As we move closer to the dawn of a new NHL season, we will be taking a brief look at how each NHL team’s rosters have changed significantly. This time, we will be highlighting the eight teams comprising the hugely changed Atlantic division.
Tampa Bay Lightning
To begin the summer, the Lightning were embroiled in “win now” rumors. Journalists seemed certain that they were going to add someone big. First, they expressed huge interest in Islanders star John Tavares. We all know how that ended, with Tavares in a Maple Leafs sweater. They were also in the midst of trade rumors for star defenseman Erik Karlsson, who is still seemingly on the trading block. It was even reported several times that they were seeking a third team to complete the trade.
Those rumors proved fruitless (For now) however, which made their biggest signing this offseason a player who was already on the team. They re-signed recent trade acquisition Ryan McDonaugh to a 7 year deal, guaranteeing him $6.75 million per season. McDonaugh was previously the captain of the New York Rangers. Every indication is that the Lightning are happy with their roster, so don’t expect any more moves.
The first notable move for Boston was signing veteran backup Jaroslav Halak. Then, rumors that Tukka Rask might be traded circulated, but nothing came of them. They then signed Joakim Nordstrom to a one year deal, shelling out $4 million. After that, they turned around and made a big commitment to defenseman John Moore to the tune of $13.75 million over 5 years.
Moore has been consistent, but not a huge scorer during his time with the Devils, being responsible for 18 points last season, and one in the playoffs (An assist). Riley Nash was then stolen from their lineup of forwards by Columbus. The Bruins seemingly have a surplus of defensemen, so a trade of one of them, perhaps Torey Krug, could be one final move before the season begins for Boston. Other than that, they seem pretty set.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto GM Kyle Dubas shocked the hockey world when he inked superstar John Tavares to a 7 year, $77 million contract on July 1st. Now, a little more than a month and a half later, this remains their biggest signing by far (And one of their biggest in franchise history). There is also a question as to whether he will become captain of a team whose last captain was Dion Phaneuf during the 2015-16 season.
Besides re-signing restricted free agents and Tyler Ennis (Who was bought out by the Minnesota Wild), they simply didn’t need to make any other big moves. Hockey fans will have to wait and see if players like Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and/or Mitch Marner can be re-signed now to match Tavares’ contract. Such a move would make an effort to further define their championship window.
That concludes part 1. Watch out for part 2!