Looking Back on the Good and Bad of the 2015 Offseason: Pacific Division

Cam Lewis
January 24 2016 09:00AM

A few months ago, I looked at all of the moves each team had made over the offseason with the goal of figuring out which trades and signings were good and bad, and what each teams goals were and whether or not they did a good job of making personnel changes to achieve them. Now, since an adequate amount of time has passed, I'm going to pull those assessments up, throw on my hindsight goggles, and look back on the good and the bad moves from the 2015 offseason. 

The Ducks tried to be conservative with their spending, but cancelled it out by overpaying to become the 2011 Vancouver Canucks. Speaking of the Canucks, I'm not sure why anybody thought it was a good idea to sign Luca Sbisa to three more years. The Kings kept it cool despite all of the wild stuff happening around them, and as a result, they're back on top of the Pacific. And the Oilers, after a summer filled with enormous amounts of luck in which their franchise was turned around at the snap of a finger (or at the drop of a lottery ball), have been thrown through a chopping block. Let's get into it. 

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The Roundup

Nation World HQ
January 22 2016 06:00AM

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Surgeries for everyone in Edmonton, Flames Smid joins exclusive club, to trade or not to trade Leo Komarov in Toronto, Canucks GM on the trade market, John Scott's path to no where, trade deadline speculation, fantasy hockey and more in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by DraftKings.

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The Carolina Hurricanes and soon-to-be UFA Eric Staal

Cam Lewis
January 20 2016 10:35AM

All season, the Carolina Hurricanes’ underlying numbers have suggested that they’re a better team than their record indicates. The Hurricanes have spent the majority of the season boasting one of the league’s best Corsi For percentages at even strength, but thanks to an incredibly low PDO, driven by both poor goaltending and a mediocre shooting percentage, they haven’t had the results they probably deserve. 

Over the past few weeks, the Canes have put together a pretty solid run, improving their record to 20-19-8 and pulling themselves right into the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race. That said, even though their improved record puts them in playoff contention, they still have to make a decision regarding soon-to-be free agent Eric Staal. 

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With Petr Mrazek The Reward Has Been Outweighing The Risk

Dimitri Filipovic
January 18 2016 10:02AM

Coming into the season, the Detroit Red Wings were one of just a handful of teams in the league not to have a clear-cut number one starter locked in for the lion's share of the workload in net. That's not to say that it was necessarily a bad plan by any means, given what we know about how much more efficient rested goaltenders are than their tired counterparts. 

If anything I suspect there's too much stock put into the importance of maintaining the conventional dynamic of having a workhorse starter and his prototypical backup that's only around to spell him on occasion. With how much the position has evolved and the talent pool deepened, there's no excuse for a team not to have two equally reliable options it can alternate to ensure peak performance during the marathon that is an 82-game season. The benefits of having that depth and versatility far exceeds any awkwardness that may arise from the uncertainty of not knowing whose turn it is. It's a good problem to have. 

Which made the Red Wings preseason plan perfectly reasonable, considering they happened to be blessed with two very functional candidates to start on any given night. Even though the writing may have ultimately been on the wall all along given the organization's decision to roll with Mrazek in the playoffs last spring, they still seemed determined to at least give the timeshare experiment a chance by having Mrazek and Howard each start 6 of the team's first 12 games. 

The idea was commendable in principle, though it didn't wind up lasting very long in practice. 

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Anze Kopitar's new contract will be ugly later on, but it's necessary for the Kings right now

Cam Lewis
January 16 2016 01:05PM

The Los Angeles Kings have answered one of their most pressing questions by signing star forward Anze Kopitar to an eight-year extension worth $80 million. Well, I guess that answers one question, which was how they were going to fit Kopitar and his inevitably massive free agent salary into the team’s cap structure, but we’re still left wondering how the Kings are going to make everything work financially moving forward. I mean, having Kopitar locked up is great and all, but there still needs to be a roster around him, something the Kings don’t have much cap space to put together. 

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