Dave Molinari's 2007-08 NHL capsules
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NEW YORK RANGERS:
Coach: Tom Renney.
General Manager: Glen Sather.
2006-07 record: 42-30-10.
Key newcomers: C Chris Drury, C Scott Gomez.
Key departures: C Matt Cullen, RW Brad Isbister, C Michael Nylander, RW Jed Ortmeyer, D Sandis Ozolinsh, D Karel Rachunek, G Kevin Weekes, D Dale Purinton.
Overview: Defense corps is lackluster, but Rangers' top-six talent up front is outstanding.
Coach: Michel Therrien.
General Manager: Ray Shero.
2006-07 record: 47-24-11.
Key newcomers: G Dany Sabourin, D Darryl Sydor, RW Petr Sykora, D Mike Weaver, RW Adam Hall, C Tim Brent, LW Ryan Stone, RW Jonathan Filewich.
Key departures: G Jocelyn Thibault, LW Nils Ekman, D Josef Melichar, RW Michel Ouellet, RW Ronald Petrovicky, C Chris Thorburn, D Eric Cairns, D Joel Kwiatkowski.
Overview: While this isn't a championship-caliber team yet, it's moving in that direction.
Coach: John Stevens.
General Manager: Paul Holmgren.
2006-07 record: 22-48-12.
Key newcomers: C Daniel Briere, LW Scott Hartnell, RW Joffrey Lupul, D Jason Smith, D Kimmo Timonen, D Ryan Parent.
Key departures: LW Nikos Dimitrakos, G Robert Esche, RW Todd Fedoruk, D Joni Pitkanen, LW Geoff Sanderson, C Mike York, RW Dimitri Afanasenkov, RW Turner Stevenson.
Overview: Sure, Holmgren might have overpaid for some of the talent he brought in after last season. He also transformed a laughingstock into a legitimate playoff contender in a matter of months.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Coach: Brent Sutter.
General Manager: Lou Lamoriello.
2006-07 record: 49-24-9.
Key newcomers: RW Arron Asham, D Karel Rachunek, D Vitali Vishnevski, G Kevin Weekes, RW Dainius Zubrus, D Karel Rachunek, D Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre.
Key departures: C Scott Gomez, D Brad Lukowich, D Brian Rafalski, G Scott Clemmensen.
Overview: There are lots of ways to get wealthy; betting against Lamoriello and G Martin Brodeur isn't one of them. Still, even with Sutter running the bench, Devils have lost too many key pieces in recent years to remain an elite club.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Coach: Ted Nolan.
General Manager: Garth Snow.
2006-07 record: 40-30-12.
Key newcomers: C Mike Comrie, RW Ruslan Fedotenko, RW Bill Guerin, LW Jon Sim, D Andy Sutton, C Josef Vasicek. LW Sean Bergenheim.
Key departures: C Alexei Yashin, LW Jason Blake, RW Arron Asham, RW Eric Boguniecki, G Mike Dunham, D Sean Hill, C Viktor Kozlov, LW Ryan Smyth, RW Richard Zednik, C Randy Robitaille.
Overview: Nolan could motivate a snowfall to dive into a bonfire, so no one should take these guys lightly.
Coach: John Paddock.
General Manager: Bryan Murray.
2006-07 record: 48-25-9.
Key newcomers: RW Nikos Dimitrakos, RW Shean Donovan, D Luke Richardson, LW Nick Foligno.
Key departures: C Mike Comrie, LW Peter Schaefer, C Serge Payer, D Tom Preissing, LW Oleg Saprykin.
Overview: Have lost some nice members of the supporting cast, but the group that reached the Stanley Cup final remains largely intact.
Coach: Lindy Ruff.
General Manager: Darcy Regier.
2006-07 record: 53-22-7.
Key newcomer: G Jocelyn Thibault.
Key departures: C Daniel Briere, C Chris Drury, D Jeff Jillson, G Ty Conklin, RW Dainius Zubrus.
