The quiet season is well and truly underway but that doesn’t mean the hockey world is standing still. Let’s have a look around the league and have an impromptu musings shall we?
The Capitals signed Mikhail Grabovski this week and it’s a good move. They needed to add some talent and he’s a solid center. It’s incredible to think the Leafs bought a player out less than 18 months after giving him a long term extension. With losing Mike Ribeiro the Caps were in danger of going backwards, Grabovski helps a lot for $3m.
I keep reading that the Rangers are in danger of losing Derek Stepan? Calm down folks. There is no urgency here. He has no negotiating power and it would take an over-the-top offer sheet for the Rangers not to match. The lack of a new deal is no indicator of the importance Stepan has, merely that it’s not a critical priority.
My first prediction for the new season: With one year as a Ranger under his belt, with a full camp, Rick Nash will top 40 goals. In a new system that should give him more offensive zone starts there’s no reason Nash shouldn’t reach that number again. If Nash is healthy and has support from his line mates he should reach that figure. He was close last year (on pace for 39). With Callahan and Hagelin missing to begin, he’ll be needed more than ever.
Teams I think will be surprises in the East this coming season: Leafs, Blue Jackets and Carolina.
So Brian Leetch has joined the league’s safety department. I can’t say I’m not disappointed that he doesn’t have a role with the Rangers. Don’t know why he hasn’t got involved in coaching – surely he would make an exceptional powerplay/defensive coach.
If Alain Vigneault’s system is less skating intensive I thought the Rangers should have looked at Doug Murray who signed with the Canadiens this week. At ‘just’ 600k more than Aaron Johnson I can’t help but think his nasty streak would have been a welcome short term addition while Dylan McIlrath develops.
Did Dan Girardi’s slightly underwhelming 2012-13 season cost him an Olympic try out spot or is it more evidence that the former ECHL alumni and undrafted defenseman still isn’t as respected as he deserves? This is a guy that two seasons ago was 6th in Norris voting yet Marc Methot gets more love by Team Canada. Hmm….