Which Canadian team will be the most active this summer?
As the playoffs wind down with only 4 teams left, the other 26 teams are already busy trying to decide what changes need to be done this off season. I am wondering which one of the 6 Canadian Teams will make the most significant changes. Each team is in a very different situation heading into the summer.
This team was slated for a cup and came up short YET AGAIN. Ottawa seemed to have all the pieces of the puzzle back in October, but now find themselves with lots of holes to fill. Goaltending is questionable. Although Emery is not terrible, will he win a cup with the Sens next year? Will Alfredsson be able to lead this team deeper into the post season or doea Ottawa need a new captain? Will Chara be back? My thoughts are that Ottawa will not make any drastic changes, they will attempt to sign Chara and the cost will be some of the 3rd & 4th liners who make over 1 million (Smolinski is a good example). Ottawa will sacrifice depth by adding even more youngsters in order to keep the core team around for ONE LAST SHOT. If they fail again next year, Muckler, Alfredsson, Havlat (UFA in 2007) & Chara will all be gone and Ottawa will have to re-tool.
The flames are in a similar position as the Sens. They had a great run last year, kept their team in tact and added a few players to bolster the line up. This year however, they came up VERY short. I think that Calgary needs to reduce size & grit and add some scoring to take the pressure of Iggy a little bit. A healthy hamerlik wouldn’t hurt either. They need upgrades from amonte. If they could addan extra 40-50 goals somewhere on the roster they will still be a true threat. Don’t look for Calgary to make any major moves. This team could still compete for a cup in 2007
The Habs are looking quite good for a VERY young team. Gainey will be active this off season as he looks to add ingredients into his current mix. I think he will upgrade certain positions which means a better #2 center to replace Ribeiro (who could be dealt). Sundstrom & Bulis will most likely be gone, and look for youngsters Latendresse & Chipchurra to make the line up. Ryder will need to play a bigger role and Koivu will need to be healthy for montreal to be taken seriously next year. I personally have a feeling that Gainey is going after a Top forward (Naslund or someone of that calibre). I also think he’s gonna try and land a Top D to play with markov. I would loveto see a blockbuster including Aebeisher, Zednik & Ribeiro for Naslund & Ohlund. I know Montreal will have to thro more into that mix.
The Oilers made their big moves last summer and are paying off. The additions of Pronger, Peca, Roloson & Samsonov have really made The Oils a contender and could very well be walking away with the cup. Look for Edmonton to make the LEAST amount of noise this summer (win or lose). Lowe is happy with the team he’s assembled and will keep them in tact for a few more years.
I think Vancouver will make the most moves. I think this teams is ready to self destruct and you could see several big trades going on here. They need to move bertuzzi and get on with life in Vancouver. He has become nothing but a distraction. Naslund can also be let go for the right deal. Vancouver has an excess of ‘D’ men now and NO GOALTENDING. If they want any hope of success they need an upgrade from Auld & Cloutier. Look for vancouver to go after Aebeisher (at only 1.5 Mill). He’s a good young goalie looking to prove himself.
Ironically, T.O. is the team that needs the most retooling, but unlike Vancouver, lacks the assets to make anything major happen. they could look to fre agency, but not sure what their cap room will look like. Toronto has WAY too many mediocre players (Belak, Domi, Berg, Wilm etc etc etc). They should keep Sundin and sign someone to playwith him. Allison & Lindros should not come back. Toronto needs to give much more ice time to the young guns (Steen, Stajan, Welleood, coliacovo). They have very good young talent, but need to get them experience. I think Maurice will be good for that reason alone. We all know that Quinn like a more mature squad. Goaltending is a HUGE problem. Belfour will not be back, and Telqvist stinks. If he is their starter, it’s over before it even starts. Aubin did a great job down the stretch, but don’t kid yourself for one second if you think he is an NHL starter who could be playing with a very weak defense in front of him and it’s a LONG season. He played well when Toronto was at it’s best playing for their life every night. Toronto’s first order is to sign a suitable goalie who can compete at a top level in the NHL. In addition what will happen with McCabe.; i don’t think they will re-sign him if he asks for 6 or 7 million. If they do, then they are stupid and deserve to play golf early again. McCabe should be making between 2-4 million at the most.