Friday, August 25, 2006

Winners & Losers

in the NHL off-season players market...
With the salary cap now in place, hockey fans were finally able to head into the offseason with the optimism that NFL fans do each season. Even if your team was out of the playoff picture last season, there's more of a chance for a quick turnaround in today's game because of how many skilled players seemed to be hitting the market because of cap constraints. With just $44 million in cap space, extremely talented stars both young (Martin Havlat/J.P. Dumont) and old (Brendan Shanahan/Rob Blake/Jeremy Roenick) will be changing uniforms in the 2006-07 season.
To see what teams won and who lost this offseason, at least according to James Meyerriecks of go >>> here.

Here's James thoughts on the...
Chris Pronger traded to Ducks for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, and draft picks

Pronger's impact will be immediately felt in Anaheim, where they now boast the best 1-2 punch in terms of defensemen in the league (they already had Scott Niedermayer). As they're both tremendous offensive forces on the blueline, it's unlikely that they play together on a pairing, though they should share the Power Play quite a bit. He goes from one stacked young team to another, and his numbers shouldn't change much this season.

In forcing his way out of Edmonton, you would think that Pronger would have hurt their return a little bit. That certainly wasn't the case, though. The Oilers did better than anyone could have hoped in this deal. Lupul emerged as a star last season, scoring 28 goals and adding 25 assists during the regular season. It may have been the playoffs where he shined brightest, though, as he added nine goals in just 16 playoff games, including a four-goal performance in a 4-3 win in the second round. Throw him on a line with Ales Hemsky and watch the sparks fly!

Smid, another top ten overall pick (Lupul went seventh overall in 2003), will ease the loss of Pronger a bit. The Ducks' former top prospect is developing into a terrific all-around defenseman who is strong in his own zone as well as the offensive zone. His height is ideal, though we'd like to see him add a little more bulk up top. He's probably a little closer to the NHL with the Oilers than he was with the Ducks, though I'd be surprised to see him break camp with Edmonton.

Throw in two more first rounders (2007 and a conditional pick in 2008) and a second rounder, and the Ducks mortgaged their future for a shot at glory with Pronger. While I'd love to have Pronger on my team, I'd deal him for four first-rounders and a second-rounder in a heartbeat, particularly in the new NHL.
On a unrelated note, if you think you're really hockey smart you can now verify that by checking out your... Hockey IQ.

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