Who pops out at you this season?

The free agent period is, with a few exceptions, all but over. Teams have basically finalized who they are going to invite to camp. As I look at all the teams in the East nobody pops out at me. The Bruins lost Guerin and will have to put there offensive load on young Joe Thorton. The Flyers are the Flyers good until playoff time. The Canes will replace that tornadoish thing on their uniforms with targets, so don’t expect the same from them. Toronto has major questions in goal this season. If there is one team that looks good to me in the East it’s the Rangers, they brought in Holik and Kasparaitis to go with Lindros, Bure, Leetch, and Richter. I don’t think I need to go on to the other 10 teams. In the West, however, Dallas really pops out at me.

After bringing in Bill Guerin, Scott Young, Ulf Dahlen, Philippe Boucher, and Ron Tugnutt to go along with Mike Modano, Jason Arnott, Sergei Zubov, and Pierre Turgeon, they have to emerge as favorites. Detroit and St. Louis also look like sexy teams on paper, but with Steve Yzerman and Chris Pronger both out until around the middle of January I’m not so sure. Colorado is always a contender, but stars such as Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic, and Rob Blake are all one year older. Other teams of possible mention around the league are New Jersey, Vancouver, Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, San Jose, and Anaheim. With all that said, I unfortunately think Dallas and the Rangers are going to play for the cup. It’s a toss up from there. What do you think? Who pops at you?

35 Responses to Who pops out at you this season?

  1. bruinsfan12 says:

    The Hurricanes are changing their jersey?

  2. bruinfan37 says:

    no, he was just saying in a way, that ppl will now see targets, and they will be targeted by other teams. Their jerseys are the same

  3. keon says:

    The Rangers will not make it to the finals…they don’t have the goaltending. Lindros and Bure can’t carry the whole team, and you can add Brian Leetch to that list of guys who are “one year older”. I agree with you about Dallas. They have a very strong looking team, on paper. I am eager to see what there product on the ice will be this season. If the Stars implement more of an offensive strategy, I think that Modano and Guerin are going to shoot the lights out, and watch out for Morrow this year…he’s gonna score 40 goals.

    I am one of the biggest Leaf fans around, but I must admit, this coming season looks a little scary. I think that Eddie the Eagle will play steady for the Buds, but with Roberts gone till January…who is going to carry the load. Mogilny had better step it up. The Leafs missed the boat on 4 super-star wingers this summer; maybe it’s time to start dumping those overpayed, underachieving Europeans, and start giving younger talent a chance.

  4. mikster says:

    Rangers don’t have goaltending? Wow…..

    I think Richter is good to have on a team, since he is one of the best goalies in the league.

  5. Habfan1234 says:

    It is a real crap shoot in the East. There is no real clear cut top team. There are 10 to 11 teams in the East that have the capabilities of making the playoffs. Of these teams only 4 or 5 have the capabilities to make it to the Staley Cup Finals The teams are Toronto, Montreal, Boston, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, New Jersey, Washington, Ottawa, and Carolina. Of these 10 Toronto, New Jersey, Philidelphia, and Carolina have the best chance to make it to the finals.

    Its the same situation the West with 10 to 11 teams having the capabilities of making the playoffs. There are two clear cut top teams in the West, Detroit and Colorado. The tams with a good chance at making the playoffs are Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton, Vancouver, Detroit, Chicago, St.Louis, San Jose, Phoenix, and L.A. Of the eight teams that make the playoffs eight teams have a chance at reaching the finals due to the sameness between each team (there all good).

  6. YingYan says:

    Good comment about the Canes.

    We actually saw the target stuff going on as they progressed in the series, remember how COLE shined then was practically shut out?

    However they now have confidence.

    Flyers are quite a mistery, very fragile cohesion, individuals don’t make a team but perhaps the new dictator coach will help the team’s chemistry but we now Hitchy can get on the nerves of certain folks pretty fast, he seems to have prepared himself quite well and he’s acting like a control freak knowing very well why this ‘team’ failed.

    Rangers did add Holik & Kasper thus boosting their grit/intimidation lvl. However Bure will score the goals Lindros could have scored, not because he’s that much of a puck eater which he is but rather because well he’s a scoring machine but it seems he can be annoying in the locker room.

