Sunday, July 1, 2007

My, oh my

So you leave for a BBQ (Happy Canada Day, kids!) for four or five hours, and all hell breaks loose. Let me itemize a few things which caught my interest...

Jarome Iginla: If we get the extension done, happy days! I'm a bit leery of losing a contract year for Iginla, years in which he's historically been effin' amazing. I'm excited that he might be more Steve Yzerman than Ray Bourque though.

Cory Sarich: Leaves me with a big "meh." Is Sarich a top four guy? I'm not sure that he is... Clearly Sutter expects Regehr and Phaneuf to step up in a big way under the mentorship of the veterans in the defence corps (yes, by that I mean Adrian Aucoin), and potentially to be able to sign at least one of Stuart or Hamrlik. Or, maybe a move will be made, right when we don't expect it. It's happened before.

(Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about these other teams, except for what I know through fantasy hockey. I'm talking out of my ass here, and there's nothing you can do about it.)

The Oilers As bad as trading whatshisface for Joffrey Lupul and a bag of pucks was last year (not that they had much choice, I know), this trade was pure genius. I'm a huge Pitkanen fan. He had a terrific year 2005-06 (saved the fantasy team I was managing, fo'sure), though he wasn't able to be much of an impact player last year( but admittedly all of Philly was pretty terrible). Losing Jason Smith means a fair bit of veteran presence and continuity will be lost from the Oilers' dressing room, but Lowe is clearly still going for youth and offensive firepower. I'd expect him to make a move to shore up the leadership in the dressing room - who does he expect to lead the team, Petr Nedved? Realistically, that guy who'd step up would probably be Staios, but... if I were an Oilers fan, I'd expect more.

The Flyers Philadelphia clearly does not want to be in the basement this season. In the offseason, they've made several moves to shore up what they believe to be obvious flaws. Right now I don't see a lot of cohesion in their moves. Lupul is a gamble, but probably one they can afford given the presence of Carter and Richards on their roster. Briere will complement Simon Gagne nicely. Losing Pitkanen, though picking up Timonen in the process is another gamble - one that might pay off now but be regrettable in six years when Timonen's contract is due. Overall, their defence corps is a bit older and slower , with the additions of Smith and Timonen, and I suspect this could hurt more than it helps. Will it all fit together? Given the Flyers' track record over the last couple of years, I have my doubts... but no doubt they will be better than last year's edition.

The Leafs: They just don't learn, do they? Like much of the Isles last season, Blake's just a bit too inconsistent to be worth really big bucks. He might make a better first liner than Antropov or whatshisotherface.

The Rangers: They just don't learn, do they? The additions of Gomez and Drury (two of the prizes this free agent open season) are as splashy as you'd want for a team based in the Big Apple. I'm not sure this actually improves the team, especially given its European-like style of play. In retrospect, I have to laugh at the people who pooh-poohed the speculation that Gomez in particular was going to sign, because he was working out with Shanny. Hindsight, all that.

Scott Hannan Damn. And we'll have to see him eight times a year.

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