Welcome to the new National Hockey League.
With a shortened offseason and a lowered salary cap, teams have been signing and dealing players at breakneck speeds. And all of it means more entertainment for hockey geeks like me.
With most of the major names off the free agent board and several trades going down, it's not a bad time to look at who could be considered winners and losers so far in the months leading up to the 2013-14 season.
For the record, I'd call the Boston Bruins' offseason a wash so far. Bringing in Jarome Iginla is close to making up for the loss of Nathan Horton, while Loui Eriksson coming via trade for Tyler Seguin -- and Rich Peverley -- gives the team a player whose two-way game is a bit more fitting to its system than Seguin's ever was.
Losing backup goalie Anton Khudobin hurts a bit, but with Niklas Svedberg shining in Providence last season, he could assume a backup role. And Andrew Ference -- beloved by many in the city -- has seen his replacement in person, with Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski looking ready for full-time NHL duty.
I'd like to see what the Bruins do with their third line before I can say this offseason is either a bust or brilliant.
Now on to the rest:
* Detroit Red Wings Never write this team off. After the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom before the start of last season, many authorities thought the Wings could be in for a rough campaign. But Detroit made its annual pilgrimage to the postseason and then bolstered a solid and young lineup through free agency.
The Red Wings acquired longtime Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson and Florida standout Stephen Weiss through free agency, adding veteran savvy and skills. But more importantly, Detroit re-signed Pavel Datsyuk to a long-term deal, keeping the dazzling center in red and white for years to come.
* Ottawa Senators Call me crazy for championing a team that lost its captain to free agency, but Ottawa made a couple of big moves that will likely pay dividends. Scrappy enough to make the playoffs through myriad injuries last year, the Senators will probably be in contention for the postseason once more.
Power forward Bobby Ryan came to the team via trade with Anaheim and Clarke MacArthur signed as a free agent, adding more scoring ability to a team with solid netminding and lots of young talent.
* Toronto Maple Leafs Moments away from its first playoff series win since 2003-04, Toronto didn't dwell on its loss in seven games to the Bruins in this past season's opening round. Instead, the Maple Leafs looked to improve.
The team re-signed pesky forward Tyler Bozak, signing the 27-year-old to a five-year deal. Then the Leafs inked young defenseman TJ Brennan and got former New Jersey bruiser David Clarkson to come in with a seven-year contract.
* Philadelphia Flyers It always comes down to goaltending drama in Philly and this offseason has been no different. The team bought out Ilya Bryzgalov following a pair of mediocre seasons after former goaltending prospect Sergei Bobrovsky won the Vezina Trophy in Columbus last year.
So the Flyers made an immediate impact in free agency by signing ... aging forward Vincent Lecavalier. The team signed the 33-year-old -- who was bought out by Tampa Bay -- to a five-year deal and then addressed its goaltending woes by inking Chicago backup Ray Emery to a one-year deal.
The approach is similar to getting a paint job for your car to cover up for your brakes failing. The actual issue is secondary to making sure things look flashy.
But Emery was sensational as a backup last year (posting a 17-1-0 record) and will compete with Steve Mason for the starting job this season, bolstering the talent between the pipes. It's a step in the right direction, if not the ultimate solution that fans want.
* Vancouver Canucks Shipping out one of the team's netminders has done little to calm down the soap opera that has become the Canucks' goalie situation.
Yes, sending Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils gave Vancouver the ninth pick in this year's draft (used to take center Bo Horvat), but it also left the team Roberto Luongo, who has been quite vocal in how miserable he is and his distaste for the organization. But Luongo has eight years left at over $5 million a year and there are few suitors for a contract that big.
The Canucks also lost a pair of centers to St. Louis, as Maxim Lapierre and Derek Roy both bolted to the Blues. At least they picked up an even-keeled head coach in John Tortorella. ...
* Washington Capitals The Caps have done little to bolster their streaky team, outside of losing a pair of forwards to free agency.
Center Mike Ribeiro took off for Phoenix, taking with him 49 points from last year. And Matt Hendricks went to Nashville. Both were skilled contributors last season.
The team is said to be a possible destination for Mikhail Grabovski and if the Capitals land the former Toronto center, it will go a long way to making this offseason a bit more bearable for hockey fans in the nation's capital.
* Chicago Blackhawks Please don't read this as the death knell of the Stanley Cup champions. Chicago has been able to keep the core of its young stars, but the lowered cap has forced several moves, including shipping off players that contributed to that title run.
Emery, as noted earlier, is gone, but replaced by veteran netminder Nikolai Khabibulin. Also departed Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik via trade and Viktor Stalberg who left as a free agent; all valuable depth players in the postseason. It won't hurt the team too badly, but it shows how tough it is for an entire team to stay intact, even after a championship run.