Rick Nash to Rangers, Jordan Staal to Hurricanes Among Best Offseason Moves in NHL

Rick Nash to Rangers, Jordan Staal to Hurricanes Among Best Offseason Moves in NHLThe NHL and the NHL Players Association have broken off collective bargaining negotiations, with no new date to reconvene. In other words, another NHL lockout is just 10 days away.

If this season does get back on track, though, there's plenty of news from the offseason that will make this a great season to watch. Check out these Top 5 NHL offseason transactions and hope fans get a chance to see these players perform on their new teams this year.

1. New York Rangers Acquire Rick Nash 

The New York Rangers failed to get Zach Parise in free agency, but their fall-back plan to get Rick Nash worked out well. 

The best part is that the Rangers somehow got to keep their top young players, including forwards Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan and defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto. Nash is a perennial goal scorer, joining a team that finished atop the Eastern Conference but failed to win a Stanley Cup because of one thing: a lack of scoring. 

When pundits use the sports cliche to describe a transaction that "puts a team over the top," this could be the textbook definition. 

The Rangers odds to win the 2013 Stanley Cup are 8-1.

2. Minnesota Wild Sign Zach Parise, Ryan Suter

This is a two-for-one, as the Wild's coup of getting Parise and Ryan Suter was huge.

Many people forget that the Wild started the season 20-7-3 and were atop the NHL standings before nose-diving completely.

The Wild were riddled with injuries last season, but with Parise and Suter in the mix, they'll have more elite talent and more depth. Their home run in free agency should lead them to a playoff spot in 2012-13.

The Wild's odds to win the Stanley Cup are 18-1.

3. Carolina Hurricanes Acquire Jordan Staal

Might the Carolina Hurricanes be the Southeast Division favorites? Not just yet, but they definitely improved.

They acquired Jordan Staal from the Pittsburgh Penguins and will team him with his brother Eric Staal. The team also signed Alexander Semin, and together with Jordan Staal, both should help bolster the Carolina offense.

There are still questions on defense, but the Hurricanes have significantly improved themselves in the offseason.

The Hurricanes have 22-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup.

4. Vancouver Canucks Sign Jason Garrison

While the biggest surprise of the offseason regarding the Canucks may be the fact that goaltender Roberto Luongo is still on the roster, the signing of Jason Garrison definitely shocked a few people at the start of free agency. After all, the salary cap is supposed to prevent the rich from getting richer, but Vancouver found a way to fit him in.

The Canucks, who have been a Cup contender for three years now and will be again next season at 10-1 odds, added a defenseman who could be a No. 2 or 3 (some may say he was the Florida Panthers No. 1 blue-liner last season). He's entering his prime, he has a cannon of a shot from the power play and came at a reasonable price (six-year contract with a $4.6 million annual cap hit).

5. Tampa Bay Lightning Acquire Anders Lindback

The difference between the Tampa Bay Lightning being a contender in the Eastern Conference playoffs and missing the playoffs altogether was one thing: goaltending. Dwayne Roloson was a wreck, and Mathieu Garon reiterated that he's merely a backup.

The Lightning are taking a flyer on a former Nashville Predators backup, Anders Lindback, who is a young goaltender with plenty of potential. Stuck behind Pekka Rinne in Nashville, the Preds knew he'd never get a chance to start, so they shipped him off.

The Lightning could be huge beneficiaries as Lindback is a big (6-foot-6), capable goaltender. He's just 24 years old and will need some time to develop (only 28 career starts), but the Lightning are hoping they've found their goaltender of the future.

If that's the case, the Lightning will be back in the playoffs as a team nobody wants to face. They have 28-1 odds to win it all.

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