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"A 17 Year old Hockey Fan's Perspective on the NHL."
Bowmanville, ON • Canada • 21 Years Old • Male
By: Jon Cunningham
Please note, all apostrophes show up as an 'a' with ^ above it. I didn't do it, sorry.

Hello All!

In this blog, I will examine all the NHL Teams major additions and subtractions during the off season, and examine if the team is better or worse because of it.

Each team will have a rating of either:
Extremely Improved,
Slightly Improved,
No Change,
Slightly Worse,
Extremely Worse.

Before you read, make sure you grab a drink, a snack and use the washroom, because this is a long read, but its worth it.


Anaheim Ducks

Major Additions: F Todd Bertuzzi, D Mathieu Schneider, F Shane Hnidy,
Major Subtractions: F Teemu Selanne (Expected Retirement), F Dustin Penner, D Scott Neidermayer (Expected Retirement), F Shawn Thornton, F Joe Motzko, D Rick Jackman
Better or Worse: No Change With the loss of Penner and expected loss of Selanne, the Ducks lose a little offense up front, the addition of Bertuzzi should help out in that area as long as he can stay healthy, but the rest of the Ducks Top 6 will need to step it up a notch to keep their Stanley Cup form. On defense, the expected loss of S.Neidermayer would be a hard pill to swallow, but Brian Burke was quick to sign a backup plan in Mathieu Schneider. Even if Neidermayer retires, a top defensive pairing of Pronger-Schneider is a pairing any team would love to have, and if Neidermayer returns, the Ducks will undoubtedly have the best defense in the league. After all the signings and departures the Ducks have not gotten better or worse, but stayed basically the same skill wise. The Ducks will remain atop the Pacific Division, fighting off San Jose.

Atlanta Thrashers

Major Additions: D Ken Klee, F Eric Perrin, F Todd White, F Alex Giroux, F Chris Thornburn
Major Subtractions: F Jon Sim, F Keith Tkachuk, F Eric Belanger, D Greg DeVries, D Andy Sutton, D Shane Hnidy
Better or Worse: No Change Atlanta lost players but got players back of equal value and skill. The Thrashers took care of their main UFA in Slava Kozlov, losing him would have been brutal for Atlanta. The Thrashers will still compete at the top of the Southeast Division.

Boston Bruins

Major Additions: G Emmanuel Fernandez, F Shawn Thornton, F Pete Scheafer
Major Subtractions: G Hannu Toivonen, F Peter Tenkrat, F Shane Donavon F Jason York(UFA), D Nathan Dempsey(UFA)
Better or Worse: Slightly Improved The Bs had a rather successful off season, quietly making their team better, with the deal to acquire Manny Fernandez from Minnesota to sure up the crease in Bean Town. The deal that bring Pete Scheafer in from Ottawa was a steal for the Bruins as the Sens needed to clear cap space. Bringing in Shawn Thornton brings an extra toughness factor to take the enforcing duties away from All-Star defenseman Zdeno Chara, so he can better concentrate on his play from the point. The Bruins will be in a fight to make the playoffs, but miss once again.

Buffalo Sabres

Major Additions: G J. Thibault
Major Subtractions: F Chris Drury, F Daniel Briere, F Dainius Zubrus, G Ty Conklin, D Miko Lehtonen,
Better or Worse: Extremely Worse Sorry Sabres fans, but by Darcy Regeir letting both Drury and Briere walk will cost the Sabres a lot this season. Possibly even a playoff birth. The youth of the Sabres will have to step it up more then a notch, and goalie Ryan Miller will have to stand on his head most nights. The Sabres will be in a huge fight to make the playoffs, and may squeak in.

Calgary Flames

Major Additions: F Owen Nolan, D Adrian Aucoin, D Cory Sarich, D Anders Ericksson
Major Subtractions: D Roman Hamrlik, D Brad Stuart, F Byron Ritchie, D Andrei Zyuzin, F Tony Amonte(UFA), F Jeff Friesen (UFA), G Jamie McLennan(UFA), D Brad Ference(UFA)
Better or Worse: Slightly Improved The Flames are taking a risk by signing veteran forward Owen Nolan in an attempt to ‘spark’ his career (pardon the pun). If Nolan plays well, the Flames will get their money worth with offense and leadership in the dressing room. Its evident with the signings of Aucoin, Sarich and Ericksson by GM Darryl Sutter that new coach Mike Keenan will still play the defensive style from the previous coaching regimes. Once again the Flames will not have trouble keeping the puck out of their net, but they might have a trouble putting in into the opponents net. The Flames needed to pick up fire power this off season, and so far, have not. The Flames will fight with the Canucks and Aves for top spot in the Northwest, and will make the playoffs once again.
EDIT: After reviewing comments, and researching, I found out the Flames, were 3rd in the League in GF, a fact that I was not aware of.

