The Good and Bad of Summer 2017 (So Far): Pacific Division

Cam Lewis
July 25 2017 10:30AM

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PHOTO CREDIT: GARY A. VASQUEZ-USA TODAY SPORTS

This is one part of a four-part, division-by-division series looking at the moves made by each team this offseason and what they still have left to do before the season begins. 

The Coyotes took a major step forward into actually contending, the Ducks navigated nicely through the expansion draft, the Flames continued their search for a legitimate goaltender, the Oilers have half of their star duos signed, the Kings shook up their front office, the Canucks are still trying to make something happen, the Sharks are moving into a new era, and the Golden Knights will play their inaugural season.

Anaheim Ducks

  • Re-signed Patrick Eaves to a three-year contract with a $3.15 million cap hit.
  • Signed Cam Fowler to a seven-year extension with a $6.5 million cap hit.
  • Signed Ryan Miller to a two-year contract with a $2 million cap hit.
  • Signed Dennis Rasmussen to a one-year, $725k contract.
  • Minor signings: Reto Berra, Steve Olesky, Derek Grant, Michael Liambas, Scott Sabourin.
  • Traded Shea Theodore to the Vegas Golden Knights so they would select Clayton Stoner in the expansion draft.
  • Minor re-signings: Korbinian Holzer, Sam Carrick, Jacob Megna, Kevin Boyle.
  • Bought out Simon Despres’ contract.
  • IN: Ryan Miller, Dennis Rasmussen, Reto Berra, Steve Olesky, Derek Grant, Michael Liambas, Scott Sabourin.
  • OUT: Clayton Stoner, Shea Theodore, Simon Despres, Jonathan Bernier, Nate Thompson, Emerson Etem, Jhonas Enroth, Ryan Garbutt.

The key all year for the Anaheim Ducks heading into the summer was how to navigate the expansion draft. With a wealth of young talent and veterans locked up to no-movement contracts on their roster, it seemed Anaheim would inevitably lose a good player like Josh Manson or Rickard Rakell to Vegas. But they didn't. The Ducks pulled a deal with George McPhee, sending the Golden Knights prospect Shea Theodore in exchange for also taking the final year of Clayton Stoner's contract. 

Other than that, it was about housekeeping for Anaheim this summer. They got Cam Fowler locked up to a seven-year contract, they re-signed trade deadline acquisition Patrick Eaves to a three-year contract, and brought in Ryan Miller on a cheap two-year deal to fill in Jonathan Bernier's old backup role. The Fowler deal seems a little bit steep, considering his lack of consistency the past few seasons, but he's coming off easily the best season of his career. If they weren't going to give him that kind of money, somebody else would have. 

This time last year it seemed impossible that the Ducks would be able to work through this situation unscathed. Their cap situation was a mess and they had multiple good, young players to sign at the same time. Now, the Ducks have their core that reached the Western Conference Final locked up for the foreseeable future. 

Arizona Coyotes

  • Re-signed Jordan Martinook to a two-year contract with a $1.8 million cap hit.
  • Re-signed Tyler Gaudet to a one-year, $650k contract.
  • Re-signed Nick Cousins to a two-year contract with a $1 million cap hit.
  • Signed Adam Clendening to a one-year, $650k contract.
  • Signed Emerson Etem to a one-year, $850k contract.
  • Minor signings: Michael Latta, Zac Rinaldo, Joel Hanley, Andrew Campbell, Mario Kempe.
  • Traded a 2017 first round pick and Anthony DeAngelo to the New York Rangers for Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta.
  • Traded Laurent Dauphin and Connor Murphy to the Chicago Blackhawks for Nicklas Hjalmarsson.
  • Traded Mike Smith to the Calgary Flames for Chad Johnson, Brandon Hickey, and a third round pick.
  • Traded Brenden Warren and a 2018 fifth round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for Nick Cousins and Merrick Madsen.
  • Lost Teemu Pulkkinen in the expansion draft.
  • IN: Nicklas Hjalmarsson, Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta, Nick Cousins, Brandon Hickey, Merrick Madsen, Adam Clendening, Emerson Etem, Michael Latta, Zac Rinaldo, Joel Hanley, Andrew Campbell, Mario Kempe.
  • OUT: Shane Doan, Mike Smith, Teemu Pulkkinen, Anthony DeAngelo, Connor Murphy, Brenden Warren, Chad Johnson, Josh Jooris, Grayson Downing, Radim Vrbata, Peter Holland, Jarred Tinordi, Jamie McBain, Chris Mueller, Alex Burmistrov.
  • UNSIGNED: Anthony Duclair (RFA), Shane Doan (UFA).

