August 12, 2005

: NHL free agent frenzy -- week in review:

Thibault goes to the Penguins, Lindros' million-dollar talent and plate-glass head comes home, and things are starting to solidify a little bit.

Skimming the Eastern and Western Conference roster lists, Calgary looks to have done a fine job setting themselves up, and Philly looks pretty much set (though I'd be concerned about Esche in the net, everything else looks promising for them). Am I missing something?

posted by chicobangs to hockey at 03:05 PM - 15 comments

I would be remiss if I didn't point out the Blue Jackets have picked up Adam Foote, Brian Berard, Jan Hrdina, and they re-signed Rick Nash for 5 years.

posted by insomnyuk at 03:27 PM on August 12, 2005

Here in Pittsburgh, anything is an improvement.

posted by dbt302 at 03:28 PM on August 12, 2005

Actually, there's the seeds of a good team in Pittsburgh. If that kid comes through, with Palffy and Gonchar the Pens'll at least put some pucks in the net and steal a few, no matter what their defense winds up looking like.

posted by chicobangs at 03:35 PM on August 12, 2005

I notice the Sharks haven't signed one player from another team. 104 points two years ago but are Wilson & Wilson smart to stand pat?

posted by billsaysthis at 03:55 PM on August 12, 2005

Hey, Kariya to Nashville! I totally missed that. They look like they'll be better this year. Hmmm.

posted by chicobangs at 04:04 PM on August 12, 2005

Pittsburgh is going to be the improvement of the year, but they can't get any worse, really. I wouldn't be surprised if, in a few years, they become a Tampa Bay-like surprise -- a good, solid team with a lot of youngsters. What's the situation with Malkin in Pittsburgh anyway? I know Ovechkin finally signed a deal, does he have one too? Also, Leafs are going to drop this year faster the Eric Lindros. sigh.

posted by mkn at 04:20 PM on August 12, 2005

Being from Chicago I always though Jocelyn was aces. But havibg said that I'll now go into the other diatribe and say he had no supporting cast! Good Luck, and best wishes!

posted by volfire at 05:21 PM on August 12, 2005

What happened to Marc-Andre Fleury? I thought he played pretty well as a rookie...wasn't he supposed to be the goalie of the future in Pittsburgh?

posted by stofer71 at 05:54 PM on August 12, 2005

I think he might have gotten caught in the sript bar with his brother THEO.......

posted by volfire at 06:34 PM on August 12, 2005

I think Thibault is supposed to be a co-No. 1 with Fleury for the next couple seasons, hold his hand and show him the ropes. For the price the Pens picked him up at, Jocelyn is one hell of a steal.

posted by wfrazerjr at 07:08 PM on August 12, 2005

Your only missing esche 2003-2004 - Regular Season - Goalie - Summary - GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE RK PLAYER TEAM GP W L T SA GA GAA SV SV% SO G A TOI PIM 1 MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF CAL 38 24 10 4 966 65 1.69 901 .933 4 0 1 2,300:32 15 2 DWAYNE ROLOSON MIN 48 19 18 11 1323 89 1.88 1234 .933 5 0 1 2,846:56 8 3 MARTY TURCO DAL 73 37 21 13 1648 144 1.98 1504 .913 9 0 1 4,359:16 32 4 MARTIN BRODEUR NJD 75 38 26 11 1845 154 2.03 1691 .917 11 0 0 4,554:33 4 5 ROBERT ESCHE PHI 40 21 11 7 932 79 2.04 853 .915 3 0 0 2,322:14 31 philly set even with esche. Im not a big fan. However philly's d was their weak point in 03/04.Esche's save % was 15th out of 45 goalies who played enough games.Now with hatcher/rathje/kim jonhsson/therien 3 of the 4 are 6'5 230 plus and the rookie pitkanen(see below) 2003-2004 - Regular Season - Rookie - Defenseman - Summary - TOTAL POINTS RK PLAYER TEAM POS GP G A P +/- PIM SH PP EV GW GT OT S S% SFT/g TOI/g FO% 1 JOHN-MICHAEL LILES COL D 79 10 24 34 7 28 0 2 8 1 2 0 115 8.7 24.2 16:13 0.0 2 JONI PITKANEN PHI D 71 8 19 27 15 44 0 5 3 2 0 0 133 6.0 19.6 16:35 0.0 i think philly may win it this year. My prediction, Superbowl and Stanley Cup in the same year.In philly everyone is talking about T.O. Lets talk about Forsberg and Hatcher.

posted by lluca brazii at 04:10 AM on August 13, 2005

Esche let in some soft goals, especially in the playoffs. His stats are fine, but in a 7-game series, odds are he's going to let at least one knuckleball from the red line center ice.

posted by chicobangs at 07:33 AM on August 13, 2005

Esche won't be the difference maker in Philly - the real issue is that big defence - can they manage to stay out of the box in the 'new' NHL? Rathje and Hatcher are both decent skaters, but not much speed, or puck handling back there. Though they do still have Pitkanen and Kapanen who are two great puck handling defencemen. I'm excited to see Jeff Carter and Mike Richards who will probably be the only competition for ROY with Crosby. Philly is hands down the best team in the East right now - and they won't hesitate to get another goalie if they need to. If (and its a big if) Lindros and Allison can be healthy, both are point-a-game players along with Sundin. That's three centres (though I expect to see Lindros on the wing) bigger than 6-3 with skill - don't count the Leafs out before it happens - They still have a number one player, number one goalie and number one defenceman and good depth at forward and defence. Right now, they're still an upper echelon team - take away Roberts and Nieuwendyk and add O'Neil, Lindros and Allison (ya can't count Mogilny, Francis and Leetch because Mogilny played only 16 games and the other two were rentals anyway). All parties suffer the same problems - not great health, age, but have loads of skill.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:38 AM on August 13, 2005

Pittsburgh is going to be a great team to watch - if Mario plays 50-60 games they'll fill the net and be a speed team with flair. I think they're playoff calibre right now.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:40 AM on August 13, 2005

I personally cant wait to see a series involving toronto and philly. that is going to be hands down a cage match atleast. Rathje and Hatcher are both decent skaters, but not much speed, or puck handling back there. Though they do still have Pitkanen and Kapanen who are two great puck handling defencemen RK PLAYER TEAM POS GP G A P +/- PIM SH PP EV GW GT OT S S% SFT/g TOI/g FO% 14 KIM JOHNSSON PHI D 80 13 29 42 16 26 0 4 9 3 1 0 189 6.9 28.2 24:26 0.0 How could you forget phillys all around best defensemen, he was only ranked 14th among all nhl's d-men in 03/04 by that said, with johnsson and pitkanen hadling the puck on D and kapanen playing rw to primeau's center.(remember the eastern finals last yr)forsberg and gagne,(and knuble a 30 goal scorer who people seem to have forgotton philly picked up cause of forsberg)handling the scoring/hatcher, rathje and brashear handling the rough stuff/and carter who will win rookie of the yr. i think this is the hands down cup winner. just my opinion

posted by lluca brazii at 05:37 PM on August 13, 2005

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