Catch up on the entire NHL offseason in 5 minutes or less

From big retirements, signings, trades and coaching moves to which teams improved and declined the most — here's a quick recap of the 2023 NHL offseason.

Over the course of the summer it can be easy to lose track of what's happening in the NHL. Staying plugged in to a lethargic news cycle for a sport that takes place on ice can seem like an odd use of your time when the weather is hot.

That can lead to moments when you turn hockey on in the fall and feel like you're missing some crucial information. We're here to prevent that with what you'll see below: essentially a Netflix recap for the entire NHL offseason to get you all caught up.

While everyone is different, the average adult can read approximately 238 words per minute. Using that as a baseline, our goal here is to get you up to speed up in under five minutes.

Away we go...

Who are the biggest names to switch teams?

Individually, the title belongs to Erik Karlsson — the reigning Norris Trophy winner and the first defenseman to produce a 100-point season since 1991-92 — who landed with the Pittsburgh Penguins in a three-team trade.

 Erik Karlsson will try to elevate a Pittsburgh Penguins team that missed the playoffs in 2022-23 (Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images)
Erik Karlsson will try to elevate a Pittsburgh Penguins team that missed the playoffs in 2022-23 (Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images)

Beyond the superstar blueliner, there were plenty of other prominent players to change squads:

Who locked in big extensions?

Auston Matthews made the biggest splash by earning the highest AAV on a contract in NHL history ($13.25M) — but he wasn't the only big-time talent to commit to his team:

Who improved the most?

The Pittsburgh Penguins are the best candidate for this title — and not just because of the addition of Karlsson. A front office led by new president and GM Kyle Dubas made a number of aggressive moves during the offseason.

Pittsburgh solidified its goaltending situation by extending Tristan Jarry, added some top-six scoring in the form of longtime Vegas Golden Knight Reilly Smith, brought jumbo defenseman Ryan Graves aboard to eat 20 minutes per night on the back end, and bolstered its bottom six with veterans like Lars Eller and Noel Acciari.

Scoring winger Jason Zucker will be missed, and Jake Guentzel's injury doesn't help matters — but the Penguins look like a significantly more formidable group than they were in 2022-23.

Who declined the most?

Replicating a record-setting regular season was never a fair expectation for the Boston Bruins. The likelihood of a significant step back skyrocketed due to a pair of retirements, though.

Future Hall of Famer Patrice Bergeron walked away despite playing like an elite top-line center at the age of 37. David Krejci also decided his time in the NHL was up after a 56-point season.

The Bruins are strong enough not to collapse after those two retirements, but they took a body blow from both pivots walking away — and did not retain key deadline additions Orlov and Tyler Bertuzzi, either.

Any big retirements?

Outside of the Bergeron-Krejci duo, there weren't many big names who walked away from the game during the 2023 offseason.

The biggest might've been goaltender Craig Anderson, who participated in 20 NHL seasons and gave the Buffalo Sabres some solid work in 2022-23 at the age of 41.

A couple of notable players announced they were walking away due to unfortunate injuries in August with concussions ending Joonas Donskoi's career and a severe eye injury putting an end to Carl Hagelin's time in the NHL.

Who made the Hall of Fame?

The 2023 Hockey Hall of Fame class included the following seven inductees:

  • Henrik Lundqvist — Player

  • Caroline Ouellette — Player

  • Pierre Turgeon — Player

  • Mike Vernon — Player

  • Tom Barrasso — Player

  • Pierre Lacroix — Builder

  • Ken Hitchcock — Builder

As per usual, there was some controversy over the picks with hockey fans hoping for Alexander Mogilny to go in and Vernon's induction over Curtis Joseph seeming odd.

What happened at the draft?

The 2023 NHL Draft was uneventful in terms of trades, but it did send generational prospect Connor Bedard to the Chicago Blackhawks — giving the franchise hope for a new era of winning hockey.

Russian sensation Matvei Michkov fell down to the seventh overall pick, largely due to the uncertainty surrounding his KHL contract and the timeline for his arrival in North America. The Philadelphia Flyers landed him with the seventh pick, appearing willing to wait as long as it takes to start building around him.

If you want a more detailed rundown of how teams around the league fared in the draft, check out Ian Kennedy's draft grades.

What about the coaching carousel?

There was plenty of movement behind NHL benches during the offseason, which looked like this:

The Blue Jackets get an enormous asterisk because they initially hired Mike Babcock only to see him resign before they'd played a preseason game due to a controversy about the 60-year-old asking to see photos on his players' phones.