    In my book, New Jersey, Vancouver, Pittsburgh & San Jose are wild cards that could topple the mighty westerners.

    Since i know the PENS i’ll give a few arguments to why they could do well but really ²/³ of teams could make it a long way in the playoffs. As to who might win the cup the western teams have the obvious advantage.

    Pens will have a healthier Mario for longer than last cursed season. Injuries won’t plague the majority of their stars unless Murphy* himself is behind it. Their camp is set to be highly competitive and 1 or 2 prospects could break through.

    Can they win the cup? Ahem… like i said this is somewhat reserved to richer western teams but then are we already to the point where we can say the dices are loaded (with doe)?

    Parity, revenue sharing & salary cap aren’t communist crap, consider how the NHL marketing would dramatically improve with most teams having a real chance to go all the way. Revenues would dramatically increase & 2004 wouldn’t look like a future war/lock-out.

    Most teams still have a chance but odds are…

    *Murphy’s principles, Murphy’s law etc…

    (could also be renamed Straka’s law!)

  7. bluenoser says:

    There’s no doubt that the east is not a bastion of strength like the west, but including the leafs, habs, carolina and washington as cup contenders will raise a few eyebrows.

    The leafs are thin on ‘d’, have too many underachievers up front and with roberts out ’til february, and theo not likely signing, all that’s left is 37 year old eddy between the pipes. He’ll be seeing more rubber than a michelin factory.

    The habs don’t even have theodore signed yet, and even with koivu back, he has a long history of injuries so he can’t be counted on too much. The team as a whole totally overachieved. Can they, especially theodore when he’s finally signed, do it again? I’d love to see it, no doubt. They will definitely have a new-found confidence which will go a long way—enough that it convinced dougie to come back for another year.

    Carolina overachieved as well but broke through mostly cuz of good coaching and youth . Maurice rotated irbe & weeks effectively but, even with all their good young forwards plus ronnie up front and solid ‘d’, I just don’t see the finals happening again. Just to may obstacles in the way, and there won’t be so many lucky breaks next season.

    Washington? Sure ollie the goalie is one of the best ,as is gonchar, but when jagr is there to infect the dressing room with his “there’s no ‘I’ in team, but there’s an ‘me’ for me” attitude, things go wrong. He and bondra really need a center—-what was gm macphee thinking when he dealt oates and replaced him with lang? his best season was 80 pts in 00/01 when he was on jagr’s line and had mario come back at christmas to feed him on the pp. It ain’t happening in capital land.

    Loath as I am to say it, the rangers look pretty good even with a couple of head cases like lindy & bure. Holik will add a new dimension and Richter is in for another shot and may come up big. If poti can get it together, he and kaspar are gonna take a lot of the load off leetch. Should be interesting.

    Watch the devils. With sykora replaced by freissen, and oleg added on ‘d’, look for gomez to overcome the sophomore jinx. Holik will be greatly missed, but with a deep farm system, nj always seems to be able to fill gaping holes.

    Should be an interesting season. All we need is a new players association boss to get the players from being so damn greedy and talking to mgmt so there’s no lockout/strike after 04!!!!

  8. bruinsfan12 says:

    oh okay, that does make sense

  9. meetak says:

    I’ll put in a word for Ottawa:

    The core of their team is intact from last year with the exception of McEachern, who was fading fast.They have the best defense in the east, Lalime has proven to be a very good goalie, and their forward lines can put it in the net regularly.Everyone on the team is improving(except perhaps lesychyn).I expect them to be 1 2 or 3 in the East, and go deep in the playoffs if they can learn to play tougher.

  10. chewy says:

    I am going to be bold and say that the Leafs will face Calgary in the cup. Before you all jump in on this you must remember that the last time the Leafs made it to within a game of the Cup Finals was also after a year of change, they brought in five new starters, changed goalies, and had a player out for the first three months of the season. I think the youth will prevail and help the Leafs in the first half of the Season, and Roberts will be back in in play-off shape in time for the cup run, and he will be ready. Hoglund had a bad year last year he will be no superstar but he should get about 25-30 goals this year, as will Renberg, people will step up. As for Calgary, they got off to a great start last season and they will again, add Kobasew to the mix along with Gelinas and I think they can get into the play-offs and be one of those teams that could surprise their way into the finals, they had a winning record against the Wings last year. Dallas will need a year to gell, these guys arent going to become a well functioning machine for a while.

