In Part II of these posts, I will use my method outlined in Part I to examine how a team did in the off season, and where we can expect them to be next year.
Atlanta is the team that lost the most this off-season, while adding very little of value. The losses of Hedberg, Kovulchuk, means that they lose almost 10 GVTs than they gain with the additions of Mason, Ladd, and (a relatively ineffective) Byfuglien. Most people probably put them at last in the league for this season, but will the numbers agree?
*some of these players are RFAs that have not been signed yet. I'm assuming it will happen.
So far (without trading Thomas) the Bruins have lost more than they have acquired. It's unclear how much Tyler Seguin will help them this season. If he plays with them, I'm assuming it will be more than 3 or 4 GVTs. I'm also hoping that Rask's great season last year was just a one-off, but I doubt it. Either way, it's unlikely the Bs will end up much worse next year, but they may not be much better.
So far, Buffalo has lost more than they've gained, mostly on D. But Tyler Myers is the best defenseman EVAR so it's probably not going to matter. It also makes me think that the supposed trade between Toronto and Buffalo (Kaberle) may actually make a lot of sense.
The 'Canes haven't really done a whole lot here, aside from get rid of Rod the Bod, but the loss of Ray Whitney could hurt. Interesting the GVT of Michael Leighton for the 'Canes. On paper, Carolina might be a worse team next year, something that could bode well for the Leafs.
Another team undergoing some serious re-building and looking to tank. There biggest loss will be felt up-front with Horton gone, but Wideman may add some more stability in the back. They'll be worse this year, but how much worse?
If fans of Montreal (or GMs) think they're getting to the conference finals again this year, they've got another thing coming. The loss of Halak is going to be HUGE. There is the PK Subban factor, which could significantly improve their chances of not being terrible, but when you consider that last season they got more points than their GVTs would predict, I'm expecting a precipitous fall back to earth for our division rivals. (Bring on the opener!)
Even if they lose Kovulchuk, NJ could still be a significantly better team this year. But most of that added GVT comes from Hedberg, who, lets face it, will have minimal impact unless Brodeur goes down with an injury. The addition of Volchenkov and Talinder actually does little to compensate for the loss of Mottau and Martin. Mottau would have come a lot cheaper too. So, this is a case where my numbers could be off a little. If NJ loses Kovulchuk, there's a good chance they won't be as good a team as they were last season. Of course, they're NJ, so they'll still be great. They always are. Even when they play in front of 37 fans and a few river rats.
The Islanders still need to come up above the cap floor, but so far they're actually losing more than they've added (though not by much). It's shocking to think the Islanders would want to get worse this year, but I suspect they're hoping to see a year-over-year increase in performance from their young stars. If they're hoping to get drastically better this year, it probably won't happen.
The Rangers are hilarious. Steve Eminger (who was actually at my wedding) was actually a good pick-up on their part, and I think he'll fit in well. But the addition of Derek Boogaard and Martin Biron actually make them a significantly worse team this year than they were the year before. Considering they underperformed a little last season, they still may have a shot at the playoffs!!1
Lets face it, Brian Murray didn't do much this summer, but the addition of Sergei Gonchar will really help the Senators. Assuming he stays healthy. His contract is still absurd, but they got better. Probably.
I had to estimate Zherdev's GVT, which could be way off, but I suspect the Flyers won't struggle as much this year. That's assuming Leighton still has a GVT of 9 for the Flyers, and not the -5.9 he had for Carolina. If not, they could be in for a whole lotta hurt.
The Penguins lost a lot of offense and defense, but it all came from the back end. Their additions will probably make up for the lack of Eaton, McKee, and Leopold, but so far nothing's making up for the loss of Gonchar. Then again, he was gone for half the season last year anyway. Not surprisingly, the Penguins will still be good this year.
Tampa is another team that has undergone a major overall, and while it's clear that Stevie Y is still not done, he's almost recouped his losses already, mostly by getting rid of dead weight. Depending on what else he does, the Lightning could go either way this season.
Huh. So far, Washington has added very few players, and virtually no one worth even talking about. They have, however, lost a decent goalie, and some other guy. Ho-hum. Washington will still dominate. They could fill out their roster with pee-wee hockey players they'd probably still end up in first.
Finally, in Part III, I will look the the Leafs changes, and see how they stack up against the league.