Not that we’ve ever played anything close to a professional sport, but we imagine that if we did, we’d certainly want to make a good impression on our new team. Not only would that help justify the big free agent contact/blockbuster trade that saw us end up in a new location, but it would also stick it to the old team just a little bit.
We’re kind of vindictive like that.
A lot of big names changed teams in the last month or so, many more than we expected (Thank you Philadelphia Flyers!) but who will do the best on a new team?
We’ll start with the former Philadelphia boys and rumoured enemies of “Dry Island.” Jeff Carter and Mike Richards will be playing on separate teams for the first time in their NHL lives. How will they both fare?
Carter scored 36 goals last season, which placed him seventh in the NHL. He’ll likely end up playing on a line with Rick Nash in Columbus, which can only mean good things in regards to his success next season. He’ll also likely be the team’s starting center for at least part of the season, so it will be interesting to see how he’ll handle that role.
Richards is likely geared for success as well. The Los Angeles Kings are apparently in “win now” mode, and their roster changes certainly show it. Simon Gagne, Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar will make for some great linemates for Richards and make the Kings a formidable team in the West.
Dany Heatley and Martin Havlat were traded for one another at the beginning of this month. Both players had struggled on their respective teams and the changes of scenery will be welcomed by each of them. Heately will be joined by former Sharks teammate Devin Setoguchi, who was also shipped to Minnesota in a separate deal. Can Heatley breathe new live into his once excellent career or are his best days behind him?
Havlat will be playing with a talented Sharks line-up that will likely once again compete for the Stanley Cup. This will certainly help him in the stats column and in the “career success” column as well.
A pair of big name goaltenders have new teams as well. While both Tomas Vokoun and Ilya Bryzgalov have vastly different contracts, their situations are relatively similar. They’re both going to teams that have legitimate chances to win the Stanley Cup. They’re both going to be expected to provide some stability in net for teams that haven’t very much of that recently. They’re both going to have a lot of pressure on them to deliver.
Vokoun’s contract with Washington was a definite win for general manager George McPhee. Adding Vokoun to the Capitals may have made them a favourite in the east. Bryzgalov landing in Philadelphia has finally put an end to their revolving door in net, but the other shake-ups to the team have left us questioning how well the Flyers will do next season.
Bryzgalov will likely have better numbers than Vokoun, but Vokoun will likely have more success. However, that certainly remains to be seen.
Brad Richards was a big free agent fish in a small pond this summer, and he definitely cashed in with the New York Rangers. Pairing him with Marian Gaborik could turn into gold for the Rangers. If the two players click (and if Gaborik’s health remains relatively fine) the two players could both put up some pretty big numbers this season.
Jaromir Jagr could be the biggest question mark in the league heading into this season. How will he transition from the KHL back to the NHL? Is he still the same player he was in 2008? Will he ever salute after a goal again? Will he survive his first road trip to Pittsburgh? See? Lots of question marks.
Many other players will be putting on new jerseys at training camp this fall. Who will perform the best with a new team?