Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Free Agency 2007 - Part I

(Posted by TML 2007-2008, a Toronto Leafs fanatic)

Eastern Conference - A summary thus far

Buffalo – Losing your top 2 centers and backup goalie will hurt. Strong youth movement will keep them a playoff team.

New Jersey – The loss of their top center Gomez and defenseman Rafalski turns this once great dynasty into a team wishing for a playoff spot next season. Even Lou and his magic wand cannot turn this one around.

Atlanta- Was active in acquiring some depth at forward with Todd White and Perrin. Klee will help their Defense and playoff in 2007-2008 is looking like a safe bet.

Ottawa – The Stanley Cup loss was a great learning experience for this team. Remember Edmonton lost to the NYI before winning the next season. Will lose Comrie in the next couple of days and Pressing was a key loss on their pp unit. Gerber needs to be traded and Razor Emery signed ASAP.

Pittsburgh – The strong get stronger. The youth movement (see Ottawa) has also had its first experience with playoff hockey. The signing of Whitney, Sydor, Recchi, Roberts and Sykora are great compliments to the core young stars. This team has become a legitimate cup favorite.

New York Rangers – Spending, Spending, Spending – Great signings with the only team left in the New York area. Drury and Gomez along with Cullen give the NYR a great team up the middle. Great Concern on the backend and Shanahan is left unsigned?
Sign him ASAP as he makes this team run. Playoffs are a lock. Time to trade some of the great young forwards for some defense help. Hello Callahan!

Tampa Bay – This once great franchise is a mess. What needs to be addressed is the lack of goaltending and defenseman. What did they go out and acquire on July 1’st? Michel Ouellet. Good young forward who will pop 20 goals and 20 assists for them. Could this be support for the departure of Richards via trade? Chris Gratton was also reacquired to help shore up their centers. Will fight for a 7/8 playoff spot. If this team ends up on the outside looking in come April won’t come as a surprise to many.

New York Islanders – Good Bye Long Island. I feel sorry for Garth Snow who has tried hard since taking over the reins last season. They gambled the farm on Smyth and it gained them 6 games of post-season action. Losing Smyth, Blake, Kozlov and Poti hurts.
Playoffs are years away as NYR fans chant Potvin Sucks.

Toronto Maple Leafs - Great weekend for the TML. Bolstering their goaltending by adding Toskala will help. Bell and Blake are great additions to an already strong scoring team. The TML were the 4th highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference last season and they’re about to get even better. Playoff Action in Toronto after several long golf seasons is a lock.

Montreal – This franchise is in big trouble. Good for them for getting rid of Samsanov who never found his groove in Montreal. Losing Rivet and Sourray stings. Playoffs aren’t happening here in 2007-2208 folks. Smolinski isn’t going to help fans feel any better about losing the Briere sweepstakes.

Carolina – For a team to win the Stanley Cup and follow it up with a non-playoff season is criminal. They aren’t active and don’t appear to be interested in doing much more than exploring a change in venue. Kansas City/Vegas?

Florida – Great moves to get this franchise back on the right track. After the Luongo trade (worst in 20 years) this team is headed in the right direction. Jokinen and Horton are young stars. Bouwmeester and Vokoun are great on the backend. The addition of Zednik, McLean and Dvorak adds depth to a solid team. Welcome back to the playoffs Florida.

Boston – The Bruins have some of the best young forwards in the game. Savard, Bergeron and Kessel will lead the charge for years to come. The pain in 2006-2007 came between the pipes as Thomas flopped around like a seal on many evenings. The addition of Fernandez is solid and Chara is still Chara. Prediction – 9th and just missing the last spot in the East.

Washington – Who knows any player on this team not named Ovechkin, Semin and Kolzig? The additions of Nylander, Kozlov and Poti will help but not nearly enough to make the playoffs. Is Chris Clark the most unrecognized captain in the NHL who scores 30 goals?

Philadelphia – Wow! This turn around situation started last season with the Forsberg trade and landing Biron. The additions of strong forwards in Briere, Upshall, Lupol, and Hartnell round out a young star team. The Defense has been bolstered with Jason Smith and Timonen. Good Bye Bobby Clarke and hello Lord Stanley?

Western Conference updates coming soon.

TML 2007-2008


  1. Well, well, well TML2007-2008, a well-rounded objective thought piece on the Eastern Conference. The Dark Ranger welcomes this unemotional blogging....(and thanks for the Callahan comment).

    You know, I still don't like Darcy Tucker...keep it coming...


  2. I agree with the dark Ranger -- Nice assessment on the Eastern Conference thoughtful and a good outline. Though, comparing Lord Stanley? with the newly-minted Philly Flyers might be a stretch as Bobby Clarke is still part of management. Look forward to your western conference analysis as I am a die-hard Canuck; want to see what chops you got.

  3. Rachunek is now a DEVIL....no comparing him to Rafalski. Sorry Louie. I'm sure Jersey fans to not happy about this two-way river jumping.

  4. Very nice synopsis, a Toronto Leafs fanatic.

  5. Great analysis on the Eastern Conference. I have one comment to make. After seeing some improvement in skill from the blueshirts, are they reverting back to their old (unsuccessful) blueprint of trying to buy a cup?? I have to admit they looked promising with a blend of skill and grit, veteran leadership and youth. But know they spend 15 million on 2 centers and have Beck (one of my favorite rangers)coming back to play D. Wow


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