By: Chad Smith
Northeast Division Checklist
With the draft over and free agency right underway here is a checklist for the Northeast Division.
1. Trade Tim Thomas. Never in the history of sports has an athlete gone from no name, to king of a city, to a villain as quickly as this guy. After winning the Stanley Cup with the Bruins on his back he rose to fame. He used that fame as a platform to project his thoughts, which made people look at him funny. Now he is taking the year off and being a typical arrogant athlete. So with that said the Bruins need to trade him for a puck and get rid of his $5 million cap hit. This should be fairly easy as teams near the bottom of the salary floor will want the cap hit but not have to pay him.
2. Lock Tuukka Rask up long term. I say this with a grain of salt because I have a massive man crush on Tuukka. As the old saying goes, two U’s two K’s two points. This kid is the real deal and is solid in net. He will be a top 5 goalie in the NHL within the next 3 years and he’s only 25 years old. Once Thomas is off the books you shift some of that money over to Rask. Rask has been waiting years to be the number one guy in Boston and now the crease is going to be all his for the next 10-15 years.
3. Add a top 6 forward. This is a bit of a stretch but put Savard on long term injury (this will happen) then go after Zach Parise. With Horton uncertain for the start of the season the Bruins might as well go after the biggest prize on the free agency market. If this doesn’t happen the Bruins will have some cap room so they need to sign a top 6 forward to replace Horton.
1. Add a top 6 forward. After making the playoffs and losing to the Rangers in the first round the Senators are in a good place but need to add a top 6 forward to help out with the scoring up front. The Senators have a solid defense core which helped them take the Rangers to a seventh game.
2. Get a goalie. Craig Anderson is a good goalie, but I do not think he will lead a team to the cup. Roberto Luongo is available via trade and the Senators should kick the tires on him along with what else is out there on the trade market.
3. Look into trading Daniel Alferdsson. I know it sounds a bit crazy to trade the captain but the guy is 39 years old and the Senators are not close to winning a Cup. The Senators should trade him for a few prospects and give him a chance to win a Cup. The Senators have been in rebuild/stay the course mode. The Sens need to load up or start rebuilding around their young defenseman Erik Karlsson.
1. Get a top 6 forward. They might even need to get two but this has to get done immediately. They can’t win games 0-0 and rely on Ryan Miller to bail them out every game. He has been one of the best goalies in the NHL for the past few years but he gets no help from his offense. The Sabres need to get some scoring. They wasted Hasak’s career by not putting guys around him. You’re supposed to learn from your mistakes, not repeat them and that’s what they are doing with Miller. Please don’t waste another great goalie’s career.
2. Get a top 4 defenseman. Tyler Myers is a great young defenseman but they need to put someone around him. The Sabres need someone who can make defensive plays and get the puck out of the zone away from Miller.
3. Add role players. If the Sabres can add some depth along with the two points mentioned above they can be a contender for the Cup. The Sabres need guys on their 3rd and 4th lines who can get hot and pop a couple goals and not turn the puck over. They have one of the best goalies in the world and he can carry a team on his back, he just needs a team to carry.
Toronto Maple Leafs
1. Get a goalie. Roberto Luongo is an overrated goalie but he is better than anything the Leafs have. They need to make this trade happen. It’s rumored that Luongo wants to stay in Canada and would be willing to go to the Leafs.
2. Get a defenseman. After trading Luke Schenn to the Flyers for JVR the Leafs need to get a defenseman who can move the puck. The Leafs are stacked up front and are going to light up the score board, but that won’t matter much if your defensemen are turnstiles who can’t get the puck out of their zone.
3. Progress the young guys. This team is young and if they can come together they are going to be fun to watch. Since Brian Burke took over as GM the Leafs have been in rebuilding mode and have brought in some talented guys. If this team doesn’t make the playoffs this season Burke could be out of a job and Toronto could be going through some more years in the hockey cellar.
1. Give Carry Price a long term deal. Carry Price is slightly a head case so why not give the guy a long term contract? Then that’s one thing that’s not in his head while he’s trying to stop pucks. He proved he can take a team into the playoffs and go shot for shot with the other goalie 2 years ago against Boston.
2. Get their heads on straight. This team had a serious case of Cranius Rectus (heads up their asses) last season and was never able to get it going. Maybe new coach Michael Therrien can get this team to move in the right direction. If he can do that they have a talented team who can make a run.
3. Stop signing and taking on bad contracts. The Canadiens for years have been the Yankees of hockey. They need stop spending on overrated players and start making hockey moves. Marc Bergevin can change that culture this off season by making smart hockey decisions.