The off-season is usually busy, with players being traded between teams, stars being shifted in exchange for high picks in the entry draft, and those whose contracts have come to an end seeking opportunities with new organizations.
The summer of 2017 was a bit more eventful than most thanks to a new franchise entering the league, and having its pick of a select group of players from each team.
The result is that a significant amount of star players will be donning new jerseys when the season begins.
There wasn’t much surprise when the Vegas Golden Knights added Fleury as one of the first members of the club’s inaugural roster. Rumours of Fleury being plucked from the Pittsburgh Penguins began well before the team had claimed its second consecutive Stanley Cup with Matt Murray between the pipes.
Vegas gets a goaltender who can start a significant portion of games and steal a few wins as the team tries to compete in the Pacific Division.
He won’t have to do everything on his own, as the team also added James Neal and David Perron (among several others) to help the team at the opposite end of the ice.
Even though Vegas was given the chance to go on a shopping spree, the Dallas Stars came away with nearly as strong a haul via more conventional acquisitions.
The biggest addition may prove to be Radulov, who burst back onto the NHL stage and made an immediate impact on a one-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens. After putting up first-line offence and arguably being the team’s most valuable skater, he signed a five-year contract to play in Dallas, where he will complement Tyler Seguin and/or Jamie Benn.
Jim Nill was busy filling out the other positions in his lineup with big names as well, adding centreman Martin Hanzal, defenceman Marc Methot, and former Tampa Bay Lightning starting goaltender Ben Bishop.
Marleau had been a member of the San Jose Sharks since being drafed second overall in 1997. With his career approaching its end and having never hoisted the Stanley Cup (with some rather shocking playoff exits in recent years), he decided to test free agency when his contract expired.
After conversations with a few teams, he chose to sign a three-year contract with the up-and-coming Toronto Maple Leafs, where he’ll hope his solid game and goal-scoring prowess can help the team go on a deep playoff run.
No stranger to long playoff runs, the New York Rangers are hoping to finally convert one of them into a championship. To help them achieve that, they’ve turned to offensive defenceman Shattenkirk.
Perhaps the biggest name on the market at last season’s trade deadline, Shattenkirk joined another team that had underachieved when the playoffs rolled around, but he was unable to be the final piece to push the Washington Capitals over the hump. He, and his new team, will hope the fit is better in New York.
The Rangers also added two players who had key roles on NHL teams in recent years: former Canadiens first-line centre David Desharnais, and long-time Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec.
The Canadiens hope they’ve found a new number-one centre in Drouin, and have been deploying him as such so far in training camp.
Unhappy with how things were going in Tampa Bay, Drouin had asked for a trade partway into the 2015-16 season, with a much publicized holdout as he refused to play in the AHL. Over a year later, his request was finally granted, and he will get every opportunity in Montreal to become the star he feels he can be.
Karl Alzner also joined the Habs for the 2017-18 season, signing a five-year deal with the team after a career in Washington. Montreal added Ales Hemsky, formerly of the Stars, to help with the offensive game.
Eberle was one of the highly touted additions the Oilers were able to make in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft. The hype grew to levels impossible for him to live up to after late-game heroics at the World Junior Hockey Championship made him a household name.
He was often criticized in Edmonton for not reaching that potential, and the emergence of two star centres — Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl — made him expendable. The team flipped him to the New York Islanders in exchange for the younger Ryan Strome.
The Islanders get a player who has scored at a 50-point pace in nearly every season of a seven-year career.
Smith had been the starter for several poor iterations of the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes, but often helped the team outperform the quality of its roster.
He now joins a Calgary Flames squad that has been steadily improving in recent years, either adding or developing good players to create what is a candidate to contend for a Stanley Cup this season.
One of those pieces is Travis Hamonic, who joined the team in exchange for three high draft picks as the Flames focus more on the present.
Having a difficult time getting his offensive game going early in his career, Schenn had come into his own with the Philadelphia Flyers in the last two seasons, with at least 25 goals scored in each, doing the most damage on the power play.
He will now join Vladimir Tarasenko on the St. Louis Blues for what could be a prolific duo.
Vrbata is one of the additions made by a Florida Panthers team that has had a hot-and-cold off-season. The club also gave KHL standout Evgeni Dadonov his entry point into the NHL.
Vanek put together a great career with the Buffalo Sabres before he was traded twice in the 2013-14 season, first to the Islanders, then to the Canadiens. Since then he’s played with the Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, and Panthers, and will start this season with the Canucks.
Other notable moves
Nathan Beaulieu (BUF)
Nick Bonino (NSH)
Peter Budaj (TBL)
Mike Cammalleri (LAK)
Trevor Daley (DET)
Scott Darling (CAR)
Brian Elliott (PHI)
Alexei Emelin (NSH)
Tyler Ennis (MIN)
Dan Girardi (TBL)
Marcus Johansson (NJD)
Chis Kunitz (TBL)
Steve Mason (WPG)
Johnny Oduya (OTT)
Ryan Reaves (PIT)
Trevor van Riemsdyk (CAR)
Naill Yakupov (COL)