Our buddy Ben who is living out in B.C these days chasing West Coast tail sent this our way.
His thoughts on the 30 teams around the league as we take a night off to drink.
You might agree with Ben, but if not and you feel the urge to chirp him, shoot him an email
Best: Teemu Selanne was technically a "free agent", but Andrew Cogliano is probably their best "addition" as his 7 points puts him 7th on the team and his +4 rating is tops on the Ducks.
Worst: I’d mainly like to focus on free agency, but giving up Gardiner + for Beauchemain has really hurt this team.
Breakthrough: Ryan Getzlaf in the negative direction. With rumours of attitude problems with Carlyle and a -10, this is a season Getzlaf will want to forget.
Best: I’ll go back to last year’s trade deadline and say Rich Peverley, just an all around solid guy.
Worst: Benoit Pouliot making an inflated 1.1M to play 4th line minutes.
Breakthrough: Tyler Seguin, not much else to be said as the kid is proving Tyler is better than Taylor with superior 2 way play and ability to both play C and RW.
Best: Robyn Regehr has added the toughness to the blue line that the Sabres needed, disappointing he didn’t deal with Lucic after running Miller. Him fighting Chara was fun though.
Worst: Ville Leino was supposed to provide C depth ,but has been passed by NEWFY Luke Adam, gotta love them newfs.
Breakthrough: Enroth, Adam, Tropp. So many though Enroth has been downright amazing.
Best: Roman Horak has been really good for the Flames so far but I’d have to say the best addition is Scott Hannan. Surprisingly lasted till August in free agency and has rounded out the Flames blueline well.
Worst: Matt Stajan haunts this team, buy him out already
Breakthrough: Curtis Glencross, he’s been good offensively on a scoring starved team.
Best: Derek Joslin, why isn’t this kid playing. In his games with the Canes he’s a + 6 and averaging 16:42 in his 22 GP with the Hurricanes. Also has 7 pts
Worst: Brian Boucher has been an awful back up, 3.31 GAA and a .877 SV %
Breakthrough: Jeff Skinner, during Crosby’s magical comeback night this guy had one of the nicest goals I’ve seen this year.
Best: Steve Montador, the vets playing his best hockey of his career. Was not a fan of the 4 year, 2.75M deal at first but now I’m a believer. Also Dan Carcillo has been well controlled
Worst: Olesz, gave up Campbell cause of Leddy’s dominance, but man the cap saving for Olesz was not worth it. The kid is not an NHL talent and is now playing in the AHL. Oh ya and HF boards tells me its on the 3rd line down there.
Breakthrough: Nick Leddy, kids played top 3 minutes and been amazing
Best: If you asked me a while ago I would have said Varlamov, but now he’s disappointed. So far I’ve been most impressed with Landeskog.
Worst: Cause of what they gave up Varlamov, but four years of Jan Hejda, you kidding me the guy can’t skate for shit. Nice to know he’s a -15
Breakthrough: Ryan O’Reilly baby, getting him on my jersey in his rookie year and fans being like who the fuck is he is proving to be the right choice. Proved he can anchor the best shutdown line in the league and provide offensively.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Best: Prospal has been good in Carter’s absence, though Carter could be the best addition as well, hopefully he lives up to be better than Couturier.
Worst: Cause I hated on the deal last time Letestu, why add a top 6 forward when Johansen is sitting in the bottom 6 or press box? Dumb, dumb, dumb decision, but the worst has probably been adding James Wisniewski for no other reason than his horrendous contract.
Breakthrough: Curtis Sanford, got the Blue Jackets back to back wins for the first time in the calendar year. Yes its been that bad for the BJs
Best: Going back to last year again, Goligoski. Souray has no points since Goligoski’’s out and he’s proved to be a great PP QB
Worst: Adam Pardy, 2M for a 5/6 D. Hate to rip on him cause he’s a Newfy, but come on this kid was not a 2M player ever in his career.
Breakthrough: Kari Lehtonen, he's among the leaders in all goalie categories.
