Playoff contenders are jockeying for position with only a month remaining in the 2022-23 NHL regular season. For those with fading hopes or whose aspirations are already dashed, it's time to focus on the offseason and plans for 2023-24.
Some teams that narrowly miss the cut will likely make only minor adjustments to their rosters. Others could pursue significant additions via the summer's trade or free-agent markets.
Several bottom-feeding teams, such as the Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks and Montréal Canadiens, are already at various stages of rebuilding. Meanwhile, there are a handful of clubs in dire need of overhauls.
Some, including the San Jose Sharks, appear to be embracing a form of a roster rebuild. Others, such as the Vancouver Canucks, seem focused more on short-term gains than long-term fixes.
Here's a look at five clubs that desperately need to rebuild—starting this offseason.
On March 10, the Philadelphia Flyers replaced general manager Chuck Fletcher with Daniel Brière on an interim basis. Two days later, Brière expressed confidence he could do the job on a full-time basis, uttering a word that his predecessor was reluctant to say: rebuild.
Brière was quick to add that didn't mean he was looking at a fire sale.
"We have some good players here, some players that are in certain roles that we're going to keep," he said.
The Flyers have needed to rebuild for a while. They're poised to miss the playoffs for the seventh time since 2012. Returning to their once-dominant form will require bold, significant moves. Brière can't go the quick-fix route as Fletcher did.
The first order of business could be deciding which veterans on long-term contracts fit into the long-term plans. That includes forward Kevin Hayes and his $7.1 million average annual value through 2025-26, defenseman Ivan Provorov and his $6.8 million AAV through 2024-25 and blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen and his $5.1 million annual salary through 2026-27.
Brière must also decide whether younger players such as Carter Hart, Joel Farabee, Owen Tippett, Cam York, Bobby Brink and Morgan Frost will be part of a rebuilt core. Anyone who becomes a trade chip could help the team stock up with draft picks. Brière must determine if the club can improve how it selects and develops prospects.