Carolina Hurricanes

Major Additions: F Matt Cullen, G Michael Lethonen
Major Subtractions: D Andy Hutchinson, F Anson Carter (UFA), F Josef Vasicek, D Dave Tanabe (UFA)
Better or Worse: No Change Carolina has had a quite off season this year, something you want to avoid when your team misses the playoffs the previous season. GM Jim Rutherford has kept a strong core of returning players from the 06 Cup Champs and will keep the Hurricanes in a fight for the playoffs.

Chicago Blackhawks

Major Additions: F Yanic Perreault, F Sergei Samsonov, F Robert Lang, F Kevyn Adams, D Andrei Zyuzin, F Patrick Kane (Drafted)
Major Subtractions: D Adrian Aucoin, F Micheal Handzus, F Radim Vrbata, F Jeff Hamilton, F Jassen Cullimore, F Tony Samelainen, F Peter Bondra (UFA), F Mikael Holmqvist (UFA)
Better or Worse: Slightly Improved If Chicago’s young guns can produce and players like Havlat, Perreault, and Lang can stay healthy the fans will return to Chicago as will a playoff game. It’s a bold prediction, but they should be able to sneak in the post season in 7th or 8th if the hockey gods smile on them, if not, they will once again fall short of the post season.

Colorado Avalanche

Major Additions: F Ryan Smyth, D Scott Hannan,
Major Subtractions: D Ken Klee, D Patrice Brisebois, F Brett McLean, D Ossi Vaananen(UFA), F Pierre Turgeon (Retirement)
Better or Worse: Slighly Improved The Avalanche won the Ryan Smyth sweepstakes, and added a solid defenceman in Scott Hannan, but Goaltending is still their main weakness. Jose Theodore has never played like his old Montreal self in Colorado, and youngster Peter Budaj will have the weight of the Rocky Mountains on his shoulders. The Avalanche will fight with Vancouver and Calgary for tops in the Northwest.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Major Additions: F Mike Peca, D Sheldon Brookbank, F Jiri Novotny, D Jan Hejda, F Kris Beech
Major Subtractions: D Andres Eriksson, D Bryan Berard(UFA),
Better or Worse: Slightly Worse Well, the most exciting thing the Blue Jackets have done this off season is move their shoulder logo to their main logo. Look for the Blue Jackets to be out of the playoffs for their sixth time in six seasons of existence. I’m sure both of the Blue Jacket fans will be disappointed.

Dallas Stars

Major Additions: F Todd Fedoruk, F Brad Winchester, F Toby Peterson
Major Subtractions: F Ladislav Nagy, F Darrel Sydor, F Eric Lindros(UFA), F Patrik Stefan, F Matt Barnaby(UFA)
Better or Worse: No Change Like Columbus, the Stars have really done nothing major this off season, just signing some 3rd and 4th line players. Once again the Stars will be lead by strong goaltending into the playoffs, finishing in the bottom half of the top eight.

Detroit Red Wings

Major Additions: D Brian Rafalski, F Dallas Drake
Major Subtractions: F Todd Bertuzzi, F Robert Lang, D Mathieu Schneider, F Kyle Calder, D Danny Markov (UFA)
Better or Worse: No Change The Wings will still have enough fire power thanks to Zetterberg and Datsyuk even with the loss of Lang and Calder. Losing Mathieu Schneider took a big chunk out of the Wings defense. . . for about 10 minutes, when Wings GM Ken Holland lured Brian Rafalski away from New Jersey. They took risk resigning Hasek for another year, but it should pay off, unless Hasek suffers another injury to his groin. If that happens, the Wings still have Osgood, a very capable backup. Perennial President’s Trophy candidates, the Red Wings will once again take the Central Division and be in the top 2 in the West.

