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"Aarif Deen - DailyNHLGrind"
MI • United States • 24 Years Old • Male
For everything hockey - 24/7 news updates, scores, humour, blogs, and everything else in between, please follow me on twitter at https://twitter.com/DailyNHLGrind.

We are now currently just a few days into the most horrifying month of the year for the entire hockey world. Seriously now, August definitely is the worst time to be a hockey fan. Free agency has died down, trade talks have gone sour, training camp is still six weeks away, and RFA’s have, for the most part, signed already. Now there may be a few still out there like UFA’s Doan, Colaiacovo and numerous older veteran backup goalies (Huet’s trying to make a comeback? Seriously?), RFA’s O’Reilly, Benn, and Subban amongst others, and a list of players still on the trade block including Bobby Ryan and Roberto Luongo. So we still could expect some big signings, offer-sheets (Holmgren alert), and trades leading up to mid-September when players report to camp (Fehr and Betman: Shake hands and get the damn CBA under control already).

August, amongst hockey Journalists, bloggers, insiders, reporters, and everyone else in between has been unofficially dubbed “prediction month” for the last stretch of years. Therefore, DailyNHLGrind will be analyzing everything that went down this summer leading up to opening night (you hear me Fehr and Betman? Opening night. As in October 11th. Not Christmas!) From the winners of the UFA market, to those who lost just about everything they went for (Holland alert), strap your seatbelts and get ready for a whole lot of hockey talk during this godforsaken month!

Today we’ll begin a six-day series that will look at the job done by the 30 GM’s around the league. From the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, to unrestricted free agency, to trades, offer-sheets, and even coaching changes, we’ve seen plenty of movement around the league. So which teams won? Which teams lost? Lets take a dip into the predictions, speculations, and opinions now shall we! Today we’ll kick off this this six part series by analyzing the teams ranked 30-26 on DNG’s list. Lets begin!

30. Chicago Blackhawks:
The Blackhawks are one of those teams that needed to make slight changes. One or two moves that could put them over the top from a playoff bound team to someone that could challenge for the Stanley Cup. There are a couple Question marks surrounding the team. Are Crawford and Emery good enough to get the job done? Actually, is management confident these two could do it? Because as far as I’m concerned Chicago has been in talks with Gillis for Luongo and they also tried to pry future Hall-of-Famer Marty Brodeur out of New Jersey. Does that spell a group confident in their netminders? Stan Bowman decided to not make any changes over the summer, and that could possibly mean another year where the Blackhawks hit the century mark in points, but fail to make an impact in the playoffs.

Lets also not forget that ever since his Stanley Cup OT winning goal in 2010, Patrick Kane has been on the decline, which has lead to plenty of rumours surrounding his name. What happens there? Will he be traded? Or will Chicago be able to kick start the youngster into being that All-Star he already showed us he is capable of being. There just seems to be too much to ask about this team leading into training camp.
Verdict? Playoff bound.

29. Detroit Red Wings:
For the first time in a long, long time, the almighty Red Wings are not so mighty anymore. They aren’t feared, they aren’t the team everyone looks up to, and once again have shown that they are in fact, on the decline. Datsyuk is still a magician like I explained last offseason. But he’s 34 years old now. He won’t be getting any better (or younger) than he already is. Now how about Ken Holland? Not so much anymore. Ken has been the best GM in the NHL for many years now, but his time is slowly coming to an end.

After numerous long-term contracts given out that don’t seem to make much sense like Franzen’s and Kronwall’s. Added to the fact that mid-tier defensemen such as Ericsson and Quincey are getting paid a bit too much, Ken has been making some, lets just say, not-so-good decisions lately for Hockeytown. This year, it got a lot worse. After Lidstrom retired, and the cap shot up 6 million, the Wings were given something that they aren’t too familiar with—plenty of cap space. But what were they able to acquire? Parise? Suter? Semin? Wideman? Parenteau? Nope. Instead, they replaced Hudler with Samuelsson, Conklin with Gustavsson, and added Tootoo to shore up their bottom six group.

Their defense needs a ton of help right now, and their offense is missing a good winger or two. What makes matters worse is the Red Wings farm team lacks any big name youngsters that could take over for the veterans. We may be looking at quite a rough ride in Hockeytown this year. I guess HBO is gonna give us an inside look at all the fun.
Verdict? Playoff hopeful.

28. Phoenix Coyotes:
Seriously though, I gotta congratulate that group in the locker room. For the third consecutive year under Dave Tippet, the Coyotes made the playoffs with ownership problems still in full force. This year, however, the Coyotes, lead by Shane Doan, were able to outlast 6 others in the West and make it to the Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. But lets recap their summer.

