Playoffs guide NHL's summer upgrades
Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi explained it this way: When you're first rebuilding a team, it's about putting a respectable product on the ice. Sometimes you add veterans Lombardi called "bridge players," the connection between respectability and contention.
"You have to get a team on the ice," Lombardi said.
Look at what the Florida Panthers did this offseason: They added bridge players. The Panthers have a lot of young talent that will eventually form the nucleus of a strong playoff team if Dale Tallon's track record holds true. Most likely, some of the players signed this summer won't be a part of that.
After a core is developed and it's time to challenge for the Stanley Cup, the evaluation of the offseason additions changes.
To read more about the Kings and how other teams are focusing on the postseason from the beginning of the season, sign up for ESPN Insider.