Edmonton Oilers

Major Additions: D Sheldon Souray, F Dustin Penner, D Joni Pitkanen, D Richard Tarnstrom, LW Geoff Sanderson, G Mathieu Garon, D Denis Grebeshkov,
Major Subtractions: D Jason Smith, F Joffery Lupul, F Petr Sykora, F Brad Winchester, D Jan Hejda, F Toby Peterson, F Peter Nedved, G Jussi Markkanen
Better or Worse: No Change/Slightly Better Oil fans, if you are oblivious to the truth, you will not want to read this paragraph. When Michael Nylander was set to sign with the Oilers, GM Kevin Lowe went to sleep feeling good about himself, but when he wakes up the next morning and finds out that Nylander has signing in Washington, something must have snapped in his brain. Lowe did the very unexpected, signing Buffalo Sabre RFA Tomas Vanek to a ridiculous offer sheet, that was later matched by Buffalo. A few weeks later, Lowe was at it again, doing the same to Anaheim Ducks RFA Dustin Penner, this time the offer was not matched, and Penner became and Oiler. Sorry Oilers fans, but this move by Lowe and other trades and signings will not bring playoff hockey back to Edmonton, the North West is just to strong for them.
EDIT: Adding to Edmonton's analysis, I do not dislike Kevin Lowe or his Managing skills, I actually believe he has done an excellent job using the New Rules in the NHL to his advantage, I still don't think Edmonton has done enough to compete with a very improved Northwest division. As for their specific additions, the Oilers sured up their Blue Line, but their offense still lacks that punch that they lost during the divorce from Ryan Smyth. After reviewing my analysis, I've changed Edmonton's 'Better or Worse' Ranking to No Change/Slightly Better

Florida Panthers

Major Additions: G Tomas Vokoun, F Richard Zednik, F Brett McLean, F Radek Dvorek
Major Subtractions: F Martin Gelinas, G Alex Auld, F Chris Gratton, D Alex Semenov, G Ed Belfour(UFA),
Better or Worse: No Change Simple, there was not enough done in Florida this off season to bring the playoffs to them. The deal for Vokoun will help, but not enough. The Panthers still have almost no help on the blue line for Jay Boumeester. No playoffs for the Panthers this year.
P.S. Nice new jerseys.

Los Angeles Kings

Major Additions: F Ladislav Nagy, F Kyle Calder, F Michal Handzus, D Brad Stuart, D Tom Preissing,
Major Subtractions: G Mathieu Garon, D Aaron Miller, F Tom Kostopoulos, F Alyn McAuley (Buy Out), F Raitis Ivanans(UFA), G Sean Burke(UFA), D Mike Weaver(UFA), D Jamie Heward(UFA)
Better or Worse: Extremely Improved GM Dean Lombardi looks to have just about turned this team from a basement dweller into a playoff team. With the signings of Nagy, Calder, Handzus, Stuart and Preissing, the Kings have improved in every aspect of the game, except the one that kept them out of most games last year, goaltending. With Cloutier in net, the Kings will need lots of offense and strong defense; they simply can not afford to hope Cloutier will steal games, because it simply won’t happen. Kings will fight for the final playoff spot.

Minnesota Wild

Major Additions: F Eric Belanger, D Sean Hill, G Nolan Schaefer, D Andre Lakos, F Petr Kalus
Major Subtractions: G Emmanuel Fernandez, F Adam Hall(UFA)
Better or Worse: Slightly Worse The Wild look to young net minders Nickolas Backstrom and Josh Harding to lead the way for the Wild, but their inexperience will cost the Wild a spot in the postseason. Mistakes will be made by these two and the offense and defense will not be able to compensate. The Wild will finish anywhere from 10th–13th.

Montreal Canadiens

Major Additions: F Brian Smolinski, D Roman Hamrlik, D Patrice Brisebois, F Tom Kostopoulos, D Jamie Rivers,
Major Subtractions: D Sheldon Souray, F Radek Bonk, F Sergei Samsonov, G David Aebischer, F Tony Salmelainen, D Jassen Cullimore, F Mike Johnson(UFA), D Janne Niinimaa(UFA)
Better or Worse: Slightly Worse Le Bleu, Blanc et Rouge did not get any better this offseason, and will subsequently miss the playoffs again this season. GM Bob Gainey hasn’t gotten it done, and when Habs fans got restless for a signing, he signed Roman Hamrlik for much more then he is worth. This signing limited what else he could do. Montreal’s only hope for the post season is if their 3 goalies (Huet, Halak, Price) are able to show up every single night. Look for Montreal to be in the bottom 5 in the East.

Nashville Predators

Major Additions: F Martin Gelinas, F Radek Bonk, F Jed Ortmayer, D Greg DeVries,
Major Subtractions: F Paul Kariya, F Scott Hartnell, G Tomas Vokoun, D Kimmo Timonen, D Vitali Vishnevski, D Sheldon Brookbank, F Peter Forsberg(UFA), F Pat Leahy(UFA), F Kim Staal(UFA)
Better or Worse: Slightly Worse New owners, new jerseys, new arena name, new faces, and new hope in Nashville for a team that won’t go out first round to the Sharks, but have no fear Preds fans, you’re team won’t get the opportunity to play the Sharks in the playoffs. Preds will be extinct before the post season starts or if the manage to fight their way in, they will be fossilized in the first round.

