Eight franchises that have improved the most this offseason
The change of address cards have been filed -- well, most of them, anyway. New name plates have been glued on the office doors and on the backs of sweaters. And with most of the significant movement of the offseason in the books (other than some free agent in New Jersey, anyway), it's time to assess which teams have done the most to ensure a short-term, or long-term, improvement to their fortunes.
Not all of the moves took place on the ice, and not all will be felt immediately. Change works like that sometimes. But each of these clubs made the sort of formula alterations that give their fans hope for the future.
No points were awarded for the mind-bobbling acquisition of
They changed the locks and forgot to give new keys to
The most pressing issue facing the B's this summer is finding room under the cap. So far, GM
That said, Chiarelli managed to tackle his second biggest issue: a team that ranked dead last in offense last season. He turned a package of assets (including
They haven't developed a goalie since
Sure, he's coming off just one solid season -- and one exceptional playoff run -- so he's no one's idea of a top-10 goalie ... yet. But ask around and you'll find plenty of hockey people who believe he wasn't just a six-week flash in the pan. And honestly, he doesn't have to be the miracle worker he was for the Habs last spring. As long as he provides a reliable presence between the pipes, and maybe steals one here and there, the good times should finally arrive for the promising Blues.
For all the brave "We'd do it all over again" talk from
He's added scoring punch by acquiring Chicago cap casualty
After chalking up another aborted playoff run to a defense as thin as
The standard line is that championship teams are built from the goal out, but when the Bolts make their return to Cup contention, their success will have come from the top down.
Gone, finally, is dithering GM
These Thrashers may not boast the wattage of previous editions, but it'll be a more consistent and more competitive group. A playoff berth is within reach.