cap situation this summer, raise your hand.
We're just three days away from the draft and ten days away from the start of free agency. That means that just two weeks from today, almost every NHL team will look significantly different than it does right now. That's good news for the majority of teams who expect to be significantly better next year. But how will they do it?
That's where the offseason to-do list comes in. Many teams have already made a list of their summer priorities and determined a plan of attack. I reached out to sources embedded with several teams, and they revealed some of the strategies they plan to be executing in the weeks and months to come.
Ottawa Senators - Meet with scouts and coaches to prepare an in-depth analysis of the various strengths in Craig Anderson's game; work on a detailed action plan for destroying them.
Toronto Maple Leafs - Remember last year when we signed Clarke MacArthur at a discount and he turned out to be a reliable everyday contributor? Just do that another seven or eight times, and we should have almost four full lines next year.
Montreal Canadiens - Communicate to fans that the bar has been raised, the competition is working harder than ever before, and that a few isolated car-burnings just isn't going to be good enough anymore.
New Jersey Devils - Step one: Don't go handing out any long-term nine-figure contracts to Russian head cases. Step two: Reread step one.
Calgary Flames - Three main priorities: 1. Place Niklas Hagman on waivers. 2. Find a trading partner willing to take Matt Stajan's contract. 3. Develop technology to prevent Flames fans from googling "Hey, whatever happened to that Keith Aulie kid we used to have?"
Phoenix Coyotes - Console the players who are no-doubt devastated by the recent announcement that the team would not be moving to Winnipeg; also, clean up all the confetti.
New York Rangers - Use advanced analysis algorithms to create a detailed ranking of all pending free agents and assign an estimated dollar value to their predicted statistical output. Then, on the morning of July 1, add a few zeros to the end of all those numbers and get shopping.
Boston Bruins - Repeatedly call up Taylor Hall, ask him how that whole "being picked #1 overall" thing worked out for him. (Tyler Seguin only.)
Winnipeg TBDs - Hold a big meeting in the boardroom with all the marketing consultants who are telling us to choose a name other than "Jets"; lock the doors; hit them repeatedly with nerf bats until they admit which rival team they're secretly working for.
Dallas Stars - Well, obviously the top priority is to trade Brad Richards before the trade deadline so that we don't lose him for nothing. So if we check this calendar, that means we have until… oh. Oh man.
Vancouver Canucks - Just finished a season that saw the team win the Presidents' Trophy, capture the Art Ross, receive nominations for both the Hart and Vezina, and win 15 playoff games, so it goes without saying that they need to blow up the entire roster and start from scratch.
Detroit Red Wings - Top up the liquefied meteor crystals that power the cyborg exoskeleton on the Lidstrombot 3000; don't forget to also paint on a few more grey hairs to keep people from catching on.
Atlanta Thrashers - Start by organizing some morale-building exercises to create a positive work environment instead of having everybody moping around all day long, according to the guy who just got back from vacation and hasn't checked his email yet.