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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our thoughts on which Central Division team has had the best off-season thus far.
I think Colorado's had a nice summer.
They started things off with a really strong draft. Dynamic talents like Bowen Byram and Alex Newhook alone made the weekend a win but the Avs also made some nice value picks – such as Alex Beaucage at 79.
I thought Andre Burakovsky was a solid addition for them. His rate stats suggest he's capable of more if given the opportunity and that won't be an issue for an analytically-inclined Avs team that needed wing depth.
Joonas Donskoi is a quality two-way player who produces 5v5 points at an efficient clip. His speed makes him a natural fit for the way they like to play.
On a lesser note, P.E. Bellemare isn't a bad guy to have around to eat up tough minutes and kill penalties.
While I did prefer Toronto's side of the big trade, there's no denying the Avs had a good-sized hole at 2C and Nazem Kadri, who has averaged 28 goals and 56 points per 82 over the last three seasons, is more than capable of filling it.
The Avalanche still have some housekeeping to take care of – extending Mikko Rantanen, most notably – but they did a nice job of improving the team in the short *and* long-term.
They also maintained plenty of financial flexibility so they'll have the ability to add if and when a worthwhile opportunity arises.
This is a tough question because none of the Central Division teams really did anything good. The Jets lost Trouba in a terrible trade. The Predators gave away Subban and signed Duchene, who is really overrated. The Blues did nothing and aren't as good as people think. The Stars signed Perry, Pavelski, Polak and for all I know tried to bring Chris Chelios out of retirement. What they are thinking is unknown, but it's stupid. The only reason the Wild doesn't have the worst front office in the NHL is because of the existence of the Vancouver Canucks.
That leave Chicago and the Avalanche. The Avs traded two impact players for one, and there's no way to spin that into a good move. Retaining half of Barrie's salary is a gift the Leafs should thank him for daily. That means that the best offseason - by default - is had by the Blackhawks. They signed Robin Lehner and if he's as good as last year, it's one of the best moves anyone in the NHL made.
Of course, the odds of him being that good are less than 50% and I think they have about 11 million tied up in goalies, so......like I said - default. It is truly astounding how bad the managment in this division is.
On the Henri Jokiharju / Alex Nylander trade
Which Pacific Division team has had the best off-season?
Which Metro Division team has had the best off-season?
Which Atlantic Division team has had the best off-season?
Favorite free agent signings thus far?
Worst free agent signings thus far?
On the Tyson Barrie / Nazem Kadri trade
On the Phil Kessel trade
On the Blackhawks / Penguins trade