff hero for the Canadiens, plus former 30-goal scorer Arvidsson from Nashville. They also addressed their blueline by taking Clarke eighth overall. But most exciting will be the having forward Quinton Byfield for the entire season. The Kings may just find a way into the playoffs.
Notable Additions: F Tyler Johnson, D Seth Jones, G Marc-Andre Fleury
Notable Losses: D Duncan Keith, D Brent Seabrook, D Nikita Zadorov, D Adam Boqvist
We’re not sure Chicago really improved in the offseason but they sure did rearrange the furniture on the blue line. The Blackhawks jettisoned over half of their defensemen but added some big names in Johnson, Jones and Fleury.
If all three play up to their reputation and captain Jonathan Toews is productive, the Blackhawks can once again become a contender. But that’s asking a lot, especially for a team that tied Buffalo in giving up the most shots a game. Good luck to Fleury.
New Jersey Devils
Notable Additions: D Dougie Hamilton, D Luke Hughes, G Jonathan Bernier,
Notable Losses: N/A
The Devils have seen their Stanley Cup odds get cut in half thanks to a pair of high-profile signings led by Dougie Hamilton. The perennial Norris Trophy contender will usher in a new era for the Devils, which also reunited Jack Hughes with his brother through the draft. Bernier also provides some much-needed help in net.
Has New Jersey improved? Of course. Will they make the playoffs? That’s still up in the air. At the very least, the Devils will be more watchable and should have their fans excited.