Checking in on the Carolina Hurricanes

Last year: 36-35-11, seventh in the Metro Division. Missed the postseason by 10 points. Key additions: Tim Gleason, Jay McClement, Brad Malone Key subtractions: Andrei Loktionov, Justin Peters, Manny Malhotra, Drayson Bowman (likely), Radek Dvorak (likely), Mike Komisarek (likely), Joni Pitkanen (likely) Franchise direction: Like the Penguins and Capitals, Carolina elected to oust its coach and general manager rather than overturn its roster. Bill Peters replaces Kirk Muller behind…

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Checking in on the Washington Capitals

Last year: 38-30-14, fifth in the Metro Division. Missed the postseason by three points. Key additions: Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Justin Peters Key subtractions: Mikhail Grabovski, Jaroslav Halak, Michal Neuvirth, Dustin Penner (likely) Franchise direction: Like the rival Penguins, Washington chose to make major changes in the front office over overhauling its roster. In for George McPhee is Brian MacLellan as General Manager while long-time Predators…

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Checking in on the Pittsburgh Penguins

Last year: 51-24-7, first in the Metro Division. Eliminated by the Rangers in the second round. Key additions: Patric Hornqvist, Christian Ehrhoff, Nick Spaling, Steve Downie, Blake Comeau, Thomas Greiss Key subtractions: James Neal, Matt Niskanen, Jussi Jokinen, Brooks Orpik, Lee Stempniak, Brian Gibbons, Deryk Engelland, Joe Vitale, Tanner Glass (just kidding) Taylor Pyatt (just kidding) Franchise direction: The Penguins roster has been…

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Checking in on the Columbus Blue Jackets

Last year: 43-32-7, fourth in the Metro Division. Eliminated by the Penguins in the first round. Key additions: Scott Hartnell, Brian Gibbons Key subtractions: R.J. Umberger, Jack Skille, Derek MacKenzie, Blake Comeau, Nikita Nikitin Franchise direction: The Jackets are happy as clams with the way things are going after they made a surprise postseason appearance and gave Pittsburgh all it could handle in…

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Checking in on the New Jersey Devils

Last year: 35-29-18, sixth in the Metro Division Key additions: Mike Cammalleri, Martin Havlat, Scott Clemmensen Key subtractions: Martin Brodeur, Mark Fayne, Anton Volchenkov, Ryan Carter (likely) Franchise direction: The Devils have finally turned the page on the Brodeur era, but that doesn’t mean the team is any younger. New Jersey added the 32-year-old Cammalleri and 33-year-old Havlat to a…

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Checking in on the Philadelphia Flyers

Last year: 42-30-10, third in the division. Lost to the Rangers in the first round Key additions:  R.J. Umberger, Nick Schultz Key subtractions: Scott Hartnell, Adam Hall (likely) Franchise direction: I didn’t quite know what to think when Ron Hextall replaced Paul Holmgren, but so far the new general manager has demonstrated restraint uncharacteristic of this organization. Yes, the Hartnell/Umberger…

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Sifting through the wreckage of July 1

In just a few short hours, the 2013-2014 New York Rangers were blown apart. Usually it’s GM Glen Sather that flashes the power of the dollar as he plucks key contributors away from other top teams on July 1, but yesterday it was the Blueshirts that were victimized by the league’s annual spending spree. The unfortunate part of the carnage was…

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Potential UFA target: Mikhail Grabovski

New York’s top two offseason needs are a No. 1 center and an offensive defenseman. There’s not much denying that, but sometimes there just aren’t players available to fulfill those needs, and sometimes the cost of doing so makes for unwise decisions. With Andrei Markov now off the market, the lone offensive-minded blueliner of note that’s set to hit free agency next week…

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Report card: Defense

Dan Girardi – What a roller coaster year Girardi just completed. He looked totally lost at the beginning of the season (like several Blueshirts), but quickly turned around his game and played like his old self during the second-half. Management was convinced that Girardi’s early-season hiccups were an anomaly and rewarded him with a six-year, $33 million contract, essentially choosing Girardi over captain Ryan…

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Little positive energy around the Rangers is understandable

There will come a time when Rangers fans look back on this season with mostly fond memories, but it is not this day. Not when the team was so close – four measly wins from attaining the sport’s ultimate prize – but now faces the very realistic prospect of an embarrassing sweep. And not when that prize was seemingly lost as much because…

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