Fansided
Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks Among Central Division’s Offseason Losers

kneelbeforesaad
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 29: Niklas Hjalmarsson
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 29: Niklas Hjalmarsson /
facebooktwitterreddit
3 of 4
CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 24: General manager Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars looks on during the 2017 NHL Draft at United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 24: General manager Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars looks on during the 2017 NHL Draft at United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Dallas Stars: B+

Many are saying general manager Jim Nill is gunning for Stanley Cup contention once more. It’s a similar feeling to a couple years ago, when the team actually met expectations in the regular season before imploding in the playoffs.

I don’t necessarily agree with that sentiment, but you can’t say the Stars had a bad offseason. On the contrary, I thought they made some solid moves.

While I don’t feel Ken Hitchcock is an upgrade over Lindy Ruff behind the bench, I don’t think it’s a dropoff either. As long as Hitchcock doesn’t treat his star forwards like he treated Vladimir Tarasenko at times in St. Louis, there shouldn’t be much of an adjustment.

More from Editorials

Nill got Antti Niemi off the books and replaced him with Ben Bishop. While the latter has some injury problems, I’d say Bishop is an improvement over anything the Stars have had in net the last few seasons. And that’s where the Stars have really fallen apart roster-wise, even with their good teams. So good on Nill for taking action there.

Signing Alexander Radulov was a solid get, as he seems to be past his locker room cancer days. Martin Hanzal will improve the team down the middle, and Marc Methot is a nice piece on the back end.

The Stars may contend for a division title next season, but they still have questions. How will Bishop perform? After John Klingberg, Dan Hamhuis and Methot, do the Stars have enough on the blue line to support Bishop and his backup? Will Hitchcock try to turn a team with numerous talented athletes into a rock’em sock’em lineup? It all remains to be seen, but Nill put his team is a good spot this offseason.

Minnesota Wild: C-

Remember how I said Colorado had a quiet offseason? If their offseason was quiet, Minnesota’s was a practice in hibernation.

The only guy with legitimate NHL experience whom the Wild moved on this offseason was defenseman Kyle Quincey, and he’s pretty meh. The team did just as much with front office decisions and minor league affiliations as it did in signing or moving players.

General manager Chuck Fletcher didn’t improve his team, but he also didn’t make it actively worse. It’s interesting, because the Wild were ousted in the playoffs’ first round last season, but had a really solid regular season.

So does Fletcher think his team just needs more playoff experience? If so, he should’ve gone out and tried to acquire some. The team has almost $16 million in salary cap space. It’ll be interesting to see where the Wild stand come the 2018 trade deadline.

facebooktwitterreddit