The NHL Offseason

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The NHL Offseason

Emmet Carroll, Editor

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The 2018-2019 NHL Season kicked off last Wednesday night, and this campaign follows an exciting offseason. John Tavares signed a 7 year, $77 million dollar contract with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, a move that killed the hearts of Islanders fans. Die hard Islanders fan and Rye High School alumni John Swanson says that “Tavares leaving was the most demoralizing and frustrating thing to ever happen in my life. I wanted to stop using social media and burn all the Tavares stuff I had.” Although Tavares’ decision leaves a gaping hole in their team, the Islanders hired Barry Trotz to be their next head coach the week before Tavares left, which uplifts the spirits of crushed Islanders fans. Swanson said, “I really liked the Trotz signing. Good for the young team.” Trotz won the Stanley Cup last year with the Washington Capitals, a team that had typically seen success in the regular season and disappointed fans come playoff time. However, this past year, they finally broke through and defeated the Las Vegas Golden Knights in 5 games. Long time Alexander Ovechkin fan Sasha Vasyuta had this to say about the Capitals Stanley Cup win: “That was the best day of my life!”

One of the biggest moves of the offseason happened through a trade between the Arizona Coyotes and the Montreal Canadiens. On June 15, 2018, the Canadiens sent Alex Galchenyuk to the Coyotes in exchange for Max Domi. Galchenyuk, 24, had spent six years with the team after being drafted 3rd overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. During his tenure with the Canadiens, he racked up 108 goals and 147 assists in 418 games played. Domi, the son of former NHL player Tie Domi, was drafted 12th overall by the Coyotes in the 2013 draft. In three seasons with the team, Domi scored 36 goals and 99 assists in 222 games played. Both players will be closely watched as they get further into the season with their new teams.

 

This years draft involved one of the most predictable 1st overall picks in NHL history, as the Buffalo Sabres took Rasmus Dahlin-a no-brainer. At just 18 years old, he is slotted in as a top pair defenseman for the Sabres and has the potential to make an impact similar to those of Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid in their rookie years. He had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League since 2016 and played two games for the Swedish National Team in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, making him the youngest player to participate in the men’s tournament since 1984. He was also named best defenseman at the 2018 World Junior Tournament. Long-time Sabres fan Max Kahle was “as jubilant as I was when Lance won his second tour.” With Dahlin on the team, the Sabres are poised to be much better than years past, and the upcoming season has fans very excited. Just ask senior Alex Noga about what he thinks of Dahlin and the Sabres going into the year. He said that Dahlin is “a generational talent, it’s hard not to be excited about the Sabres this year with a guy like Dahlin.”

 

The biggest move of the offseason came on September 13 when Erik Karlsson was traded to the San Jose Sharks. In return, the Ottawa Senators received Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo, prospects John Norris and Rudolfs Balcers, and a first-round pick (either in 2019 or 2020) and a second-round pick in 2019. In 9 seasons with the Senators, Karlsson established himself as one of the best defenseman in the league, totaling 126 goals and 395 assists in 632 games. He joins a San Jose blue line with the likes of Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, making them arguably the best defensive core in the NHL. After the deal, Ottawa is penciled in as a bottom-two team this year and will have to adapt the Karlsson’s absence.

 

Other notable offseason moves include James van Riemsdyk returning to the Philadelphia Flyers, James Neal going to the Calgary Flames, Tyler Bozak signing with the Blues along with the Blues trading for Ryan O’Reilly, and Paul Stasny heading for St. Louis to the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

 

This NHL season, like all past ones, is poised to be great. With the combination of these offseason moves, there will be many stories to follow throughout the year, and some lower-tier teams should see success that their franchises haven’t seen in years. Make sure to catch up on the NHL action this year!