Top 5 Under-The-Radar NHL Signings This Offseason

© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs

The highly anticipated offseason has now seen the expansion draft come and is two weeks into free agency. 

While some teams have made splashes, including the Arizona Coyotes, Dallas Stars, and Carolina Hurricanes, others have been busy with restricted free agents or the trade front.

For some teams, it's not always about shooting for the biggest names but instead aiming for the best fit that fills a gap.

Some teams have been better at acknowledging fit than others. The Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins have multiple Stanley Cups to show for it over the past five years, while the Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks seem to be feeling for the walls in the dark.

Below is a list of five under-the-radar signings that have either gone unnoticed or overlooked this offseason as well as a glance at what each player brings to his new team.

Brian Boyle 

New Team: New Jersey Devils 
2016-17 Stats: 75 GP, 13 G, 12 A, 25 Pts., Plus-3

null

Boyle is the definition of a depth player and has grown into one of the strongest third-line centers in the game. He knows his role, plays it well, and brings a solid two-way game every night.

The 6-foot-6 center consistently wins faceoffs and quickly earns trust from his coaches as a reliable defensive forward, which is why he has started 63.2 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone.

He is also a solid penalty killer and by all accounts a strong presence in the locker room and among his teammates. The Devils paid him handsomely with an average annual value of $2.75 million over the next two seasons to help grow the team's incoming youth and maintain his solid play.

His game has arguably never been more important to his team, as New Jersey is heading into 2017-18 with Boyle as the only legitimate NHL player in its bottom six.

With Marcus Johansson and first-overall pick Nico Hischier coming in, the team is ready to take the next step and needs a reliable bottom six to win.

Mike Cammalleri

New Team: Los Angeles Kings
2016-17 Stats: 61 GP, 10 G, 21 A, 31 Pts., Minus-9

null

The New Jersey Devils' choice to buy out Cammalleri was a head-scratcher. The undersized sniper has been a solid goal-scorer during his 14-year career, recording 287 goals through 840 NHL games.

The 35-year-old has annually dealt with injuries, usually finishing the season in the 60-game range. But for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, which also hasn't won a playoff series since 2014, offensive improvements were a must this summer.

The Devils didn't surround Cammalleri with a whole lot of talent, and he was a healthy scratch at times under coach John Hynes.

The Kings signed the seven-time 20-plus goal-scorer to a cheap one-year, $1 million contract. Cammalleri's days at center are behind him, meaning he'll likely line up alongside premier playmaker Anze Kopitar.

The pair showed chemistry together when the two were breaking into the league as full-time players after the lockout season of 2004-05. Cammalleri still holds one of the most lethal shots in the game and could find himself in a resurgent season with notable linemates again.

Jussi Jokinen

New Team: Edmonton Oilers
2016-17 Stats: 69 GP, 11 G, 17 A, 28 Pts., Minus-15

null

At 34, Jokinen is the oldest player on Edmonton's roster and is just one year removed from a 60-point campaign. Edmonton's ability to surround the veteran with speed and youth can help him become a larger part than just his strong defensive play.

Even though the NHL is trending toward youth, having the experience and knowledge of a solid veteran goes a long way. It goes even further for a team that went from a bottom-dweller to one win from the Western Conference Finals.

Jokinen brings solid possession numbers to a team that was middle of the road last season with a 50.2 percent Corsi For percentage.

While the use of analytics has grown tremendously and at times seems to dumb down the eye test, possession measurement has become widely accepted and used within all organizations.

The Finn has the ability to play at all three forward positions and he has become close with countryman, new teammate, and 2016 fourth-overall pick Jesse Puljujarvi.

Dmitry Kulikov

New Team: Winnipeg Jets
2016-17 Stats: 47 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 Pts., Minus-26

null

It's easy to forget that Kulikov is still just 26 years old when he has tallied eight years of NHL hockey. The hard-hitting defenseman had a forgettable injury-riddled season in Buffalo, his first as a Sabre. 

The offseason shakeup didn't include bringing him back, and he hit July 1 without much consideration to what he still brings. The Jets' three-year contract with a $4.33 AAV shows their dedication to what the former 14th overall pick brings as a depth player.

He still has untapped potential and will be helped in realizing it as a depth defenseman for an up-and-coming Winnipeg team.

Based on depth and handedness, the Jets will likely deploy units of Josh Morrissey and Dustin Byfuglien; Tobias Enstrom and Jacob Trouba; and Tyler Myers and Kulikov.

