Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Off Season Report Cards- West

1) Part Deux of our off season evaluation of how teams fared in making moves to improve themselves. We believe that for the most part rosters will only undergo tweaking as the next few weeks go by. Certainly no remaining free agents other than the possible exception of Peter Forsberg would make a huge difference in our analysis.

2) Here is an alphabetical listing of the West and their report card ratings:
  • Anaheim Duck: Significant Additions-Mathieu Schneider, Todd Bertuzzi, Shane Hnidy Significant losses- Dustin Penner, Ryan Shannon , Shawn Thornton. Even as of this late date we still are not sure of the fate of Niedermayer or Selanne. They probably don't have the cap space to retain both.(Unless Teemu takes big pay cut) They hedged their bets with the Schneider and Bertuzzi signings. Losing their captain or the Finnish flash would be tough. To lose both would put a big hole in their repeat plans. Though they are understandably hard to grade. Right now. Grade B-

  • Calgary Flame: Significant Additions-Iron Mike Keenan, Adrian Aucoin, Cory Sarich, Owen Nolan, Anders Erikson. Significant losses- Andrei Zyuzin, Roman Hamrlik, Byron Ritchie, Brad Stuart, Tony Amonte, Jeff Friesen. The Iginla/Regher extensions/Keenan hiring most significant moves. With next summers contracts(Kipper/Phaneuf) looming Sutter had to be careful not to over extend the team. Basicly standing pat. Grade C

  • Chicago Blackhawk: Significant Additions- Sergei Samsonov, Andrei Zyuzin, Yanic Perreault, Robert lang, Kevyn Adams, Jon Toews Patrick Kane. Significant losses- Jassen Cullimore, Adrian Aucoin, Jeff Hamilton, Michal Handzus, Radim Vrbata. Another team that has no place to go but up. On paper at least should be an exciting team to watch. Draft picks most inportant offseason moves. team still owned by Wirtz, so don't get excited. Grade B-

  • Colorado Avalanche: Significant Additions-Scott Hannan, Ryan Smith, Jeff Jilson, Significant losses-Ken Klee, Patrice Brisbois, Pierre Turgeon. Won the Smyth and Hannon sweepstakes. Captain Joe instrumental in landing both. The additions should put them over the top back into the playoffs. Grade A-

  • Columbus Blue Jacket: Significant Additions- Michael Peca, Kris beech, Sheldon Brookbank, Jiri Novatny, Jan Hejda. Significant losses-Anders Eriksson. None of the additions will help them. Best moves were to keep Hitchcock and remove McClean. Beech and Novotny couldn't make the lowly Caps. This team headed for another non playoff, cellar-dwellar year. Grade D-

  • Dallas Star: Significant Additions-Todd Fedoruk Significant losses-Darryl Sydor Ladislav Nagy, Jon Klemm, Patrik Stefan, Dan Ellis, Matthew Barnaby. Did little to add to an already older, declining lineup. Grade D+

  • Detroit Red Wing: Significant Additions-Brian Rafalski, Dallas Drake. Significant losses- Mathieu Schneider, Robert Lang, Todd Bertuzzi, Kyle Calder. Hasek returns, but remains question despite great 06-07 season. Rafalski got a nice payday to replace Schneider, is a slight upgrade. Other losses not huge. Grade C+

  • Edmonton Oiler: Significant Additions-Dick Tarnstrom, Denis Grebeshkov, Joni Pitkenen, Geoff Sanderson, Sheldon Souray, Dustin Penner Significant losses-Petr Sykora, Petr Nedved, Jason Smith, Joffrey Lupul, Jan Hejda, Brad Winchester, Toby Peterson. Needed major changes, and got them. Give Lowe an A for effort. Not sold on Penner or Souray's salaries. At least fans will have some new faces to boo. Grade C

  • Los Angeles King: Significant Additions-Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy, Kyle Calder, Tom Preissing, Brad Stuart, Jon Klemm. Significant losses-Alyn McAuley, G Mathieu Garon , Aaron Miller, Tom Kostopoulos, Jamie Heward , Jamie Lundmark, Oleg Tverdovsky, Sean Burke. Summer moves helped augment one of the better young teams in the league EXCEPT in goal where a hole remains. Grade B+

