Part 1 is here. That’s enough preamble.
1. Vancouver Canucks
Key Additions: M. Sturm
Key Subtractions: C. Ehrhoff, R. Torres
Well Vancouver, you got oh so close to bringing the Cup home to Canada, only to fold faster than Superman on laundry day over games 6 and 7. And then, to top it all off, your entire city decided to get drunk and break crap. Watching that riot was pretty much the highlight of my whole summer. So thanks for that.
As for the team, looks pretty solid. They gained some cap space by losing Ehrhoff, so they could make this team better at the trade deadline. Look for another deep playoff run.
2. San Jose Sharks
Key Additions: M. Havlat, M. Handzus, B. Burns
Key Subtractions: D. Heatley, D. Setoguchi, S. Nichol
In a move that puzzled at least this author, San Jose traded Dany Heatley to Minnesota for Martin Havlat, who is as fragile as a sissy girl’s feelings. Watch for Havlat to miss at least half the season with a mysterious upper body injury. Luckily for the Sharks, they have depth coming out of their ears, so they’ll be fine.
Look for another typical San Jose season this year. They’ll be great in the regular season and then find a way to lose in the playoffs. I already blame Joe Thornton.
3. Detroit Red Wings
Key Additions: I. White, M. Commodore
Key Subtractions: B. Rafalski, C. Osgood
Detroit is an old hockey team. Nick Lidstrom is 41. Tomas Holmstrom is 39. And Todd Bertuzzi is 36. Every year people predict Detroit to slow down because of this age. And each year they get proven wrong. Combine that with a Central division that doesn’t impress me and I think Detroit cruises to a division win. Pavel Datsyuk won’t get a penalty all season.
What I’m most impressed with is that 14 crackheads haven’t started squatting in Joe Louis Arena and stripped out all the copper pipe. Go Detroit security.
4. Los Angeles Kings
Key Additions: M. Richards, S. Gagne
Key Subtractions: W. Simmonds, B. Schenn, R. Smyth
The Kings have taken significant steps forward over the past 3 seasons, and now is time to take the next step. The team added veterans Richards and Gagne in a hope to take them over the top. The big question mark though is the status of holdout defenseman Drew Doughty, who should probably wait for unrestricted free agency before he negotiates so hard.
I watched a Kings game a couple of years ago that advertised all you can eat seats for $40. These seats included everything but beer. I’d eat enough to make a trip to LA worth my time.
5. Anaheim Ducks
Key Additions: A. Cogliano, J-F Jacques, K. Foster
Key Subtractions: A. Sutton, A. Lilja, T. Marchant
The Ducks have arguably the best top line in the league, even though Ryan Getzlaf is bald and Corey Perry is kind of an ass. Other than Teemu Selanne, the team doesn’t have much punch. That’s how good that top line is. It’s like Vancouver from a few years ago. Jonas Hiller is a pretty decent goalkeeper, providing he doesn’t randomly let vertigo get him down again. What a bizarre injury that was.
Every summer Teemu Selanne does the whole Brett Favre flip flop retirement thing, albeit a lot quieter. And I’m tired of it, especially as an Avalanche fan who hates who good he is at 42. Just retire already and go take some figurehead front office job at Winnipeg, since Selanne’s 76 rookie goals remains the single greatest moment in that franchise’s history, which really goes to show how sad that city really is.
6. Phoenix Coyotes
Key Additions: R. Torres, B. Gordon, M. Smith
Key Subtractions: I. Bryzgalov, V. Fiddler, E. Jovanovski, E. Belanger
I bought a copy of the Hockey News to help me with this preview, showing the lengths I go to give you guys great content. And the geniuses there have the Yotes finishing 14th in the West. The reason? It’s all the loss of Bryzgalov, who had a pretty decent .921 save percentage, but didn’t set the world on fire. This team has a good young core, a decent defense corps, and big question marks in goal. The team isn’t so bad, look for a return to the playoffs, where they will get crushed by Detroit.
7. Chicago Blackhawks
Key Additions: A. Brunette, D. Carcillo, S. Montador
Key Subtractions: B. Campbell, D. Brouwer, T. Kopecky
I enjoyed how the Hawks made that first round series with the Canucks downright interesting. Overtime in game 7? I’M A FAN.
This team is a little worse that last year. Campbell is gone, who actually started to live up to his massive contract last season. Ever since their Cup victory a couple years ago, the team has traded almost all of their secondary scoring. The top 6 forwards are pretty good, but don’t look for a repeat trip to the finals, no matter what the Hockey News might say.
