That makes this a good time for some reflection. With the draft complete, several trades in the books and most of the major free agents signed, the league's teams have had plenty of opportunities to reshape their rosters. And as always, some did a better job than others.
Let's take a look back at some of the NHL's biggest winners and losers from this summer.
New York Rangers - Their annual "free agent signing which everyone agrees was the most outrageously over-priced mistake of the summer" ended up being a lot cheaper than usual this year.
Calgary Flames - Signed free agent Olli Jokinen, finally filling the "over-paid third line center" void created by the deadline day trading of Olli Jokinen.
Washington Capitals - Moved quickly to address the biggest reason for last year's crushing post-season disappointment by somehow convincing the Montreal Canadiens to trade Jaroslav Halak to the Western conference.
Atlanta Thrashers - Acquired several players from Chicago's Stanley Cup-winning roster, ensuring that for the first time in sports history a Google search for "Atlanta" and "Hawks" and "championship" will not yield zero results.
Buffalo Sabres - Didn't allow trivial distractions such as trades or free agency signings to sidetrack them from what was really important: Calling Ryan Miller every day to ask "Just checking, but you're still our starting goalie, right?"
Ottawa Senators - Announced the hiring of 51-year old Rick Wamsley as goaltending coach, immediately making him the best goalie in franchise history.
Columbus Blue Jackets - Acquired winger Ethan Moreau who, as a former Edmonton Oilers captain, will no doubt provide his new teammates with invaluable feedback on what not to do.
Detroit Red Wings - Boosted their offensive depth chart with the signing of free agent center Mike Modano, who is presumably the son of that guy who was really good for the Minnesota North Stars back in the early 90s.
New Jersey Devils - Foolishly based entire free agency strategy on the assumption that the specific terms of the CBA would be adhered to.
Toronto Maple Leafs - Their savvy acquisition of Brett Ledba to fill the role of seventh defenseman was offset somewhat by the fact that their first-line center on opening night will also be Brett Lebda.
Chicago Blackhawks - Were forced to part ways with nine regulars due to the salary cap, and now face the daunting task of somehow defending their championship with only Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, Marion Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook and a half-dozen other stars.
Florida Panthers - Despite best efforts, have likely not done enough to satisfy the expectations of their die-hard fan.
Vancouver Canucks - Lost backup goaltender Andrew Raycroft to free agency but have yet to find a replacement equally skilled at stopping NHL shooters, such as a wet sheet of paper mache.
Los Angeles Kings - In hindsight, attempt to boost employee morale by giving entire front office staff the summer off may have been a mistake.
Boston Bruins - Short-sightedly drafted future franchise player Tyler Seguin with the top two pick acquired from Toronto, leaving virtually no room on roster for franchise players available with Toronto's top two pick in 2011.