It was a summer of change in Arizona. Andrew Barroway bought out the rest of the IceArizona ownership group and is now sole owner of the team. Dave Tippett, who had coached the team for eight seasons, left the organization. Captain Shane Doan, the franchise leader in virtually every statistical category, seems to be leaving too. 

Josh Chayka pulled the trigger on three major trades that completely re-shaped what the team looks like on the ice. He acquired Nik Hjalmarsson from Chicago in a shocking deal that sent Connor Murphy back to the Hawks, he sent a first round pick and a prospect to New York for Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta, and he shipped Mike Smith to Calgary. In one swoop, Chayka acquired a top centre, a possible top goalie, and a veteran, shut down defenceman with Stanley Cup pedigree all while walking away from Shane Doan and Mike Smith, a couple of old franchise mainstays. 

There's no doubt the Coyotes are better now than they were at this time last year. That's important because this team badly needs to start winning. They have an excellent core of prospects, and now they finally have some veteran talent for them to grow up around. Now, the final key to this New Coyotes ordeal is finding the team a permanent home to play in. 

Calgary Flames

  • Re-signed Kris Versteeg to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
  • Re-signed Michael Stone to a three-year contract with a $3.5 million cap hit.
  • Re-signed Michael Ferland to a two-year contract with a $1.75 million cap hit.
  • Re-signed Curtis Lazar to a two-year contract with a $950k cap hit.
  • Signed Spencer Foo to a two-year entry-level contract.
  • Minor signings: Marek Hrivik, Josh Healey, Luke Gazdic.
  • Minor re-signings: David Rittich, Jon Gillies, Garnet Hathaway.
  • Traded Chad Johnson, Brandon Hickey, and a third round pick to the Arizona Coyotes for Mike Smith.
  • Traded a 2018 first and second round pick and a conditional second round pick to the New York Islanders for Travis Hamonic and a conditional fourth round pick.
  • Traded Keegan Kanzig and a 2016 sixth round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for Eddie Lack, Ryan Murphy, and a 2019 seventh round pick.
  • Traded Tom McCollum to the Detroit Red Wings for a conditional seventh round pick.
  • Bought out Lance Bouma and Ryan Murphy’s contracts.
  • Lost Deryk Engelland in the expansion draft.
  • IN: Travis Hamonic, Mike Smith, Eddie Lack, Spencer Foo, Marek Hrivik, Josh Healey, Luke Gazdic.
  • OUT: Lance Bouma, Deryk Engelland, Brian Elliott, Chad Johnson, Brandon Hickey, Keegan Kanzig, Tom McCollum, Ryan Murphy, Brandon Bollig.
  • UNSIGNED: Sam Bennett (RFA), Tyler Wotherspoon (RFA), Alex Chiasson (UFA).

The Flames game of goaltender musical chairs continued this summer. The team let Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson go and are replacing them with Mike Smith and Eddie Lack, who were acquired via trade. Since Miikka Kiprusoff retired in 2013, the Flames have gone through Karri Ramo, Reto Berra, Jonas Hiller, Joni Orito, Elliott, and Johnson, but still haven't found a solution. 

Smith, who turned 35 years old in March, has two years left on his contract. He posted a good-but-not-great .914 save percentage last season with the Coyotes, but it's hard to really analyze a goalie playing for team that was so terrible. The Flames clearly have a significantly better blueline than the Coyotes do — one that they upgraded big time by trading for Travis Hamonic — but Smith hasn't been overly successful since the 2011-12 season in which he helped push the team to the Western Conference Final. 

The Flames also have some work to do, as Sam Bennett is still without a contract. His entry-level deal is expired, and his career-high is 36 points, so while there's certainly optimism about his future, he clearly hasn't done anything to warrant more than a bridge deal at this point. 

Edmonton Oilers

  • Signed Connor McDavid to an eight-year contract extension with a $12.5 million cap hit.
  • Re-signed Zack Kassian to a three-year contract with a $1.95 million cap hit.
  • Re-signed Kris Russell to a four-year contract with a $4 million cap hit.
  • Re-signed Eric Gryba to a two-year contract with a $900k cap hit.
  • Signed Jussi Jokinen to a one-year, $1.1 million contract.
  • Minor signings: Yohann Auvitu, Brad Malone, Ryan Stanton, Ty Rattie, Edward Pasquale, Keegan Lowe, Brian Ferlin, Grayson Downing, Mitch Callahan.
  • Minor re-signings: Dillon Simpson, Joey LaLeggia, Jujhar Khaira, Iiro Pakarainen.
  • Traded Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders for Ryan Strome.
  • Bought out Benoit Pouliot’s contract.
  • Lost Griffin Reinhart in the expansion draft.
  • IN: Jussi Jokinen, Ryan Strome, Yohann Auvitu, Brad Malone, Ryan Stanton, Ty Rattie, Edward Pasquale, Keegan Lowe, Brian Ferlin, Grayson Downing, Mitch Callahan.
  • OUT: Jordan Eberle, Anton Lander, Benoit Pouliot, Tyler Pitlick, David Desharnais, Jordan Oesterle, Matt Hendricks, Andrew Ference, Jonas Gustavsson.
  • UNSIGNED: Leon Draisaitl (RFA).