8. Nashville Predators
Key Additions: N. Bergfors (I call B.S. if you claim to have heard of him)
Key Subtractions: J. Ward, C. Franson, S. Sullivan, M. Lombardi
I admit, Nashville has been my second favorite team for years now, even though having second favorite teams is kind of gay. I like how they use their system to make something out of the spare parts they’ve put together. These guys score less than a straight dude at a lesbian conference. And yet, they manage to win enough 2-1 games to stumble into the playoffs. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is solid, and Shea Weber might be the best at his position in the league.
Also, Barry Trotz has no neck. Seriously, Google it. You’ll laugh.
9. Minnesota Wild
Key Additions: D. Heatley, D. Setoguchi,
Key Departures: M. Havlat, B. Burns, A. Brunette, C. Barker
Minnesota has ranked dead last in shots on goal for the past 3 seasons, reinforcing every Minnesota Wild joke in existence since 1999. Well no more! Minnesota is mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore! The additions of Heatley and Setoguchi should help a generally crummy offence. The shortfall of this team is on defense. Marek Zidlicky is their best defenseman. That’s not good.
10. Columbus Blue Jackets
Key Additions: J. Carter, J. Wisniewski, R. Johansen
Key Subtractions: J. Voracek, N. Filatov, S. Upshall
Poor Columbus. They always try to get better, yet still always finish out of the playoffs. In an attempt to get past this glaring imperfection, the team acquired Jeff Carter from the Flyers. As I mentioned on Wednesday, Carter was allegedly shipped out of town because of his excess partying. The good news for Columbus is they won’t have to worry about Carter boozing it up too much, since Columbus is clearly the most boring place on the planet.
This team needs some secondary scoring.
11. St. Louis Blues
Key Additions: The corpse of J. Arnott, the corpse of J. Langenbrunner
Key Subtractions: 3 hot dog guys
St. Louis is pretty okay. They have a lot of decent young players, although nobody who really stands out. Good job picking up Chris Stewart from the Avs, he’s a solid power forward. The only two free agent signings were absolutely horrible on their respective teams last year. They might make the playoffs. They might be horrible. I’m going with somewhere in between.
12. Colorado Avalanche
Key Additions: G. Landeskog, J. Lindstrom, J. Hejda, S. Varlamov, J-S Gigure
Key Subtractions: J-M Liles, A. Foote, T.Fleischmann, P. Budaj
The Avs have a talented group of forwards who are, as a group, pretty small. Because of this, injuries have been hampering this team for the last couple seasons. They traded their first round pick to Washington for Varlamov, which could turn out to a Phil Kessel trade situation for Washington if the Avs struggle with injuries.
This team has upside though. The defense is getting bigger and stronger, especially with the addition of Hedja. Hopefully Eric Johnson can find his groove and become that true #1 defenseman. My boys are on the right path, there’s just a season or two of crap to go through first.
13. Dallas Stars
Key Additions: M. Ryder, V. Fiddler, S. Souray
Key Subtractions: B. Richards, J. Langenbrunner
Poor Dallas. The Texas Rangers are on the cusp of another playoff run. The Mavericks just won the NBA championship. And then there’s the Stars. They suck. Losing Richards hurts, especially for a team who struggled to score last year. Lehtonen was surprisingly good last year. The Stars need him to stand on his head this year.
But hey, at least they have hot ice girls.
14. Calgary Flames
Key Additions: Like they can afford anybody
Key Subtractions: R. Regehr, A. Kotalik
I hate Jay Feaster. I think he’s an exceptionally bad GM. Naturally, I was delighted when Calgary hired him to run their mess of a team.
This team has the following bad contracts: Matt Stajan, (cap hit 3.5M) Nick Hagman, (hit of 3.0M) Jay Bouwmeester, (6.8M) and Mikka Kiprusoff (5.8M). They traded away their best defenseman, and didn’t address their suckiness up front. Kiprusoff is barely average anymore, and they have absolutely nothing in terms of prospects. This team sucks and I couldn’t be happier.
15. Edmonton Oilers
Key Additions: R. Smyth, R. Nugent-Hopkins, C. Barker, A. Sutton
Key Subtractions: K. Foster, S. Souray, A. Cogliano
The Oilers are really bad. The good news for Edmonton fans is, unlike Calgary, they have some impressive young talent. Ryan Smyth really isn’t very good anymore, but his second tour of duty will be fun for the fans at least. Maybe Khabibulin is inspired after spending a week in a Arizona prison for his drunk driving charge. I doubt it. I kind of wish hockey players got paid nothing at all again, so he could be spotted around Edmonton riding a bike.
And now, what you’ve all been waiting for. My Stanley Cup prediction:
Washington over Vancouver
Oh yeah! Riot part 2, coming right up!