It gives each pair a balance of a solid puck-mover mixed with a physical presence. Kulikov will be eager to prove himself, as will Myers, who missed all but 11 games last season.

Kyle Quincey

New Team: Minnesota Wild
2016-17 Stats: 73 GP, 6 G, 9 A, 15 Pts., Plus-4

null

Quincey has been highly criticized throughout his career for defensive lapses and inconsistency. He's had the unfortunate position of playing on some bad teams during his career but has also fished significant returns in various trades that bring high expectations to his new fan bases.

He's never been a puck-mover or a possession-driver but has been a solid depth player since he self-actualized as a stay-at-home player with the Detroit Red Wings in 2013-14.

Minnesota brought in the 31-year-old and low-risk, high-reward deal of one-year and $1.25 million to help offset the loss of Marco Scandella after he was dealt alongside Jason Pominville to Buffalo for offensive depth.

Quincey won't suddenly find an offensive game but could be playing on the deepest team of his career with the Wild this season.

He could either be used as a bottom-pair steadying presence or as a last resort for either Jonas Brodin or Matt Dumba, two young offensive-pushing defenders.  

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @JMessing23.

North Korea, South Korea Form Single Olympic Women's Hockey Team

© Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports Olympic Preview: U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit

Ahead of next month's Winter Games in Pyeongchang, rivals North and South Korea will form a joint Olympic team marching under a single "unification flag," according to the Associated Press. 

Syracuse Hoping To Use CHA Rival Penn State As Second-Half Spark

Penn State Athletics PSU Women's Hockey 2018.jpg

Stuck in the middle of the College Hockey America (CHA) standings, the Syracuse Orange are hoping their second series with the Penn State Nittany Lions sparks a turnaround from their current rough patch. This time they travel to University Park, Pennsylvania.

Sweet Six: No. 1 Badgers Blank Mavericks 6-0

University of Wisconsin Athletics wisco.jpeg

MADISON, Wis. — Thanks to the efforts of a balanced Badger offense, the No. 1 Wisconsin women’s hockey team opened the new year with a 6-0 victory over Minnesota State Saturday afternoon at LaBahn Arena.

Wisconsin Badgers Drop Defensive Battle To Michigan State

University of Wisconsin Athletics image_handler.jpeg

Press release provided by University of Wisconsin athletics:

No. 6/7 Buckeyes Fall to No. 13 Nittany Lions, 5-2

Ohio State Athletics ohiostate.jpeg

Press release provided by Ohio State University athletics:

Wisconsin's Kristen Campbell Named WCHA Goaltender Of The Month

University of Wisconsin Athletics Jack_20171020_Campbell_Kristen_4.jpg

Press release provided by University of Wisconsin Athletics:

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin women’s hockey goaltender Kristen Campbell has been named the WCHA Goaltender of the Month for the third-consecutive month, the league announced Wednesday.

'Miracle On Ice' Reunion For Wisconsin, Minnesota State Coaches

Wisconsin Athletics DQd8mAnVoAAxmJx.jpg

You could say that Mark Johnson, head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, and John Harrington, skipper of the Minnesota State Mavericks, know each other pretty well — and their past is definitely apropos: the two were teammates on the Miracle on Ice team which shocked the world and won gold in the 1980 Olympics.

Arizona State, MVP Brinson Pasichnuk Claim Ice Vegas Title

asu wins.jpg_large

The Arizona State Sun Devils jumped out to an early lead against the Michigan Tech Huskies on their way to claiming the inaugural Ice Vegas Invitational championship.

NMU Hands No. 13 Boston College Second Straight Loss

Northern Michigan Athletics wildcats.jpg

The Northern Michigan Wildcats defeated the Boston College Eagles 4-3 in a shootout Saturday to claim third place at the inaugural Ice Vegas Invitational.

Philip Beaulieu recorded a goal and two assists, powering the Wildcats over the Eagles, who will likely find themselves dropping form their current No. 13 rank after an 0-2 showing in Las Vegas.

Arizona State's 7-Goal Barrage Downs Northern Michigan

Arizona State Athletics asu1.jpg

A few hours after Michigan Tech used a three-goal first period to best Boston College, the Arizona State Sun Devils did the same against Northern Michigan.

But those three points would turn out to be just a fraction of their point total from the first day of the inaugural Ice Vegas Invitational, where physicality and speed led the way.

The Sun Devils played in front of what was virtually a home crowd as they downed the Wildcats, 7-3, on Friday night.