Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/08/14 at 05:19 PM ET
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Here’s a look at the best and the worst of hockey’s off-season:
St. Louis Blues
The key here is that they added a potential No. 1 centre in Stastny, hurting a division rival — the Colorado Avalanche — in the process. In the tight Central Division, a move like that could make all the difference. Add KHL veteran Jori Lehtera to a deep mix that includes David Backes and Patrick Berglund, and the Blues are solid up front.
The feeling in St. Louis is the Blues got a real deal in getting Gunnarsson from the Leafs for Roman Polak, making the Blues already solid defence even better. The issue with St. Louis, though, is always goaltending.
A new GM, a new coach and a perennial post-season disappointment, this franchise could well be on its way to a train wreck of a season.
The new GM, Jim Rutherford, is widely perceived to have erred in firing coach Dan Bylsma, pursuing Willie Desjardins as replacement only to low-ball him, having to settle instead for Mike Johnson.
Also, Rutherford’s trade of sniper James Neal to Nashville didn’t go over well in the dressing room. The team lost Orpik and Niskanen to Washington and will have to rely on recent draft picks like Beau Bennett and Olli Maatta — drafted by the man Rutherford replaced — to fill in. Things could get awkward.
more in each category...
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