Friday, August 12, 2011

Off Season Report Cards- West

1) As we did earlier this week we will go through each team in the Western Conference and list additions and subtractions to rosters and discuss how much each team achieved their goals to improve this summer. As last time we will give our opinion with a grade. As you saw with the east, we are TOUGH graders with no one getting an A

2) Now we will go through each team:

  • Anaheim Ducks: Significant Additions: Andrew Cogliano, Jean-Francois Jacques, Kurtis Foster, Matt Smaby, Jeff Deslauriers, Significant Subtractions: Todd Marchant, Andreas Lilja, Ray Emery, Jarkko Ruutu. Not a busy off season for LA's other team. They are waiting to hear from Teemu Selanne about a return (recovering from knee issue). Bob Murray has basically stood pat. Time will tell if that was a good thing? Grade C-

  • Calgary Flames: Significant Additions: Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Chris Butler. Significant Subtractions: Robyn Regehr, Ales Kotalik, Adam Pardy, Steve Staios. Jay Feaster had a busy summer keeping his original roster intact. Regehr was a cap subtraction with their top 4 D-men already getting close to 17 mil. They are now FAR from the Cup contending team they were 3-4 yrs ago. Overall unchanged from last year's playoff near-miss. Grade C-

  • Chicago BlackHawks: Significant additions: Rostislav Olesz, Andrew Brunette, Jamal Mayers, Daniel Carcillo, Steve Montador, Sami Lepisto, Sean O'Donnell. Significant Subtractions: Tomas Kopecky, Troy Brouwer, Brian Campbell, Fernando Pisani, Chris Campoli, Ryan Johnson, Jake Dowell, Jordan Hendry, Marty Turco. Not nearly as devastating an off season as a year ago. That said they lost some important puzzle pieces in Campbell and Brouwer. Both were cap related trades. We're not sold on their replacements in Carcillo and Montedor. Both adequate, but far from improvements. Grade C

  • Colorado Avalanche:Significant Additions: Semyon Varlamov, Jan Hejda, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Chuck Kobasew, Shane O'Brien, Joakim Lindstrom. Significant Subtractions: John-Michael Liles, Brian Elliott, Peter Budaj, Tomas Fleischmann, Philippe Dupuis, Adam Foote. A mini makeover in Denver with a new goaltending tandem that if they stay healthy will be a significant improvement over last season. The additions of Hejda and O'Brien help bolster the defense as well. With the offense already up and coming we see the 'Lanch as an improved squad. Grade B

  • Columbus Blue Jackets: Significant Additions: Jeff Carter, Vinny Prospal, James Wisniewski, Radek Martinek. Significant Subtractions: Jakub Voracek, Jan Hejda, Chris Clark, Scottie Upshall, Ethan Moreau, Nikita Filatov, Mathieu Garon, Craig Rivet, Anton Stralman. GM Scott Howson has been busy. Biggest move is adding center Jeff Carter as well as acquiring (overpaying for-?) Wisniewski. We like both moves, but will it be enough to get the Jackets into the playoffs? That will depend on Mason regaining form. They don't have a reliable back up so its Mason or nothing. Grade B-

  • Dallas Stars: Significant Additions: Michael Ryder, Jake Dowell, Radek Dvorak, Vernon Fiddler, Eric Godard, Adam Pardy, Sheldon Souray. Significat Subtractions: Brad Richards, Jamie Langenbrunner, Karlis Skrastins, Jason Williams, Jeff Woywitka. The Stars barely missed the post season. They lost their best offensive player in Richards and replaced him with Ryder and Dvorak. Hardly an improvement. They then signed Souray who wasn't good enough to play in the NHL 2 years ago. Say it aint so Joe (Niewendyk) Grade D+

  • Detroit Red Wings: Significant Additions: Ian White, Mike Commodore, Ty Conklin, Chris Conner. Significant Subtractions: Brian Rafalski, Kris Draper, Chris Osgood, Mike Modano, Ruslan Salei: Modano might still play, but he'd be best served if he retired. White isn't Rafalksi, but he's OK. Can Commodore add anything? Overall the Wings stood pat, which isn't shocking as their roster is still one of the best in the Conference. Grade C

