So... It has been quite some time since I made any posts. A whole lot of things have changed for me and my family. My daughter is 18 months old, my wife and I are expecting again, and we got a house! Now that all of the hecticness has calmed a bit, I thought I could write again. Do tell the wife to check out her blog as well, blogger.com/confessionsfromamakeupaddict. Now back to business.
The draft and free agency period was just as crazy as I had assumed it would be. A few teams made a lot of noise where some didn't. There was a bit of surprise on my part on the Washington Capitals not doing anything at all really. In the spirit of NHL.com doing an east and west recap, I thought I'd have a go! Now as always, I do disagree with a lot of their analysis so please do leave feedback.
What do I think? I think that this talk of prestige over promise is a copout for Bruins fans to use against the critics who say they are the Blackhawks of the East. It is hands down impossibly people to have a team like theirs or the Blackhawks without moving out a significant player or two every offseason. They have great development groups in both cities and they are tremendous competitors. This makes the Nathan Hortons of the world look like top notch forwards. Please folks, lets remember that Nathan Horton is at best a second line winger. He isn't an elite forward, he will NOT make Marian Gaborik better in Columbus. Which leads us to Loui Eriksson. Is Eriksson better than Horton? No question in my mind. But, and this is a HUGE but, he played for an incredibly underachieving squad in Dallas. He will score more and he will be a bigger threat than Horton, but it cost them Tyler Seguin. Seguin is immature I will give you that, but this kid is 21 years old and at one point was considered the best prospect in the world with Taylor Hall. Boston knows that its days are numbered with aging players like Zdeno Chara and they need to compete today, but I would have done much better than Jarome Iginla. Tremendous player and a definite hall of famer but his tank is empty and he is no Jaromir Jagr. With no impact players drafted, I give Boston a C-.
Buffalo is one of the aforementioned teams that did NOTHING with the free agency period. I will say that I do like the things they did at the draft. Everyone knows that Paul Holmgren had his eye on Rasmus Ristolainen at the draft as the most NHL ready defenseman after Seth Jones. Buffalo decided that with the logjam of defenders Philadelphia has raised, maybe Homer knows something and they swiped Ristolainen with the 8th overall pick. This kid is an absolute Finnish giant at 6'4" 207lbs. If he finds a way to back on a few pounds in the offseason, I do believe Buffalo has found their second anchor to pair with Tyler Myers. Nikita Zadarov will also be a force to reckon with some day in the next few years. His size is there and his physical presence, but a little fine tuning in the AHL will turn him into a mainstay. I give Buffalo a C.
No question in my mind, Carolina may have failed the worst here. Mike Komisarek, I get this signing. Cheap, physical, and possibly returning to form soon. Andrej Sekera? Sure he is a solid second line pairing but good god does everyone seriously believe this guy is that good? He was a second line pairing with average numbers in Buffalo where Ryan Miller was struggling and made his defensemen seem a little better with the help they tried to give. Not a really solid pickup in my mind. Anton Khudobin should be a decently solid backup for Cam Ward. He will never be as good as he was supposed to be, but nonetheless a solid signing. Onto the draft, Elias Lindholm should become a rather impressive third line center this year. I do believe he makes the club and I do believe he has a decently high ceiling, but he isn't quite the impact player the other top 4 picks were. Overall, I give the Hurricanes a D+.
Tune in tomorrow for the next three teams on the docket! The Colombus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings and the Florida Panthers!