Thursday, 1 September 2011

2011 Offseason Recap - Northeast Division

Boston Bruins - 2
Best Possible Finish - 1st in division, 1st in conference
Projected Points Leader - David Krejci, 27-54-81
July 1: LW Benoit Pouliot, one year, $1.1 million

July 5: D Joe Corvo from CAR for 4th round pick (2012)

RW Mark Recchi - retirement
D Tomas Kaberle - CAR
RW Michael Ryder - DAL

What to Expect
Hardly anything has changed from last year, so you can expect more of the same dominance. They lost Ryder, who tied for third on team goals and fourth in points in the playoffs, and Recchi who, at 43, was still an important piece of the champion ship with seven points in the final including four assists in the last two games. Their offensive contributions won't be missed if Tyler Seguin has anything to say about it. He showed small glimpses of stardom last year, including six points in his first two playoff games and should be able to play with a lot more consistency in his sophomore season. Kaberle was pretty much along for the ride, so seeing him leave won't be difficult. Joe Corvo comes in from Carolina to take Kaberle's spot and help the powerplay, one of the few weaknesses in Boston. If Tim Thomas can play anywhere near the level he did last year, the Bruins have an incredible shot at repeating.

Buffalo Sabres - 6
Best Possible Finish - 2nd in division, 4th in conference
Projected Points Leader - Thomas Vanek 39-44-82
Key Signings
July 19: LW Matt Ellis, two years, $1.05 million, $525,000 cap hit
July 7:  G Drew MacIntyre, one year, $525,000
July 7: LW Colin Stuart, one year, $525,000
July 1: C Ville Leino (PHI), six years, $27 million, $4,500,000 cap hit
July 1: LW Cody McCormick, three years, $3.6 million, $1,200,000 cap hit
June 30: D Christian Ehrhoff, 10 years, $40 million, $4,000,000 cap hit

June 29: 7th round pick (2012 or 2013) from CHI for D Steve Montador
June 29: D Christian Ehrhoff from NYI for 4th round pick (2012)
June 25: D Robyn Regehr, RW Ales Kotalik, 2nd round pick (2012) from CAL for D Chris Butler, C Paul Byron

C Tim Connolly - TOR
C Rob Niedermayer - SEL, Lugano
RW Mark Parrish - OTT
G Patrick Lalime - retirement

What to Expect
The Sabres were able to improve via outside sources for the first time in a long time thanks to new owner Terry Pegula. New defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regehr are going to make life a lot easier for Ryan Miller, who once again will be the backbone of the team. Last year the Sabres were 17th in the NHL in shots against (30.7 per game), but there will be a major improvement in that area. Ville Leino is an upgrade over Tim Connolly and having him asked to play a more prominent offensive role along with Derek Roy healthy for a full season will keep the Sabres in the top-third in offense. This has the potential to be a very deadly team, but they are still $3,595,357 over the salary cap according to, so they still need to make some moves. Regardless, Ryan Miller will likely be a Vezina Trophy nominee by season's end, so expect a rise in the standings for the Sabres.

Montreal Canadiens - 8
Best Possible Finish - 2nd in division, 5th in conference
Projected Points Leader - Tomas Plekanec, 26-45-71
Aug. 15: D Jeff Woywitka (DAL), one year, $650,000
July7: RW Brian Willsie (WAS), one year, $600,000
July 5: G Nathan Lawson (NYI), one year, $550,000
July 1: RW Erik Cole (CAR), four years, $18 million, $4,500,000 cap hit
July 1: G Peter Budaj (COL), two years, $2.3 million, $1,150,000 cap hit
June 23: D Andrei Markov, three years, $17.25 million, $5,750,000 cap hit
June 10: LW Mathieu Darche, one year, $700,000
May 31: D Hal Gill, one year, $2.25 million

July 15: D Mark Mitera from ANA for D Mathieu Carle
July 7: RW Mike Blunden from CLB for C Ryan Russell
June 29: 7th round pick (2012) from CLB for D James Wisniewski
June 25: 4th round pick (2011, D Josiah Didier), 4th round pick (2011, LW Olivier Archambault) from WIN for 4th round pick (2011, D Zachary Yuen)

D Roman Hamrlik - WAS
C Jeff Halpern - WAS
LW Benoit Pouliot - BOS
G Alex Auld - OTT
D Alex Picard - PIT
G Drew MacIntyre - BUF
C Tom Pyatt - TB

What to Expect
It appears Carey Price has arrived as a legitimate number one goalie so there are no concerns in the crease. Hamrlik was a steady defenseman, but gaining Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges back from injured reserve will offset any loss felt there. How they hold up is going to go a long way towards determining Montreal's seed in the standings. Mike Cammalleri should once again pot 35 goals and they finally have a big body up front in Erik Cole, but if Scott Gomez can't put together a much better season, their 22nd ranked offense will improve, but not drastically. P.K. Subban should be an even bigger contributor on offense this season. They will once again be a scrappy team on their way to one of the last playoff spots.