  • Edmonton Oilers:Significant Additions: Eric Belanger, Ryan Smyth, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Cam Barker, Andy Sutton, Yann Danis, Significant Subtractions: Andrew Cogliano, Kurtis Foster, Colin Fraser, Zack Stortini, Jason Strudwick, Steve MacIntyre, Jim Vandermeer, Jean-Francois Jacques. Actually not a bad offseason for Steve Tambellini. They got back Cpt Canada Smyth, Belanger and Eager to bolster the forwards and Sutton and Barker to the D, to give the young Oilers some veteran leadership. Now can they keep Khabibulin out of prison? Grade B-

  • Los Angeles Kings: Significant Additions: Mike Richards, Simon Gagne, Colin Fraser, Significant Subtractions: Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Ryan Smyth, Michal Handzus, Alexei Ponikarovsky. LOmbardi made an already deep offensive roster even better with the additions of Gagne and Mike Richards. With a healthy Kopitar the Kings can send out 2 formidable scoring lines. Only work to be done as of this writing was getting Dougherty under contract. As we wrote previously, we don't expect he'll miss any time. Overall the Kings look better on paper. Grade B

  • Minnesota Wild: Significant Additions: Dany Heatley, Darroll Powe, Devin Setoguchi, Mike Lundin, Significant Subtractions: Martin Havlat, Andrew Brunette, Brent Burns, Antti Miettinen, Cam Barker, John Madden, Jose Theodore, Chuck Kobasew. We'll give GM Chuck Fletcher credit for not standing pat with his club. he made some big trades this summer. The swap of underachieving forwards, Havlat and Heatley. He also acquired Setoguchi, (who had just resigned with SJ), for puck moving defender Brent Burns. Along with a new/unknown coach (Mike Yeo) the Wild will be a Wild-card this season. Hard team to grade, but we're not big Heatley fans. Grade C+

  • Nashville Preditors: Significant Additions: Niclas Bergfors, Zack Stortini, Brett Lebda. Significant Subtractions: Cody Franson, Matthew Lombardi, Joel Ward, Marcel Goc, Steve Sullivan, J-P Dumont, Shane O'Brien. Even with, or especially because of the Shea Weber signing, the Preds are in trouble. Trouble because they can't expect to add any additional salary. They can't afford to go into the season near the cap max, and as a result they lost a few decent free agents this summer. Even an astute GM like Poile will have his hands full and tied to even retain his remaining core of star players. Grade C-

  • Phoenix Coyotes:Significant Additions: Mike Smith, Alexandre Bolduc, Boyd Gordon, Raffi Torres, Curtis McElhinney, Justin Pogge Significant Subtractions: Ilya Bryzgalov, Ed Jovanovski, Eric Belanger, Andrew Ebbett. The ascention in the desert could be in trouble. Maloney replaced departed #1 goal Bryzgalov with mediocre Mike Smith. The other adds and subtractions were basicly a wash in my opinion. Overall, right now the Yotes are weaker than last season. Grade D+

  • San Jose Sharks: Significant Additions: Martin Havlat, Michal Handzus, Andrew Murray, Brent Burns, Jim Vandermeer, Significant Subtractions: Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Ben Eager, Jamal Mayers, Kyle Wellwood, Kent Huskins, Ian White, Scott Nichol. Doug Wilson had a very productive offseason. Jettising playoff ghost Dany Heatly was a huge step. Acquiring Burns to compliment Boyle was also huge. The off the radar move in our opinion was getting Handzus to be the 3rd line center. Few teams will be as deep up front as the Sharks, despite the loss of Setoguchi. This might be the best Shark team yet. Grade B+

  • St. Louis Blues: Significant Additions: Jason Arnott, Jamie Langenbrunner, Scott Nichol, Kent Huskins, Brian Elliott. Significant Subtractions: Paul Kariya, Cam Janssen, Ty Conklin. Apparently Doug Armstrong felt his team needed more veteran presence in 'The Room'. So he added two older respected players in Arnott and Langenbrunner. No one should expect big production out of those 2, so the Blues are relying on a healthy roster this season and maturation of last season's regulars. Grade C

  • Vancouver Canucks: Significant Additions: Marco Sturm, Alexander Sulzer, Mark Mancari, Andrew Ebbett, Mike Duco, Steve Pinizzotto. Signifiant Subtractions: Christian Ehrhoff, Raffi Torres, Jeff Tambellini, Tanner Glass. The Canucks coming off their Presidents Trophy season didn't tinker much with their lineup. They lost Ehrhoff, but if healthy the remaining defenders are still pretty decent. We're not fans of the 'Twins', but they are 'The Guys' along with Luongo, so Mike Gillis is going to ride his stars into next season and hope they can jump to the next level and win it all this time. Grade C-

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