New Jersey Devils

Major Additions: F Dainius Zubrus, G Kevin Weekes, D Vitali Vishnevski, D Karel Rachunek, F Arron Asham
Major Subtractions: F Scott Gomez, D Brian Rafalski, D Brad Lukowich,
Better or Worse: No Change Nothing to special happened in the swamp. They lost Gomez, but Zubrus and Asham will fill the points he would provide. The lost of Rafalski is cancelled out by the signings of Vishnevski and Rachunek. The Devils will continue to play their boring style and it will get them into the post season once again, finishing anywhere from 4th-7th.

New York Islanders

Major Additions: F Bill Guerin, F Mike Comrie, F Jon Sim, F Ruslan Fedotenko, D Andy Sutton, F Josef Vasicek, G Joey MacDonald, D Aaron Johnson
Major Subtractions: F Alexei Yashin(Buy Out), F Jason Blake, F Ryan Smyth, F Richard Zednik, F Viktor Kozlov, F Aaron Asham, D Sean Hill, G Mike Dunham(UFA), F Eric Boguniecki(UFA), D Tomas Malec
Better or Worse: Slightly Worse It seemed everyday, their was new hockey news coming out of Long Island. Sure they’ve signed a lot of new players, but they lost their top four or 5 scorers. The Islanders will not end the season high with Dubie this year, and will crash into the 11th place in the east.

New York Rangers

Major Additions: F Chris Drury, F Scott Gomez, D Andy Hutchinson,
Major Subtractions: F Michael Nylander, G Kevin Weekes, F Matt Cullen, F Jed Ortmayer, D Karel Rachunek. D Sandis Ozolinsh, D Martin Richter(UFA)
Better or Worse: Extremely Improved I give Rangers GM a 5/5 for this off season. Signing BOTH Drury and Gomez, the Rangers look dangerous. Strong down the center, on the wings, in net, but only average on defense could be a bit of a problem for the Rangers. Jagr, Drury, Gomez and the rest of the Rangers forwards should put up more then enough points to bail out any defensive errors. Rangers look to top the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, fighting with Ottawa.

Ottawa Senators

Major Additions: F Niko Dimitrakos, F Shane Donovan, D Luke Richardson
Major Subtractions: F Mike Comrie, D Tom Preissing, F Peter Scheafer, D Jamie Allison(UFA),
Better or Worse: No Change No major changes for the Senators, with the exception of Bryan Murray moving to GM from Coach and naming John Paddock as coach. If the Sens lost someone, Murray was able to gain another player with the same skills as him, for equal or lesser value. The Sens will once again top the Northeast, fighting of provincial rivals Toronto for 2nd in the East.

Philadelphia Flyers

Major Additions: F Daniel Briere, D Jason Smith, F Joffery Lupul, F Scott Hartnell, D Kimmo Timonen,
Major Subtractions: F Mike York, D Joni Pitkanen, F Niko Dimitrakos, F Geoff Sanderson, F Todd Fedoruk, F Denis Hamel, G Robert Esche (UFA), F Mark Cullen (UFA)
Better or Worse: Extremely Improved A great job done by GM Paul Holmgren to turn this Flyers team from bottom feeders to a legitimate playoff team. The Briere signing, although pricy, was excellent, and the deals for Smith, Lupul, Hartnell, Timmonen, were strokes of managerial magic. The Flyers will be in a tough Atlantic Division and will fight with New Jersey and Pittsburgh for 2nd. The Flyers will finish anywhere from 4th-7th in the Eastern Conference.

Phoenix Coyotes

Major Additions: G David Aebischer, G Alex Auld, F Radim Vrbata, F Mike York
Major Subtractions:F Owen Nolan, F Kevyn Adams, F Dave Scatchard (Buy Out), F Mike Ricci (Retirement), F Jeremy Roenick(UFA/Possible Retirement), G Curtis Joseph(UFA),
Better or Worse: Extremely Worse Unfortunately for Gretzky’s desert dogs, they will dwell in the cellar of the Western Conference once again, fighting with the Jackets for last place. The Coyotes seem to have had nothing but bad luck in the last few years with injuries and consistency, but many young prospects in the system could bring the `Yotes to respectability in the next few years.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Major Additions: G Ty Conklin, G Dany Sabourin, D Darryl Sydor, F Peter Sykora,
Major Subtractions: F Michal Ouellet, F Chris Thorburn, F Nils Ekman(UFA), D Wade Brookbank(UFA), D Robert Scuderi(UFA), D Eric Cairns(UFA), D Josef Melichar(UFA), F Ron Petrovicky(UFA)
Better or Worse: No Change The Pens young players will continue to mature this season, and they will finish anywhere from 4th-7th in the East. The Pens, Flyers and Devils will be going back and forth for 2nd in the Atlantic behind a very strong Rangers team, its to close to call who will be 2nd, but all three will make the playoffs.