Overview: Excellent organizational depth, coupled with G Ryan Miller, will prevent the loss of Briere, Drury from sending Sabres into a free fall.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Coach: Paul Maurice.
General Manager: John Ferguson, Jr.
2006-07 record: 40-31-11.
Key newcomers: G Vesa Toskala, C Mark Bell, LW Jason Blake, G Scott Clemmensen, LW Tony Salmelainen, D Anton Stralman.
Key departures: G Jean-Sebastien Aubin, C Michael Peca, C Yanic Perreault, D Karel Pilar.
Overview: Blake and Toskala could give Maple Leafs the nudge they need to end two-year playoff absence.
Coach: Claude Julien.
General Manager: Peter Chiarelli.
2006-07 record: 35-41-6.
Key newcomers: G Manny Fernandez, LW Peter Schaefer, RW Shawn Thornton, C Glen Metropolit.
Key departures: G Hannu Toivonen, G Joey MacDonald, C Mark Mowers.
Overview: While Fernandez is a nice addition, Boston's personnel doesn't seem like an ideal fit for Julien's defense-first style.
Coach: Guy Carbonneau.
General Manager: Bob Gainey.
2006-07 record: 42-34-6.
Key newcomers: D Roman Hamrlik, C Bryan Smolinski, RW Tom Kostopoulos, D Jamie Rivers, D Patrice Brisebois, G Carey Price.
Key departures: D Janne Niinimaa, G David Aebischer, C Radek Bonk, D Sheldon Souray, RW Alexander Perezhogin, RW Mike Johnson.
Overview: With so many uncertainties -- such as how to compensate for Souray's departure -- Montreal might go as far as the wildly inconsistent Kovalev can take it.
Coach: Peter Laviolette.
General Manager: Jim Rutherford.
2006-07 record: 40-34-8.
Key newcomers: C Matt Cullen, C Jeff Hamilton.
Key departures: D Andrew Hutchinson, C Josef Vasicek, RW Shane Willis, D Anton Babchuk.
Overview: Watching the playoffs on TV should have cured Carolina's Stanley Cup hangover.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Coach: John Tortorella.
General Manager: Jay Feaster.
2006-07 record: 44-33-5.
Key newcomers: C Chris Gratton, LW Jan Hlavac, RW Michel Ouellet, D Brad Lukowich, LW Jan Hlavac, LW Mathieu Darche.
Key departures: C Rob DiMaio, LW Ruslan Fedotenko, C Eric Perrin, D Luke Richardson, D Cory Sarich.
Overview: Nucleus of elite forwards rivals any in hockey, but goaltending is subpar and defense corps lacks depth.
Coach: Jacques Martin.
General Manager: Jacques Martin.
2006-07 record: 35-31-16.
Key newcomers: G Tomas Vokoun, RW Richard Zednik, RW Radek Dvorak.
Key departures: G Ed Belfour, G Alex Auld, D Alexei Semenov, LW Martin Gelinas, C Joe Nieuwendyk.
Overview: Combination of Vokoun, Panthers' collection of good young talent could add up to playoff berth.
Coach: Bob Hartley.
General Manager: Don Waddell.
2006-07 record: 43-28-11.
Key newcomers: C Chris Thorburn, C Eric Perrin, C Todd White, D Ken Klemm, D Joel Kwiatkowski,
Key departures: LW Keith Tkachuk, C Eric Belanger, D Greg de Vries, RW Scott Mellanby, LW Jon Sim, D Andy Sutton.
Overview: Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa are among the NHL's most lethal 1-2 combinations.
Coach: Glen Hanlon.
General Manager: George McPhee.
2006-07 record: 28-40-14.
Key newcomers: C Nicklas Backstrom, D Tom Poti, C Viktor Kozlov, C Michael Nylander, RW Joe Motzo, D Josef Boumedienne.
Key departures: RW Peter Vandermeer, C Kris Beech, C Jiri Novotny.
