So it’s about two weeks to training camp and it looks like the three teams I’ll be covering this year are all a mess. Just different flavours of mess.
The Ottawa Senators are a team in transition. Up or down I’m not sure. The Dany Heatley mess will hopefully be sorted out soon. The man cannot remain a Senator and if he starts the season with the club you can write off the season early. I don’t think there’s enough PP time for both Heater and Alex “Big Dawg” Kovalev.
What they get for Heatley should spell the direction of the season for the Sens. Jason Spezza and his big contract are in the air too. It may make sense if they move Heater to also move Spezza and retool especially as Alfredsson’s not getting any younger or sturdier.
The biggest concern I see in Sens land is the D corp which is mighty thin and definitely not Stanley Cup material.
Pascal Leclaire also has to prove himself as he returns from injury.
If I’m GM in Ottawa I’m in a fast rebuild mode.
Brian Burke has been the biggest addition to the team so far. Not sure if the biggest addition to a team is the GM if that’s good or not. Time will tell. Burke has the pedigree and so far his performance has been to stockpile gronky Defencemen with 9 NHL D men on the roster.
The Top Six forwards though are the tale of the tape for the Leafs hopes this season. Though they still have lots of cap space and could pull off a few moves before the season starts the current batch of forwards will not strike much fear, except for some of their own players with Mikhail Grabvoski floating around.
I still predict that Mats Sundin will be back for a last hurrah as nobody expects the Leafs to win this year as Burke builds the team.
The Montreal Canadiens
Now this is what you call a transition. In a true act of self-mutilage GM Bob Gainey cleaned house. 11 Free Agents gone and a lot of over priced free agents in. Ok, a few weren’t over priced, but the trio of Gomez, Gionta, and Cammallieri for a total of $18.3 million dollars have to produce a lot more points to show any value over Koivu, Kovalev, and Tanguay whose salaries for this year will probably total less than $12 million.
That extra $6 Million could’ve bought Jay Boumeiester, kept Mike Komiserik if they wanted too, or afforded them a Vinny Lecavillier if they could’ve got a deal done which seems to be a problem for Bob, getting a deal done.
The Habs are not bigger up front. They are bigger on D. I actually like most of the pick ups made. I like Spacek and his contract. I even like Hal Gill. He may help Ryan O’Byrne too. Paul Mara is a fine pick too, but if the Habs don’t get off to a good start this year we’re going to hear a lot about the Habs not picking up star local talent and worse.
I still think that the Habs aren’t done. I know Bob’s trying to find a way to get Patrick Marleau onto the squad as I don’t think anyone is comfortable with Tomas Plekanec. I’d like to see the Habs bring Lang back to camp and see if he’s healthy enough to play for depth.
And of course there’s Carey Price who should improve with the stronger D squad and perhaps a summer to mature more. It really did seem like he was a bit of a head case last year, but then the man’s a goalie. What goalie isn’t a bit of a head case?
That’s your 1st round up for the season. More to come once camp opens. Feel free to post your comments and predictions Cornwall!
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