In this my second blog in as many minutes, I will analyze every team and their free agency acquisitions. Starting with the Pacific Division:
Todd Bertuzzi (2 yrs, $8 million) - I for one don't believe Bertuzzi deserves a 4 million dollar contract right now coming off back surgery and a season where he only played 15 games. He also is not the most dominant player anymore, however on the right line (projected to be flanking Andy Mcdonald) he could return to the Bertuzzi of old. He has to become more physical though.
Mathieu Schneider (2 yrs, $11.25 million) - Add another offensive arsenal to the Ducks defensive attack. Mathieu Schneider is an elite power play quarterback and will help the Ducks. But he's no Scott Niedermayer.
Shane Hnidy (2 yrs, undisclosed) - Hnidy will add more physicality to the Ducks back end and will make the Ducks even harder to play against. He also has been working on his shot, so he may provide some offense as well.
Final Analysis - I believe the Ducks will be worse then last year if they don't resign Teemu Selanne (or he retires) and lose Scott Niedermayer retirement. I don't think Bertuzzi is a good replacement for the "Finnish Flash" who has already had his career revitalized. However Schneider could replace Niedermayer's offense, but he can't rush the puck like he can.
Predicted Finish - 2nd in Pacific
Todd Fedoruk (1 yr, $875 K) - Fedoruk is nothing more then an enforcer, and will only play limited minutes. He may add some grit to the Stars, but nothing more.
Brad Winchester (1 yr, $475 K) - He had a cup of coffee with the Oilers during their lengthy playoff run and looked pretty good. But he will also only be an energy guy may be even shuttled between Iowa and Dallas.
Final Analysis - If the Stars don't do anything in free agency or trades, they will have to rely on good defense and exceptional goaltending from Marty Turco. They simply don't score enough. However, if Morrow and Modano rebound and have injury free seasons, the Stars may have enough offense to make the playoffs.
Predicted Finish - 4th in Pacific
Michael Handzus (4 yrs, $16 million) - Handzus is a very useful player for a team to have. He can play in all situations. He will help the Kings immensely.
Ladislav Nagy (1 yr, $3.75 million) - Nagy was an assist machine last year, but didn't score too much on a sad sack Phoenix Coyotes team. He also didn't do too much when he was traded to Dallas. However he is a talented winger that will help the Kings if his head is in the game. And at 1 year, he is a good risk to take.
Kyle Calder (2 yrs, $5.4 million) - Calder did score 14 goals last year, but not very convincingly. He started the season on Philadelphia and only scored 9 goals in 55 games. This signing may or may not work out. He may only be a secondary third line scorer on this team.
Brad Stuart (1 yr, $3.5 million) - Stuart did very well on Calgary when he arrived, and now he joins a formidable blue line group in LA. He will be an instrumental part of this team playing power play and penalty kill. And at 1 year, LA can't lose.
Tom Preissing (4 yrs, $11 million) - Clearly Tom Preissing was a target of LA and will be here for the next 4 years. He is a good puck mover and will help LA get back to the playoffs.
Final Analysis - LA will be a much better team this season depending on how fast the new acquisitions gel with the young offensive core of this team. They will most likely make the playoffs. There is one x factor, and that's goaltending. This is the weakness of LA right now. If Cloutier can stay healthy and give the Kings stable goaltending, they will make the playoffs.
Predicted Finish - 3rd in Pacific
San Jose Sharks
Final Analysis - The Sharks have an elite team and will make the playoffs again. However the question is, what will happen after that? Joe Thornton will be a Shark through the 2010/2011 season. Maybe that was the most significant signing the Sharks could have made. After trading away failed experiment Mark Bell and super backup Vesa Toskala, this is Nabokov's team again. Will he run with it?
Predicted Finish - 1st in Pacific
Mike York (1 yr, $1 million) - I don't know if I should call this a major addition, but Mike York was a good player on the Islanders and Oilers. I think he could rebound on a Phoenix team that will probably be filled with youngsters.
Tomas Surovy (1 yr, undisclosed) - Surovy has speed and some skill, and will get a lot of ice time if Phoenix doesn't do anything else. He may hit 20 goals.
Final Analysis - The Coyotes are in a real mess right now in their forward ranks. Their defense probably has the most potential in the entire league. But they are still young. Phoenix fans will have to wait a few more years for their team to be contenders.
Predicted Finish - 5th in Pacific