Overview: Nylander, Backstrom will complement high-scoring LW Alex Ovechkin, but the talent pool still is a bit too shallow.
DETROIT RED WINGS
Coach: Mike Babcock.
General Manager: Ken Holland.
2006-07 record: 50-19-13.
Key newcomers: C Dallas Drake, D Brian Rafalski, RW Mark Hartigan.
Key departures: LW Todd Bertuzzi, LW Kyle Calder, C Robert Lang, D Mathieu Schneider, D Brad Norton.
Overview: Simply too much talent and experience to be seriously challenged for the division title.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
Coach: Andy Murray.
General Manager: Larry Pleau.
2006-07 record: 34-35-13.
Key newcomers: D Erik Johnson, LW Paul Kariya, LW Keith Tkachuk, G Hannu Toivonen, LW David Perron.
Key departures: RW Radek Dvorak, D Jamie Rivers, G Curtis Sanford, C Dallas Drake, LW Ville Nieminen
Overview: Blues hit bottom last winter and are on the way back up. Fast.
Coach: Barry Trotz.
General Manager: David Poile.
2006-07 record: 51-23-8.
Key newcomers: C Radek Bonk, D Greg de Vries, LW Martin Gelinas, RW Jed Ortmeyer.
Key departures: G Tomas Vokoun, LW Scott Hartnell, D Kimmo Timonen, LW Paul Kariya, D Vitali Vishnevski, LW Ramzi Abid, D Sheldon Brookbank.
Overview: Poile's patient construction of a legitimate contender was sabotaged by finances.
Coach: Denis Savard.
General Manager: Dale Tallon.
2006-07 record: 31-42-9.
Key newcomers: C Kevyn Adams, RW Patrick Kane, C Robert Lang, C Yanic Perreault, D Karel Pilar, LW Sergei Samsonov, C Jonathan Toews, D Andrei Zyuzin, RW Jack Skille.
Key departures: D Adrian Aucoin, D Jassen Cullimore, C Michal Handzus, LW Tony Salmelainen, RW Radim Vrbata, C Nikita Alexeev, RW Denis Archipov.
Overview: Hawks might improve so much that people in Chicago will actually start to care that home games aren't televised.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Coach: Ken Hitchcock.
General Manager: Scott Howson.
2006-07 record: 33-42-7.
Key newcomers: C Michael Peca, C Kris Beech, RW Derick Brassard, D Sheldon Brookbank, D Jan Hejda, C Jiri Novotny.
Key departures: D Bryan Berard, G Brian Boucher, D Anders Eriksson, RW Jaroslav Balistik, C Alex Svitov,
Overview: There's some excellent young talent in Columbus. Just not enough to make the Blue Jackets a factor yet.
Coach: Mike Keenan.
General Manager: Darryl Sutter.
2006-07 record: 43-29-10.
Key newcomers: RW Owen Nolan, D Adrian Aucoin, D Andrei Zyuzin, D Cory Sarich, D Anders Eriksson.
Key departures: D Brad Ference, D Roman Hamrlik, G Jamie McLennan, C Byron Ritchie, D Brad Stuart.
Overview: Keenan, whose hard-edged style alienates many players, is most comfortable coaching a veteran lineup like Calgary's.
Coach: Jacques Lemaire.
General Manager: Doug Risebrough.
Key newcomers: RW Petr Kalus, D Sean Hill, C Eric Belanger.
Key departures: RW Adam Hall, C Todd White.
Overview: G Niklas Backstrom, strong team defense are counted on to offset lackluster scoring.
Coach: Joel Quenneville.
General Manager: Francois Giguere.
2006-07 record: 44-31-7.
Key newcomers: LW Ryan Smyth, D Scott Hannan, D Jeff Jillson, D Dale Purinton.
Key departures: D Patrice Brisebois, LW Antti Laaksonen, C Pierre Turgeon.