San Jose Sharks

Major Additions: Alexei Semenov
Major Subtractions: G Vesa Toskala, F Mark Bell, D Scott Hannen, F Bill Guerin, F Mark Smith(UFA), F Vladimir Malakhov(UFA)
Better or Worse: No Change Nothing major in San Jose, except the decision to use Evgeni Nabokov as their starter made evident by the deal sending Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell to Toronto for picks. Sharks will once again have a strong season finishing 4th -6th in the Western Conference.

St. Louis Blues

Major Additions: F Paul Kariya, F Keith Tkachuk, G Hannu Toivonen,
Major Subtractions: G Curtis Sanford, F Radek Dvorek, D Jamie Rivers, F Glen Metropolit(UFA), F Ville Nieminen(UFA), F Vladimir Orszagh(UFA), F Trent Whitfield(UFA)
Better or Worse: Slightly Better Adding Kariya and bringing Tkachuk back from Atlanta will help the Blues brutal offense. Also having Hannu Toivonen to pressure the million other Blues Goalies for the Staring and backup jobs, once again, goaltending will be a problem in St. Louis, Legace hasn’t been his old Detroit self and all of St. Louis other goalies are AHLers at best. St.Louis will miss the playoffs again this season.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Major Additions: D Brad Lukowich, F Chris Gratton, F Michal Ouellet,
Major Subtractions: F Ruslan Fedotenko, D Luke Richardson, D Cory Sarich, F Eric Perrin, D Nolan Pratt(UFA), F Rob DiMaio(UFA)
Better or Worse: No Change Nothing that exciting, with the exception of new owners and logo. Tampa will fight for the final playoff spot in the east.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Major Additions: G Vesa Toskala, F Jason Blake, F Mark Bell, G Scott Clemmensen
Major Subtractions: F Yanic Perreault, F Mike Peca, F Jeff O’Neill(UFA), F Travis Green(UFA), G J.S. Aubin(UFA)
Better or Worse: Extremely Improved Expectations are high here in Toronto, well, its like that every year, and what makes us Leaf Nation hopefull feel any better about this year? It’s the fact the Leaf have a new, exciting goalie in Vesa Toskala and that Andrew Raycroft won’t have to carry the team, and then take the blame when his other team mates don’t play well. Also the fact that the Leafs now have that winger for Mats Sundin in Jason Blake. If Jason Blake repeats his 40 goal performance from last season, he is a steal for 4 million. The other forward acquired by the Leafs was Mark Bell, who came over in the Toskala trade. Bell might have other things on his mind this year, mainly jail time that he will have to face at the end of the season. The Leafs will finish 2nd or 3rd in the Northeast conference, and anywhere from 4th-8th in the East. Excellent off season by Leafs GM John Furguson Jr.
EDIT: Okay, the biggest complaint I've received is that I was to biased towards the Leafs. Yes, you are all correct in that statement, the trade for Toskala is risky, and hopefully (for Leafs Nation) he can play like he did during the 05/06 Playoffs, when he seemed unbeatable. Also the singing of Jason Blake may not be as huge as I made it seem, if he scores 30-35 Goals, he is only adding about 10-15 goals onto the Leafs total, because of the loss of Jeff O'Neill, who notched 20 goals last season. Also, the addition of Mark Bell could be costly now because of his legal troubles but I am still confident he can put it in the back of his mind and tally a respectable 15-22 goals, and 28-33 points. The Addition of Blake and Bell should get the Leafs a gain of about 15-30 goals, and the tandum of Toskala/Raycroft should net the Leafs about 5-10 more wins, more then enough to get them into the playoffs, remember those 5-10 games the Leafs blew in the 3rd period last year?

Vancouver Canucks

Major Additions: F Ryan Shannon, D Aaron Miller, F Byron Ritchie, F Brad Isbister, G Curtis Sanford
Major Subtractions: G Dany Sabourin, F Marc Chouinard(Buy out), F Brent Sopel (UFA), D Rory Fitzpatrick(UFA), F Trevor Linden(UFA),
Better or Worse: No Change Do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of crickets coming from Vancouver GM Dave Nonis’ office. All he has done is add another defenseman in Miller and a backup for Luongo. And that’s all he really could be asked to do. A little bit more help on offense might help, but the `Nucks will fight with the Aves and Flames for the top Northwest seed.

