Offseason Moves That Will Have the Biggest Impact Next Season
By Jordan Laroche
It’s been a month since the Colorado Avalanche were named Stanley Cup Champions and since then we’ve seen some franchise changing moves that can have drastic impacts on the 2022-2023 season. Teams like the Detroit Red Wings and the Ottawa Senators have made numerous moves and signings taking them from lottery teams to true playoff contenders.
While there are some big names still on the free agent market and some players still hoping to move, we’re going to take a look at some moves that have the potential to make the biggest impact next season.
Johnny Gaudreau shocked the Hockey world when he announced that he was signing a seven year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Many people are still questioning the signing as the Blue Jackets have not been in the playoffs since 2020, and they face the issue many Ohio based sports teams face when trying to bring in big names.
Columbus finished the 2021-2022 season 19 points out of a playoff spot in a pretty lopsided Eastern Conference. This team is not far off from being a playoff contender and they addressed their need for consistent offense by bringing in Gaudreau.
Patrik Laine and Boone Jenner missed some time this season and had they been in the lineup this could have been a very different season for the Blue Jackets. With their new star, the Columbus Blue Jackets could very well be in the hunt for the playoffs again next season.
It was a hard choice for Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche to let their Stanley Cup winning goaltender walk this offseason, but he did and is joining the Washington Capitals. While this is a great move for the Capitals, it left the Avalanche with some tougher choices.
With Kuemper gone, the Avs re-signed Pavel Fracouz and traded for Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers. The defending Stanley Cup champions are now going into this season without a true number one goaltender.
However, for the Capitals, this is a great move. They knew they had to address goaltending this offseason after lackluster performances by Vitek Vanicek and Ilya Samsonov and they brought in the biggest fish on the market.
While this signing didn’t make a ton of noise and it may not be the sexiest, hear me out. The New York Rangers let Ryan Strome, who is coming off a 50 point season walk, hoping to get an upgrade at the 2C spot. When joining the Rangers, Strome was a 30 point player but when put on a line with Artemi Panarin he instantly became a consistent 50 point player.
While Trochek has never been able to reproduce his 75 point season in 2017-2018 the Rangers are hoping that skating with Panarin can open up his offense once again.
There may be some doubts about Trochek given his dip in points, but this has the potential to be one of the most impactful moves this offseason.
Claude Giroux/Alex DeBrincat
This was a tough choice as both Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat will make a lot of noise for the Ottawa Senators last season so I decided to put them together. Giroux, the longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain, will provide a strong voice in the locker room while still being able to produce offensively. Giroux had a great season with 65 points 75 games with 8 points in 10 playoff games, he will fit in very nicely with this young group and can help players like Tim Stutzle find their games.
While Giroux is a nice piece for a few years, Alex DeBrincat will have a long lasting impact on this Senators team. The 24 year old sniper is still developing, which is scary considering he had 41 goals last season. This will be a big test for DeBerincat to see if he can match that production without his former line mate Patrick Kane.