Detroit Red Wings
Best: Ian White. Playing almost 23 minutes a night he’s been a good D for the Red Wings
Worst: Ty Conklin, signed to lighten the load on Howard, but on Howard’s nights off he’s usually being put back into the net after Conklin’s atrocious games.
Breakthrough: Brendan Smith, 2 assists in 3 games and coming into his own as an offensive D for the Wings.
Best: Ryan Smyth, the return of Captain Canada has been amazing
Worst: Cam Barker easily the worst D added, 2.5M for a #7 D. Remember when this guy was going to compete with Seabrook and Keith for top 2 minutes.
Breakthrough: Jordan Eberle. Playmaking, sniping, defensive game, he’s got it all and will have the highest point total in his career over the other young stars (Hall, RNH).
Best: Versteeg and Fleischmann have both great so far. Will give the edge to Versteeg.
Worst: Upshall, 3.5M for 4 years to play 3rd line. Hated it when he was signed, hate it more now.
Breakthrough: Markstrom/Versteeg. Steeg proving he can play first line, Markstrom proving he can be a starter.
Los Angeles Kings
Best: Mike Richards, scored his 10th goal as I wrote this, been amazingly hot lately.
Worst: Dustin Penner from last year, this trade is an absolute joke.
Breakthrough: Slava Voynov, 5 points in 10 games has shown this game can be a PP QB already
Best: Erik Cole, been good as of late adding some size to the tiny line up.
Worst: Scott Gomez haha, I have to say the worst off season addition was not adding a solid top 4 D
Breakthrough: Max Pacorietty. Simply put, he's been great.
Best: Mike Yeo’s been a great coach adding something new, Seto and Heatley have been great for an offensive punch on the usually defensive Wild.
Worst: Nick Johnson, only cause he was cheap and head-butted Jarome Iginla in a fight.
Breakthrough: Harding proving he can be a #1 after a year lost to injury or Matt Cullen win this one.
Best: For a team that doesn’t make many additions this is hard, but Mike Fisher has really been great for the Preds. Love Fisher from those Sens days still.
Worst: Again this team doesn’t add, but Nic Bergfors has been a disappointment league wise so I’ll put him in as there most disappointing addition.
Breakthrough: Craig Smith, if this guy isn’t in the Calder debate because he’s playing for Nashville I will be beyond upset with the NHL.
New Jersey Devils
Best: Petr Sykora has been great, best training camp walk on in the league for sure.
Worst: Eric Boulton has played all of 4 games for the Devils, for a player that was supposed to be their enforcer he’s lost the job to Cam Janssen.
Breakthrough: Adam Larsson, when does a guy under 20 play 24 minutes a night? The offensive production has really amped up since my last blog. Look at him on waivers in any fantasy pools, I did and haven’t regretted it.
New York Islanders
Best: They added some vets, Staios looks like he has the most left in him.
Worst: The worst vet added seems to be Pandolfo, he’s nowhere near as good as he was as a Devil
Breakthrough: I want to step in and say first that the Isles need a break through in net. Within this calendar year (2011) they have started 7 different goalies. So far their breakthrough player would have to be PA Parenteau, proving he was legit from last year.
New York Rangers
Best: Brad Richards, a lot is expected from the prize free agent, but his 13 points aren't making his salary look worth it.
Worst: Brendan Bell, don’t want to hate on the guy, but he shouldn’t be close to the NHL, not even an NHL contract is deserved.
Breakthrough: Martin Biron is finally giving the starter some rest as his solid play makes this a solid tandem.
Best: Paul McLean’s stache. In all seriousness though, Alex Auld, he’s filled in for a struggling Anderson and has let us develop Lehner a little longer.
Worst: Filatov, a 3rd round pick was given, but this kid has disappointed.
Breakthrough: Nick Foligno is finally putting all his talent on display, I’ll also say Colin Greening and future captain Erik Karlsson have been great.
Best: Jaromir Jagr still has a lot of his game left. I thought he’d put up 60 points and it looks like he will.