Washington Capitals

Major Additions: F Michael Nylander, F Viktor Kovlov, D Tom Poti, F Joe Motzko
Major Subtractions: F Kris Beech, D Bryan Muir(UFA)
Better or Worse: Slightly Better Unfortunately for Alex the Gr8, he won’t get a taste of playoff hockey this season either, his team may have improved, but not enough to compete with the other teams in the East. Washington will finish in the bottom four in the East.

Either on here as a comment or E-mail me at:
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EDIT: I was contacted by torontohockey.net about posting this article on their site. Here is a link to it:
August 16, 2007 8:51 AM ET | Delete
Good post most everything was objective except your teams analysis which I would put at slightly better or no change. Main reason when you have older forwards like Mats and Jason there is a risk of chemistry and injury. I think secod in the NE is a bit ambitious but hey I am a Sabres fan!!
August 16, 2007 9:05 AM ET | Delete
I love this analysis. Great job.Expect some crap from some Islanders fans though. Saying the Rangers may top the Eastern conference and the Isles will finish 11th, although absolutely true, will win you no friends from the NVMC.
August 16, 2007 9:11 AM ET | Delete
Good analysis, although i think the Sabres depth will make the a lock for the playoffs. Its only my opinion. Also, I think the Leafs are improved, but I wouldn,t expect them anywhere above 7th place. And I like the Sharks to take the division next year.
August 16, 2007 9:40 AM ET | Delete
Great post!!!
August 16, 2007 10:11 AM ET | Delete
well not bad but i'm have to disagree on 2 things, the maple laughs are not finishing 2nd, and they'll be fighting for eigth spot again if they're lucky, and the habs will be finishing ahead of your leafs and Tampa....the leafs will frustrate you fans once again this year...
August 16, 2007 10:23 AM ET | Delete
It's a good blog to read, but I don't think the Leafs are finishing ahead of the Sabres are IMO. They may have lost two huge guys, but the fact still remains that they have one heck of a team.I would also probably label the Avs as a most improved team. They're gonna take a run I think.
August 16, 2007 10:43 AM ET | Delete
hey man,Nice blog! I like how objective you are through out. Although I don't agree with a few of your points, I think you've done a great job breaking down the teams!! Keep it up.
August 16, 2007 10:43 AM ET | Delete
Good analysis. I think you're giving our boys in blue a bit too much credit, but I'm confident we'll make the playoffs this year but we'll likely be in 6th place at best.
August 16, 2007 11:06 AM ET | Delete
good blog. question though, the flames finished tied for 3rd in goal scoring with 258 goals. They also had 3 30 goal scorers, and 4 players with 70 points.Not sure why they needed to add fire power.also, oilers look slightly improved with a far better D core, with the real devastating loss being smith and smyth. Also, i'd put the leafs at slightly improved, but i guess we all have our soft spots :)
August 16, 2007 11:18 AM ET | Delete
I agree with 75-100 percent of what you posted. very open minded and accurate.Hey, quick question.... Is it possible that the Rangers may have TOO MUCH talent? Let me know, because even though I'm a Flyers fan and obviously want a division rival to lose, you'd hate to see a team that talented not go far. Will they all mesh together?
August 16, 2007 11:50 AM ET | Delete
Good job mate, but the Capitals will fight for a playoffs spot this year!!
August 16, 2007 12:07 PM ET | Delete
Good blog, but you gotta take those blue and white sunglasses off. Adding another back up goalie and a career 22 goal scorer in Blake (why do people assume he is a 40 goal scorer based on one year) replaces O'Neills 20 and Peca only. The Leafs may have improved to maybe get into the playoffs, but they still have the same set of six pylons in the back end.
August 16, 2007 12:17 PM ET | Delete
Yeah but 6 very nice pylons
August 16, 2007 12:19 PM ET | Delete
Big T, no offense but take off you're blue and white hating sunglasses off. Toskala is a risky addition but he was at times the starter in San Jose and all of the Sharks fans here on HB says he IS better than Nabby. Blake will most likely not get 40 goals, I agree, but 30 -35 goals is certainly in reach and I think that's very realistic and probable. And don't forget Blake adds some PK ability along with his pest like game. And six pylons? C'mon dude....
August 16, 2007 12:28 PM ET
You have the Atlantic Division all wrong
August 16, 2007 12:29 PM ET | Delete
