Offseason Acquisitions Already Paying Off in 2013-14 NHL Season

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2013

Offseason Acquisitions Already Paying Off in 2013-14 NHL Season

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    Jonathan Bernier
    Jonathan BernierClaus Andersen/Getty Images

    A great first impression.

    When a player changes teams, either through trade or free agency, he feels a need to show his new employer that it was a wise choice to bring him aboard.

    Players have a long season to write their individual scripts, but those new acquisitions want to make an impression with their new teams right away.

    In this piece, we look at the offseason acquisitions who are already starting to pay dividends.

C Mikhail Grabovski, Washington Capitals

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    The Washington Capitals signed Mikhail Grabovski after they lost Mike Ribeiro to the Phoenix Coyotes during the free-agency signing period.

    Washington general manager George McPhee was interested in Grabovski because of his offensive talent, but he didn't sign him until he checked with former Toronto boss (and current Calgary president) Brian Burke.

    Grabovski earned praise from Burke, so McPhee brought Grabovski aboard.

    In the early going, the Caps appear to have signed a motivated player. Grabovski has scored three goals and two assists in his first four games. He has fired eight shots on goal, and he is playing an average of 17:57 minutes per game.

    Grabovski is not likely to average better than a point per game. He scored 58 points in 2010-11, and that 0.72 PPG mark is the best of his career.

    The Caps are hoping Grabovski can build off his start and exceed his career-best numbers this year.

D Rob Scuderi, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    The Penguins did not sign Rob Scuderi because they wanted him to upgrade their offense.

    Scuderi is an old-school, stay-at-home defenseman. He has been a solid player for the Penguins in his previous tenure, and he played a key role for the Los Angeles Kings when they won the 2011-12 Stanley Cup.

    The Penguins struggled on the defensive end in the postseason last year. The New York Islanders caused problems for them in the first round, and the Boston Bruins had too many opportunities in the Eastern Conference Final.

    General manager Ray Shero turned to Scuderi to solidify the defense. Scuderi has not scored a goal or an assist in the Penguins' first four games, but he has a plus-four rating, and he is averaging 19:56 minutes of ice time per game.

    Scuderi should be a consistent contributor throughout the season.

C Mike Santorelli, Vancouver Canucks

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    Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

    Mike Santorelli had been a journeyman player in five previous NHL seasons.

    Santorelli had scored 33 goals and 23 assists throughout his career. Despite those ordinary numbers, the Vancouver Canucks took a chance on signing Santorelli with the idea that he would give them energy and create scoring chances.

    Santorelli has impressed head coach John Tortorella, who has rewarded Santorelli with an average of 17:19 minutes of ice time through the Canucks' first five games. Santorelli has scored four goals on nine shots, for an eye-catching 44.4 shooting percentage.

    Santorelli is not going to be able to keep up that shooting percentage, but he will continue to play with energy as long as Tortorella provides him with the requisite ice time.

RW Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    The Anaheim Ducks traded production for potential when they moved high-scoring Corey Perry to the Ottawa Senators for a package that included Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen and a first-round draft pick.

    The idea behind the deal was that Silfverberg would develop into a star who would eventually be able to match Perry, who scored 30 or more goals in his previous four non-lockout seasons.

    Silfverberg scored 10 goals and nine assists last year for the Sens and showed his talent. He has gotten off to a sharp start in Anaheim, scoring four goals and an assist in his first four games. 

    Silfverberg is a superb skater who plays responsibly in the defensive zone. If Silfverberg can take advantage of his offensive skill this year, he will give the Ducks a leg up on winning their trade with the Sens.

G Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs

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    John Russell/Getty Images

    The Toronto Maple Leafs made a bold move when they acquired goalie Jonathan Bernier in the offseason, sending Matt Frattin, Ben Scrivens and a second-round draft choice to the Los Angeles Kings.

    Bernier had been one of the best backup goalies in the league, but he was never going to supplant Jonathan Quick. Bernier has not been given the No. 1 goaltender's position in Toronto, but he has made an excellent first impression as he attempts to beat out James Reimer.

    Bernier has a 3-1-0 record, a 0.85 goals against average and a lofty .974 save percentage with one shutout. Bernier will obviously have a long season to prove himself, but he is off to a most impressive start.

C Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars

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    Jonathan Kozub/Getty Images

    When the Boston Bruins decided they were tired of waiting for Tyler Seguin to mature, the Dallas Stars were happy to trade for him.

    The Stars gave up Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser to get Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button. Dallas wants to build its franchise around a player with Seguin's high-end skill and overpowering skating ability.

    So far, the Stars like what hey have seen from Seguin. He has built a good working relationship with linemate Jamie Benn, and the pair have looked dangerous together since the start of training camp.

    Seguin has scored three goals and two assists in the Stars first three games, and he has a plus-two rating while averaging 18:35 minutes of ice time.

RW Brad Boyes, Florida Panthers

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    Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

    Brad Boyes has proven to be an adequate scorer throughout his career in the NHL.

    During his tenure with the St. Louis Blues, Boyes scored a career-high 43 goals in 2007-08. While he has only scored as many as 33 goals one other time, Boyes clearly has a knack for putting the puck in the net.

    The Florida Panthers decided to take a chance on the 31-year-old free agent. Boyes is paying off for the Panthers so far. He has scored four goals and an assist in their first five games. He has registered 14 shots on goal and is averaging 14:39 minutes of ice time per game.

    Boyes looks like he could be a valuable acquisition for Panthers general manager Dale Tallon. Boyes knows how to find his shot, and that's important for a team looking for consistent offensive production.

C Valtteri Filppula, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

    The Tampa Bay Lightning made a bold move when they bought out Vincent Lecavalier last summer. He had been the face of the franchise, but he was slowing down and general manager Steve Yzerman didn't think he would be a consistent contributor for much longer.

    On the other hand, he liked Valtteri Filppula, who had been a solid two-way contributor for the Detroit Red Wings. Yzerman jumped as Filppula became a free agent, and he signed him to a five-year, $25 million contract. 

    The move is paying off so far. Filppula has three goals and an assist in the Lightning's first four games, and he has a plus-three rating.

    Filppula has won 59.0 percent of his faceoffs, and he is averaging 18:48 minutes of ice time. He is one of the team's most impressive players and gives the team hope for improvement this season.