  • Nashville Predator: Significant Additions- Jed Ortmeyer, Radek Bonk, Greg Devries, Martin Gelinas. Significant losses- Kimmo Timonen, Tomas Vokoun, Scott Hartnell, Paul Kariya, Sheldon Brookbank, Vitali Vishnevski, Peter Forsberg. Seem hell-bent on self destruction. Retained underachieving coach, Trotz. This squad will show how good/bad he really is. Grade F+

  • Phoenix Coyote: Significant Additions-David Aebischer, Alex Auld, Mike York, Radim Vrbata, GM Don Maloney. Significant losses-Owen Nolan, Dave Scatchard, Kevyn Adams, Jeremy Roenick(his loss can be considered an addition!), Mike Ricci, Jeff Taffe. They sucked on toast last year, and nothing they did this summer will change that this next season. Grade D

    St. Louis Blue: Significant Additions-Keith Tkachuk(an actual subtraction!), Paul Kariya, Hannu Toivonen. Significant losses-Radek Dvorek, Curtis Sanford. We didn't like the Tkachuk move, and we're not sold on Toivonen. Team needs further development from existing players to show improvement. Grade C-

  • San Jose Shark: Significant Additions-Alexei Semenov Significant losses-Bill Guerin, Vesa Toskala, Mark Bell, Scott Hannan. Still a team that is young AND has a lot of cap space to shore up any holes. The Thornton extension was biggest move they made. Grade C

  • Vancouver Canuck: Significant Additions-Ryan Shannon, Byron Ritchie, Aaron Miller, Brad Isbister. Curtis Sanford. Significant losses- Brent Sopal, Jan Bulis, Josh Green. Seem content to continue The Luongo/Sedin show. Not any better. Grade D+

  • Minnesota Wild: Significant Additions-Nolan Schaefer, Eric Belanger, Sean(over the) Hill. Significant losses-Manny Fernandez. Management feels this team was OK without major changes. Pressure will be on Backstrom to show that the 29 yr old 'rookie' wasn't a fluke. Grade C+



1) Lets try to behave kids, moderation is off(for now) but we'll be watching. ; )

Jibblescribbits said...

I agree with your rankings, even though I think the Oilers are worse. Souray and Penner have the potential to be huge busts.


1) We agree that they (Penner/Souray) may prove to be salary cap anchors if they don't produce to their contract level.
2) However, we give the Oil/Lowe some slack in that they should be better with their summer additions than without. Most of their mistakes (Smyth) were made last winter/spring.

Sauce said...

Ducks - Don't forget the 3 draft picks they get for Penner.

Colorado - They didn't do anything to improve their most glaring weakness. Jose isn't made for the playoffs. You were way too generous on this one.

Columbus - with Hitchcock ans Peca, they'll finally have a real 1-2 puch of leadership. Peca is very vocal in the lockerroom and on the bench. And he played in the cup finals 2 years ago. I expect this team to make some noise.

Oilers - Don't forget that Lowe got jobbed on the Nylander fiasco. I think your grade is a little low (pun intended).

Calgary - I would've put Keenan as a subtraction rather than addition.


1) Good point on the Ducks.
2) Jose won't be the starter. If not for his huge salary he wouldn't be on the team. Budaj has to carry the load and do well again for this team to do well.
3) We like Hitch. Think he got a raw deal with the Flyers. We do NOT like Peca. We don't see him as being a plus. Jackets are going to be a tough team to predict with many question marks going into the season Starting with their goalies!
4) Some gave Edmonton an A this off season. Some an F. We saw it as more a status quo after a disastrous beginning, at least they saved face somewhat by summers end.
5) We are in agreement on Keenen. He makes for a volatile situation. Probably won't take long before he rubs Kipper the wrong way and screws with his head.


I must say that I dissent from your grade of my team here in Edmonton. I think Kevin did a splendid job. The Penner lad is just about to bloom into the next great power forward. Sheldon and Tarnstrom will be the best one two punch power play point men in the NHL. Pitkenen will only help out of defense. I'd have to say I was mad as a hatter with Lowe when Smyth was dealt to the Island, but I'm happy with the moves he's made since. Grade A in my book!