It was great post. The Rangers top of the East is absolutely correct. ON PAPER......The Rags have ALOT to prove. The could be the team that crashes. Now as for my Isles. I feel we did a great job (and are still not done) filling the holes that were left by free agency. Now everyone has the loss of Ryan Smyth fresh on thier minds and feel the loss of such a player makes us worse. But, we only had him for 15 games all season. We took a gamble with him to get further in the playoffs (which noone thought we would make in the beginning of the season). If DP didn't get hurt during that final push we wouldn't of had to fight for our playoff lives at the end of the season. Ted did a great job for his first season as coach and now with "his" team this year, alot of haters will be very surprised this upcoming year. I wouldn't turn a blind eye to the New York Islanders this season. Now as for the blog.....I feel that the Islanders are "slightly (very slightly) better this year".
August 16, 2007 12:47 PM ET | Delete
another easterner underestimating minnesota......also the preds will make the playoffs have you seen their top 2 lines defense chris mason? another thing...st. louis was above .500 last year with andy murray they will contendlastly, tb and carolina will fight for the SE not atlanta lolol...florida will contend for playoff spot
August 16, 2007 1:16 PM ET | Delete
Ron Guillet- its not the Blue and White hating, its the over exageration that I find amusing. By adding Jason Blake (who in your words is a 30-35 goal scorer yet he has only achieved this once in his 8 year career) and Vesa Toskala (who is suddenly the saviour like Raycroft was last year) is going to move the Leafs from 9th to a top 4 team. WOW!! The Leafs are better and thus I will give you a shot at anywhere between 6th-9th and that is assuming Toskala is better and the Leafs defense fiqures out how to keep down scoring chances (don't let shots on goal get confused here) But by adding these two pieces make the Leafs Extremely Better can only be said by a Leaf fan. I wish you and your Leafs fan good luck in your quest for the Holy Grail. But not too much.
August 16, 2007 1:30 PM ET | Delete
I think Ivanans is still signed with the kings.... But I wish he wasn't. :)
August 16, 2007 1:59 PM ET | Delete
Legace was spectacular under Murray last year till he got hurt. I love how people tend to convienantly ignore this fact in an attempt to disqualify him as a legitimate starter. But the numbers are right in front of your eyes if you do your homework. By no means am I saying we won't have our share of struggles, but goaltending will not be one of them (barring extensive injuries).
August 16, 2007 2:12 PM ET | Delete
Big T, I never said they were top 4 material.... they are faaarrr from it. I believe they will anywhere from 6th ( lucky) to 13th (breakdown). I was merely pointing out that I disagree about Blake and Toskala. I'm not saying Toskala is our saviour, I even said it IS risky but he can potentially be a very good goalie for us... or a bust. Blake is a late bloomer his stats went up after the lock-up progressivly and I think it's reasonable to expect a 60-70 point season with 30-35 goals.... I am in no way being a homer and I think these are very probable situation.
August 16, 2007 2:43 PM ET | Delete
The Sabres are still going to make the playoffs ... Drury and Briere were not are entire team
August 16, 2007 3:16 PM ET | Delete
For the oilers you really didn't give any justification on why they got slightly worse. The only thing you mentioned was that you dislike they way Lowe has done business this off season not whether who he aquired is actually gonna help the team.
August 16, 2007 3:43 PM ET | Delete
Ron- thanks for the comments, I was referring to the blogger that has stated the Leafs have EXTREMELY IMPROVED, and will compete with the Sens for 1st place in the NE. If the blogger is suggesting the Leafs compete with the Sens then in fact that would mean 4th or 5th place finish at the very worst. My point is that these assessments are based on the very best case senario from the Leafs standpoint but the other teams are not getting the same benefit.
August 16, 2007 3:52 PM ET | Delete
Big T- In that case, I completly agree. I really don't see how T.O will finish ahead of the Sens or Sabres... it's beyond wishful thinking.
August 16, 2007 3:59 PM ET | Delete
Not a bad read at all.I really think you are WAY over the top on your Leafs and the only other is the Hawks, you said they are slightly improved and could sneak into the playoffs, my friend if that happens that would be HUGELY IMPROVED.I enjoyed the read, good work.
August 16, 2007 4:01 PM ET | Delete
Sorry, I also think the Sabres are still going to be a very very good team, slightly worse yes but still a 100 point team no question in my mind.
August 16, 2007 4:38 PM ET | Delete
Not bad. Easy to tell who your team is. A little explanation and logic on the Edmonton Oilers are slightly worse than last year would be appreciated. Your reasoning sounded more personal, than factual. I dont think many will disagree with me when i say that the team that will hit the ice on October 4, is much better than the team that left the ice on April 6. Nice job on most of the blog though.
August 16, 2007 4:45 PM ET | Delete
