Now the CBA settlement is
old news. Same with the Entry Draft. Sidney Crosby is a Penguin
now. Good luck to him and for the NHL. Now, teams are trying
to fill themselves with players. Some are going after big names,
some are just trying to bring in their youth. Those teams that
are bringing in the big names...Well, they can't do it like years
past which is why you
One surprise I have had so
far is the lack of UFA signings by Boston. The Bruins seemed
to have set themselves up to make a splash this year with the
UFA by not having many committed salaries. I believe that it
is partially do to the fact that the players know what the Bruins
did and are shunning that team for it. My belief is that they
purposely kept from signing
Another surprise so far is
what the Flyers have done. They have really put themselves in
the hunt for the cup this year and I would be completely surprised
if they don't make it to the conference finals after what they
have done this off-season. Not only did they get their top two
young gun prospects signed, but they signed 4 big players too!
I would consider the
Philly's best signing has
to be Peter Forsberg who returns home to his original drafting
team. He was previously the main piece of the trade that saw
Eric Lindros come to the Flyers many years ago from Quebec.
We all know he is dangerous offensively, but only when he is
able to play. The Flyers will be banking on him playing more
than he has and lasting longer. My
I am truely happy to see
that Pittsburgh has done something to bring in some cappable
talent to surround Sidney Crosby with. Mark Recchi and Sergei
Gonchar will be a great asset to this team who will be trying
to bring Crosby into this league the best way they can. The
league needs to see this kid play. Not only that, but play good
and really shine. He will probably be on a line with Recchi
and probably recently signed Ziggy Palffy. Of
The next big thing that has happened so far this off-season is the is the hiring of Wayne Gretzky to coach the Pheonix Coyotes. This will be another seriously watched performance. Can the "Great One" bring the magic he once had as a player to coaching? Only time will tell. I believe that the Coyotes will make the play-offs, but will fall out quickly. This will be the learning year for everyone there. Brett Hull might sign on for one more year after this IF everything works out right for him there in Pheonix.
Even the Chicago Blackhawks have tried to do something this year. They signed a much needed defenseman in Adrian Aucoin and also went out and got the best goalie available. Last cup winning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. He will post good numbers, but this team right now might just barely make the playoffs. Martin Lapointe will help and I believe that he will get the ice time there and will net about 20 goals this year, but will not be enough to put this team over the top.
There are still some big name players still unsigned and looking for a new home. I don't expect that this will last for much longer.
Here are the players I see as the big namers and who might sign with whom:
Ron Francis- He's a great veteran and can still contribute to this league. Not as strong as he once was, but his experience is just too much to pass by. Carolina might take another stab for him, but Columbus could use that extra help. Edmonton and Buffalo might also be interested. Boston might also be kinda desperate for a center if they can't get Vinnie.
Mark Messier- He will be lucky to find a job somewhere. Rangers are done with him. Maybe Toronto? They seemed to have been rumored for just about every player on the market of real value.
Eric Lindros- Here is an interesting player. Plagued by injuries over the last few years and not many teams will want to take a chance on him. I still don't see Toronto taking on this kind of risk. They already have an aging Belfour to contend with. More likely you will see him playing for a team like Detroit, Montreal, Florida, or even Washington.
Teemu Selanne- Another big name that I did not expect to be still unsigned. Buffalo might have room for him, and the Rangers could now use some extra offense. I see Washington, Anaheim, Columbus, and Chicago there for him.
Alexander Mogilny- I heard a rumor that he might retire. So, I don't really know about him. Possibly Boston again. Could compliment Alexei Zhamnov. I 'd also consider Anaheim as a possible team. He did play on a line with Sergei Fedorov in Russia.
Valeri Bure- Yeah I know, Nolan is a better player, but he's still injured and complaining somewhat. Here is an interesting player. I see him going to Detroit cheap. Another team could be Carolina or Chicago.
Adam Deadmarsh- New York Rangers all the way. He's a kind of player that they would spend the money on. Look what they did with Holik and Kasparaitis. Pittsburgh could also use him. Other interesting teams- Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, and Chicago.
Steve Thomas- It could be possible that he's done, but I don't see that happening. Boston could use him as well as the Islanders, Carolina, Florida, and even Jersey.
Roman Hamrlik- Why hasn't the Islanders resigned this guy? They need him. Their defense is shot as it is. The other question, why is he still available? Has Boston forgotten his number? Minnesota could possibly use that kind of offense from the back. Look for even the Devils to take interest. Nashville may also look at him.
Glen Wesley- He's played so long in Carolina, it's wondered if they are tired of each other yet. Maybe he should call the Rangers or Atlanta. If worse comes to worse, Boston is still there!
Jason Woolley- He still has some gas left in him. He could be cheap and usefull to a team like Pittsburgh and Florida.
Roman Cechmanek- Man, this guy can't get a break. LA may still take a gamble with him as he is still a good goalie. But so could Edmonton.
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