THE TOP OF THE CLASS:
N.Y. Rangers: The Rangers finally get it right. They add two dynamic players to their roster who are a) not over the hill and B) Leaders. Chris Drury and Gomez together could put the Blue Shirts on the verge of being a legitimate threat in the East. Gomez with Jagr could be something special.
Calgary Flames: The team took care of its own in Iginla and Regehr and totally retooled their blueline by adding Sarich and Erikkson at good prices. Darcy Regier and Larry Quinn should take notes on how to treat your leaders. These moves make the Flames legitimate contenders for the Cup.
Philadelphia Flyers: They overpaid in every case, but adding Briere, Hartnall and Timmonen significantly upgrades this team. Paul Holmgren has done a tremendous job in retooling thre Flyers in his short tenure.
Montreal Canadiens: Simply moving out Samsanov and Bonk makes it a great off season. I loved the addition of Smolinski. Probably should have gone the extra mile for Briere.
Washinton Capitals: While none of their moves would be described as earth shattering, they quietly added some significant talent at reasonable prices. Nylander, Kozlov and Poti are nice fits for this young club.
Detroit Red Wings: Getting Brian Rafalski for 6m a year looks like a coup. The simply keep getting the player they target at good prices. He should make a nice impact for them and supplement Nik Lidstrom nicely.
L.A. Kings: Another team that added significant talent at reasonable prices. Adding Handzus was a great move. Preissing, Stuart, and Calder will be solid additions. I look for Calder to really rebound in L.A.
Toronto Maple Leafs: The overpaid for Sundin and then they added an aging Jason Blake. The should have saved their money and gone after Gomez, Briere, Drury or Rafalski who would have all helped the Leafs far more. John Ferguson Jr. just keeps digging the holes deeper.
St. Louis Blues: In the process of a nice youth movement the Blues revert to their old tricks and spend big money on Keith Tkachuk and Paul Kariya. Both are dynamic players, but you gotta wonder...why?
Anaheim Ducks: In a boom or bust set of moves the Ducks drastically overpaid for Mathieu Schneider and Todd Bertuzzi. If they work out the Ducks just got scarier. Unfortunately, Bertuzzi is a negative wherever he goes. My bet is both moves backfire on them. I am very surprised they didn't go after Kariya harder.
New Jersey Devils: Losing Rafalski and Gomez hurts badly. Trying to replace Gomez with Dainus Zubrus for 6 years...hurts worse.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Chris Gratton and Michel Oullet in, Cory Sarich and Ruslan Fedotenko out. Yuck! The burden of the big three contracts hurts the Lightning yet again.
New York Islanders: Though I actually like their signings of Guerin and Comnrie the Islanders let Ryan Smyth get away. A team cannot give up as much as they did for Smyth unless the are pushing for the cup or plan to build around that player. Now the Islanders have neither. Garth Snow just compounded his biggest mistake.
Buffalo Sabres: This dunce cap isn't for losing Briere and Drury, in the end the decisions not to resign them might have been the right call. It is for how the Sabres did it. Larry Quinn and Darcy Regier just ensured that that the Sabres remain LAST team anyone wants to play for for a long, long time. Classless.
Nashville Predators: Shameless sell off of their top talent is an embarrassment to the National Hockey League. Move 'em to Kansas City already and end the charade.
10 July 2007
THE TOP OF THE CLASS:
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