Archive for September, 2011

2011-12 Preview: Winnipeg Jets

Posted: September 30, 2011 by goaliesgetmorebetches in Season Preview, Winnipeg Jets
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Jets' Goalie Ondrej Pavelec

Last season:34-36-12 80 pts, 4th Southeast, 12th Eastern Conference

Additions:Aaron Gagnon, Tanner Glass, Kendal Mcardal, Eric Fehr, Randy Jones, Derek Meech

Losses: Anthony Stewart, Radek Dvorak, Eric Boulton

Offense: Not much change on offense for the Jets, who have a dependable leader up front in Andrew Ladd. Winnipeg hopes that Brian Little can regain his scoring touch and that Blake Wheeler returns to 20 goal form. Exciting young Evander Kane is also on the verge of breaking the 20 goal threshold and this may be the season he does it. The most dramatic change that could occur up front would be moving Dustin Byfuglien back to forward, where he enjoyed great success during Chicago’s Cup run two seasons ago. Veteran Kazakhstan-born Nik Antropov will also chip in offensively. Also, look for the continued development of second year player Alexander Burmistrov, a kid with a ton of skill and potential.

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Review of 2010-2011: 48-23-11, 107 Points, 1st In Eastern Conference, Lost Eastern Conference Semi-finals 4-0 Vs Tampa Bay

Additions via free agency: Jeff Halpern, Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik, Ryan Potulny, Chris Bourque, Tomas Vokoun, Danny Richmond, Christian Hanson

Additions via trade: Taylor Stefishen, Troy Brouwer, Danick Paquette

Subtractions: Michael Nylander, Boyd Gordon, Matt Bradley, Steve Pinizzotto, Jason Arnott, Brian Willsie, Tyler Sloan, Scott Hannan, Semyon Varlamov, Eric Fehr

Offense: The Capitals have had 2 straight years of playoff disappointment, so naturally, they made a few moves to “patch the holes” in their team this offseason. The Capitals brought in Troy Brouwer, who could very hell go past the 50 point mark this season with his balanced offensive skill set and powerplay abilities. Also coming in through free agency is Joel Ward, who brings a gritty but offensive style that should work great for 3rd line duty. The top line for The Capitals should be deadly once again, and do not expect Ovechkin to disappoint this year on the goal totals, he should be back to his 50 goal ways again this year. The biggest area for The Capitals to improve this year will be the powerplay, they were ranked 15th last year in The NHL.

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Last season: 54-19-9 117 pts, 1st Northwest, 1st Western Conference

Additions: Niklas Jensen (1st round pick), Andrew Ebbett, Marco Sturm, Mark Mancari, Niclas Bergfors, Byron Bitz,

Losses: Christian Ehrhoff, Alexandre Bolduc, Jeff Tambellini, Lee Sweatt, Nathan Paetsch, Rick Rypien, Raffi Torres, Tanner Glass,

Offense: While as deep offensively as the Canucks are, they are going to get a bit of a challenge early on with injuries to Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond. Still though there are plenty of horses in this stable with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Alex Burrows, growing Jannik Hansen, and potentially a healthy dose of Cody Hodgson this season as well.

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Welcome to Wayne’s World

Posted: September 28, 2011 by Crimespree Hockey in Philadelphia Flyers, Trade
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This guest post was written by John Russo, of the blog Team to Beat.

A wrecking ball, a playmaker, a game changer.

When I think of the Flyers newly acquired winger Wayne Simmonds, I keep repeating those phrases in my head.

As soon as I read that Mike Richards was being shopped, my heart sank. There goes a guy who provides a spark offensively and defensively who can also tally 30 goals. But after reading the return, “… for C Brayden Schenn, LW Wayne Simmonds, 3rd round pick…,” I nearly fell out of my chair. Wayne Simmonds. The Flyers not only managed to pry away a top prospect from the Kings for Richards but also Wayne Simmonds? This city is going to fall in love with him!

Okay, enough of the ecstatic recount of my obvious fandom towards Simmonds. Though Schenn, Ilya Bryzgalov (signed) and Jakub Voracek (acquired from Columbus for Jeff Carter) are three of the most glittery moves made this off season by the Flyers, the biggest impact player may come from the guy now wearing the #17 jersey.

