I haven’t called this a “top ten” because some of you will find a few of these inconsequential. I’m sure there are some missing (leave a comment!). But, here you go. Ten things I noticed this offseason that could be interesting this year.
1. Ray Emery doesn’t just get a job, he’s a starter.
No surprise to see this on the list. No surprise the team he went to. But I’d say a big surprise that the man in exile could come back as a starter with a decent team – one that added Pronger and looks to have a big year if the Emery gamble pays off.
2. Luongo signs for 12 years – and a lower cap hit.
Obviously this is a huge story, whether you like the signing or not. When I first heard he was looking at $8.5M per season I really wasn’t sure if it would be a good deal for Vancouver. But say what you want about Louie, at the roughly $5.5M cap hit this one’s a good move. The reports of both goalie and team having contractural “outs” along the way was also quite interesting.
If he’s still playing and still hot in those later years, how iwll he really swallow making $1M per year? What if the league minimum is higher by then (hey, in ten years it is entirely possible).
3. Islanders have three starters (or do they?).
The Islanders looked like they were trying to corner the market on goalies this offseason. And not just at the NHL level. I think this one could well make Garth Snow look brilliant if he has a quality starter to auction off later on when DiPietro comes back and another team is struggling in goal. And yes, that’s what I think is happening. I don’t think DiPietro is done at all.
4. Khabibulin to Edmonton.
Wow. Edmonton couldn’t get anyone to move there and now they get a cup winner coming off a good season to fill the most important position on the team. Nice one. Let’s hope he isn’t hung out to dry now.
5. Montreal sticks with the youngsters.
I really thought that after last year someone more experienced would come in to help out in Montreal. Biron maybe? Roloson? No wait, Snow got them both. Stay tuned to this channel if Price falters.
6. Backstrom surgery. but not as worried as Totonto, even after the big contract?
So everyone goes on and on about Toskala and can he come back to his old form after surgery. But really, if he doesn’t (I think he will by the way), then he’ll be a UFA and Toronto is done with him. Backstrom, on the other hand, signs a huge deal and then goes under the knife. Is anyone in Minny the least bit worried?
7. Allaire to Toronto. The potential impact here is?
Best goalie coach in the game takes on a god starter trying to come back from injury and a highly touted rookie. Could make for a very interesting season in Toronto.
On the same note…Brian Burke hires a proven goalie coach…and how many teams this summer exchanged former goalies with little or no record as coaches for other former goalies with no experience coaching? Oh sure, some of you will think that just because they could play goal they can teach it? I’d argue that one all day – but also don’t forget the game has changed a little since these guys played folks. I really don’t get it.
8. Sher-Wood back in the game.
Saw Brodeur in Sher-Wood. What’s up with that?
9. Dan Cloutier gets a tryout!
Until this week he would have made a decent “where in the hell is he now segment” and now he’s getting an audition with the Wings? If they were worried about Howard why did they let Conklin go? If they weren’t worried then what’s the upside here? It’s not like they are hoping a former big time goalie can find his game…
10. Auld to Dallas – I like this one.
Personal bias here. I’ve always liked his combination of size and technique. Maybe this time things will work out for Alex. I really hope so.