Worst: Maxim Talbot was brought in as a grinder that could chip in 30 points and he’s on pace to do just that, but they paid him too much. Bryzgalov has been a disappointment as well.
Breakthrough: Claude Giroux is proving he can be a #1 C and why Carter and Richards were expendable.
Best: Mike Smith, back to the form that had him traded for Brad Richards in the Dallas/TB deal.
Worst: Don’t think they made a bad addition, but Labarberra who was supposed to push Smith for starts has really not played well.
Breakthrough: Oliver Ekman-Larsson. How good is this kid looking now? Sweet hands and feet, looks like Erik Karlsson.
Best: Steve Sullivan, a veteran in the top 6 that can play the point on the PP.
Worst: Alexandre Picard, the guy can’t make a defense when 3 of the top 6 were injured. That’s sad.
Breakthrough: James Neal, after looking like he was fading after leaving Dallas, Neal is lighting up the scoresheet this year.
San Jose Sharks
Best: Brent Burns easily, takes pressure off Dan Boyle as the only really gifted offensive D-man.
Worst: Micheal Handzus hasn’t lived up to expectations, but that doesn’t take anything away from his mostly solid play so far.
Breakthrough: Thomas Greiss. spent last year in Germany after not making the team, but Greiss has shown he can be a solid goalie with a 1.99GAA and .929 SV%.
St. Louis Blues
Best: Ken Hitchcock maybe? Brian Elliot has been great for a late offseason pickup to battle for back-up. 2 shutouts and a .946 sv % to go along with a 1.48 GAA.
Worst: Evgeny Grachev, we get it you don’t want him to bolt to Russia and fear putting him in the AHL. But he doesn’t deserve 4th line time so let him go to Russia and develop and come back with Tarasenko and try and make a Russian line next year.
Breakthrough: I was going to say Oshie for playing a quarter of the season without getting injured, but Doughty dealt with that so I guess I’ll go with Pietrangelo who leads the team with over 24 minutes of ice time a game, 3 minutes over Shattenkirk who ranks 2nd.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Best: Marc Andre Bergeron, another late free agent pick up proving himself.
Worst: Trust in Dwayne Roloson and only picking Matthieu Garon. Garon signed an awful deal with the Lightning who will be goalie hunting this offseason and trade deadline.
Breakthrough: Hedman for regression, when will this kid be the force he should be at the NHL level, too many times forwards slip through him too easily.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Best: Cody Franson, just because of how cheap he came and is playing much better now with Komisarek hurt.
Worst: Phillipe Dupuis, there were better 4th line C alternatives to him and the Leafs ignored them.
Breakthrough: Phil the Thrill Kessel is bringing it every night instead of taking months off.
Best: They didn’t add much but I think the best addition goes to Owen Nolan just for going through camp. Who doesn’t remember his classic called shot as the All-Star Game.
Worst: David Booth, a joke plays 4th line, makes more hits in practices then in games. Last week he got into a shoving match with Daniel Sedin after he clocked Sedin with his head down in practice. Daniel went on to say he needs to play like that in the game instead of always freaking out about being hit. Have fun with that contract Vancouver.
Breakthrough: Cory Schneider, shut out my Avs tonight for his 1st SO on the year. Been great and really solidifying himself as a #1 goalie. Eddie Lack is coming up too, so what to do if you’re in Vancouver?
Best: Troy Brouwer, easily been the best addition for the caps so far this year
Worst: Keeping Boudreau, I can’t think of one bad player move from the off season so really why is Boudreau there.
Breakthrough: Marcus Johansson has proven to be a great 3rd liner now he’s proven to be a great 2nd liner. Give him some time with Ovechkin and Backstrom just for fun please.
Best: It disgusts me to say this, but Kyle Welwood. Maybe there isn’t that much good food in Winnipeg and this guy can focus on working out. He leads the Jets in points playing less than 15 minutes a night.
Worst: Eric Fehr, I know he’s just come back from shoulder surgery, but he should be playing more than 10 minutes a night to help out this offense starved Jets team
Breakthrough: Alex Burmistrov is looking like he will be a star in this league one day.