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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.

LINK TO PART ONE: http://my.hockeybuzz.com/...=13838&user_id=131735

Today is day two of 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 be analyzing the teams ranked 25-21 on DNG’s list. Lets begin!

25. New York Islanders:
The Islanders are slowly on the rise. It won’t be long before they’re back in the Playoffs. With a young solid core consisting of Tavares, Moulson, Grabner, Nielson, Okposo, and Bailey, it’s almost a surprise that they still have tons of cap space. And that’s including the fact that they’re still paying Yashin and DiPietro. Their offense has gone through a major makeover over these last few years, and they’ve been playing musical chairs back in the crease. But they must fix their D-group before even thinking about making a run at the playoffs. Don’t get me wrong; a farm team that includes Calvin De Haan and Griffin Reinhart is certainly one heading in the right direction. But it’ll take some time for those two to become full-time defensemen. As of now, Hamonic, Visnovsky (if he stays on the Island), Streit, MacDonald, and Carkner have spots locked up. But that group is missing some pieces of the puzzle.

During the summer, other than acquiring Visnovsky (and we all saw how that turned out), the Islanders haven’t been able to do anything that could move this team into playoff contention. In fact, losing Parenteau to the Avalanche is gonna be a huge blow to their offense. Unless Nabokov can turn in a Vezina-like performance, the Islanders won’t be anywhere close to that 8th spot in the Eastern Conference.
Verdict? Draft Lottery.

24. Anaheim Ducks:
Similar to the Canucks, having a star player on your team publicly state he wants out is something that will only lead to bad things in the locker room. How do you think it feels to be the other 22 guys in there playing alongside Bobby Ryan? I’m not saying he’s wrong or bashing him for what he said. But those other guys in the locker room know he wants out. All that does is affect relationships, and could cause serious drama amongst the team. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, TRADE HIM NOW MURRAY. Lower the price tag a bit, and ship him out before the season goes down the drain.

Other than that little tidbit, Anaheim made some pretty good moves. Souray was brought in to replace Visnovsky, granted it was at a hefty cost for a questionable amount of time, Bryan Allen signed to help out their D as well, and Swedish wonder Viktor Fasth will back up Jonas Hiller this season and take a huge load off the Swiss netminders shoulders. The biggest move though? Selanne is back for another year! But could the Ducks give Teemu one more shot at the Stanley Cup? Well, we could only hope so.
Verdict? Playoff Hopeful.

23. New Jersey Devils:
What a year for the Devils. Their luck began when they won the draft lottery last year and were able to steal Adam Larsson at the 4th spot. Then came a wonderful blessing in the form of rookie sensation Adam Henrique who lets face it, shocked the NHL by joining Landeskog and Nugent-Hopkins as Calder candidates. Add that to a group with Brodeur in net and Elias and Parise leading the offense, and you have yourself a team that was two wins away from the Stanley Cup.

Well that’s all over now. Parise is gone, Sykora is still unsigned, and Brodeur had one foot out the door before Lou re-signed him for a couple more years. So what now? New Jersey will enter the season with ultimately the same lineup minus those two mentioned above and Ponikarovsky who left to join his old friends Antropov and Wellwood in Winnipeg. The biggest difference of course is the loss of their captain Zach Parise. But with a full year from Travis Zajac, they should be able to make the playoffs again. Lets not forget the $100 million man Ilya Kovalchuk. He’s ready to win, and win now. No doubt in my mind the Devils will make the playoffs. But going as far as they did last year? That’s gonna be quite the challenge.
Verdict? Playoff bound.

22. Nashville Predators:
There’s so much to say here I should just write a whole separate blog just to analyze their summer (which I will be doing in the near future). But there were some huge mistakes made by David Poile not over these last eight weeks, but over the last 12 months.

From losing Suter, to committing a low-budget franchise to a ridiculous lucrative contract for Shea Weber, Poile may be wishing he did a few things differently. It would’ve stung really bad to lose both Suter and Weber in the same month, but those Weber bonuses are gonna paralyze this franchise and almost certainly affect its long-term future financially.

The only addition was Chris Mason returning to backup Rinne. Nashville still has a team that could battle for the cup. Granted losing Suter for nothing is a huge loss nevertheless. But I don’t doubt it one bit that Nashville will make the playoffs. They won’t turn in a profit this year because of Webers contract, but they will battle for the cup.
Verdict? Playoff Bound.

21. Columbus Blue Jackets:

We’ve officially begun the post-Nash era in Columbus. Howson didn’t get the big return he wanted, but he got something that will help this team at least. Dubinsky had a rough year, but he’s a great second line center on any team and he plays with tons of passion. Anisimov is a top six winger and Tim Erixon will be a future top pairing defenseman. All that plus a first rounder is enough to set this team in a different direction.

Other than the Nash process taking a huge chunk of the summer to be completed, and of course missing out on Yakupov with some horrible draft lottery luck, Columbus’ summer wasn’t really that bad. They acquired Foligno from the Senators and still drafted promising defenseman Ryan Murray. Bobrovsky will split the crease with former Calder trophy winner Steve Mason as well.

It’ll take some time before this franchise sees playoff action again, but they are taking steps in the right direction. Especially with a defensive group as strong as the one they have. Nikitin, Tyutin, Johnson, Wisniewski, Aucoin, Murray, Erixon, and Moore is a lot better than people may give them credit for. With all but one of them either young or signed long-term, this group will only continue to grow as they play together. The old one, being Aucoin, will also be a huge factor with his experience that he will be passing on to the youngsters. Like I said, the post-Nash era has officially begun.
Verdict? Draft Lottery.

LINK TO PART ONE: http://my.hockeybuzz.com/...=13838&user_id=131735


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.
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