Overview: Smyth, Hannan should lift Avalanche back into playoffs, and perhaps help Colorado do some damage when it gets there.
Coach: Alain Vigneault.
General Manager: David Nonis.
2006-07 record: 49-26-7.
Key newcomers: RW Ryan Shannon, G Curtis Sanford, C Byron Ritchie, LW Brad Isbister, D Aaron Miller, C Bryan Smolinski, G Dany Sabourin.
Key departures: C Jan Bulis, LW Jason Krog.
Overview: If G Roberto Luongo were able to score goals half as well as he prevents them, Vancouver could get rid of his 19 teammates.
Coach: Craig MacTavish.
General Manager: Kevin Lowe.
2006-07 record: 32-43-7.
Key newcomers: D Dick Tarnstrom, D Joni Pitkanen, LW Geoff Sanderson, G Mathieu Garon, D Sheldon Souray, RW Dustin Penner, C Sam Gagner, C Ryan O'Marra, C Rob Schremp.
Key departures: LW Brad Winchester, D Jan Hejda, G Jussi Markkanen, C Petr Nedved, RW Petr Sykora, D Daniel Tjarnqvist.
Overview: Signing Souray and Penner helped to resurrect Edmonton's image; reviving its playoff hopes will be more difficult.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
Coach: Ron Wilson.
General Manager: Doug Wilson.
Key newcomers: D Alexei Semenov, C Jeremy Roenick.
Key departures: RW Bill Guerin, D Scott Hannan, LW Mathieu Darche.
Overview: Someday, all that good drafting and prospect-developing is going to pay off in a big way.
Coach: Randy Carlyle.
General Manager: Brian Burke.
2006-07 record: 48-20-14.
Key newcomers: LW Todd Bertuzzi, D Mathieu Schneider, D Shane Hnidy, RW Bobby Ryan, C Mark Mowers, LW Jason Krog.
Key departures: D Scott Niedermayer (suspended), RW Teemu Selanne, RW Dustin Penner, C Tim Brent, G Sebastien Caron, RW Mark Hartigan, D Ric Jackman, RW Shawn Thornton, RW Joe Motzko.
Overview: Ducks have lots of quality players but it's one who isn't there now -- Niedermayer -- who might have biggest impact on whether Anaheim has a real shot at defending its Cup.
Coach: Dave Tippett.
General Manager: Doug Armstrong.
2006-07 record: 50-25-7.
Key newcomers: LW Brad Winchester, LW Todd Fedoruk.
Key departures: LW Matthew Barnaby, D Jon Klemm, C Eric Lindros, LW Ladislav Nagy, D Darryl Sydor,
Overview: Lack of scoring could keep Stars on the sidelines next spring, despite an excellent defense corps.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
Coach: Marc Crawford.
General Manager: Dean Lombardi.
2006-07 record: 27-41-14.
Key newcomers: LW Kyle Calder, C Michal Handzus, LW Ladislav Nagy, D Tom Preissing, D Brad Stuart, D Jon Klemm, G Jean-Sebastien Aubin, D Brad Stuart.
Key departures: G Dan Cloutier (demoted), D Mike Weaver, G Mathieu Garon, RW Tom Kostopoulos, D Aaron Miller.
Overview: Kings should be significantly better than last season. Just not good enough.
Coach: Wayne Gretzky.
General Manager: Don Maloney.
2006-07 record: 31-46-5.
Key newcomers: C Mike York, C Peter Mueller, G David Aebischer, RW Radim Vrbata, G Alex Auld, C Martin Hanzal, RW Peter Vandermeer.
Key departures: C Jeremy Roenick, G Mathieu Garon, D Aaron Miller, RW Tom Kostopoulos, D Jamie Heward, C Jeff Taffe, RW Owen Nolan, C Mike Ricci, RW Pavel Brendl.
Overview: Good thing so few people in Arizona seem to care about hockey.
First Published September 30, 2007 6:19 am