It's been a quiet offseason for the Blackhawks with their only roster move thus far being the signing of free-agent defenseman Sheldon Brookbank.
But is it possible that by standing pat, they've actually improved? Most teams in the Central Division have suffered a substantial departure without making any significant additions.
The Red Wings lost future Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom when No. 5 decided to retire. They also traded another one of their top-4 defensemen when they sent Brad Stuart to the San Jose Sharks and watched 25-goal scorer Jiri Hudler sign with the Calgary Flames.
Detroit was considered one of the favorites to land Ryan Suter, Zach Parise or both, but didn't sign either. To date, their biggest additions have been forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Jordin Tootoo. While they're still trying to lure Shane Doan out of Phoenix, this has been a very un-Red Wing-like offseason.
Speaking of Suter, his exit from Nashville greatly impacts a Predators team built around one of the NHL's best defensive units. But he wasn't their only significant loss. Supremely skilled right winger Alexander Radulov chose to go back to the KHL rather than re-signing. In nine regular season games, Radulov scored three goals with four assists. He had a goal and five assists in eight playoff games.
While the Columbus Blue Jackets weren't a threat to the Blackhawks, they dealt their best player, Rick Nash, to the New York Rangers for three players and a draft pick. Most experts believe they got "fleeced." Nash, 28, is a five-time All-Star who has scored at least 30 goals in each of the last five seasons despite being surrounded by minimal offensive talent.
The St. Louis Blues were impacted the least by the free agency scene. Only two players from last year's roster aren't under contract and they remain unsigned. Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo and center Jason Arnott could still return and even if they don't, St. Louis might not feel too big of an impact by their loss.
The Blackhawks racked up 101 points and finished sixth in the ultra-competitive Western Conference last season while playing without Jonathan Toews for 23 games. With better health and the weakening of some division rivals, keeping the current roster could still result in a better 2012-13, and thus, a possible deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs.