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NJ • United States • 43 Years Old • Male
Well here we are in the dog days of August and naturally my thoughts turn to hockey! Here are one fan's take on the top five winners and losers this offseason so far. Winners: 1. Philadelphia; 2. Pittsburgh; 3. Colorado; 4. New York Rangers; 5. Anaheim. Losers: 1. Edmonton; 2. Montreal; 3. Buffalo; 4. New Jersey; 5. New York Islanders. Lets start with the winners. The Philadelphia Flyers, coming off their worst season ever, started righting the ship late last season with additions of Scottie Upshall, Martin Biron, Braydon Coburn and Lasse Kukkonen. Add to that the additions of Timonen, Hartnell, Briere and Jason Smith and you have a team with the potential to improve 50 points in the standings. The only key loss is Joni Pitkanen, and if anyone saw him play in his own end last year, its not much of a loss. The Pittsburgh Penguins have also done a fabulous job this offseason. They have lost no key players, locked up Crosby and left room to still sign other key young players in the future and brought in some quality players such as Petr Sykora (who may score 50 goals if he plays with Sid the Kid) and Darryl Sydor who adds much needed experience to the defense. The Colorado Avalanche manage to bring in Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan, while not losing any key players. Better yet, they still have room under the cap to add someone like Peter Forsberg during the season. No doubt, the Avs will be back in the playoffs. The New York Rangers upgraded themselves significantly at center by replacing Nylander and Cullen with Drury and Gomez. They also managed to bring back some grit by resigning Shanahan and Avery. Their defense is a little green and certainly there are questions about the Rangers depth at forward, but if Jagr stays healthy and motivated and they can somehow find the cap room to add one good defenseman during the season, this team will be a cup contender. Finally we come to the last of our winners, the Anaheim Ducks. Yes they have lost Scott Niedermayer, Dustin penner and most likely Teemu Selanne, but they locked up Giguere and signed Matthieu Schneider who will at least replace Niedermayers offense and puck moving ability. Up front, Bobby Ryan should come in and give this team at least what they got from Penner and they still have cap room if they can convince Selanne to come back. Now a look at the losers. The Edmonton Oilers may get some more offense from their D with the additions of Pitkanen and Sheldon Souray, but those guys will give up as many goals as they score. For a team still reeling from the loss of Ryan Smyth, losing Jason Smith certainly won't improve locker room morale and the addition of Dustin Penner won't make up for the loss of Sykora and Lupul. Can you say last place? The Montreal Canadiens, already having lost Craig Rivet during the season, now lose Sheldon Souray. Yes they added Roman Hamrlik, but their defense is still thin and their powerplay, which provided much of their offense, will suffer. The Habs will also have big questions in goal if Huet goes down. The strength of the Buffalo Sabres the last two years has been their fantastic depth at forward. Now with the loss of Drury, Briere, and Zubrus, that is no longer the case. They are really rolling the dice if they are counting on a major contribution from Tim Connolly to replace any of the above. Their defense remains thin as far as depth goes, but they have upgraded at back up goalie and at least locked up Vanek and Roy. The New Jersey Devils will miss Scott Rafalski a lot more than many people think. If injury prone Richard Matvichuk goes down, their D will be lacking in experience and they already lack a proven powerplay QB. The loss of Gomez won't be as critical, but they certainly will struggle to score as many goals as they did last year and lets face it, while he is still awesome, Marty Brodeur is not getting any younger and while Weekes will play a few more games than most recent Devil backups, he will not give the Devils the goaltending they need to win games. Lastly, the New York Islanders are going to need a monster season from Rick Dipietro and the coaching job of a lifetime from Ted Nolan to have any prayer of returning to the playoffs. Not resigning Smyth was a major loss and when you add that to the loss of Jason Blake, Yashin, Kozlov and Sean Hill, you are left with a team in trouble. Bill Guerin is not going to have a lot of fun captaining this team and the Isles will struggle to score goals. Anyhow thats one fan's opinion, let me know what you think.
Filed Under:   free agency  
August 3, 2007 3:41 PM ET | Delete
OK I'm sorry but too many people are giving Sheldon Souray WAY to much credit. One all he is is a shot. That's all he has going for him. And plus he has streaks where he does nothing, and streaks where he rules the ice. But also loosing Souray and getting Hamrlik will make our powerplay a little worse. But it'll make our 5 on 5 better. Some people don't realize it but he was so bad defensively that near the end of the year souray was the last pairing of defense. Edmonton better hope he scores quick in the season and doesn't stop. Because if he doesn't then everyone in Edmonton will curse him. Also the lose of Rivet isn't bad. I mean he played great in San Jose. But before he was traded to SJ he never really played that great. He was always messing up the plays. Not covering his man good enough, not blocking as much shots as he was in 05-06 (which gave him credit again) and he stopped being a effective 2nd powerplay slap shot. Being replaced by streit at times. Rivet and Souray will be misses, especially rivet. But they are replacable. Someone else steps up on the powerplay (Streit, Komisarek a big man, or I heard Koistyn has a great slap shot. Or even throw kovalev on the point.)Montreal will still fight for the playoffs but they won't be much worse off. Montreal and Toronto will fight for 7th and 8th again this year.
August 3, 2007 3:42 PM ET | Delete
Sorry forgot to tell you, although montreal I disagreed on, I do agree with everything else.Great read.
August 3, 2007 4:15 PM ET | Delete
Don't see how ducks are a winner, they may have managed not to full off completely but schneider is no niedermayer. ryan and bertuzzi are both question marks.
August 3, 2007 4:30 PM ET | Delete
i cant belive u would say anahiem was a winner this offseason.....i know they brought in some nice draft picks and a iffy todd who might have a bounce back season, but they are on the way to losing their best d-man and forward....schnieder cannot fill niedamayer's shoes and bertuzzi will be no seleane, infact bertuzzi will be lucky to fill penners shoes....Ducks are losers this offseason...they will not dominate the west this year and will come in a strong 4 or 5th position
August 3, 2007 9:47 PM ET | Delete
Rangers without question are the biggest winners this offseason...Gomez AND Drury..nobody saw that one. And they signed their goalie, Shanny, Avery and Hossa. Prucha too I think. And still might make a move for Jovo. Ok why am I trying to sell this to you...if you already didn't know well...
August 4, 2007 12:29 AM ET | Delete
want to know what I realized. Pittsburgh did nothing and their number 2....... Resigning Crosby worth a number 2????
August 4, 2007 2:41 AM ET | Delete
Interesting take, but Pittsburgh made better moves this summer than Colorado? I guess it depends on what your definition of 'winner' is. Colorado complimented their young forwards with Smyth and their young D-men with Hannan. I think they're in a better position than anyone due to their moves.
August 4, 2007 9:24 AM ET | Delete
Let me clarify a few things. When I picked my winners and losers it was not solely based on how much teams improved or didn't improve this offseason, but I also tried to factor in how well teams have set themselves up for the future in general. A couple of examples: Dustin Penner may very well have a better season next year than Bobby Ryan, but I believe that Ryan will be the better player within two or three years and he will be a bargain regarding salaries for at least the next three seasons, also by resigning Crosby now with a cap hit of 9 million, the Pens have left the room they will need to resign, Fleury, Malkin and Stahl; if they had waited another year on Crosby, he probably would have cost them 10million plus on the cap. Also by adding Sykora and Sydor the Pens have provided Crosby with a sniper to play on his wing and have added a solid vet defenseman to stabilize a young defense corp, I think those are smart moves. My reasoning on the Ducks is that even with their losses, I still see them as a strong contender in the West and for the cup, and that makes them a winner in my book. Finally I can't see Montreal or Toronto making the playoffs this year. I would rate both teams below the Rangers, Flyers, Devils, Penguins, Sabres and Senators. When you consider that someone has to win down south, that leaves only 1 spot to be battled for by 7 teams and right now my money is on Carolina to bounce back and win a very weak division and Atlanta to squeeze in as the 8th seed.
August 4, 2007 9:25 AM ET | Delete
A quick note on the Rangers landing Jovo. I can't see how they can fit him under the cap without getting rid of significant salary. Just sending Mara to Phoenix as part of the deal won't be enough.
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