The NHL’s Central Division has been pretty active this offseason
With the Chicago Blackhawks’ annual convention wrapping up, the NHL offseason is now in full-on “sleep mode” until September, when the World Cup of Hockey ramps up. With that being said, the NHL Central Division was active during the hot part of the offseason.
This list will mostly feature unrestricted free agents Central Division teams acquired, because offer sheets are rarely signed in the NHL. We had one huge trade in the Central Division and two big coaching announcements as well. So here are the top 10 offseason deals so far in the Central Division. (Trades involving Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen will not be featured.)
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10. David Perron goes back to St. Louis Blues. The Blues lost Troy Brouwer and David Backes and needed to add a big, physical forward to replace those players. Perron spent last season with both the Penguins and Ducks. He recorded 12 goals and 24 goals for 36 points. His career high is 50 points in 2008-09 with the Blues.
9. Minnesota Wild sign Bruce Boudreau as their new head coach. The Wild fired Mike Yeo before last season ended after a long losing streak. After Mike Torchetti took the Wild to the second round of the playoffs, the Wild decided not to retain him. They instead went with a proven winner in the NHL by signing Boudreau. GM Chuck Fletcher said his team needed a new voice, while Boudreau is just that, a winning voice.
8. Winnipeg Jets re-sign Mark Scheifele. Scheifele signed an eight-year contract worth $49 million. He was the second leading scorer on the team to Boone Jenner and led the team in goals with 29. This was a good move by the Jets, investing in one of their younger forwards and locking him up long term. The Jets now have two core pieces in place for the future, including defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.
7. Winnipeg Jets re-sign Dustin Byfuglien. Big Buff signed an a five-year, $38 million contract. Byfuglien had 15 goals and 17 assists last season. He has been the face of the Jets since being traded to the then-Atlanta Thrashers in 2010. The Jets showed the rest of the NHL that players do want to play in Winnipeg.
6. Minnesota Wild sign Eric Staal. Staal was looking for the right situation, and the Wild were looking for a big center with offensive talent. Staal signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract. Staal hopes to improve upon his career-low 13 goals last season and get closer to his 45 goals from 2005.
5. Dallas Stars sign Dan Hamhuis to a two-year contract. Hamhuis was a solid defenseman with Nashville before joining the Canucks. In Vancouver, injuries began to take a toll on his body. He was limited to 59 games in 2014-15 and 58 games last season. If he can stay healthy, he helps a subpar Stars defense that lost Alex Goligoski to the Arizona Coyotes.
4. Chicago Blackhawks sign Brian Campbell. The Blackhawks’ Achilles heel was their defense last season. The Blackhawks tried to replace the departed Johnny Oduya with Trevor Daley, Rob Scuderi, David Rundblad and Erik Gustafsson. None of those players were able to give the Blackhawks a reliable fourth defenseman. Campbell gives the Blackhawks a solid fourth NHL defenseman and turns a weakness into a strength. He is signed for one year at $2,250,00. He indicated at the convention he will keep re-signing one year deals as long as the ’Hawks will let him.
3. Nathan MacKinnon signs a seven-year extension with the Colorado Avalanche. The current Avalanche brain trust has made some questionable moves during its tenure, but MacKinnon’s extension was not one of them. He is a young star in the NHL and is the face of the Avalanche franchise. The contract is seven years at $44 million. MacKinnon had 52 points last season.
2. Patrik Laine is drafted by the Winnipeg Jets. Laine was the second overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Laine believes that he has the ability to be the best player in the NHL at some point in his career. He has good hands, is good in every zone on the ice and has a better shot than top overall pick Auston Matthews — per Laine himself.
1. Nashville Predators acquire P.K. Subban for Shea Weber. Subban has a Norris Trophy, an Olympic gold medal and 278 career NHL points. He also has 11 goals and 27 assists in 55 playoff games with Habs. Based on the analytics, Subban is a better player than Weber and he is younger. Most people cannot understand why Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin traded him away.