Thursday, August 27, 2009

Off Season Report Card! East

1) Sorry folks. We originally intended to publish this post a few weeks ago. The trend since the new CBA was signed in 2005 is that teams opening day rosters are pretty much set by the end of July after the draft, initial free agent signing frenzy is over and after all arbitration cases are settled. So aside from a few yet to be signed players (none of whom we believe could alter the balance of power) the off season's for all 30 teams is pretty much a done deal. With that in mind we will go through each of the 30 teams and discuss their off season and finally give them a grade. The grade will NOT be a prediction of 2009-2010 success, but our opinion of how well they did or didn't do to upgrade their previous seasons roster. As you will see, we are tough graders! ; ) The list will be in alphabetical order, East then soon to be published, the West.


  • Atlanta Thrashers: Finished 13th in East with 76 points. Added Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina. Its also possible top pick(4th overall) Evander Kane could crack the lineup. They retained goalie Kari Lehtonen. We predict that the season will be consumed with Kovulchuk trade rumours until the Russian either decides to re-sign. Overall we're not impressed with their off season, but we're not impressed with their inept architect, Don Wadell, in our opinion the current worst GM in the NHL. Grade C-

  • Boston Bruins: Finished 1st in the East with 116 points. Lost Steve Montador and D Shane Hnidy but added D Derek Morris. When you're the best team (regular season) then you don't have to make big changes. Biggest distraction/unknown is the Phil Kessel situation. He needs to be resigned, but even without him the B's will still be a formidable opponent. Grade C

  • Buffalo Sabres: Finished 10th with 91 points. Added Steve Montador, but lost top rear guard point producer in Jiroslav Spacek. After losing Campbell the previous season that's a tough one two punch to lose off the PP unit. The addition of Grier would be nice if he were the final piece, but this team has holes that GM Regier didn't address. Grade D+

  • Carolina Hurricanes: Finished 6th with 97 points. The majority of their off season was much like Boston's. Trying to retain the core of players that went to the Conference Finals last season. Also adding some grit on defense in Andrew Alberts and Aron Ward. Hard to quibble about making big changes when you've had recent success. Grade C+

  • Florida Panthers: Finished 9th with 93 points. Another near-miss in south Florida. Another no man's land season. We're probably in the minority here, but we feel the panthers will be better off without the distraction/bloated salary of Jay Bowmeester. They added Steve Reinprecht and Jordon Leopold to bolster their team. Not busting the budget in the process. Grade B-

  • Montreal Canadians: Finished 8th with 93 points. Bob Gainey almost totally reshaped his squad. Dumping free agents Mike Komisarek, Alex Kovalev, and former captain Saku Koivu. As well as trading RFA Chris Higgins. They added D Jaroslav Spacek, RW Brian Gionta, LW Michael Cammalleri, D Hal Gill, 2 years, and D Paul Mara. Additionally they traded for Scott Gomez and his bloated 7+ million cap hit. Big changes, but in our opinion it was shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic; Neither worse nor better. Grade C

  • NJ Devils: Finished 3rd with 108 points. Lost Michael Rupp, G Scott Clemmensen, RW Brian Gionta, C John Madden. Replaced with D Cory Murphy. Seems every year we at Fauxrumors pronounce the Devils dead only to be proven wrong. WE can't help but feel that Lou's luck may have run out. They didn't do much if anything this offseason to improve other than a new head coach(out with the old, in with the .....older) Grade C-

  • NY Islanders: Finished 15th with 61 points. Biggest off season move took place at the draft where they took the highly touted John Tavares 1st overall. Other than getting goaltending depth in Roloson and Marty Biron the team will be going with the same lineup as last season along with the aforementioned JT. Grade C-

  • NY Rangers: Finished 7th with 95 points. Added Donald Brashear,Tyler Arnason, RW Marian Gaborik, and RW Ales Kotalik. Lost Scott Gomez Nik Antropov D Paul Mara, Colton Orr, LW Lauri Korpikoski, D Derek Morris, and RW Nikolai Zherdev. We're quite unimpressed with the job Glen Sather did this summer. Basically replaced one ridiculous contract(Gomez) with another(Gaborik). We originally gave them a D, but the addition of Prospal does help. Grade C+

  • Ottawa Senators: Finished 11th with 83 points. Added Alex Kovalev. The distractuion that is the Heatley fiasco continues. We can't see him being back with open arms by the team and fans alike after spurring them and taking a ton of money in the process! If they lose him and don't get a significant return, or even if he does come back the team is in transition and we didn't see anything this summer to believe they will be better in 09-10. Grade D+

  • Philadelphia Flyers: Finished 5th with 99 points. Made the mega splash at the draft with the trade for Chris Pronger, but we are NOT enthused about them overall. They lost Lupul (Pronger trade) and Mike Knuble. Morre inportantly they added nut job Ray Emery in net, replacing Marty Biron. Certainly NOT an upgrade in talent, and many might say a DE-grade in charactar. They still will be atough opponent, but they failed to address their biggest problem this summer. Grade C

  • Pittsburgh Penguins: Finished 4th with 99 points( Won Cup) When you win the silver trophy there is no place to go but down, right? Lost defenders Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi and replaced with Jay McKee. Overall Shero was able to keep his championship squad together and added a reliable goalie back up in Brent Johnson. Grade: B-

  • TB Lightning: Finished 14th with 66 points. WE have to be careful here as we got hooked into believeing last year that they were improved only to see them hit bottom again. That said we belive this time around new GM Brian Lawton has made some very astute moves. Including drafing Swedish defener Victor Hedman and UFA Matias Ohland to mentor the big guy. Adding Antero Niittymaki to back up Mike Smithj is also an upgrade, albeit a minor one. Grade: B+

  • Toronto Maple Leafs: Finished 12th with 81 points. The first off season for new GM Brian Burke. He started by adding two big defenders in Mike Komisarek, and Francois Beauchemin. dded grit/toughness in Colton Orr( a 4 year deal??) Also added sought after FA Jonas Gustavsson. Not a bad start, but we're sure he's not done. Grade: B-

  • Washington Capitals: Finished 2nd with 108 points. Lost Russian UFA Sergei Fedorov and Victor Kozlov to the KHL. Also tough guy Brashear. Added Mike Knuble, and Brendan Morrison, both of whom may actually be an upgrade over the departed aging Russian forwards. Could have used a vet defender, but salary cap as of now have prevented this move. Grade C+


Mad Monk said...

C-, not bad for "the worst GM in the NHL"! When Kovie goes elsewhere wadell will get fired finally. The owner problem is the only thing keeping him employed.

Mr. Spock said...

Giving my Sens a D+ was very generous of you. Bryan Murray has screwed this team up. To think we were on the verge of a Cup 2 1/2 years ago! Now we're among the bottom feeders.

Contact the Media