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Three Teams Who Got Drastically Worse This Off-Season

Published August 22, 2022 at 11:50
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We are approaching training camp time in the NHL, trades and signings are becoming less frequent, and teams are starting to prepare for the upcoming season. What your team's roster looks like now is pretty much what it will be on opening night. Every year, some teams sign the most coveted free agents, and some teams inevitably lose their best players. Sometimes teams have no choice but to trade or let go of their best player because of cap issues or the player even asking to be traded. Matthew Tkachuk is a good example this year, as he put the Calgary Flames in a bad spot by revealing to everyone in the league that he wanted out. The Flames have been fortunate to have a significant return in Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar, as well as the recent signing of Nazem Kadri. Some teams did not have as lucky a hand as the Flames and got took a significant turn for the worse this off-season. Here are three teams that did not improve this off-season.

Chicago Blackhawks

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The Hawks are undoubtedly one of the teams - if not the team - that got the worst this summer. Just hours before the draft, Kyle Davidson shocked the hockey world by trading talented forward Alex DeBrincat for Ottawa's first- and second-round picks in the 2022 draft and a third-round pick in the 2024 draft. It was all downhill from there for the Hawks. The Blackhawks, oddly enough, did not make any offers for forwards Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik. They also traded former 2019 third-overall pick Kirby Dach to the Montreal Canadiens for a first-round pick and a third-round pick in the 2022 draft. For a team looking to rebuild, getting rid of four players between the ages of 21 and 27 does not make sense. The Blackhawks' goal seemed to be to get as bad as possible as quickly as they could, and it looks like they'll have accomplished it this off-season. They will certainly be a team to keep an eye on in the Connor Bedard derby. On a positive note, the Hawks signed forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Max Domi, both of whom will have to prove themselves this season, to one-year contracts. They also drafted good prospects such as Kevin Korchinski, Frank Nazar and Sam Rinzel.


Toronto Maple Leafs

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In recent years, offense has never been a problem for the Leafs. Defense and goaltending are the reasons they have not had success in the playoffs lately. This off-season, the Maple Leafs lost Jack Campbell, their #1 goaltender, and for some unknown reason, Kyle Dubas saw fit to replace Campbell with Matt Murray. The former Penguins goaltender has a cap hit of 4.6 million and played only 20 games in the NHL last season. The Leafs also signed Ilya Samsonov for one year and $2 Million. Although this signing is not a risk and could prove to be great for Toronto, the Maple Leafs will start the 22-23 season with a tandem of Murray and Samsonov. For Leafs fan, this is nothing to be confident about... The Toronto Maple Leafs also lost a great middle-six winger in Ilya Mikheyev, who signed a four-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks. Forward Ondrej Kase left the team and was replaced by Calle Jarnkrok. Leafs fans are hoping that Sandin or Liljegren are ready to take the next step, as the Leafs only signed Victor Mete at defense this summer. Toronto's core indeed remains intact, but the rest has not gotten any better. Do not expect the Leafs to advance further in the playoffs with these new additions.

Florida Panthers

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The Panthers roster will be going with a different squad this year than they did in the last playoffs. As mentioned earlier, forward Jonathan Huberdeau and defensemen MacKenzie Weegar were traded to Calgary as part of the blockbuster trade that brought Tkachuk to Florida. Moments after the trade, Tkachuk signed an 8-year, $9.5 million AAV contract with his new team. The Florida Panthers have made it clear that they want him and Barkov to be the face of the franchise for the next few years. Perhaps the Tkachuk deal will be beneficial to the Panthers in the future, right now departure of Weegar leaves a hole on defense for the Panthers. They also lost Mason Marchment, Claude Giroux and Ben Chiarot this off-season. Bill Zito certainly did his best with the signing of defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Marc Staal, but those two are nowhere near the level of Weegar and even Chiarot. Last year's Presidents' Trophy winner will most likely still be one of the top teams in the league, but they will have to work harder to achieve that goal.
POLL
August 22   |   301 answers
Three Teams Who Got Drastically Worse This Off-Season

Which team got worse this off-season?

Chicago Blackhawks14447.8 %
Toronto Maple Leafs4314.3 %
Florida Panthers5618.6 %
Other5819.3 %
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