The 2022 NHL Offseason was a particularly memorable one, with some of the game’s biggest names on the move, a massive game of goaltender musical chairs, and some typically tepid teams stepping up and making bold decisions.

Most of these transactions will have implications for years to come; to say nothing of the remaining seven months of the 2022-23 season. Nonetheless, most teams are approaching the 20-game threshold, which is a decent sample by which to evaluate the immediate s of these acquisitions. For some teams, the acquired players are contributing exactly as hoped. For others, they may already have severe regrets.

Let’s analyze how major transactions made by eight NHL teams have played out so far.


New Jersey Devils

The big fish on the market was Johnny Gaudreau. He signed in Columbus. Instead, the Devils made what appeared to be consolation moves.

The one that made the most noise was the signing of Ondrej Palát from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Would he thrive in an elevated role or be exposed without Tampa’s top players hiding him? Unfortunately, the Czech winger suffered a groin injury just six games into the season, though he did score three goals. He underwent surgery and is out long-term.

Less celebrated was the acquisition of John Marino from the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, the early returns indicate that he was one of the best acquisitions any team made. There is not much flash to his game, but Marino is quietly one of the best shutdown defensemen in the NHL. Plays such as this one on Wednesday show as much He’s a big part of why the Devils have been able to keep the puck out of the defensive zone, and the Penguins’ struggles without him are no coincidence.

Vitek Vanecek was an underwhelming answer to the Devils’ post-Brodeur era of goaltending struggles. Even in his best moments in Washington, Vanecek was merely competent. To his credit, the 26-year-old has done his job. His numbers are more or less NHL average for a goaltender and the Devils will likely look to add another option at the deadline. But with Mackenzie Blackwood both floundering and hurt, Vanecek has stepped up. The Devils are dominant at five-on-five and all they need is for Vanecek to not mess everything up. He’s lived up to his end of the deal so far.

The Devils are on an incredible 12-game winning streak in part because of these moves. When Palát returns, the offseason decisions made by General Manager Tom Fitzgerald could look nothing short of brilliant.


Ottawa Senators

The Senators, usually quiet, broke that trend and came out swinging in the offseason. Claude Giroux, the second-best free agent available after Johnny Gaudreau, signed a three-year deal to come to Ottawa. General Manager Pierre Dorion made a bold move and paid pennies on the dollar for winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago. They acquired Cam Talbot from Minnesota to man the net, and Tyler Motte was added for depth.

Giroux has done his job effectively. He’s contributed eight goals and ten assists through 18 games. Full thumbs up here.

It hasn’t been so great with DeBrincat. He has contributed just five goals and nine assists through 17 games. To be fair, he’s played better recently, but that’s simply not the type of production Ottawa believed they were getting; that’s roughly a 23-goal pace after scoring 41 last season. Of course, DeBrincat is only 24 years old and Ottawa acquired him anticipating that he’ll be a fixture for the long-haul. He’s better than what he’s shown and there is a strong likelihood that this works out in the long-term. But so far, it hasn’t.

The biggest problem with the early returns for Ottawa’s offseason is what they didn’t do; address the defense. Sure, Giroux and DeBrincat are massive upgrades to the roster, but defense was always the team’s biggest detriment. Nothing so far has dispelled that notion. The Senators are dead-last in the Atlantic Division. As in, below both the Sabres and Canadiens who have no ambitions this season. The substance has not matched the offseason theatrics and Ottawa doesn’t look that much closer to getting out of the pit of despair the team has been in for years now.