Because It's the Cap: Detroit Red Wings Offseason Preview

Nick Seguin
May 27 2017 08:00AM

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© Tom Szczerbowski

The Detroit Red Wings 2016-17 season was nothing less than a disappointment. Finishing with less than 80 points for the first time since the 1990-91 season, the team ranked 25th in the league, missing the playoffs for the first time in a quarter century and securing themselves a top-10 draft pick. They had the sixth worst Corsi For percentage at even strength, the fifth worst shot differential, the sixth worst team save percentage, and the fourth worst power play percentage. No matter how you cut it, the Red Wings were in the bottom third of the league.

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Because it's the Cap: Buffalo Sabres Offseason Preview

Adam Laskaris
May 26 2017 08:00AM

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Credit: Dan Hamilton / USA TODAY IMAGES

The Buffalo Sabres are uh... not a very good hockey team. Some would even describe them as trash.

Whatever the case, they finished with a -36 goal differential and ended up 17 points out of the playoffs. I'm not totally convinced they're in a worse position than the Detroit Red Wings who finished a point ahead of them in the divisional standings, but yeah, they weren't all that great either. They haven't been a playoff team "in a minute" as the kids say, and much of their fanbase is currently in a dilemma of when their rebuild actually started as well as what stage of the rebuild they're in.

Even though it seems like their push has always been to be better than the Toronto Maple Leafs basically since inception, they hit 47 years without a Stanley Cup this spring. Fans are getting a little restless, though the hiring of a new GM tends to cool some fears a little bit.

After ending a confusing three-year love affair with Tim "TMGM" Murray (who never bought them any real success besides finishing second in a draft lottery he spent the whole season planning for), the Sabres find themselves hitting the reset button. Dan Bylsma is gone, and despite being in an arena that changes its name about once every two months, it's a new era in Sabresville. And boy, has it been rough. Lost lotteries, losing better players in the draft, poor signings and one-sided trades aside, the on-ice Sabres product has been one of the league's worst going back longer than the most recent lockout.

The Sabres were the target of the most interesting offseason story we've had in a while, where Jack Eichel spoke out allegedly and then within the week the two most important front office staff were out the door.

Though they've replaced the GM, hiring a coach is a major next step for these folks, and may honestly be their most important decision of the summer. The Sabres this upcoming season either hit their seventh straight year without a playoff berth, or take a real step forward into their hopes of being competitive.

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Because It's The Cap: New Jersey Devils Offseason Preview

Cam Lewis
May 25 2017 08:00AM

The New Jersey Devils are trapped in limbo. They have a few good players on their roster right now that form the beginning of a group that you could go into the playoffs with, but there isn’t enough there to push them to that level. Also, after years of being competitive, they have virtually nothing in terms of prospect depth in their system that could make a difference. 

But the Devils have been granted a couple pieces of good fortune that could actually help turn this ship around. First, they moved from fifth overall to first overall thanks to the new NHL Draft Lottery system, and second, their old pal Ilya Kovalchuk apparently wants to make an NHL comeback, and the Devils hold his rights. 

It isn’t Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid kind of golden ticket, but the Devils are looking a hell of a lot better off than they did a few weeks ago. 

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Future Free Agents: Cody Franson

Cam Lewis
May 25 2017 07:00AM

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PHOTO CREDIT: © KIM KLEMENT-USA TODAY SPORTS

After two disappointing seasons in Buffalo, Cody Franson is headed back to the free agent market. He didn't really gel with the Sabres, as you can see based on his worse-than-usual production, but Franson is still the same big, skilled defenceman who can shoot bombs from the point, making him an attractive option for many teams in need of depth on the blueline. 

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Because It's the Cap: Arizona Coyotes

Megan Kim
May 24 2017 10:02AM

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© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody really expected the Arizona Coyotes to come out of the gate flying, although they took something of a step forward in 2015-16. If you've forgotten: They finished the year fourth in an admittedly weak Pacific Division, but strong seasons from rookies Max Domi and Anthony Duclair and Oliver Ekman-Larsson's best campaign to date gave Coyotes fans plenty of hope for the future. On top of that, the Coyotes firmly planted themselves on the analytics side of the fence when they named 26 year-old John Chayka general manager. 

Chayka went on to make some canny moves in the offseason, including taking on some deadweight in salary cap and drafting two first-round picks in Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun. 

You can't blame Coyotes fans for being a bit optimistic coming into the year. Not to be dramatic, but they were let down by some catastrophic sophomore slumps, a disjointed roster, and a down year by Oliver Ekman-Larsson's standards. Look -- Coyotes fans can still be optimistic. The best is ahead. Looking ahead is the way to go, because looking into the rearview mirror for this season? Not so pleasant.

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