Wow, Great blog, few comments. The season has many surprises, as in injuries and trades. No one mentioned Gerber will be treaded early - mid season once Los Angelas figures they need goaltending. As well as the "FORSBERG" issue at hand. What if he does come to Ottawa? Blake, Bell and Toskala really improve the leafs that much? Blake can put up 30-35 goals sure, but he is taking away Tucker minutes, so Tucker will not put up such high numbers. Has no one thought that to add players other players will be impacted. Did Bell not play on the fourth line most of last season in San Jose? He is the next Arnason. And Toronto also signed Clemenson, so who is going to play back up. Not Raycroft who should be dealt for a bag of pucks which puts all the pressure on Toskala and he wont have such a great season. As for the Canucks fighting with the Avs and Flames for tops, not a chance. The only chance they have is if Naslund and Morrison get there acts together and they can sign Anson Carter back. Other then a few points great blog. Would agree on most things.
August 16, 2007 7:05 PM ET | Delete
I debate that Calgary will have a hard time putting the puck in the net this year. Iginla, Tanguay, Langkow will do the brunt of the work upfront. An improved Lombardi, Conroy and Nolan will provide good second tier scoring.
August 16, 2007 8:50 PM ET | Delete
The fact that you don't agree with lowe doesn't mean there worse off. The Oilers would be alot better than last if all they did was get the hurt players back from last year let alone pick up some pretty decent players. And what are the chances that vancouver can do nothing and have the same season as last year, Luongo can only do so much and Naslund needs to wake up.
August 16, 2007 8:53 PM ET | Delete
Thanks for all these comments.Whether you agree with me on different things or not, I appreciate the praise and criticism. Some of you posted questions, I'll send you messages with my opinions on them.Once again, thank you.
August 16, 2007 9:02 PM ET | Delete
Also, now that I re-read my blog and your comments, I notice I missed a few things in my explanations. Namely Edmonton, Calgary, and My Leafs.Yes, I am bias towards my Leafs, and I was rather pro-Leafs in this blog.
August 16, 2007 11:38 PM ET | Delete
strong stuffbut i think florida improved themselves a little bit
August 17, 2007 1:05 AM ET | Delete
I don't know why people keep on saying Leaf fans thought Raycroft was our savior last year... I don't think any Leaf fan liked the trade :S
August 17, 2007 3:58 AM ET | Delete
The oilers will be way better off than last year! and you should watch they will turn some heads in the Northwestexpect the oilers to finish 2nd or 3rd in the division and almost guaranteed the entire division will be in the playoff hunt.
August 17, 2007 8:05 AM ET | Delete
Great read, must have taken some good time to write all that down.
August 17, 2007 11:11 AM ET | Delete
great post but double check your facts because peca is not yet a ranger and about the sabres you are all wrong even though they will be much worse but they still have alot of great develloping players on that team and may be even in a fifth seed.
August 17, 2007 11:13 AM ET | Delete
The point made on Raycroft being the savior was made be me. A lot of fans on this site and others were expecting Raycroft to be the same guy that had one good season as a rookie vs the goalie that was a bust in Europe and the first year after the lockout. It seems to me that Blake is getting the same kind of reaction, most forget that he is an average 22 goal scorer, not 40 and are predicting him for somewhere around 35. In respect to Blake should he get 25-30, this would replace the 20 or so the Leafs would lose from O'Neill, so I doubt that those goals will add the 10 wins needed to get to this bloggers lofty position of fighting for the NE crown with Ottawa.
September 1, 2007 8:09 PM ET | Delete
The Pens still have Scuderi, Michael Oullet is not a major subtraction when you factor in Sykora. To the best of my recollection, Brookbank wasn't even on the team last season, nor was Ekman. I admire your determination to put a blog like this together, but I think your goal outweighs your research. Don't wanna seem picky but, if you're going to try and highlight my teams pros and cons and not be right, then I'm not going to know how to take your other analyzations for the other teams.
September 2, 2007 9:40 AM ET | Delete
Great work. Don't agree with it all, but good job.
September 2, 2007 2:15 PM ET | Delete
Aside from the slight bias toward the Leafs :) good blog... With the Flames, their biggest moves were not trades or free agents, rather the extensions to Regehr and Iggy. When Kipper and Phaneuf re-up long term this year a lot of people, including the Calgary media, will be eating their words when it comes to the prediction that Calgary will have to disband their core the same way the Oilers did. I agree, Slightly Improved...
September 3, 2007 11:24 AM ET | Delete
September 4, 2007 2:21 PM ET | Delete
At least you said the Rangers defense was average, and not say it sucks like everyone else. IMO great job with the article.
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