Sid's new wingman, defenseless Ducks and more reader mail
Now that the dust from the Kovalchuk kerfuffle is settling at last, let us lightly turn our thoughts to ice and your handcrafted epistles...
You might be right about the revolving wingers, Andrea, but Comrie's signing makes a lot of sense. At just $500,000 for a one-year deal, he's a low-risk bid to find a suitable wingman for Sid. And while Comrie has spent much of his career in the middle, he did switch to left wing last season in Edmonton. He was often slotted alongside
Comrie may not have put up the numbers expected of him last season, and you'll find plenty of doubters who'll paint him as being near the end of his career. Still, he has more pure talent than the team's other options (
And let's face it...he's playing with Sid. Crosby hasn't exactly turned fire hydrants into 40-goal or 100-point scorers like his boss, one Mr. Lemieux, used to do, but there aren't many players who are easier to line up with. It's easy to imagine Comrie scoring 50 points, and if he plays well enough to force his way onto the power play, bump that expectation up to 60. He could end up being one of the best value signings of the offseason.
The worst in the West? I think the group in Edmonton might wear that particular albatross, but it's fair to say that this year's blueline in Anaheim won't remind anyone of the tough, skilled defensive corps that made the Pond such a miserable place to visit back in the Ducks' Cup-winning days.
It won't be surprising to see 2010 first-rounder Fowler get the
If the Ducks are going to promote anyone from juniors, it's likely to be
There's potential back there, but it's safe to say that the Ducks' blueline is in transition. Don't be surprised to see
I suppose it's possible they'll look to lower the percentage of revenue that leads to the cap figure, but I think you'll see two other battle fronts earn greater prominence.
First, expect some owners to push for a lower cap "floor." The cap has brought parity to the on-ice product, but several clubs are operating in the red. The chance to lower their mandated expenditures even a couple percentage points might be enough to get them back in the black. Or it might not...but it will give them a little more control.
The other, and possibly more contentious, issue: gaining leverage over second contracts. This will be a tough one. The players will argue, and rightly so, that the market already has corrected significantly over the last couple years, so the system works as is. (For a good example, see
I think you can count on seeing Markstrom make his NHL debut this season, but with veterans
You're right to be excited, though. Markstrom looks like a special player. At 6-3, he has the height to cover a lot of net. While he needs to fill out physically, you just have to shake his canned-ham hands to know that he will bulk up before long. He has great mobility, controls his rebounds and boasts a phenomenal glove hand that helped him lead the Swedish league in goals-against (2.01) and save percentage (.927). But the element of his game that impressed at least one scout was his competitiveness.
"He never gives up on a play," the scout said. "Even in practice, he takes every shot seriously. I'm not saying he's [Dominik] Hasek, but he'll be like Hasek the way he gets into a shooter's head."
Markstrom reminds me in some ways of Boston's similarly-built