Monday, July 6, 2009

NHL Free Agency... East Edition Pt. 2

Back at the Free Agency/Draft Recap.. 7 teams left, and the two "sexiest" teams are included.

Here we go.

New York Rangers

The Rangers are a team that traditionally tries to win the N.Y. Yankees way. See good player. Target good player. Overpay for good player. Looks like this year they might have continued the trend by signing the often injured Martin Gaborik to a 5 year deal. They did manage to get rid of the ANCHOR of a contract held by Scott Gomez by trading him and his 16 goal scoring 7.5!!! million dollar a year deal to the Habs. They also snatched away veteran goon Donald Brashear from the Caps.

As long as the Rangers have "The King" Henrik Lundqvist in net, they are in the playoffs. But I'm not sure they they are good enough defensively to make a huge impact this year.

Why you should care:

Goes to the papers and says " We WILL win tonight" before their Stanley Cup Final game against the Canucks in 1994. Scores a hat trick that night. What a captain. They go on to win the Cup.

Ottawa Senators
The definition of a classless move in sports is asking your team for a trade through the media. It makes it impossible for your team to get fair value. Well, Dany Heatley did just that, and then, when his team found a team that wanted to trade for him, he exercised his no-trade clause. Dick. It will be interesting to see how the fans treat Heats in his first game back in Ottawa, where it appears he will be playing whether he likes wants to or not.

They did nothing in free agency besides signing the pest Chris Niel. Looks like a tough year for the Sens.

Why you should care:

This is less why you should care, more why you should laugh. Movie tie-ins in a pregame ceremony that aren't just actually movie clips will ALWAYS FAIL.....

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers traded for defensemen Chris Pronger, which is huge. This guy was made to play in Philly. Pronger always dances on that line of playing tough and playing cheap, which is a good assessment of the Flyers as a whole. They lost net presence specialist Mike Knuble to the Caps, but they still have Captain Mike Richards, Daniel Briere, and Simon Gagne to put in the goals.

They signed goalie Ray Emery who had been playing in Russia for the last 2 years to be the started. Flyer fans can't be too confident with that. Pronger will make the team better, but can Emery take them into the playoffs

Why you should care:

Mike Richards plays hockey like it's meant to be played. Scores goals, blocks shots, goes into the dirty areas, fights, kills penalties, he's a superstar paying the price most superstars don't.

Pittsburgh Penguins

When you win a championship in the NHL, the next season you're going to lose some guys. People will overpay for your free agents because they won a championship and now have seemingly more value.

Penguins have added nothing of note, but have retained two key free agents, the aging but still contributing Bill Geurin, and playoff specialist Ruslan Fedetenko. Both players left money and years on the table to return.

Penguins have lost, the tower of a defensemen Hal Gill, and the SUPER solid Rob Scuderi through free agency with the streaky sniper Petr Sykora probably also leaving.

But as a Pens fan, I ain't sweating it. Last year, after the Penguins lost in the finals, they lost the following players:
  • Marion Hossa
  • Ryan Malone
  • Gary Roberts
  • Jarkko Ruutu
  • Georges Laraque
  • Ty Conklin
THAT year they lost a big part of the team, and they won the Stanley Cup the following year. GM Ray Shero has shown he knows what moves to make at the trade deadline to make it to the Finals. And let's be honest, when you have 2 of the best 3 players in the league on your team, you're going to be good.

Why you should care:

Champs. And this song.

Tampa Bay Lighting

Jokes. Like anyone cares. After new ownership took over last year, things have been bad for the Lightning. Questionable trades, questionable Signings, no one coming to the games. The Lightning are a mess.

They added defensemen Mattius Ohlund who is a nice pick up, but they overpayed. Will last year's #1 pick Steve Stamkos make a difference this year?

I dont think so. Lecavelier is dying alive.

Why you should care:


Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto is a team still in rebuild mode, but this year the additions of defensemen Hal Gill and Mike Komisarek will make this year's Leafs better than last year's. Flamboyant GM looked hard for a big splash signing at forward, but hasn't found one yet. I don't think the Leafs are done. Would Alexei Kovalev come to the Leafs?

Step in the right direction year, but not quite playoff caliber yet.

Why you should care:
If you have patience, you'll love this team.

Washington Capitals

The Caps had what should be considered a successful season last year, but losing in Game 7 always gives you a bad taste in your mouth. It was obvious in that series with the Pens that the Caps have enough skill to win. But did they have enough grit?

Well, they may have plugged this hole with the signing of Mike Knuble. This guy goes to the net and is never afraid of contact. Guys like Semin need a Knuble on their line. Even though he is on the bad side of 35, it's a great pick up.

They did lose Federov and Victor Kozlov. Kozlov was just another one of the Caps skilled but soft players, so I think Knuble is an upgrade. Fedorov's leadership will surely be missed, but he wasn't a big producer throughout the season or playoffs. Tough guy Donald Brashear also walked, but tough guys, no matter how loved by the fans, never make or break a lineup.

Capitals will no doubt be a top team in the East. Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin will take care of that. But do they have enough toughness to advance further in the playoffs? Will this year be goalie Varlamov's true coming out party? Will Nylander do ANYTHING to earn his 5 million a year? Will Ovechkin ever backcheck? (had to get one stinger in here)

I think it still will take a trade deadline deal for the Caps to move past the second round.

Why you should care:

Ovechkin vs. Crosby meeting every Playoffs should be awesome for years to come.

30 down! That's all for me. Enjoy the summer. Hockey Rules.

1 comment:

plundoctor said...

This was well done. I enjoyed the clips and analysis. Kudos.

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