By Shane Darrow on July 7, 2014
There has been a lot of focus on the NHL teams that have improved since the beginning of free agency, but here are five teams that, for one reason or another, have failed to improve their roster.
Having to replace James Neal, Jussi Jokinen, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Joe Vitale, Deryk Engelland and Tanner Glass is an impossible task, but the moves Pittsburgh's GM Jim Rutherford has made so far keeps the Pens off this list. With the amount of money those players received, it was financially impossible to keep any of them around; however, the Pens' new additions and young talent will make up for the immense talent lost since July 1.
The Calgary Flames lost Mike Cammalleri to the New Jersey Devils and made the most laughable move of the free agency period when they signed Deryk Engelland to a three-year, $ 8.7 million contract on the first day of free agency. Needless to say, the Flames will most likely be on the outside looking in when the playoffs roll around next year.
Say what you want about Thomas Vanek's effort in the postseason, but it isn't easy to replace a forward capable of putting up 70-plus points per season. Add in the loss of Brian Gionta to the Buffalo Sabres, and that leaves the Montreal Canadiens with a few gaps to fill. The only notable addition to the Canadiens during the free agency period has been Manny Malhotra, who is far, far past his prime.
On the first day of free agency, the Ottawa Senators traded Jason Spezza to the Dallas Stars and have since lost unrestricted free agent Ales Hemsky, who had 17 points in 20 games for the Senators last year, to the Stars as well. Ottawa re-signed Milan Michalek and agreed to terms with David Legwand, but the Senators are a much worse team without Spezza in the lineup.
Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland might have forgotten when the NHL free agency period started. The Red Wings have many areas where they need to improve, and all they have done is give Kyle Quincey an undeserved raise. Detroit entered the free agency period needing to improve their blue line but ended up watching Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Christian Ehrhoff and Dan Boyle all go somewhere else.
The list of players who left the Rangers is astounding. Anton Stralman, Benoit Pouliot, Brad Richards, Brian Boyle and Derek Dorsett will all have different homes next season. The Rangers added Dan Boyle, who should help the power play, but in terms of losing the most talent, they are at the top of the list. The five aforementioned players combined for 126 points last season, and the Rangers have made little effort to replace the loss of offense.
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