I swear for 60 minutes in the Flyers first preseason game that Simmonds never left the ice. All I heard and saw was Simmonds flying around the ice, hitting people and trying to make things happen. By playing on the third line, Simmonds can give the Flyers 15 hard minutes a game as well as play on the penalty kill. His defense is the best aspect of his game and that will give head coach Peter Laviolette even more reasons to keep Simmonds out on the ice.

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Last season, we saw a great crop of rookies.  This year should be no different as plenty of guys are primed to make an impact on the NHL.

Jonathan Blum (Nashville)
In 23 games last season, Blum impressed the Predators enough to trade Cody Franson to Toronto, giving Blum a full time position. The 22 year old is a good decision maker who should fit right into Barry Trotz’ system.

Erik Gudbranson (Florida)
With Florida’s roster in flux, look for Gudbranson to get a shot to play some minutes with the big club. The team is hoping his offensive game continues to develop (12 goals in the OHL last season), but is still a defensive force.

Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida)
Like with Gudbranson, Huberdeau should get a chance with the Panthers. Florida’s brass loves his unselfish play and his hustle. The Panthers don’t want to rush him, but if he’s ready, no point in holding him down.

Ryan Johansen (Columbus)
After torching the WHL for 40 goals, 92 points last season, Johansen appears ready to join the big club in Columbus. With the recent additions by Columbus, it might keep Johansen down on the team’s depth chart. Despite that, he should still produce and work his way up.

Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado)
Landeskog was the most NHL ready of any player in the 2011 draft. He’ll be penciled in on the Avs’ top 6 and should be in the Calder conversation all season.

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Last season: 37-34-11, 85 points, 4th in Northeast, missed playoffs.

Key Additions: C Tim Connolly, C Phillippe Dupuis, D Cody Franson, D John-Michael Liles, C Matt Lombardi

Key Losses: C Tim Brent, G Jean-Sebastian Giguere, C Christian Hanson, D Brett Lebda

Offense: The Leafs top line consists of Phil Kessel (32 goals, career high 64 points), Joffrey Lupul, who scored 9 goals in 28 games after being traded to Toronto last season and newcomer Tim Connolly. The injury concerns surround Connolly, but he’s been relatively healthy the past two seasons. The second unit may even be better than the first. Mikhail Grabovski (29-29-58) centers 30 goal scorer Nikolai Kulemin and Clarke MacArthur, who posted career highs in goals (21) and points (62).  Youngsters Nazim Kadri and Matt Frattin will battle for playing time.  Tyler Bozak (15 goals) and Colby Armstrong (8 goals) will solidify the third line.  If Matt Lombardi is healthy, it’ll help the depth.

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Lightning Goalie Dwayne Roloson

Last season: 46-23-11 103 pts, 2nd Southeast, 5th Eastern Conference

Additions: Matieu Garon, Bruno Gervais, Matt Gilroy, Tom Pyatt, Alexandre Picard, Richard Petiot, Michel Oulette, Trevor Smith

Losses: Simon Gagne, Sean Bergenheim, Mike Smith, Randy Jones, Mike Lundin, Matt Smaby, Mathieu Roy, Marc Pouliot

Offense: Tampa Bay possesses one of the most gifted scorers in the entire National Hockey League in youngster Steven Stamkos, who has already scored 119 goals in his first 3 seasons. Stamkos figures to be a 50+ goal threat and among the NHL’s leaders in goal scoring for the next decade. It doesn’t stop there, as the Lightning also have Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier as scoring threats up front. Veteran Ryan Malone is also there, as is resident hothead Steve Downie, whom the Lightning rely on for offense even if he’s too much of a loose cannon to be relied upon. The guy with the most to prove is probably Teddy Purcell, a castoff from the Los Angeles organization who had a decent year and a good playoff for Tampa in 2010-11. Tampa’s top 6 is solid, while their bottom 6 might be a bit thin. Still with the talent in the top two lines, I expect the Lighning to score in buckets once again.

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