With the NHL offseason winding down and the new hockey year quickly approaching (hallelujah!), teams are now making mad scrambles to secure big names this offseason. With Nazem Kadri joining the Calgary Flames and big, cross-conference trades making huge waves across the league, there’s been a lot already happening that makes for good storylines and conference shakeups this coming season. These are the three most shocking situations of the NHL offseason.
The Florida Panthers parting with Jonathan Huberdeau
In a blockbuster move during the NHL offseason, the Florida Panthers sent superstar, team-leading forward Jonathan Huberdeau to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Matthew Tkatchuk. In the deal, the Cats also sent a young, promising blue liner in Mackenzie Weegar as a part of a package that saw them get only one NHL player in return.
It was an interesting decision, especially considering Tkatchuk ad already made it clear to Florida that he would not sign a long-term deal in Calgary, per The Athletic. Granted, Huberdeau and Weegar were both slated to become UFAs at the end of the 2022-23 season when the deal was made. But Huberdeau quickly signed a huge extension with his new club, locking him up for the entirety of his prime. While many debated who won the deal (ahem, Calgary, ahem), it cannot be debated that this was the biggest move this NHL offseason.
Related: Updated 2022-23 NHL schedule
Chicago Blackhawks trade Alex DeBrincat as Patrick Kane situation evolves
There’s no questioning that the Chicago Blackhawks, after years of not making the playoffs, are in the midst of a rebuild. Patrick Kane is likely on the move with rumours heightened by his comments to the press that very clearly state that he doesn’t want to play with his Hawks teammates anymore. That leaves a bunch of cap space and a ton of young talent (despite a very heavy Seth Jones contract on the team’s back end), which made parting with young talent like Alex DeBrincat an interesting decision, and one that made a few heads turn this NHL offseason.
The Hawks sent The Cat to the also-rebuilding Ottawa Senators in exchange for for the seventh and 39th overall picks in the 2022 NHL Draft and a 2024 third-round pick. Getting three prospects in exchange for one seems reasonable, but it also is more than reasonable to suggest that DeBrincat, who is only 24, is young enough–and talented enough–to build a team around. Just ask the Senators, who will likely do it themselves since Chicago passed on the opportunity. DeBrincat is in the final year of a three-year, $19.2 million contract with an average annual value of $6.4 million and could put up even bigger numbers in his contract year.
John Klingberg gets some California love
Early in the NHL offseason, veteran defenseman (and power play expert) John Klingberg left the Dallas Stars, choosing to sign a one year deal with the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks lost veteran blue liner Josh Manson when they dealt him to the Stanley Cup winning Colorado Avalanche at the trade deadline, though many expected him to return to California.
Instead, the big blue liner inked a four year deal to stay in Denver, and John Klingberg takes his place in the top defensive pairings. The one-year, seven million dollar deal is what’s confusing–it suggests a trust in his abilities with a decently large AAV, but a lack of trust with a one year timeline. Klingberg is huge on the power play, but age may have played a factor in the terms. Still, offering an ageing veteran that kind of money seems contradictory to that thought process.In a relatively quiet NHL offseason for defensemen, it seems strange that this is the deal the Ducks–and Klingberg’s team–agreed to.