Because It's The Cap: Dallas Stars Offseason Preview

Cam Lewis
May 28 2017 09:00AM

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© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars were the NHL's most fun team in 2015-16, pounding teams into paste with their high-flying, 80s team offence. But in 2016-17, after losing both Jason Demers and Alex Goligoski to free agency, they predictably took a step backwards. The Stars' juggernaut offence collapsed down to league-average, and as a result, the team wasn't able to compensate for poor defence and goaltending and they fell by a whopping 30 points in the standings. 

General manager Jim Nill responded by firing head coach Lindy Ruff and replacing him with Ken Hitchcock, a familiar face in Dallas. Soon after, the Stars were blessed by the Draft Lottery gods, moving from eighth overall all the way to third. Nill has a lot of salary cap room and flexibility to work with this summer, and he's already made a major move trading and signing Ben Bishop to a long-term contract. It's already been a busy offseason in Dallas, and I imagine Nill, who's notorious for making big splashes, isn't finished yet.  

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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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