It has been an eventful offseason in the NHL. Three players who are almost certainly locks to end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame (Jaromir Jagr, Daniel Alfredsson and Jarome Iginla) changed addresses, as did a few others whose careers could be charting in that direction.
Four of the top 10 active goal-scorers after the 2012-13 season are on a new team, and two retired from NHL duty. The Chicago Blackhawks celebrated their second championship in four seasons, but this time around did so without saying goodbye to a large chunk of the roster, like they did in 2010. The runner-up Boston Bruins, however, were part of some of the biggest transactions of the offseason.
Here's a look at 13 of the most important players in new places for the 2013-14 NHL season:
Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit Red Wings: The forward might have made the most surprising move of the summer. The longest-tenured captain in the NHL was expected to sign a new contract with the Ottawa Senators, but by the first day of free agency he had not. Reports surfaced he was looking elsewhere, and Alfredsson decided to join the Red Wings on a one-year, incentive-laden contract that can pay him $6 million.
The 40-year-old will join the large collection of Swedes in Detroit, and he's likely to join another member of this list (Stephen Weiss) on the team's second line. Alfredsson's statement about joining the Red Wings because he feels it gives him a better chance to win the Stanley Cup will certainly add some spice when his new club plays his old one, and as they potentially battle for positioning in the new Atlantic Division.
Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs: One of the top goaltending prospects for years was blocked on the Los Angeles Kings by Jonathan Quick. Bernier was traded to Toronto for Matt Frattin, Ben Scrivens and a second-round draft pick and will compete with incumbent James Reimer for playing time.
Bernier has 62 games of NHL experience spread out over five seasons. The 25-year-old was 9-3-1 with a .922 save percentage and 1.88 goals against average last season for the Kings. Bernier has a better pedigree than Reimer, but that doesn’t mean he's going to be the starter.
Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins: The forward joined the Bruins as part of the seven-player trade with the Dallas Stars. Boston traded a pair of top-nine forwards, including potential star Tyler Seguin, to Dallas for Eriksson and three young players.
Eriksson, 28, is one of the top two-way wings in the League and should fit seamlessly on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Eriksson's offense slipped in 2012-13, but he had three straight 70-point seasons before that.
Valtteri Filppula, Tampa Bay Lightning: The forward had a breakout year in 2011-12 before a dip last season and was given a five-year, $25 million contract from Tampa Bay. After 23 goals and 66 points in 2011-12, he had nine goals and 17 points in 41 games last season.
He'll be expected to anchor the Lightning's second line, with some combination of Teddy Purcell, Jonathan Drouin and Ryan Malone on the wings. Filppula, 29, will have some extra pressure because he's essentially replacing Vincent Lecavalier, who was the face of the franchise for years until Steven Stamkos became the NHL's best goal-scorer.
Nathan Horton, Columbus Blue Jackets: The wing was a fixture on the top line for the Boston Bruins the past three seasons when healthy, but he signed a seven-year, $37.1 million contract with Columbus. It was the biggest new contract in terms of overall dollars for an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Horton, 28, will give the Blue Jackets another scorer to compliment Marian Gaborik, but when remains to be determined. Columbus signed Horton knowing he needed shoulder surgery, and he is expected to be out until at least December.
Jarome Iginla, Boston Bruins: The wing spurned the Bruins and chose the Pittsburgh Penguins before the NHL Trade Deadline last season. After the Bruins swept the Penguins out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and after there was an opening in Boston's top six with Horton leaving, general manager Peter Chiarelli finally got his man with a one-year, $6 million contract.
Iginla, 36, struggled against the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final but had 11 points in 13 regular-season games and 12 points in 15 playoff games. He will slot into Horton's place next to David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey Devils: The wing didn't score a goal in 22 playoff games for the Bruins, but he was an effective player with 16 goals and 35 points in 45 regular-season games split between Dallas and Boston. He signed with the Devils and will play with his fourth team in three seasons since returning from the Kontinental Hockey League.
The Devils also added Michael Ryder and Ryane Clowe trying to replace the offense lost with Ilya Kovalchuk in the KHL and David Clarkson signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jagr, 41, could start the season on the top line with Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac.
Vincent Lecavalier, Philadelphia Flyers: The forward had 383 goals and 794 points in 1,037 games for the Lightning, but the organization used a compliance buyout on his contract that was to run through the 2019-20 season. It didn't take long for him to find a new employer.
The Flyers bought out Daniel Briere then used some of the savings to sign Lecavalier to a five-year, $22.5 million contract. The 33-year-old likely will center the second line for the Flyers.
Mike Ribeiro, Phoenix Coyotes: The center had his highest points-per-game total since 2007-08 in his one season with the Washington Capitals, scoring 49 in 48 games, taking particularly well to Adam Oates' new-look power play.
Ribeiro, 33, signed a four-year, $22 million contract with the Coyotes and instantly became the No. 1 center and power-play quarterback. Phoenix hopes he can help the offense, which has been a problem at times in recent years.
Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators: Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf each signed an eight-year contract extension during the 2012-13 season, and Ryan, who was the subject of trade rumors for a long time in Anaheim, proved to be the odd forward out. The Senators, just hours after losing Alfredsson to Detroit, traded three prized assets (Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen and a first-round draft pick) to the Ducks for Ryan.
Though Ryan proved some citizens in Ottawa are unaware of his likeness, that isn't likely to be the case moving forward. The 26-year-old will start on the top line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, and a fifth 30-goal season in six years is within reach.
Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils: Schneider was part of one of the most high-profile goalie competitions (saga is a better word for it) with the Vancouver Canucks. In a big surprise it was Schneider, not Roberto Luongo, who was traded.
Schneider probably is still going to have to wait to be a clear-cut No. 1, but the 27-year-old will get to pick the brain of maybe the greatest player the League has seen at the position. Schneider likely will split time with Martin Brodeur but could be the go-to guy as soon as 2014-15.
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars: The forward had one goal and eight points in 22 playoff games for the Bruins, with 70 shots on goal despite spending much of the postseason on the third line. Translation: Seguin was unlucky, and any assumptions about his production based on the 2013 playoffs would be unwise.
There were reported off-ice issues, which may have played a part in the Bruins being OK with letting go a player with Seguin's potential. The 21-year-old will move back to his natural position in the middle for Dallas, and the Stars want him to be their No. 1 center on a line with Jamie Benn right away.
Stephen Weiss, Detroit Red Wings: He was the No. 1 center for the Florida Panthers for several years, but he's happy to be the No. 2 his new club. He signed a five-year, $24.5 million contract with the Red Wings, nearly getting the same deal Filppula received from the Lightning.
Weiss, 30, likely will have a pair of Swedes next to him, with Alfredsson and either young Gustav Nyquist or veteran Johan Franzen on the other side. Weiss has played seven Stanley Cup Playoff games, but that figure should increase during significantly during this contract.
Follow Corey Masisak on Twitter: @cmasisak22
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