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Contenders, Hopefuls And Rebuilders

from Matt Porter of the Boston Globe,

Where the league stands after the dust settled (tiers in alphabetical order):


Boston — Lots of depth up front. Still not sure if they’re better, given Krejci loss.

Carolina — Made up for the Alex Nedeljkovic loss by adding Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta. If they’re healthy, that’s a strong tandem. Replaced Dougie Hamilton with Tony DeAngelo, yet another reminder that hockey is a business, no matter how hard a team’s PR staff works.

Colorado — Lost a Vezina finalist (Philipp Grubauer to Seattle) and may have gotten better in goal. Darcy Kuemper, ex- of Arizona, is an upgrade.

Florida — A dangerous team. Still hasn’t signed Aleksander Barkov, but folks there are convinced it’ll get done.

NY Islanders — I suppose they’re in this tier? Lou Lamoriello has done nothing publicly of late.

Philadelphia — Cam Atkinson and Ryan Ellis were solid pickups, and maybe Keith Yandle has something left. None of it matters if Carter Hart (unsigned) doesn’t rebound.

Pittsburgh — Love its chances in the Metropolitan Division if Ron Hextall can send a few assets to Chicago for Marc-Andre Fleury. Can’t waste another year of Sidney Crosby-Evgeni Malkin with subpar goaltending.

more contenders plus hopefuls and rebuilders plus more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink


The Meal's avatar

Philly as a contender?  Maybe I’m blind, but I’m not seeing it.

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 07/31/21 at 10:16 AM ET

Kaszycki and his Krew's avatar

Isles get within a goal of advancing to a Finals they would have won in 5

2 consecutive Final Four appearances and this guy guesses the Isle belong in this group?  THEY DO.

Once Lou finalizes the roster - I suppose - we can properly evaluate.  I am surprised this guy is not predicting the Rangers to win this year smile    I guess the writer needs to see the final roster - but this team likely retains Cizikas and Palmieri and adds Parise and just waiting to see who else.

I think NJ and Ottawa will be much tougher outs this season.  Not sure about Boston or PIT.  losing # 46 will really hurt BOS in playoffs.  If PIT does get Fleury - they will be much tougher should they stay healthy. 

DET will at least have good goaltending this year.  Will be a better year for the Wings and let’s see the talent pool worm its way into the lineup over time!  Full rebuilds take time but I believe in Steve Y. 


Posted by Kaszycki and his Krew on 07/31/21 at 04:29 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

I like your style, Kaszycki.  What’s your take on the new Russian goalie vs the old Russian goalie this season?

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 08/01/21 at 03:58 AM ET

Kaszycki and his Krew's avatar

Hi Hippy Dave!

Are you referring to Varlamov v Sorokin?

(Lots of Russkie goalies in the league now!)

Varlamov has won me over by and large.  Has a penchant for letting in goals on the first shot.  Much improved at the G position for not giving up late goals to tie or lose game.  (Thanks Ryan Pulock!)

I am a big fan of Robin Lehner and Thomas Griess.  Never understood why Lehner left.  I understand why Greiss had to go (to make room for Sorokin) and Thomas was loved by the fan base on Long Island.

But the fans STILL love Robin Lehner.  I thought he was the best goalie to play for us in decades.

Lou had a woody for Varlie all these years is what I hear and the goaltending coach did wonders with all the goalies mentioned.  I happen to think Sorokin s the better goalie.  He has won in Russia the Gagarin Cup, and is one of the best goalies to come out of Russia in recent times ( # 88 in Tampa is GOD)

Sorokin is like 25 (too lazy to look it up) and he is not a rookie in terms of playing at a pro level.  I have to commend both of them for their playoff performance (Sorokin won 4 games vs. PITT)  and a lot of us thought they ought to have made Sorokin the starter - but Trotz just LOVES veterans…..LOVES them.  ( I get that from my Caps fans friends who said he never plays kids or brings them along Slowly)  and Varlie did very well ( except for pissing me off by allowing that soft OT goal to Marchand)  I would say in Lou and Barry’s minds - Sorokin take over the day Varlie’s contract expires.  For if both are top at that point - Lou (Or his successor - he is 78 years old!)  won’t want to tie up 10-12 MM $$ at the G position if cap situation is the same.  Sorokin and another goalie will take over in 2024.

Nice goalie pick up by DET with the former Carolina goalie.  Give him a shot to win the starter job.  Thomas is great at playing the 1-B role.  His personality and team spirit is second to none….and he can accept that role and thrive in it and push the 1-A goalie hard.    Remember Greiss was used to win Game 7 in the 2020 bubble vs. Philadelphia and he SHUT THEM OUT.  Now the Detroit D has to play better this year - but the goalie position is SOLID.  Aside from Nick Leddy (who will really help your PP and skating the puck out of the D zone) and Staal/DeKeyser - not familar with those on the Cap Friendly roster or the prospects.  But I think a noble goal for DET this year could be to cut at least cut (on a pro rata basis) 40 goals off their goals against next season.  Will be interesting to see what kids make the team out of camp.  As a neutral observer who might have more patience, Steve Y is a terrific GM and you should start to see some of that shine this year and next year - playoffs could be back in style!


Posted by Kaszycki and his Krew on 08/01/21 at 10:20 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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