32 NHL clubs will report for training camp later this month after a busy summer that saw over 100 free agent signings and 60 trades. A number of teams will look dramatically different because of moves to improve, rebuild or made out of necessity to adjust to the league’s flat salary cap.
Here is how teams in the Metro will look to start the 2021-22 regular season next month.
New York Rangers
The Rangers are chock full of young talent, with Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox and top picks Alexis Lafreniene and Kappo Kakko, but underwent a management and coaching upheaval, firing Team President John Davidson, GM Jeff Gorton and head coach David Quinn in favor of Chris Drury and Gerard Gallant.
The Tom Wilson – Artemi Panarin incident at the end of last season was clearly the impetus of New York’s offseason changes, as Drury brought in Reaves and Blais for muscle and sandpaper and signed two-time Cup winner Goodrow to a six-year deal to provide forward depth.
After missing the playoffs, Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher was given marching orders to shake up his roster and address the club’s need to upgrade their defense and made three major deals to acquire a pair of blueliners and a feisty forward. Patrick and Myers were swapped to Nashville for Ellis (who likely will play on the top pairing with Ivan Provorov), Hagg and the Flyers first were sent to Buffalo for Ristolainen, and Voracek was moved back to Columbus for Atkinson.
Yandle and Brassard played under head coach Alain Vigneault in New York, while Jones is expected to shoulder a bigger workload than Elliott to take some of the heat off of Carter Hart. Clearing out the salaries of Gostisbehere and Voracek enabled Fletcher to extend young forward Joel Farabee and top center Sean Couturier.
The Penguins may have been the club most wounded by the expansion draft, swapping Jared McCann to Toronto for prospect Filip Hallander to avoid him being claimed by Seattle and losing Tanev to the Kraken. GM Ron Hextall replaced his losses up front by signing McGinn away from Carolina on a four-year, $11 million deal and Heinen on a one-year deal.
Pittsburgh essentially stood pat with last year’s roster, including starting goalie Tristan Jarry, who stumbled in their first round loss to the Islanders, but the availability of both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to start the year may be in question due to offseason surgeries.
Who’s In: Vitek Vanacek, Matt Irwin
The Capitals were victimized as much as any club by the flat salary cap. GM Brian MacLellan was forced to move veteran defenseman Dillon to Winnipeg to clear his $3.9 million cap hit and did not make any impact signings in free agency.
Washington lost Vanacek to Seattle in the expansion draft after the rookie made the bulk of their starts in goal last season, but re-acquired the 25-year-old for a future second-round pick to team with youngster Ilya Samsonov.
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