Since most traditional hockey stats focus solely on offensive production, a better way to measure all-around talent is to pinpoint the players who are most important to their teams. To do this, we can rank every skater by who played the most in “clutch” situations—the last two minutes of tied or one-goal games. Those playing in these scenarios are, by and large, the most talented players in the league—NHL coaches know who needs to be on the ice when the game’s on the line, regardless of egos or contracts.
So which team has grabbed the most talent by this measure? Los Angeles has been the biggest gainer thus far, signing two of the top-five clutch-time players who were available, notably Ryan Smyth, who played in more than half of Colorado’s crucial minutes last season.
Montreal has been the busiest, replacing almost 50% of its clutch minutes with five players who played at least 32% of their old team’s key ice time. The Rangers also cut ties with some big names, but picked up Marian Gaborik, who topped our list of clutch players. The biggest loser figures to be Florida, which lost its top two defensemen. Anaheim and Pittsburgh also took a big hit, losing multiple top-four defensemen each.