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You think the NBA offseason is a circus? The NHL offseason has been busy with marquee talent swapping teams and changing Stanley Cup futures odds. Here are some of the notable deals:
Five-time all-star Chris Pronger is now a Philadelphia Flyer. Pronger is a perfect fit for a Flyers team that has a longstanding tradition of physical, aggressive play.
Adding the former Hart and Norris trophy winner improves the Flyers’ chances of winning the Stanley Cup, but note that Ray Emery is currently No. 1 on Philadelphia’s goaltending depth chart.
Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter called Jay Bouwmeester “one of the most complete defensemen in the game.” The Flames now have a formidable defensive core in Bouwmeester, Dion Phaneuf, and Robyn Regehr.
Calgary will enter the 2009-2010 season better than the team that lost to the Blackhawks in the first round of last year’s playoffs.
Montreal has been active during the offseason, re-uniting former Devils linemates Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta and landing Mike Cammalleri. Gomez and Gionta are coming off disappointing seasons, while Cammalleri has hit the 80-point mark in two of his last three seasons.
These players will help Habs fans forget about the loss of Alexei Kovalev and probable departure of Saku Koivu. The Canadiens had the best record in the Eastern Conference two years ago and could, with solid goaltending, re-emerge as a threat.
The good news is that Marian Gaborik has averaged over a point per game over the last four seasons – playing for the defensively minded Wild. The bad news is that Gaborik has missed 121 games during that time.
Gaborik now has a long-term deal and if healthy has the ability to take the Rangers to an offensive level they were not able to reach last year.
Though he continues to put up solid numbers, Marian Hossa’s production has decreased over the last two years. Still, he will help Blackhawks fans forget about the loss of Martin Havlat.
Chicago’s young core should remain intact next year and they could threaten Detroit and San Jose for top spot in the West.
Other Notable Signings
Minnesota Wild (+3500) Sign Martin Havlat – The Wild replace a high-scoring injury prone player with… a high-scoring injury prone player. Havlat is only 28 and if healthy could put up big numbers on a Wild team that will be less focused on defense than previous years.
Toronto Maple Leafs (+6600) Sign Jonas Gustavsson – Gustavsson (aka “the Monster”) will start the season backing up Vesa Toskala but could earn a starting role. Toronto has also made impressive moves on the blueline, signing Francois Beauchemin and Mike Komisarek.
Stanley Cup odds provided by betED.