A season of relaxation. Reflection. Rejuvenation.
If you're the architect of an NHL team with aspirations of competing for a Stanley Cup come fall, it's a combination of all three. Or at least, it should be.
The draft has come and gone. Free agency is in full swing. Granted, there wasn't an abundance of marquee names populating the 2023 class, but nonetheless good players were -- and still are -- available on the open market.
July 1 was a frantic afternoon of wheeling and dealing, particularly by those clubs who had zeroed in on their desired targets and were prepared to make a move.
Carolina, for example, did work internally (signing goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta) and externally (grabbing top free agent defenseman Dmitry Orlov and coveted UFA forward Michael Bunting). They're well-positioned to be of the Eastern Conference.
Other clubs waited a day or two (or nine) to make a splash. Detroit was oddly quiet in early July, and then boom, a week and a half in GM Steve Yzerman trades for striker Alex DeBrincat and signs him to a four-year deal. In a blink, the Red Wings got better. Sometimes it happens like that.
And significant post-July 1 improvements shouldn't end with Detroit, either. There are teams around the league who could still use a summer refresh, to catch a second wind and capitalize on opportunities -- whether with players already in their midst or ones waiting on a new landing spot.
Time, as it tends to do, is running out, though. We're already past the midway mark of free agency's first month. To that end, here are five teams we see on the clock to make some kind of move(s) before the calendar flips officially towards training camp openings.
Calgary isn't exactly stampeding through the offseason.
That's somewhat surprising given the Flames are in flux -- with issues to address now and in their near future.
The team is transitioning to a new era under new general manager Craig Conroy and recently instated head coach Ryan Huska, who is taking over for the fired Darryl Sutter. But for all that's changed around the Flames, some things remain frustratingly the same.