by Patrick Hoffman on 07/18/12 at 03:22 PM ET
Popular NHL Tweeter Lee Snowden (@SnowdenNHL) was kind enough to take time out of his summer schedule to give us his thoughts on what is going on in the NHL in the off-season as well as his opinions on his favorite team, the Calgary Flames.
PH: What are your general thoughts regarding what has happened so far this off-season whether it has been a trade, signing, draft pick, etc.?
LS: Pretty slow, really. Just prior to July 1st, we were all expecting this to be a summer filled with trades, it hasn’t turned out that way. Lots of big names still being thrown around in the rumour mills and there are also plenty of free agents left. I still think we will see some action.
PH: How much of an impact do you think Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will have on the Minnesota Wild? Do these two signings automatically make the Wild a playoff team or is there still a lot of work to be done to make that happen? Why?
LS: Obviously the signings are huge for the Wild as an organization. They had a nice sell-out streak going, only to see it end a few seasons back. As far as the playoffs go, the signings don’t hurt. Michael Granlund, Jonas Brodin, and Charlie Coyle coming soon also add to the Wild’s depth. While I don’t believe the playoffs are a sure thing, they will definitely be in the hunt. It’s a very nice looking group of forwards, but the back-end needs some work.
PH: Why do you think this Rick Nash situation is taking so long to solve? Do you see this saga ending this summer or do you see it going into next season? Why?
LS: I believe this situation is dragging because of Scott Howson’s asking price for Nash. Surely he wants it all. Some nice packages have no doubt been presented to him, but Nash’s cap hit will certainly cause teams to not offer their best. I’d be very surprised if this was done anytime soon. I still expect Nash to end up in NYC.
PH: Since you follow the Calgary Flames closely, what are your thoughts on the team’s signing of defenceman Dennis Wideman? Do you think he is worth the money that the Flames will be paying him?
LS: After watching 82 Flames games last season, there was a glaring need. Jay Feaster addressed it two days before July 1st.
A PP quarterback was missing all year. The Flames power play wasn’t horrible (13th) but the addition of Wideman, along with Jiri Hudler, Roman Cervenka, and Sven Baertschi, should improve things significantly. Wideman’s cap hit may be a little high for some, but the team is no longer in cap trouble and sometimes you have to give up a little bit extra cash to get who you want in free agency. Nobody is expecting Wideman to come in and be a shut down d-man.
Is he worth it? We have 5 years to find out.
PH: How close do you think the Flames are to making the postseason? Do you think this team needs to go into rebuild mode? Why?
LS: I think the Flames were very close last season. 14 shoot-out and overtime losses lead the West. I have no doubt the Flames are better this season. As I stated before, the Flames added some skill and the new game plan of Bob Hartley sounds just like what this group of players need. Since Jay Feaster has taken over, our drafts already seem more fruitful. If you ask me the ‘re-build’ is already underway. This term doesn’t always mean dealing away your most popular players.
PH: While you have no one close to the situation, do you think the NHL will start on time this season? Why or why not?
LS: I think the season will start on time. Prior to the last lockout, the NHL and NHLPA had a blank canvas and had to draw up a CBA from scratch. This time, only some tweaks and changes are needed. The initial offer from the NHL is typical in how an agreement is reached, both sides ask for the moon, eventually meeting in the middle. For all of our sake, I hope they can work it out.
PH: Is there anything else you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
LS: Again, I’d just like to thank you Pat for letting me get my opinions out there and appreciate everyone for reading!
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at email@example.com.