Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Bizarro-meter returns: Which team has had the weirdest offseason?

The NHL offseason isn’t over yet; it’s only mid-July, which means we still have roughly seven weeks until training camp starts. But it’s mostly over, in the sense that virtually all the big signings, trades, hirings, and firings have already taken place. While we’ll probably get the occasional surprise or two over the next month, we’re well into the summer dead zone now.

And you know what that means: It’s time to fire up the NHL Offseason Bizarro-meter! Last season we debuted the system for a breakdown of the Toronto Maple Leafs summer moves, and the poor thing barely survived. But we’ve spent the year tweaking the hardware, and we paid for the extended warranty, so let’s push things one step further by running through the entire league and seeing which teams’ moves made the least sense.

Here’s a look back at every team’s offseason so far, broken down by division and ranked in order of increasing Bizarro-meter score.

Note: For our purposes, a team’s offseason is defined as everything that happened from the moment it played its final game.


New Jersey Devils

Their offseason so far: They re-signed Jaromir Jagr and added Martin Havlat on a deal that was cheap and low-risk, and Mike Cammalleri on a deal that was not. They’ve also apparently moved on from Martin Brodeur, which we all knew was coming but still seems kind of sad.

But their strangest move was: Signing goaltender Cory Schneider to a seven-year, $42 million deal. Schneider has great numbers in recent years, but they’ve come in only 143 career games, and history tells us that assuming a goalie is a sure thing based on limited action can lead to disaster. That’s the conundrum that comes with signing goalies to long-term deals: By the time they’ve played enough to know what they are, they often don’t have enough years left to justify a long-term commitment.

Bizarro-meter reading: 3.3/10. Schneider’s deal is a gamble, although it’s probably one the Devils had to take.

Carolina Hurricanes

Their offseason so far: The two biggest moves of the offseason were the hiring of beloved former franchise player Ron Francis as GM and Bill Peters as head coach.

But their strangest move was: Not really improving the roster; they tinkered around with some depth additions, but that’s pretty much it.

Bizarro-meter reading: 3.5/10. The Francis hiring has been rumored for years, but if he doesn’t get busy soon, the Hurricanes have the potential to be bottom-feeding bad next year.

Philadelphia Flyers

Their offseason so far: Ron Hextall became GM after Paul Holmgren was “promoted” out of the job, which was pretty weird in its own right. Hextall’s first major move was trading Scott Hartnell for R.J. Umberger, and he also added Nick Schultz via free agency.

But their strangest move was: Not doing all that much. After years of the Flyers making offseason waves, Hextall has been mostly quiet. Sure, he doesn’t have any cap space to work with, but it’s not like that’s ever stopped this team before.

Bizarro-meter reading: 4.5/10. Whoever thought this guy would turn out to be the levelheaded one?

New York Rangers

Their offseason so far: They bought out Brad Richards and avoided overspending to retain free agents like Benoit Pouliot, Brad Boyle, and Anton Stralman. Their one major free-agent signing, defenseman Dan Boyle, took a discount to come to New York.

But their strangest move was: The Tanner Glass signing was odd, although even that deal was at least relatively cheap.

Bizarro-meter reading: 5.0/10. The New York Rangers are being financially responsible? What planet is this?

>> Read the full post on Grantland

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