Training camp is just around the corner, and that means it's time to look back at the teams that have been in rebuild mode all summer. Here are some of the best and worst rebuilds of the summer:
Tampa Bay Lightning - Tampa didn't go overboard with changes this summer. Despite an uncertain ownership situation the Bolts managed to hang on to the core of a group that was far better than their 2008-09 record. Adding Victor Hedman to the blueline was a big plus, but now the Swedish sensation has to prove he can play on a smaller rink in a game where fighting is actually allowed.
Detroit Red Wings - Surprised to see them here? You shouldn't be. The Red Wings were (and still are) up against the cap and needed to be creative just to hang on to 2008 Conn Smythe winner Henrik Zetterberg and Johann Franzen. Even with those obstacles the Wings only lost two key pieces: Marian Hossa and backup goalie Ty Conklin. Both were easy for GM Ken Holland to replace. All he had to do was callup a couple players from the Grand Rapids Griffins. Instead all he did was sign Todd Bertuzzi and Jason Williams. Overall this is still the team to beat, even if Pittsburgh did win the Cup.
Toronto Maple Leafs - The Leafs added grit to last year's talented roster, the only question now is can Ron Wilson find his way back to the Stanley Cup Finals with this group, or will it take a few more years?
Colorado Avalanche - The only team worse than Colorado in the standings last year was Phoenix, but the Avs didn't need to throw the baby out with the bath water the way they did. Tony Granato, one of the most respected coaches in the league, was shown the door after being told his job was safe. Safe, that is, unless it gets out that Colorado wants to hire Patrick Roy and he turns them down and the team ends up with egg on its face. If that happens, which it did, the entire front office will have to change because it was their fault that our goalies had more holes than a block of Swiss cheese and that some of our AHL players had more NHL games played than our NHL players. Bottom line is that the Avalanche had a lot of problems on the ice, and they fixed them by changing things off the ice.
Dallas Stars - Okay, on the plus side there is now only one GM in Dallas. Joe Nieuwendyk has replaced the Les Jackson-Brett Hull tandem in Texas, but he hasn't done much better so far. His first move was to fire head coach Dave Tippet and replace him with Marc Crawford. Crawford? Really? There weren't any other coaches available? Okay, your funeral Mr. Nieuwendyk. In all fairness, Crawford is a decent coach and may be able to get Dallas back to the playoffs. But in fairness to Tippet, the Stars were without their star players most of the season and were still in the hunt for the playoffs until the end. Once again a team is trying to solve their on-ice problems with off-ice changes, and that fails as often as it succeeds.
San Jose Sharks - This one is kind of an in-between rebuild. GM Doug Wilson promised that changes would be made, and so far the only change he has made is to overspend. He let Travis Moen and Brian Boucher go, gave Kent Huskins a 2-year $3.4 million contract (cap hit = $1.7 mil) and then went golfing. Rumors have been circling all summer that the Sharks would trade Patrick Marleau or Joe Thornton, but nothing has happened. Both have been removed as captains pending their performance as leaders in camp next month. On the plus side, the Sharks are still the same team that won the President's Trophy last season. But on the negative side, that means this is still the same team that made playoff choking into an art form last April.
Good read...the bad rebuild I think are pretty safe. Surprising best rebuilds but at this stage you may be right!
tony granato one of the most respected coaches in the league? are you out of your mind! He is the reason we had some of the worst special teams in the league.
Didn't Detroit also lose Samuelsson and Hudler?
its Hockey, every fired coach is one of the most respected coaches in the league. In fact, every member of the league is one of the most respected members of the league. Lots of respectin' going on around the league. Except for Burke and Lowe XD
Detroit lose Hudler (although he might come back because IIHF disallowed his move to Russia), Kopecky, Samuelsson, Hossa..... That's some fairly significant losses being replaced by an aging Todd Bertuzzi. However, I'm not one to bet against Ken Holland...
Actually Pheonix didnt't finish below colorado last year, just to let you know. And id have to disagree with the whole Tony Granato statement. Just my 2 cents.
Sufa that was my mistake on the standings. I was looking at an older list that I had from a previous blog. And yes, Detroit lost a lot more than I mentioned. However Samuelsson, Hudler and Kopecky were not key members of this team. That's why Hudler wanted out and Samuelsson and Kopecky were afterthoughts in the signing process.
As to the Granato firing, he is way more respected than a lot of the coaches because he actually played with or against most of the people in the league today. Did he win Stanley Cups? No. But Crawford got a lot of credit for winning a Cup in 1996 with a team that wasn't going to lose to anybody but Detroit.
Sakic, Forsberg and Roy led the Av's to the grail in '96 in spite of Crow, not beacuse of him. He was overrated as a coach in Vancouver. He took the reigns of an overachieving L.A. team and made them underachieve. And he put Bourque in an Olympics shootout instead of Gretzky. Not the coach I'd choose to replace Tippett. But neither is Granato.
Both Colorado and Dallas had major injury troubles last year and they both fired their coaches because of it. Granato has had two full seasons behind the bench, one he made the playoffs and the other was last year with half his team (including his captain) on IR.