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Off-Season Winners and Losers

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This is my list of the off-season winners and losers. And I am basing this information on the draft and free agency to date.

Winners:

Minnesota
What can I say that is not already obvious? Adding Suter and Parise makes them a dangerous team all of a sudden. One of the problems I saw with Minnesota was goal scoring and I think Zach Parise complements the Wild perfectly. It will be interesting to see if he plays with Dany Heatley or if they try to spread the offense around. And even if they try to spread the offense around, will Parise play with Mikko Koivu or will have play with the second line? That is a tough question to answer at this point. Ryan Suter is a nice piece to add on defense. Although the Wild had a good defense last season Suter also adds a some scoring from the point which should take a little pressure off of the forwards.

Outside of those two Minnesota also added two role players whom I think will make a difference, not because they add goal scoring but they add an element that I feel will help them one way or another. The first player is Torrey Mitchell, he is a solid third or fourth line guy, he never really panned out in San Jose but I think he has potential to put up some decent scoring numbers with the Wild since there is less pressure to perform because Minnesota's center position is not as deep as San Jose. And the other player is Zenon Konopka, he adds grit and physicality to the Wild and I feel they could use a guy like him. The last true fighter they had is probably the likes of the late Derek Boogaard.

Pittsburgh
This is a tough one for me because I like what Pittsburgh has done this off-season even though in all honesty I don't feel like they improved their team any, in fact, I think they might have taken a temporary hit in terms of skill. First off the trade of Jordan Staal was a pretty interesting move, and one that had to be made. Pittsburgh had no need for three great centers, so trading Staal only helped them long term because they got back a really good center in Brandon Sutter, and also added a prospect defenseman Brian Dumoulin and added Derrick Pouliot with the draft pick acquired in the trade. Short term this may not help Pittsburgh much now but down the road if the prospects pan out this trade could very well end up looking like a steal for Pittsburgh. However should the defensemen end up being duds I think the Penguins could end up losing this trade.

Outside of that move Pittsburgh also had Steve Sullivan and Aaron Asham leave the team without really replacing them. Tanner Glass was signed and can replace Asham but nothing they have brought in can replace Sullivan unless they have a prospect in their system that can fill the net with 20 goals, which I don't believe that they do.

One other move Pittsburgh made was trading for and signing veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun to a 2 year, $4M deal.

Dallas
Dallas was already a solid team coming into this off-season and they have had possibly the best free agent period to date adding Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney. Dallas certainly did not get any younger but if the Stars get the most out of both players they added some pretty legitimate scoring to their roster.

On a downside for Dallas they lost a tough customer in center Adam Burish. Otherwise the Stars have had a simple yet effective off-season thanks to smart roster moves.

Losers:

Boston
How can the Bruins not do anything this off-season. Every free agent addition thus far has been relatively small. In fact outside of Tuukka Rask getting re-signed, their biggest move was trading Zach Hamill for Chris Bourque. Actually if you look at the Bruins off-season it has been a pretty big disaster.

Let's start with Tim Thomas informing the Bruins that he is taking this season off, that put the Bruins on a tailspin right off the bat. And since then it has seemed as if the Bruins are accomplishing nothing to improve their team. And by that I don't mean trading/signing a goalie, because I think Rask can hold the fort with Anton Khodubin as the back-up.

As a fan of the Bruins, I would like to see the Bruins add secondary scoring in the form of a guy like Brad Boyes , who has signed with the Islanders, because he could have added some goal scoring on the third line, or even the second line.

The Bruins however seemed convinced that they have the answers internally, and to an extent I agree. I think Jordan Caron can fill Benoit Pouliot's shoes. And after losing Joesph Corvo I think the Bruins are going to give Doug Hamilton a shot at the NHL level. The Bruins have depth should Hamilton not pan out with today's signing of Garnett Exelby.

Detroit
Detroit needs to be on this list. Their off-season was supposed to be a smash hit, landing either Parise or Suter (who as mentioned above signed with Minnesota). Detroit has since signed Jordin Tootoo and Mikeal Samuelsson to add depth to their team but they lost a key player off of their roster in Juri Hudler who has signed with the Calgary Flames.

Detroit has also lost long time blue liner Nicklas Lidstrom due to retirement. And Detroit has yet to fill that large gap left by his departure. Because while Lidstrom was not in his prime anymore, he was still a great defenseman and that is hard to replace. Great defensemen don't grow on trees and Detroit really had no hope of replacing him unless they signed Ryan Suter.

So where could Detroit go now? Well the free agent market is thin on defense, so the only real place they can go is on the trade market and look. But who can Detroit realistically get that is as good as Lidstrom? No one. And the free agent market offers nothing close to as good as Nick Lidstrom.

So I feel like the Wings are best off looking internally and hoping one of their current defensemen can fill the void. The closest to that point I can see is Niklas Kronwall although I don't think he is what they need to fill the void.

I propose a new defensive oriented system for Detroit now with the gaps in defense currently persists. I think Detroit will also need their forward group to assume a more defensive style as well.

Other moves for Detroit include adding Jonas Gustavsson via free agency.

Toronto
The Maple Leafs continue to disappoint their fans with their lack of movement. Their best move is bringing in James Van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn. However Toronto seems to think JVR can fill their center deficiencies. Well for their sake I hope the Maple Leafs are right, because Phil Kessel can really take a big step if he can be the number one center on that team.

Another player I think could break through is Joe Colborne who came over from Boston in the Tomas Kaberle trade. I think this guy is the best center prospect Boston had when they made that deal in March 2011.

Outside of the Van Reimsdyk trade Toronto signed center Jay McClement to a 4 year deal which I actually liked because he is a solid player. Toronto also cut ties with F Colby Armstrong.

Final Thoughts:
Although I picked three winners and three losers I think other teams did well for themselves to such as Montreal adding some toughness signing Brandon Prust.

The Islanders almost made the list by adding Brad Boyes and Matt Carkner. However losing P.A. Parenteau hurt that.

Colorado has had a strong off-season as well signing the a fore mentioned P.A. Parenteau, Greg Zanon and John Mitchell but losing Jay McClement and Kevin Porter hurt their chances of making this list.

The Devils have also had a busy and interesting off-season adding Krystofer Barch, and losing Alexei Ponikarovsky and Eric Boulton, I am not sure how much the Barch for Boulton switch will matter but losing a role player like Ponikarovsky is a tough loss.

I could go team by team and analyze all the moves to death but that would take to long and it isn't worth it, I think I picked six teams who deserved to be talked about either positively or negatively and talked about them in a nice way that will offer an opinion on them to this point. There is still a couple months left in summer and I am sure that will provide us with something new and unusual.

Updated 07-12-2012 at 17:26 by Blogger Gesterling

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