Follow me on twitter Follow @GunnerStaal
Some quick Penguins news and notes before we get to the meat of this blog:
The Penguins announced Kasperi Kapanen will not be playing in the upcoming prospects tournament. Apparently he suffered a finger injury over the summer and they hope he is ready for training camp.
This is a bummer, Kapanen was the most intriguing part of the prospect tournament for me.
Ryan Malone will be joining the Rangers for informal workouts, not the Penguins.
Hockey season must be getting closer
Malkin is on the ice for the Penguins’ informal workout at CEC. Crosby expected today, too.
— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) September 8, 2014
Just for fun I wanted to take a look around the Metropolitan Division and see what each team’s best addition move was. Carolina
Well, it is easy to see why nobody is picking this team to do anything. You could argue that Brad Malone was their most significant offseason pickup, or you could hitch your wagon to Jay McClement. Either way signing Brad’s cousin Ryan would have been a better offseason move than either of these two. A dark horse candidate for best Carolina offseason move would be if Hadyn Fleury could crack the NHL lineup. Columbus
Columbus continues to improve their club in the Jarmo Kekalainen era. The Blue Jackets traded for Scott Hartnell while shedding RJ Umberger from the lineup in the same move. RJ Umberger only has 3 years left on his deal at 4.6M while Hartnell has 5 years left at 4.75M per year, but Hartnell is clearly the better player.
Scott Hartnell should give the Blue Jackets some quality minutes and with Horton returning to the lineup the Blue Jackets will be one of the tougher teams in the division.
The Devils were an interesting team last year, they were one of the top possession teams, yet missed the playoffs. How can a team that does so well with the puck not find success? Crappy goaltending. Martin Brodeur inexplicably played in half of the Devils game despite sporting an EVSV% of .903%. Terrible goaltending can undo the best laid plans.
But goaltending wasn’t the only issue, despite being ranked 5th in Fenclose percentage at 53.9% the Devils did not score goals. They ranked 27th in goals per game with 2.4.
Enter Mike Cammalleri. Cammalleri is 32 years old and the Devils have committed 5 years and 25M to acquire his services. This deal does not come without risk, but Cammalleri will assist the Devils with their need for tangible offense.
Cammalleri has consistently produced offense throughout his entire career. He should help the Devils out in that regard. at least for the next couple of seasons. New York Islanders
I was really torn one which route to go here. I think picking up Grabovski and Kulemin was extremely helpful, but at the end of the day I think picking up Jaroslav Halak has more of an impact.
The Islanders had an EVSV% of .911% as a team last year. That is unacceptable considering the league average was .923%. Halak was right at the league average of .923% in 2013-14 and that is really all the Islanders need. They need average goaltending, not debilitating goaltending. Because of this change in net the Islanders would have been a much improved team even if they didn’t make other moves. Throw in Chad Johnson and his EVSV% of .934% from last year and the Islanders have dramatically improved their goalie situation and thus their outlook for 2014-15. New York Rangers
Tanner Glass will give the Rangers a bang for their buck with his leadership, grit, and chara.. Ha, just kidding.
Seriously, with the Rangers losing the underrated Anton Stralman to free agency they needed to go out and find somebody to fill those minutes. The Rangers landed on Sharks castaway Dan Boyle. Boyle may not be the player he once was but he has puck skills and can still contribute on the power play.
Boyle should still have enough in the tank to have a positive impact on the Rangers. Philadelphia Flyers
This offseason hasn’t seen the Flyers go out and make a splashy move, weird I know. For the most part the Flyers have sat back this offseason. Their one big move (highlighted above) could be considered a step backwards.
Given the Flyers limited amount of player moves this offseason I believe their best move was acquiring Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto isn’t a high profile move by any stretch but when Kimmo Timonen and the Flyers were given the terrible news about his blood clotting issues they were forced into finding someone to fill minutes. Del Zotto is a decent low risk signing for a team that was put into a bad position. Pittsburgh Penguins
This one is pretty easy because it is arguably the best offseason signing in the league. Christian Ehrhoff was somewhat surprisingly bought out by the Buffalo Sabres making him one of the more attractive free agent players on the market. Despite his leverage he decided to sign under market value with the Penguins for one year at 4M. Immediately Ehrhoff offsets the loss of Matt Niskanen and gives the Penguins a really solid top four defense grouping. Elliotte Friedman has reported that that the Penguins will extend Ehrhoff in January.
By having Ehrhoff as a potential long term player they do not have to panic with the Paul Martin situation. Martin is a UFA after this year and he will be looking for both term and money. Ehrhoff is younger than Martin and probably the wiser investment at this point. What was a tricky situation for Pittsburgh has been made easier with Ehrhoff’s addition. Look for Ehrhoff’s numbers to vastly improve now that he is not playing on a lottery team. Washington Capitals
Even though the price and term is a bit high Matt Niskanen will certainly help the Capitals defense. Niskanen played very good hockey for the Penguins the past two years (albeit in a non shutdown role). One of the more impressive aspects of Niskanen’s game is his ability to leave the defensive zone with possession. His 30.3% success rate on zone exits was second only to Kris Letang’s 33.2%. Niskanen can also be a positive contributer to the Capitals power play.
Thanks for reading!
Follow me on twitter Follow @GunnerStaal
This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.