Sunday, 29 August 2010

Offseason Recap-Northeast Division

Continuing with the Eastern Conference, here is a look at the Northeast Division. I should be able to continue the Offseason Recaps once a day, with the possible exception of Wednesday as I have to drive back to school. Woo-hoo! (not)

Boston Bruins - 3
Key Signings
7/1: LW Daniel Paille (re-signed) 2 years
7/1: F Jeremy Reich (NYI) 1 year
7/9: D Mark Stuart (re-signed) 1 year
7/15: C Gregory Campbell (FLA) 2 years
7/30: RW Blake Wheeler (re-signed) 1 year, $2.2 M
6/22: RW Nathan Horton and C Gregory Campbell from FLA for D Dennis Wideman, 15th overall draft pick (2010), and 3rd round draft pick (2011)
6/26: D David Warsofsky from STL for C Vladimir Sabotka
RW Miroslav Satan
C Steve Begin
What To Expect
GM Peter Chiarelli didn't make too many moves this summer, opting instead to let the team benefit from a healthy core and experienced Tuukka Rask. The defense is largely the same except for the departure of Dennis Wideman who was shipped to Florida to bring in Nathan Horton. Horton brings 30 goal potential to the goal-starved Bruins and helps give them four solid forward lines. Marc Savard should be healthy after missing half of last season with a concussion and other various injuries. The Bruins are clearly a different team with him in the lineup.

Buffalo Sabres - 6
Key Signings
7/1: D Jordan Leopold (PIT) 3 years
7/2: C Cody McCormick (re-signed)
7/7: C Rob Niedermayer (NJ) 1 year
7/7: G Patrick Lalime (re-signed) 1 year
7/7: D Mike Weber (re-signed) 1 year
7/21: RW Patrick Kaleta (re-signed) 2 years
7/29: Tim Kennedy (re-signed) 1 year, $1 M
8/3: Shaone Morrison (WAS) 2 years
8/5: Marc-Andre Gragnani (re-signed) 1 year
8/26: Colin Stuart (CAL) 1 year
D Toni Lydman (ANA)
D Henrik Tallinder (NJ)
LW Raffi Torres
C Adam Mair
What To Expect
Not a whole lot has changed in Buffalo as most of GM Darcy Regier's moves were re-signings. Rob Niedermayer adds depth and toughness down the middle and Jordon Leopold was brought in to replace Henrik Tallinder who opted to go with the Devils. Unless Thomas Vanek regains his 40 goal form, they will once again live and die by Ryan Miller. Actually, come to think of it, they will anyway.

Montreal Canadiens - 9
Key Signings
7/1: G Alex Auld (NYR) 
7/13: RW Maxim Lapierre (re-signed) 1 year
7/13: Mathieu Carle (re-signed) 1 year
7/31: D Alexandre Picard (CAR) 1 year
6/17: C Lars Eller and RW Ian Schultz from STL for G Jaroslav Halak
6/29: C Dustin Boyd, G Dan Ellis, and future considerations from NAS for RW Sergei Kostitsyn and future considerations
8/16: G Karri Ramo from TB for G Cedrick Desjardins
C Dominik Moore (TB)
C Glen Metropolit 
D Marc-Andre Bergeron
What To Expect
Except for a surprising first place finish two seasons ago, they Canadiens are always a team  on the edge of the playoff race. GM Pierre Gauthier will fill holes from within the organization. The only major move was the trade of playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis. That leaves Carey Price to finally live up to the expectations of being picked 5th overall in 2005. P.K. Subban showed plenty of potential in the playoffs last season and will get the chance to prove himself over the course of a full NHL season. He will most likely quarterback the powerplay, a position left available by the departure of Marc-Andre Bergeron. 

Ottawa Senators - 10
Key Signings
7/1: D Sergei Gonchar (PIT) 3 years, $16.5 M
7/1: C Jesse Winchester (re-signed)
7/13: D Derek Smith (re-signed) 1 year
7/21: LW Nick Foligno (re-signed) 2 years
7/29: C Peter Regin (re-signed) 2 years
7/30: D Chris Campoli (re-signed) 1 year
8/4: RW Francis Lessard (PHO) 1 year
8/4: D David Hale (TB) 1 year
6/25: D David Runbland from STL for 1st round draft pick (2010)
D Anton Volchenkov (NJ)
C Matt Cullen (MIN)
D Andy Sutton (ANA)
RW Jonathan Cheechoo
What To Expect
Standing pat seems to be the trend in the Northeast Division and GM Bryan Murray is no different. Unless Alexei Kovalev can revert to the form he showed in Montreal two seasons ago and Brian Elliot can continue his strong performance from last season while forgetting about the playoffs, this may be a long season in Canada's Capital. Defensive stalwart Anton Volchenkov is gone and was replaced by the aging Sergei Gonchar. He should help a powerplay that finished 20th overall last season but the shot blocking ability and physical intimidation provided by Volchenkov will be sorely missed. That will mean Elliot and Pascal Leclaire will have to be even sharper in goal.

Toronto Maple Leafs - 13
Key Signings
7/1: RW Colby Armstrong (ATL) 3 years, $9 M
7/2: F Nikolai Kulemin (re-signed) 2 years
7/7: Brett Lebda (DET) 2 years
8/28: LW Clarke MacArthur 1 year
6/26: RW Mike Brown from ANA for 5th round draft pick (2010)
6/26: 2nd round draft pick (2010) from CHI for RW Jimmy Hayes
6/30: LW Kris Versteeg and LW Bill Sweatt from CHI for LW Viktor Stalberg, C Phillipe Paradis, and C Chris DiDomenico
8/27: D Matt Lashoff from TB for F Alex Berry and F Stefano Giliati
C Wayne Primeau
D Garnet Exelby
C Jamie Lundmark
What To Expect
The pieces are starting to fall into place for the Leafs as last season GM Brian Burke acquired sniper Phil Kessel up front, Dion Phaneuf to anchor the defense, and J.S. Giguere to tend goal along with "The Monster" Jonas Gustavsson. Depth defenseman Brett Lebda helps shore up a solid, physical defensive core that will be difficult to score against. Kris Versteeg, who helped bring Chicago back to glory, and Colby Armstrong, who provides plenty of sandpaper and 20 goal potential will certainly help out an offense that finished tied for 25th overall. However, they are still a few pieces away from contending for a playoff spot. Nazem Kadri, the 7th overall draft pick in 2009,  will be given every opportunity to make the team out of training camp this season, but the team still lacks a bona fide top line center.

Sources: Free Agent TradeCentre, The Hockey News Yearbook

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