Everyone hopes to see their teams fill holes, bolster the roster and become championship contenders in the offseason. Not everyone in the Metropolitan Division, however, got the memo.
Andrew Gillis and JJ Regan discuss which teams from the division they feel got worse in the offseason.
Andrew: The New York Rangers
A few months ago, I would’ve said the Rangers had maybe the brightest future in the Metro. Now, I’m not quite sure what they’re doing.
They moved Pavel Buchnevich, a legitimate top-line winger, for a second-round pick and Sammy Blais. They overpaid for Barclay Goodrow. The Patrik Nemeth signing wasn’t terrible, but he certainly fits into the team’s offseason mindset of sacrificing skill for toughness. The team added Ryan Reaves and Jarred Tinordi to the bottom six.
The Rangers are certainly bigger and more physical than they were a few months ago, but no one will argue they're better.
It may be overplayed to say that the incident with Tom Wilson at the end of the season played a role in their offseason, but it’s clear it played a factor. I think the Rangers saw themselves get pushed around by the Islanders enough in a physical division, and decided to put their foot down. They just made themselves much worse in doing so.
They once had one of the more promising futures in the sport, but now I’m not quite sure what they’re doing — well, I do, it just makes zero sense.
JJ: The Carolina Hurricanes
The correct answer is the Rangers, but in the interest of not rehashing everything Andrew said, I'll go ahead and pick Carolina.
The Hurricanes were going to walk away from this offseason worse because of the Dougie Hamilton situation -- you can't expect your blue line to be better when you let a Norris-caliber defenseman walk in free agency -- but their biggest wound was self-inflicted in the trading away of goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.
The major knock on the Hurricanes during their rise to a contending team has been their goaltending. Petr Mrazek and James Reimer are a good enough regular-season duo, but I doubted either could carry the team to the promised land in the playoffs. The emergence of Nedeljkovic looked like the final piece to Carolina's championship puzzle after a spectacular rookie season so to see the Hurricanes turn around and trade him away for just a third-round pick because the two-year, $6 million deal he eventually signed with Detroit was too rich for their blood is just baffling to me.
The Tony DeAngelo signing also has the potential to be a complete disaster because this is a player who has caused issues in the locker room for every team during his career.
Yes, Carolina brought in Antti Raanta, Frederik Andersen, Ian Cole and Ethan Bear to address its needs in net and on the blue line. The problem is a Raanta, Andersen tandem is a parallel move to a Mrazek, Reimer tandem which is not good enough and it lacks a true No.1 goalie. Plus, regardless of how many other players they brought in, there is no denying the Hurricanes still lost their best defenseman.
The issue for me is not that I see this team as demonstrably worse, it's that I think it completely destroyed its upward trajectory towards Stanley Cup contender and they seemingly did it to save money.