We live in a world in which people want instant reaction to news and moves, and while we try to provide that quick analysis, the reality is that you're often throwing darts in the dark when trying to predict the impact of things like offseason trades and signings.
Only time will tell if moves work out, of course, which is why after many months I'm finally here go give you my top five moves from the summer of 2015.
It was an interesting offseason for young goalies changing teams, with Cam Talbot going to the Edmonton Oilers, Robin Lehner to the Buffalo Sabres and Eddie Lack to the Carolina Hurricanes. All of those teams were trying to find their next No. 1, but the Sharks have been the winners on that front. Jones is fourth in the league with 34 wins and has been a rock in net, one of the key reasons for the team's bounce-back season.
Yes, the Sharks gave up a first-round pick in 2016 (as well as prospect Sean Kuraly), but that pick now doesn't look like it'll be very high. GM Doug Wilson was ultra-aggressive in his pursuit of Jones, almost immediately tracking down Bruins GM Don Sweeney on the draft floor in June after Boston acquired Jones from the Los Angeles Kings in the Milan Lucic trade. The hint (threat?) of the Sharks signing the restricted free agent Jones to an offer sheet certainly played a role. In the end, Wilson got his goalie and looks great for it now.
Well, it's not like the Blackhawks knew something about Panarin that other NHL teams didn't. I mean, some 20 NHL teams showed interest. But I credit GM Stan Bowman here for betting the young Russian winger could adjust accordingly in his transition to the NHL, enough so that cap-related trades that sent Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad elsewhere would be alleviated by the faith in Panarin's ability to produce. Well, Panarin's 62 points are the most by any player joining a new NHL team this season. Pretty good bet by Bowman, I'd say.
The Philadelphia Flyers signed unrestricted free-agent goalie Neuvirth on July 1, the first day of free agency and also the same day the New York Islanders signed goalie Greiss. Both are signed to cheap, two-year deals -- Neuvirth's is worth $1.5 million this season and $1.75 million next season, Griess' is for $1.5 million each season. You can argue that neither team would be in a playoff race without the play of their backups. Greiss has a sparkling .928 save percentage and has outplayed starter Jaroslav Halak, which is why the injury to Halak shouldn't scare Isles fans as much as you might think. Neuvirth, with a .925 save percentage, has pushed starter Steve Mason and given the Flyers a terrific 1-2 punch in goal. In the case of Neuvirth, he could be an interesting trade chip for the Flyers this summer if teams come calling for a guy they see as their possible new No. 1.
Williams inked his deal on the first day of free agency. The reality is that we'll see his real worth to the Stanley Cup-hungry Capitals come playoff time. He's Mr. Clutch in the postseason, after all. But he's been good even in this regular season, his 21 goals are the most he's had in four seasons, and he should top the 22 goals he put up in 2011-12 and get his best goal total in a decade. At 34, Williams has shown he had plenty of hockey left. From Day 1, this was a signing that was perfect for Washington for all kinds of reasons.
5. The Los Angeles Kings' draft-day trade for Milan Lucic
Speaking of great fits, watching the hulking winger play in L.A. this season, he looks like he's been a King for life. Skating alongside Anze Kopitar for most of the season, Lucic is the kind of fit the Kings were seeking for a while. He's an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and both sides have traded contract proposals over the past month as the Kings try to keep him on board. Lucic doesn't want to go anywhere and is loving life as a King. A superb move by GM Dean Lombardi.