This NHL off-season was full of movers and shakers when it came to trades and free agency. Not including the impact of a highly skillful incoming draft class, this NHL season will be full of new faces in new places, and as part of a 10 week lead up to the opening of the NHL season, we'll look at 10 story-lines to keep an eye on heading towards puck-drop. Starting with which off-season move will have the biggest impact in 2014-15
One of the numerous names linked to an expected big off-season move was Jason Spezza requesting a trade out of Ottawa and eventually landing in Dallas with the Stars in a central division that looks to be the toughest division in the NHL this year. Spezza joins young centerman Tyler Seguin in Dallas as a dangerous 1-2 combination down the middle on a team that tested a veteran Anaheim Ducks team in the first round of the playoffs, and looks to get back there next spring.
Another center that was in high demand was Vancouver's Ryan Kesler who made his way south to the Ducks this off-season. Kesler, like Spezza, joins a contender in the West as a dangerous 1-2 punch down the middle for Anaheim joining Ryan Getzlaf at the center position. Kesler brings a bit of nasty, solid skill and a veteran presence on a Ducks team that loses Teemu Selanne and would have been in need of a player to supplant his production, and Kesler fits in to do just that for Anaheim.
Not much of a shift in the power of the Western conference or even the Central division in terms of overall firepower, but Paul Stastny moving from Colorado to St. Louis just makes a dangerous Blues team deeper. Stastny brings leadership and a whole lot of skill to St. Louis, where TJ Oshie, David Backes, and Alex Steen already provide enough skill and production to be Cup contenders again in 2014-15.
If only for the 1 season (it looks) Richards will be in the Windy City, it shores up the 2nd line center position for Chicago, which has been a question mark on the team for years. Richards will be paired with Patrick Kane most likely, adding two Conn Smythe winners on the same line for the Blackhawks makes them the odds on favorite for the 2014-15 Stanley Cup.