The key to this summer for the Oilers was Connor McDavid's extension. If he went into his third NHL season without a long-term deal, panic would have ensued. But just five days into his extension window, the Oilers got their franchise player locked up to an eight-year extension worth $100 million. The cap hit of $12.5 million is a record for an NHL player. That might seem debilitating for the Oilers moving forward, but you can't put a price on McDavid's value to the team. He's realistically worth more than the 20 per cent of the upper-limit maximum placed on the individual player contracts, and the fact they got him signed for lower than that is incredible. 

But there's still Leon Draisaitl. He just finished his entry-level deal and is coming off of a breakout season in which he finished eighth in league scoring. He wants to get paid. Ideally, you can get both of McDavid and Draisaitl signed long-term for $20 million annually combined, but apparently the latter is looking for upwards to $10 million per season. 

Otherwise, it's been a quiet season in Edmonton. They swapped Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome, a deal that saves them some cap room and adds some versatility to the roster, but loses them a pretty significant amount of offence. They also got Kris Russell, Eric Gryba, and Zack Kassian locked up, and bought out Benoit Pouliot and replaced him with Jussi Jokinen. The Oilers enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2016-17, the best season the city has seen in over 20 years, but if they're going to take the next step it's going to have to come through internal progression. 

Los Angeles Kings

  • Re-signed Tyler Toffoli to a three-year contract with a $4.6 million cap hit.
  • Re-signed Tanner Pearson to a four-year contract with a $3.75 million cap hit.
  • Re-signed Andy Andreoff to a two-year contract with a $675k cap hit.
  • Re-signed Kevin Gravel to a one-year, $650k contract.
  • Signed Mike Cammalleri to a one-year, $1.2 million contract.
  • Signed Darcy Kuemper to a one-year, $650k contract.
  • Minor signings: Cal Petersen, Christian Folin, Stepan Falkovsky.
  • Minor re-signings: Paul LaDue, Kurtis MacDermid, Zach Leslie, Andrew Crescenzi, Justin Auger.
  • Traded Ben Bishop’s UFA rights to the Dallas Stars for a 2017 fourth round pick.
  • Bought out Matt Greene’s contract,
  • Lost Brayden McNabb in the expansion draft.
  • IN: Mike Cammalleri, Darcy Kuemper, Cal Petersen, Christian Folin, Stepan Falkovsky.
  • OUT: Ben Bishop, Matt Greene, Brayden McNabb, Devin Setoguchi, Teddy Purcell, Rob Scuderi, Jarome Iginla, Zach Trotman.

The biggest changes in Los Angeles this summer aren't noticeable on the roster. The team moved on from general manager Dean Lombardi and head coach Darryl Sutter, the two guys who were behind the franchise's two Stanley Cup wins. But, after the Kings' second missed playoff appearance in three years, it was time for a change. Former player Rob Blake has taken over as GM while long-time assistant coach John Stevens will jump in as the head coach. 

Blake hasn't had much of an opportunity to leave an imprint on this team yet. The Kings are in the deepest depths of Salary Cap Hell and it's going to take some time to grind through it. He did manage to squeeze Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli under the cap with a couple of long-term deals, but the team didn't make any major upgrades over the offseason. 

San Jose Sharks

  • Re-signed Melker Karlsson to a three-year contract with a $2 million cap hit.
  • Re-signed Joonas Donskoi to a two-year contract with a $1.9 million cap hit.
  • Re-signed Joe Thornton to a one-year, $8 million contract.
  • Re-signed Chris Tierney to a one-year, $735k contract.
  • Signed Marc-Edouard Vlasic to an eight-year extension with a $7 million cap hit.
  • Signed Martin Jones to a six-year extension with a $5.75 million cap hit.
  • Minor signings: Antoine Bibeau, Brandon Bollig.
  • Minor re-signings: Marcus Sorensen, Tim Heed, Ryan Carpenter, Joakim Ryan.
  • Traded Mirco Mueller and a 2017 fifth round pick to the New Jersey Devils for a 2017 second round and fourth round pick.
  • Lost David Schlemko in the expansion draft.
  • IN: Brandon Bollig, Antoine Bibeau.
  • OUT: Patrick Marleau, David Schlemko, Michael Haley.
  • UNSIGNED: Barclay Goodrow (RFA).

