Off-Season Winners & Losers.
This off-season has been almost one for the ages, players that we're available name from Daniel Briere, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez and a fury of other notable players in the league. You could argue that teams like Philadelphia, who added Briere and Biron at the trade deadline should improve on their year previous, where they posted a dismal 22-48-12 record, for only 56 points. The off-season has almost came to a halt, and training camp is set to begin, lets look at my winners & losers this off-season
I believe the biggest winner this off-season are the Pittsburgh Penguins, most importantly they signed Sidney Crosby to a long term-contract that will keep him in a Pittsburgh uniform for another 6 years. They went out and added All-Star defense man Darryl Sydor that will give them some leadership and compliment Sergi Gonchar and Ryan Whitney. They added Petr Sykora up-front which will give the Pens some additional secondary scoring. They also added depth in the draft, getting Angelo Esposito, who will compliment Crosby in a few short years. Marc-Andre Fleury will improve from last years excellent regular season.
New York Rangers
The Rangers perhaps have had one of the best free agent signing off-seasons ever. They added Chris Drury and Scott Gomez upfront, which already bolds well with the likes of Jarmoir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Petr Prucha and Martin Straka. The Rangers are still interested in acquiring a defense man and Ed Jovanovski has been rumored for awhile. They also will have help in the blue line with Marc Staal seemingly ready to make the jump to the pros. Henrik Lundqvist was nominated for the Vezina for the second straight year, and give him much more confidence going into this season.
Although they lost their co-captains in Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, I still believe Buffalo is in good standing for this year. The only reason I am putting them in this category is because you lost Drury and Briere. Tim Connolly has seemingly recovered from his concussion problems from last season, and players like Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy are ready for an increased role in responsibility. Kotalik, Stafford and Afinogenov will need to provide deep secondary scoring if Buffalo hopes to reach the 35 win plateau again. Buffalo bolds well on the blue line, with Campbell, Numminen and Spacek providing the veteran presence and Miller should be steady on his head.
Columbus Blue Jackets
You add Michael Peca, and you're done? The Blue Jackets have still yet to make the playoffs since joining the National Hockey League as an expansion team in 2000. Columbus has Rick Nash up front, and with his recent injury problems, can he have another 50 goal season? Players like Modin and Federov haven't done the job they are expected too since joining the Jackets. Columbus hasn't improved their team in the free agent market for years. Adam Foote, since signing with Columbus from Colorado isn't the same intimidating player that he was years back. Al thought players like Brule, Tollefsson and Voracek are their future, the future looks bleak for the Jackets.
(Note: I submitted this to the contest Eklund posted, and I thought perhaps more people could read it here)