Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Southeast Division Breakdown

How much do fans in this division hate being called the 'SouthLeast'? Two back-to-back Cups in the last 5 seasons is hard to laugh at. But we'll try.

The story this season in Hotlanta will be 'Will He Stay or Will He Go?' Entering Ilya's final contract year, this will be debated all season long until he either re-signs, or gets dealt at the deadline because he won't re-sign. The fact that he hasn't signed before the season starts means that he is gone, but Kovy apparently likes in Atlanta. I really don't understand how Don Waddell keeps his job, this man must be asleep at the switch. This is a contract offer that must be made before the puck drops, and it must be made lucrative enough for him to stay on a crappy team that's poorly managed. Picked up Antropov to center Kovy for 4years at $16million (too much) and traded for Kubina sending young defensive stud Garnet Exelby to Toronto, (that will be lopsided in a short while). Donny re-signed Lehtonen and Thorburn because he doesn't have any choice. I don't know what to tell you folks down there, a part of me wants Kovalchuk to stay and be built around but its not happening. The other part of me wants a talent like him to be some where he can shine, and you tear down that team and either start over, or give up. I hate saying it, but that's what I think.

Offseason Grade: D, maybe a C if you hadn't overpaid for Nik and signed Kovalchuk for Christ's sake!

Regular Season Finish: 15th in East, 5th in Southeast

The Canes always seem to make something happen while no one is watching, kinda like the Eastern Conference's version of the Preds. Already with one of those aformentioned Cups in a 12year history in Raleigh, Rutherford seems to have some kind of magic touch, and I'm not talking about with referees. He managed to keep Cam Ward on signing him to a 6year ($6.3million avg.), that's the big news of the day for Carolina fans. Great move considering Cam doesn't garner as much attention as some other stoppers and yet has a Cup, a Conn, and backstopped two seasons to Conference Finals. But in the offseason they picked up D-man Andrew Alberts from Philly and forward Tom Kostopoulos from Montreal, and kept Chad LaRose and Erik Cole. The Hurricanes also brought back Aaron Ward from Boston in a trade for Patrick Eaves and a pick. Defenseman Seidenberg and Babchuk were asking for too much I think so Jimmy told them to take a hike, and didn't want forward Ryan Badya. I don't see anything much different from last year as far as offseason moves, another bubble team but I think they'll miss out on the dance this season.

Offseason Grade: B, Cam Ward's extention moves this grade up from a lateral C.

Regular Season Finish: 9th in the East, 2nd in the Southeast

Just like the strands in the ol' Dude'rs head, lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous. Seems like ages ago when rubber rats were raining down from the seats. This teams best move in the offseason, Jacques Martin quitting the GM position. The worst, losing timid Jay Bouwmeester. Throw a microphone in that guy's face and he becomes a pimply faced teenager who just found some hair growing on his balls. Enough of that. Malarchuk's buddy Zednik left for the KHL and took his neckguard with him, ass-saver Craig Anderson left for Colorado to try and take up a #1 position, defensemen Skrastins left for Dallas, and Boynton left for Anaheim. Winger Dave Booth signed on for another 6years, and that's probably the second best move for the franchise this summer, okay, maybe its the best. Radek Dvorak re-signed as well, and the picked up Koistenen from Nashville, Leopold in the lopsided J-Bou deal, and most importantly ass-saver Scott Clemmensen, who proved his worth in Jersey when Brodeur went down. They're not going to surprise and hold on to 9th this year, the back end is weak. Down year for a club without ownership.

Offseason Grade: C, if losing Bouwmeester was inevitable, not convinced it was.

Regular Season Finish: 13th in Conference, 4th in Division

I don't know, this team is so all over the place, who knows what to make of them. Management is the real problem, the owners are just about fucking retarded and need Bettman to mediate the divorce. So far they've kept Lecavalier, good move, that guy is lights out, and I don't know anyone who hustles like Martin St. Louis. The big pick-up this offseason was taking Victor Hedman #2 in the draft. He's a cocky son-of-a-bitch, but he's got Ohlund to watch, he's my pick for the Calder unless Varly qualifies, or the Monster backstops the Leafs to the post. As for other defensemen, they picked up Matt Walker from Chicago, Kurtis Foster out of Minnesota, and re-signed Krajicek and Lashoff. And they still have Meszaros, insert your Tampa Bay defenseman joke here. Otherwise they picked up Antero Nittymaki from the Flyers to push Mike Smith, and finally offered Alex Tanguay enough money to sign. Who did they lose, Vinny Prospal and a bunch of no name's, you could probably lump Prospal in latter category too. But for all my shit-talking, I think Tampa will do better than last year. I'm not saying they're going to make the playoffs, lets not get ahead of ourselves here, but they have an outside shot of being a bubble team. Highly unlikely.

Offseason Grade: C, they brought on better than they let go.

Regular Season Finish: 11th in East, 3rd in Southeast

Some idiot is going to do a re-make of Benny and the Jets, and call it Ovie and the Caps, just you wait. It'll make your ears bleed. But at least the new Caps make us feel good, and not dirty like the Dale Hunter years that made us feel like we had just come down from a bad hit of acid. In any case, defense is the problem and it really hasn't been fixed. They lost Kozlov and Federov to the KHL, Brashear to the Rangers, and backup Brent Johnson to the Penguins. If Varlamov didn't shock the hell out of everyone, we'd all be worrying, but if he falters, the scary comes with Theodore, who no doubt will have a head full of issues with the loss of a child in the offseason. Great pick-up by stealing Mike Knuble from Philly, but lose points for taking on Brendan Morrison even for a year, that guy is lost in the faster NHL. Re-signed forwards Boyd Gordon and Shaone Morrisonn and defenseman Milan Jurcina and Jeff Schultz. They'll need to add defense to get past the second round, and not suffer another embarrassment like that Game 7. Yikes.

Offseason Grade: C, Didn't address their real need.

Regular Season Finish: 4th in the East, 1st in the Southeast

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