The Wizard is gone—a huge blow to a team that can’t afford to lose any offensive weapons. Steve Sullivan was signed to replace him in some ways though. Zbynek Michalek was brought back from Pittsburgh for prospects and picks to help their defense. But other than that, and the fact that there is still a huge question mark upon their ownership issues, there is only one question that needs to be answered down in Glendale. Will Shane Doan return to the only franchise he has called home?

With each passing day, it seems less and less likely. Their offseason has been quite rough, and the rumblings of Yandle being traded certainly aren’t helping either (unless the package they receive could help their offense) But with their ownership still a huge question mark, and their captain still unsure as to whether he’ll be back or not, the Coyotes rank 28th. And if Doan actually does sign elsewhere, they could drop another spot or two.
Verdict? Playoff hopeful.

27. San Jose Sharks:
When their season came to a crash landing back in April, Doug Wilson promised change. He promised big moves, he promised tons for the fans to look forward to, and he promised a change in the direction of the franchise. The Sharks are one of two teams to make the playoffs every year since the lockout, but their time, just like the Red Wings, is slowly coming to an end as well. Marleau and Thornton are still not getting it done. Niemi had a rough season after a great 2011 year, and their inconsistent play from their bottom six was a major factor in their rough season.

The Sharks finish off the month of July without the Nash or Parise or Suter they so desperately wanted. But so did 29 other teams, so it’s not like you can fault Wilson for that. But San Jose has, to this day, still not made a single move that has the fans confident that San Jose will battle for the Cup next year. They added Brad Stuart and Adam Burish as well as re-signing many of their depth players like Galiardi. But everything that was promised publicly by their GM has yet to be done. The shark tank might have to fight a little harder for that playoff birth this year. But with their talent, there is no doubt in my mind they’ll make the playoffs again. Will they go far in the postseason? I don’t think so. But they certainly have the team to make it to the round of 16.
Verdict? Playoff bound.

26. Vancouver Canucks:
The one move we’re all waiting for has yet to happen. And that move is the reason why the Canucks are ranked so low. This offseason has been completely overtaken by this Roberto Luongo soap opera. It was made very clear to us in the playoffs that this is now Cory Schneider’s team. Luongo’s public statements about wanting out are gonna haunt this team all year long if he does in fact, end up reporting to training camp in September. Gillis needs to trade him, and trade him now. If Luongo has to start the year in Vancouver, this whole situation won’t end well, and it could ultimately ruin the whole season for Vancouver in that locker room.

Other than the goaltending situation, Vancouver added a solid piece to their blue-line signing Jason “Boom-Boom” Garrison to a 6-year deal worth $27.6 million. Jason will not only replace Salo, but he will also fill the void left by Ehroff last summer. As long as he plays solid defensively, and scores some big PP goals, this signing will be considered a bargain. But then again, this could possibly turn out to be another one of those Ville Leino signings. At this rate, it could go either way.
Verdict? Playoff bound.


For everything hockey - 24/7 news updates, scores, humour, blogs, and everything else in between, please follow me on twitter at https://twitter.com/DailyNHLGrind.
Filed Under:   sharks   coyotes   canucks   red wings   blackhawks   offseason   nhl  
August 4, 2012 2:42 PM ET | Delete
im not sure why chicago is ranked 30th. they are basically unchanged, where detroit is much worse then last year.
August 5, 2012 12:20 AM ET | Delete
August 7, 2012 12:09 PM ET | Delete
Chicago didn't make the necessary moves to get over the hump. Detroit didn't either, but they've at least replaced some pieces. Will Detroit rank higher than Chicago in the standings at years end? Definitely not. But Chicago's summer was more disappointing
August 7, 2012 4:44 PM ET | Delete
I can't say Chicago had a disappointing summer when nothing was really expected. New Jersey couldn't re-sign Parise, Nashville couldn't re-sign Suter, and got Weber on an unappealing (to them) contract. Its an easy choice on who has had a more disappointing off season. But I suppose Chicago would probably also rank better if they traded Kane for scraps. This list marks change, not positive change.
August 7, 2012 11:18 PM ET | Delete
Way off base on Vancouver. Van city still has a couple great years ahead of themI'd say Phoenix is the biggest joke going
August 10, 2012 4:43 PM ET | Delete
Chicago's summer was more disappointing but the Wings had way more work to do and basically didn't get there. I actually like the Samuelsson and Tootoo adds, but their GLARING need is on defense. That's where their whole system starts. They've lost (and not replaced) 3 of their top 4 from two years ago. Ouch. And Jimmy Howard might now get exposed. Nice piece though.
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