May I add that I agree with you and some of the other gentlemen who have discussed Mr. Keenan. I was a bit giddy when I heard the Flames picked him up. As an Oilers follower I also follow, and of course hate anything Flames. I would give you even money that Mr. Luongo is looking forward to seeing and beating his old boss 8 times. That would be just fine and dandy to me.


1) PS: We wouldn't go as far(positive) as you did in your Edmonton assessment, but we give Lowe more credit than others do as well.
2) Keenan is a loose cannon. When harnessed well he is capable of molding(temporarily) a team well and have them over achieve, but once his mind games get old, he loses respect of the players and is a liability.
3) The question(s) will be can he get the most from these guys that Playfair couldn't, and if so how long will that last?

Dexter said...

Have you heard anything about the Canucks getting Sopal back? I think we could use him.
I wouldn't have given my team a high grade but as low as you did. Nonis spent all his money last summer to get Luongo. I think Naslund is gonna have a big year for us. Its his contract year so he's gonna want to play well. I'm probably one of the few who think that we don't need Forsberg. I doubt he'd come out here anyways.


1) Dex: As we wrote in our Both Extremes post this past Monday, Brent is one of the vets that is still searching for a job. We singled him out as the most likely to have a roster spot opening night. We maintain this. Who that will be, we haven't heard anything lately.
2) Your 'Nucks have only a little cap space left that they will probably want to retain for insurance/trade deadline deals, so Soaps may have to look for work elsewhere
3) They better hope that Mats has a rebound season AND Luongo has another MVP/Vezina caliber year, else they will not be in the post season

Jintzie said...

Faux, Theresa and I got a big kick out of the beating you put on that poor kid who was bothering ya. Must be why I aint see hide nor hair of him today!
Do you think any of the talk of trading our captain has any truth? Also who is going to replace hannon on our D? We look thin to me


1) As always Jints, thanks for your support. Best to all the family!
2) As for your Sharks. The have so much cap room that we are hearing that an extension for Marleau is all but settled and may be announced before the season starts!
3) Wilson has been in discussions with Sopal's as well as Markov's agent. Sopal would come cheaper and shorter length. The Sharks like Markov, but don't want to commit more than 3 years.

Jintzie said...

Son, every time you try to start something, you end up putting your foot into your mouth. Please accept faux's plea and go away
Faux, I hope you're right about our captain. I don't think we'd have to give him as much as Big Joe, but if we have the space to pay him we should get it done before the season starts.
I don't like that Sopal guy. He was down in LA for a while. I saw him play up here against us a couple of times, and I was not impressed. I think Markov would be a great addition. When should we hear?


1) Thanks again Jints. Actually we didn't realize(or care at the time) but Nutz/Hawk got caught in his own lie yesterday. Yesterday he claimed that 'others e-mailed Eklund', 2 weeks ago he claimed he mailed him himself. Guess if your making up so many lies, its hard to keep up with em' all, huh Nutz?
2) The decision on Marleau isn't a question we're told. Just a question of when. As for defensive depth signing, we hear it may be as soon as this weekend, or go into next week. If demands are steep they may opt to go with 'kids' or other cheaper vets.


1) Ed Note: We continue to work on our next fun post: Listing our favourite players (one)from each of the 30 teams with a brief comment on why we made the choice we did. We hope to have that out by the end of the weekend or earlier.
As always keep it here for the latest!

Lloyd said...

Looks like ya called his bluff faux. Has he written you that Eklund email yet? Too funny!
Maybe he's in class then has homework to do?


1) BTW, we would appreciate all responses to this latest outing of Nutz/hawk to stay on this thread. Any reaction on other threads will be deemed clutter and deleted. Thanks in advance


1) If you(Nutz/Shuck/Hawk, etc) feels the need to revisit these silly 'allegations' feel free to do so under this Thread. Feel free and write to your hearts content. Nothing will be edited.
2) However, any such shenanigans anywhere else, will be removed promptly.

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