  11. keon says:

    Richter is good goalie…but he is not good enough. His glory days have past.

  12. UltimateB says:

    Dallas jumps out at me this year, but I think they’re going to have some chemistry issues, just like last year. However, after seeing Modano and Guerin on the same All-Star team a few years ago, and Young and Turgeon in St. Louis, it looks like chemistry won’t be as large a problem. Plus, every team with a new coach has chemistry problems, so Dallas might be fine.

    St. Louis takes a bigger hit with Pronger out than Detroit with Yzerman. As big as Yzerman is to Detroit, Pronger is bigger to St. Louis. Yzerman doesn’t play 30 minutes every game. Plus, Detroit has a heap of forward depth, whereas St. Louis doesn’t have the same Defensive depth.

    Colorado is always a contender, but I think this is the year that all their trades catch up with them. They’re getting rid of all their young talent year after year and I think it’s finally going to cause trouble when there are injuries this year.

    It seems to me that San Jose is the only team that can stand pat and get better than it was the year before. So, San Jose/Dallas in the western conference finals.

    In the east, yeah, the Rangers are strong. I see Rangers/Canes. The most improved team (theoretically) vs. last year’s contender.

  13. Leb_Boy says:

    I’m not a reporter or any kinda anyalst, but for the wings, they will just as domiant as last year.

    they lost yzerman, he is a huge loss, but anytime ive ever seen yzerman out. fedorov is 10 times better, he will make up for the loss of stevey. also you got luc,hull,shanny, any of those 3 can be captians or be star players on any other team. the wings are stacked. bowman knew what he was doing before he left! it’s all up to joesph to not make us look stupid. but if he does, we always got manny there 2 back us up!

    LETS GO Wings!

    OCTOBER 9th, here we come flying

  14. gopenguins66 says:

    That is just the problem they’re a bunch of sissies.

  15. GloveSide says:

    i agree with you on the leafs….i to am i big fan….i think people are jumping on belfour to much…he will be steady….i’m worried bout the offense….no roberts for a long time will hurt…..Renberg has to score 20 and mogilny like 35 or so or were in trouble

  16. GloveSide says:

    The leafs “D” is in my opinion not as bad as people make it out to be….i mean people are just too hard on these guys mccabe and kaberle are both on the rise and berg can be a good plug in at #5 plus schevla or however you spell it is pretty good…they will get one more #5 d or so beofre the season starts through a trade

  17. buckman says:

    I may be a little biased as a habs fan, but it seems like they are not getting enough respect as a contender for next year. They were a period away from virtually defeating the eastern conference champions last year.

    With the addition of some power and some scoring, and with more experience under Theo’s belt, I think they have a real shot. Especially if guys like Zednik break through, Is it just me or did he appear to dominate against the bruins last year before he was cheaply outed?

    I think he has much potential to become a top 20 scorer in this coming year….does any one agree with me and with the habs having a shot?

  18. TheDevil says:

    Too early to predict anything, especially the Stanley Cup finals.

    The Rangers got better, but I really think Bure and Lindros can ***** up any team in a blink of an eye. It’s up to Messier to glue this team together.

    Carolina, Ottawa are the same teams, so they will do fine. The Islanders need a high scoring winger, I think they will pull a trade to get the guy, possibly moving Roman Hamrlik or Kenny Jonson.

    Washington got a little better, but like my Devils, the Caps are pretty much a question mark.

    Pens suck, and they will stand this way for some years. Flyers, Hitch***** will dispatch a Leclair, Recchi, Primeau or Roenick, plus Cechmanek is not a top notch goalie.

    As for the Leafs, well, everything depends on Belfour. If he suceeds, the Leafs are stronger than last season, because of the simple fact that Belfour is and has always been better than Joseph.

  19. KingstoCup says:

    Although Dallas and the Rangers did their usually spending spree, doesn’t make them the cup favorites. They both need to make the playoffs first, which neither of them did last year. I’d still think you have to go through Detroit to win the Cup. Dallas isn’t as good as they look and neither are the Rangers. The Rangers have no chemistry. Too many ego’s. Richter isn’t what he used to be. Dallas has Turco in net. He’s good but unproven and hasn’t faced the pressures of playoff hockey. I wouldn’t pick either of them to make it to the playoffs. In the west i think Detroit, San Jose, or Colorado, against either Philly, Ottawa or Washington.