Toronto Maple Leafs - 9
Best Possible Finish - 3rd in division, 8th in conference
Projected Points Leader - Phil Kessel, 38-32-70
July 19: RW Joey Crabb, one year, $750,000
July 12: C Mike Zigomanis, one year, $650,000
July 6: C Philippe Dupuis, one year, $650,000
July 2: C Tim Connolly (BUF), two years, $9.5 million, $4,750,000 cap hit
June 29: LW Jay Rosehill, one year, $600,000

July 3: D Cody Franson, C Matthew Lombardi, 4th round pick (2013, conditional) from NSH for D Brett Lebda, LW Robert Slaney, 4th round pick (2013, conditional)
June 25: 6th round pick from ANA for 6th round pick (2011, D Josh Manson)
June 24: D John-Michael Liles from COL for 2nd round pick (2012)
June 24: 1st round pick (2011, RW Tyler Biggs) from ANA for 1st round pick (2011, RW Rickard Rakell), 2nd round pick (2011, G John Gibson)

G Jean-Sebastien Giguere - COL
C Tim Brent - CAR
D Danny Richmond - WAS
C Christian Hanson - WAS

What to Expect
There are still a lot of question n the forward lines. Clarke MacArthur, Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin make one of the best second lines in the NHL, so in fact, they have usurp Phil Kessel's line if he cannot figure the whole consistency thing out. Tim Connolly can be helpful in that department if he manages to stay healthy. The Leafs are risking $9.5 million on a players whoo has reached the 70-game mark once since 2002-03. Luke Schenn and Keith Aulie are constantly improving and Dion Phaneuf looked a little like his old self in the second half of the season; if so, the defense will be much more stable. That, combined with James Reimer who looked to have a handle on the riens of the goaltending position as the end of the season, will vastly improve their 2.99 goals-against average from last year. He just has to avoid going the way of Steve Mason. The Leafs will be a little less streaky and give their fan base a glimmer of hope throughout the entire year, instead of just the last few months, before ultimately falling just short of the playoffs.

Ottawa Senators - 15
Best Possible Finish - 4th in division, 12th in conference
Projected Points Leader - Jason Spezza, 28-38-66
July 11: D Tim Conboy (BUF), one year, $600,000
July 11: D Lee Sweatt (VAN), two years, $1.3 million, $650,000 cap hit
July 8: G Mike McKenna (NJ), one year, $550,000
July 8: RW Mark Parrish (BUF), one year, $650,000
July 5: C Zenon Konopka (NYI), one year, $700,000
July 1: RW Francis Lessard, one year, $550,000
July 1: G Alex Auld (MTL), one year, $1 million

June 25: LW Nikita Filatov from CLB for 3rd round pick (2011, C TJ Tynan)
June 24: 1st round pick (2011, LW Matt Puempel) from DET for 2nd round pick (2011, RW Tomas Jurco), 2nd round pick (2011, D Xavier Ouellet)

RW Ryan Shannon - TB
G Curtis McElhinney - PHO
C Cody Bass - CLB
C Ryan Potulny - WAS
D Derek Smith - CAL

What to Expect
Short answer: not much. There is a major shift going on in Canada's capital and they may be the Eastern Conference version of the Edmonton Oilers for the next few years. Though Daniel Alfredsson is only one season removed from a string of six out of seven seasons averaging over a point per game, it is unlikely he will approach those numbers again. That leaves Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek as the only other players who have proven they can put up points. Right winger Bobby Butler and defenseman Erik Karlsson will start to take over as the future stars of the team. While Craig Anderson is capable of playing extraordinary hockey and making a team play beyond its capabilities, it would take a Herculean effort for him to drag this club out of the basement. Sergei Gonchar had a down year to put it mildly and Chris Phillips is there mainly as a tutor for the young players. So keep an eye on Butler, Karlsson, Erik Condra, Jared Cowen, David Rundblad and Nikita Filatov, as they will be trying to cement their roles on the team for the foreseeable future. 

No comments:

Post a Comment