It's the end of an era in San Jose. The Sharks got Joe Thornton signed to a one-year deal, but Patrick Marleau left the team to sign with the Maple Leafs in free agency. Marleau had played for the Sharks since 1997-98, spanning 19 of the franchise's 25 seasons. 

They've decided Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Martin Jones will be the new faces of the franchise moving forward. Burns was given, as we know, an eight-year extension back in November, and the Sharks followed it up this summer by giving Vlasic his own eight-year deal and Jones a six-year contract. Vlasic's deal, which is worth $7 million annually, is pretty heavy for a shut down defenceman who turned 30 years old in March. But, as I said earlier with Cam Fowler, somebody was likely going to give it to him in free agency, and the Sharks are built to win now with the group. 

Vancouver Canucks

  • Re-signed Erik Gudbransson to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
  • Re-signed Anton Rodin to a one-year, $700k contract.
  • Re-signed Andrey Pedan to a one-year, $750k contract.
  • Signed Alex Burmistrov to a one-year, $900k contract.
  • Signed Anders Nilsson to a two-year contract with a $2.5 million cap hit.
  • Signed Michael Del Zotto to a two-year contract with a $3 million cap hit.
  • Signed Sam Gagner to a three-year contract with a $3.15 million cap hit.
  • Signed Patrick Wiercioch to a one-year, $650k contract.
  • Minor re-signings: Evan McEneny, Joseph Labate, Jayson Megna, Michael Chaput, Reid Boucher.
  • Lost Luca Sbisa in the expansion draft.
  • IN: Alex Burmistrov, Anders Nilsson, Michael Del Zotto, Sam Gagner, Patrick Wiercioch.
  • OUT: Ryan Miller, Alexandre Grenier, Luca Sbisa, Nikita Tryamkin, Drew Shore, Philip Larsen.
  • UNSIGNED: Bo Horvat (RFA), Brendan Gaunce (UFA), Jack Skille (UFA),  Joseph Cramarossa (UFA).

There's no doubt the Canucks got better this summer. But... why? 

They signed Michael Del Zotto to a relatively risk-free two-year deal. In the past three seasons, he's been up and down, sometimes looking like a top-pairing offensive defenceman, while at other times sitting in the press box. Sam Gagner was given a three-year deal after rejuvenating his career in a special teams role in Columbus. If used properly, Gagner can be a very effective producer. They also gave Andres Nilsson, who was excellent in relief of Robin Lehner last season, a two-year deal to replace Ryan Miller as Jakob Markstrom's 1B guy. 

But, again, why? It's known the Canucks ownership wants to compete, and while these signings are savvy ones that make the team better, it's difficult to say it makes them good enough to make the playoffs. The Canucks clearly need a rebuild but seem to have dug themselves further into prolonging that inevitability. 

Vegas Golden Knights

  • Expansion draft choices can be viewed here.
  • Re-signed Erik Haula to a three-year contract with a $2.75 million cap hit.
  • Re-signed Deryk Engelland to a one-year, $2 million contract.
  • Re-signed Oscar Lindberg to a two-year contract with a $1.7 million cap hit.
  • Re-signed Teemu Pulkkinen to a one-year, $700k contract.
  • Re-signed Brendan Leipsic to a two-year contract with a $650k cap hit.
  • Re-signed Griffin Reinhart to a two-year contract with a $800k cap hit.
  • Signed Vadim Shipachyov to a three-year contract with a $4.5 million cap hit.
  • Minor signings: Reid Duke, Tomas Hyka, Chris Casto, Brad Hunt, Stefan Matteau, Paul Thompson, T.J. Tynan, Oscar Dansk.
  • Traded Trevor van Riemsdyk and a 2018 seventh round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2017 second round pick.
  • Traded David Schlemko to the Montreal Canadiens for a 2019 fifth round pick.
  • Traded Marc Methot to the Dallas Stars for Dylan Ferguson and a 2020 second round pick.
  • Traded Alexei Emelin to the Nashville Predators for a 2019 third round pick.
  • Traded Marcus Kruger to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2018 fifth round pick.
  • UNSIGNED: Nate Schmidt (RFA).

The Golden Knights are going to be a bad team in their inaugural season. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

They left some talent on the table in the expansion draft process in order to acquire draft picks — they had four in the top-60 in 2017 and currently have 10 in the top-60 the next three seasons — to help them build for the future. They've already dealt a handful of players for picks, and names like David Perron, James Neal, and Brayden McNabb could fetch them a solid return as rental assets at the trade deadline. 

Like I said, they aren't going to be good, but as we've seen from other expansion teams throughout the 1990s, it's critical for teams to stockpile high draft picks in order to actually build a competitive team with some chemistry down the road. 

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Nation Network utility infielder. Twitter: @cooom, Email: cameron@oilersnation.com
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