  20. Habfan1234 says:

    I don’t think I made it clear enough. I forgot to add a period to one of the sentences. Montreal and Washington are not Stanley Cup contenders. The five teams that I think will have a good shot at coming out of the East are (in order):

    1. New Jersey

    2. Philly

    3. Toronto

    4. Carolina

    5. Ottawa (this may be thier year)

  21. gopenguins66 says:

    What in the blue hell are you smoking? First you say Lindros and Bure can ***** any team up when year after year they usually take their team to the playoffs. Then you say the Pens suck, but you’ll be surprised when they kick your Devils’ ass. Finally, you say Belfour is better than Joseph. I just have one thing to say to that, at least Joseph can keep his job. So put away the junk you’ve been shoving up your nose, and learn something about hockey.

  22. chaos83 says:

    I agree at this time Joseph is a much better goaltender. At least he helped a team go past the first two rounds of the playoffs. Eddie played porrly enough that Dallas missed the playoffs.

  23. benji_ch says:

    Yeh, i really agree, Zednik really is going to be a great player, and he can really become a force, not only with the Habs, but in the whole NHL as well. Hopefully the Habs will get Theo and Zed signed before the beginning of the season.

  24. mikster says:

    A superb regular season, superb Olympics….hmmm, i doubt his past his glory days.

  25. mikster says:

    Not so fast with the Rangers. I think there’s no chance that the Rangers will even come close to play in the finals. If they do then make Sather GM of the year and the Rangers the team of the year. But, chances of that happening are so slim.

    Rangers will have a disappointing start, an underachieving 1st half, and they’ll pick it up in the 2nd half. That’s what i think.

  26. Stevieforpresident says:

    4 in 7 has a nice ring to it dont you think so???

  27. Aves21 says:

    The Aves. A lot of people I have talked to say that since they have not signed a big name this season, they may not be as dangerous as some other team that have. But look at it this way, we didn’t have Peter Foresberg for the whole regular season. We will this year, and that, to me, is like signing the best player in the world. Because, let’s face it, he is the best all around player in the NHL. And if Pierre thought we needed some other player, he would have signed him.

  28. keon says:

    hey…alyn mcauley played “superb” in the playoffs…he’s not gonna score 50 goals this season.

  29. Rushing says:

    They can have Belfour all they want. Just look at his records. I know I have said this numour times already but…….his GAA has gone every year but one while he was in Dallas and his SA% went down every year while in Dallas. Last year he was simpy pathetic! He had a losing record. It was his worst ever. He has also had numerous outburst of attitude probs. Drunken outbursts, etc……He isn’t somebody I would want to invest my future in.

  30. Modano_Fan says:

    Dallas is deffinately jumping out at me right now. They’ve made some very nice pick ups this season,and have went from out of the playoffs to a cup contender on paper. I’m not just saying this because they’re my team,but if their lines click the way the could,Dallas is going to be tough to stop. Plus Im picking Tugnutt to win the starting role this year. He’s showed signs of being a great goalie during his whole career and being put on a legit contender could do wonders for him.

    I actually like Phoenix. I think they’ll be a nice team to watch this year after signing Amonte under everyones nose this summer. Tony Amonte could be an Islander,Ranger or Star right now and being mentioned as part of a cup contender,but he instead chose to be a Coyote-you gotta believe he sees something there we havent seen yet.

  31. tele says:

    Sorry chewy, Calgary? are you shitting me.

  32. RIPPLEMAN says:

    The NY Rangers have not been to the playoffs in 5 years, they are not going to be playing in the Stanley Cup this year. Defense is still a concern as are injuries (Lindros). This team may make it back to the playoffs this year, but believe me, they are not going to be playing for the Cup.

  33. RIPPLEMAN says:

    Got to agree with you on your comment, maybe not that the Habs will end up in the Cup but maybe the Eastern Conf Finals. They were great to watch last year and I think it would be great if my team (Devils) can’t win the Cup, that a Canadian team should win.

  34. Rushing says:

    I think the Stars will make the Playoffs with no prob. They would have last year if they would have pulled Belfour at about the midway point.

    Evidently, Thefourthperiod.com thinks they look pretty good too.


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