8.09.2010

Revamps for Cup Champs

Everybody talks about how much the Hawks had to change over the summer, and while it certainly is significant for one summer, check out these other team revamps:

Anaheim Ducks:

Pre-08/09 (Depth Chart by The Hockey News) vs. pre-10/11 (Depth chart by me, including assumptions about Kariya and Selanne)

Kunitz - - Getzlaf - - Perry---------------------------------Ryan - - Getzlaf - - Perry
Sutherby - Morrison - Marchant-------------------------Kariya - Koivu - - Selanne
Moen - - Pahlsson - R. Niedermayer--------------------Blake - Marchant - Lupul
May - - - Carter - - Ryan--------------------------Beleskey - Chipchura - Voros/Parros

S. Niedermayer - Pronger----------------------------------Visnovsky - - Sbisa
Schneider - - Beauchemin----------------------------------Sutton - - - Lydman
O'Donnell - - Huskins------------------------------------Mikkelson - Festerling
Montador - - - Evans--------------------------------------Brookbank - Syrvet

Giguere - Hiller--------------------------------------------Hiller - McElhinney


Tell me that's not a major revamp (though obviously over a larger span of time).

More to come on this later.

8.06.2010

Brunnstrom deserves zero hype

Not a lot of time to write today, working on many a recording for several different bands.

However, I've got a piece of criticism to throw out into the world wide web.

Why the heck did Dallas re-sign Fabian Brunnstrom, and why did Mike Heika place him in the same category as Jamie Benn in a Dallas Morning News article a few days ago?
As far as I can tell, all the hype for Brunnstrom faded pretty quickly last season, and was completely gone at the end of his 49-game, 2-goal, 9-assist year that included an 8-game demotion to the AHL, where he didn't manage more than a goal in 8 games (not a sign of someone beyond the talent of the AHL). So why is he even slated for fourth-line time this year?
The big issue for Fabian at the beginning of his rookie season was the fact that he probably needed second-line time, but the Stars also had Loui Eriksson, James Neal, Brenden Morrow, Steve Ott, Jere Lehtinen, Sean Avery, Mark Parrish, Chris Conner, Krys Barch, Landon Wilson, Joel Lundqvist, B.J. Crombeen, and Ray Sawada all vying for a roster spot on the wing. Fortunately for Brunnstrom's chances, Crombeen got traded early, Sawada didn't make it out of camp and Morrow got injured early. Wilson was mainly an AHL filler/call-up guy, and Parrish, Lundqvist, Lehtinen, and Conner all played rather inconsistently that year. So he capitalized on the opportunity and potted 17 goals.
At the beginning of last season, the Stars were way thinner on wing. Eriksson, Neal, Morrow, Ott, and Barch were the only wingers with solid roster spots along with Brunnstrom. He definitely could have topped Ott for a role on the second line. But instead, Jamie Benn steals his thunder with an awe-inspiring rookie year, Ott pumps out 22 goals, Lehtinen maintains a roster spot, and Brunnstrom sputters out of the gate and ends up with 2 goals. Even Brandon Segal, a former fringe player, impressed more people with his 5 goals and 10 points in 19 games after a deadline move from Anaheim.
So all in all, if Brunnstrom even grabs a roster spot this season, don't expect much out of him.

8.03.2010

Modano To Red Wings Official On Friday

Friday will be a sad day for anybody who's a Stars fan.

Mike Modano's signing with the Detroit Red Wings will be made official during a press conference on Friday at 2:30 PM. According to Helene St. James of Free Press Sports, the deal is worth $1.25M for a year, which is about the numbers most people expected Mo to sign for after Nieuwendyk announced that they'd let him become a UFA. He'll likely have a third-line role between Jiri Hudler and Dan Cleary.

Modano had a solid season last year, with 14 goals and 30 points in 59 games. More importantly, he continued his role as a strong leader on the team, even with the captaincy on Brenden Morrow's jersey. Despite his age, Modano's always been revered for his excellent conditioning, and there's no reason to expect that he won't be as youthful as ever.

I'd expect Modano to score around 40-50 points this season, but with Hudler (23 goals in 08-09 with Detroit, point-per-game player in KHL last year) and Cleary (two 20-goal seasons in Detroit) around him, you can probably safely raise that barrier to 50-60 points. If either Hudler or Cleary (or whatever defensemen get assigned to that line) are particularly productive in assists, Modano could probably hit 20 goals again, and if Hudler and Cleary hit 20 goals, then you can definitely expect 30-40 assists for Mikey.


So, even though I hate the Red Wings, I'll hate them less this year, in honor of Modano. Good luck in Detroit Mike, I'm hoping you'll get to the playoffs and maybe even the Cup Finals!!

8.01.2010

Turco To Hawks? Dallas Should Take Niemi

Ok, so according to WGNTV and a crapload of tweets, Marty Turco has signed with Chicago for $1.75M for a year. This comes not long after Niemi gets his arbitration award, which was a perfectly reasonable $2.75M.

What the **** is Chicago thinking right now?

There is an INSANELY obvious money-saving solution waiting for them—dump Cristobal Huet and his over-paid back-up role in the AHL, take a tandem of Niemi and Corey Crawford all the way to another Stanley Cup title and somewhere along the way dump the Brian Campbell contract. They'd keep a future star goaltender (or a future Cam Ward, says the cynic in me), avoid most of their cap issues, and keep a solid core of the roster.

Instead, they make an offer to Marty Turco, who I highly respect, but I have to say he's got a lot less going for him. Niemi is younger, probably more talented, and has a Cup ring before he's anywhere close to hitting his prime as a netminder. Sure, Turco signed for less money, but with less payment comes a poorer product. Turco can definitely give them a solid regular season and get them into the playoffs–however, what happens once the playoffs role around? Turco will inevitably falter, and the Hawks will have to desperately hope that one of Crawford or Huet can replicate Niemi's playoff run. Which is HIGHLY unlikely.

Mr. Nieuwendyk. I know I criticized you earlier for letting go of Turk, but this is your big chance. Throw a TON of money at Niemi with, say, anywhere from 2 to 5 years on the contract, and take advantage of the Hawks mistake while letting them have, for a lack of a funnier term, our sloppy seconds worth of Turco. Seriously, even if it means dropping Raycroft or Lehtonen to the minors (which needs to happen anyways, really), this deal would SO be worth it. Niemi is going to be a star (or at least as good as Cam Ward, who seems to have relapses of stardom every now and then) and the Hawks are making the worst possible decision if they let him go in favor of Turco. Take advantage of it and I will take back any criticism I've ever given to you.


On another note, I have to point out that there is absolutely no way that the Hawks could keep any combination of Turco, Niemi, and Huet. Not only would none of those guys be happy in a back-up role, but you've also got a very impatient Corey Crawford in the AHL who needs a full-time role. If I were Chicago, I'd drop all Turco rumors (at this moment being dismissed by Hawks sources and TheFourthPeriod as inaccurate), shove Huet into the AHL and maybe even trade him, and then go with Niemi/Crawford as a beastly goalie tandem.


At this very moment though, lots of new reports saying Dan Roan of WGNTV was the only guy apparently aware of any deal going on between Turco and Chicago. Several tweets from legit sources were out there right after, but all cited WGNTV as where they heard it. So it's actually pretty likely that there's no Turco deal, and he's still a UFA. For the sake of theory, though, I'm publishing this post.