(Note: The following are moves that should be done or should have been done to benefit each particular team this offseason. These are not predictions of what moves will be done.)
Plugging Holes: San Jose Sharks
The Hole: Scoring Right Winger
The Presidents' Trophy winners were the best team in the regular season, but that had more to do with their league-best 21.2 GVT on defense as opposed to their 20th-best -9.6 GVT on offense. San Jose has an excellent center in former Bruin Joe Thornton, 17.8 GVT, and a good left winger in Patrick Marleau, 15.8 GVT. Devin Setoguchi's 13.9 GVT is solid but not spectacular given his 8.7 GVT on offense (which puts him not only behind Thornton and Marleau, but also behind the defenseman Dan Boyle). The Sharks also lack depth at right wing, the only position on the ice without at least two players having GVTs over 10.
The Fix: Sign F Marian Hossa (UFA, Red Wings)
Hossa is going through a rough time this week. After leaving the Penguins to pursue a Stanley Cup in Detroit, his team is handed a seven-game defeat by Pittsburgh. By adding Hossa, 19.7 GVT, San Jose acquires a more productive player than anyone on the team last season. Hossa's 14 GVT on offense this past season also makes him a bigger threat than San Jose's previous top offensive threat, Thornton, who had a 12.3 GVT on offense. Hossa would instantly become the top right winger and bump everyone down the depth chart. That would leave Claude Lemieux, -1.8 GVT, as the odd man out, but he's an unrestricted free agent and he's not productive anyway.
For ESPN The Magazine's E.J. Hradek's take on the San Jose Sharks, click here.
Plugging Holes: Anaheim Ducks
The Hole(s): Scoring Left Winger
The Ducks, who went on a surprise run to the second round of the playoffs, need help with their 1.9 GVT on offense, which is ranked 18th in the NHL. Center Ryan Getzlaf, 14.9 GVT, and right winger Corey Perry, 13.1 GVT, are among the three best all-around players on the team. Left winger Bobby Ryan, 12.4 GVT, is a very good player, but with the departure of Chris Kunitz to Pittsburgh in the Ryan Whitney deal, the next best left wingman after Ryan is Drew Miller and his 1 GVT.
The Fix: Sign LW Michael Cammalleri (UFA, Flames)
Signing Cammalleri will instantly give the Ducks the left wing depth they lack. Not only would his 15.4 GVT make him the most productive all-around player on the team, but his 14.2 GVT on offense would make him the biggest offensive threat on Anaheim, far ahead of Bobby Ryan's 8.9 GVT on offense last season. Left winger Brad Larsen is an unrestricted free agent and the Ducks have approximately $18 million in cap space, given that the 2009-10 salary cap should be around $55 million. Trading defenseman Chris Pronger would be a secondary option to acquire a left winger, but with the Ducks' financial situation, there shouldn't be any urgency to move Anaheim's most expensive player.
For ESPN The Magazine's E.J. Hradek's take on the Anaheim Ducks, click here.
Plugging Holes: Los Angeles Kings
The Hole: Offense
Los Angeles, a team with an average age of 26.1, is one of the potential up and coming teams in the league with a lot of young talent. The Kings had the worst offense in the NHL last year with an anemic -30.3 GVT. The Kings might have more first round picks than the Tampa Bay Rays on their roster with Alexander Frolov, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson onboard, but they are clearly missing a major piece on offense that would help them take the next step forward.
The Fix: Trade second round draft pick, C Oscar Moller and D Colten Teubert for C Phil Kessel (RFA, Bruins)
Kessel's 15.3 total GVT and 11.8 offensive GVT would put him atop both categories for the Kings. The restricted free agent, only 21 years old, finds himself in a difficult situation with Boston. After resigning C David Krejci, the Bruins left themselves only $5 million to work with for six roster spots. Essentially, unless they can find a way to clear cap space, it looks like the Bruins have already made a decision on which young center to retain. With $15 million in cap space for the Kings, this is a move they could afford that would help in the short term and in the long term. As for Boston, while it was above average everywhere else, the Bruins were closest to league average on defense, where they had a pedestrian 1.9 defensive GVT.
Adding a cheap, young defensive talent would improve the Bruins defensive depth in the short and long term. Boston defenders Steve Montador and Shane Hnidy are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents and Zdeno Chara is already 32 years of age. Oscar Moller averaged 1.01 points per game, 69 points in 68 games, in his first year in the Western Hockey League and 1.32 points per game, 83 points in 63 games, in his second season. He is generally regarded as the Kings top prospect, but Boston could use him to help offset the lost offensive production from the departure of Kessel.
For ESPN The Magazine's E.J. Hradek's take on the Los Angeles Kings, click here.
Plugging Holes: Dallas Stars
The Hole: Goaltender
The Dallas Stars had the second least productive goaltending group, with a staggering -25.7 goaltending GVT. The Stars starting goaltender, Marty Turco, also finished last on the team in total GVT, with -9.3. Interestingly enough, Dallas was comfortably above average in the other two even-strength categories in which the offense produced a 6.7 GVT and the defense produced a 11.1 GVT.
The Fix: Sign G Martin Biron (UFA, Flyers)
Biron's 14.3 GVT would be a huge improvement over Turco's -9.3 GVT and furthermore, because 25-year-old Tobias Stephan is a restricted free agent, the Stars don't have any future superstars waiting in the wings to mind the net. Above average goaltending could swing Dallas' team GVT by at least 20 points, and would put them in contention for the fifth or sixth spot in the West. Despite all of the great potential improvements that the other Pacific division teams could make in the long-term, this signing would have the greatest impact in the short-term.
For ESPN The Magazine's E.J. Hradek's take on the Dallas Stars, click here.
Plugging Holes: Phoenix Coyotes
The Hole: Offense
While the Coyotes were never the worst in any particular category last year, they were below average everywhere. Out of all the weaknesses, the offense was clearly the worst of the bunch, with a -13.2 offensive GVT. Their roster consisted of only one statistically good player last year, right winger Shane Doan, who posted a 14.5 GVT. The next best player on the roster, defenseman Keith Yandle, posted a slightly above average 6.6 GVT. After that, the talent begins to fall off.
The Fix: Trade second round draft pick, C Matthew Lombardi and LW Brett MacLean for LW Jiri Hudler (RFA, Red Wings)
The Coyotes could make a big statement by acquiring a big name in the 5-foot-9 'Czech-native, Hudler. With a 10.9 GVT at the age of 25, he's an above average regular, who would instantly become the second best skater on the team behind Doan. Hudler, who has made around $1 million the past two years, would need a mandatory 10 percent increase in salary as a restricted free agent, so the minimum qualifying offer would be $1.215 million. If Hudler asks for a $2- $2.5 million per year salary for three years upon being dealt, the Coyotes should go for it.
Dealing Lombardi and his $1.817 million salary, third-highest on the team, to Detroit would make the increase in team payroll negligible, and the Red Wings, who have approximately $4 million in cap space, would receive cap relief. Lombardi, 3.4 GVT, isn't spectacular, but he is a decent player. The key for Detroit depends on what they do with their second round selection and top prospect, MacLean, who could replace Hudler's production in several years. MacLean averaged 1.09 points per game in his first draft-eligible year in the Ontario Hockey League, a general sign of future success for forwards, and 1.70 points per game in his last two seasons in the OHL from 2006 to 2008.
For ESPN The Magazine's E.J. Hradek's take on the Phoenix Coyotes, click here.
A version of this story originally appeared on ESPN Insider .
Andrew Rothstein is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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