I don’t want to because I like the Flyers’ chances this year, but there is something about off-season double shoulder surgery that scares me. Vincent Lecavalier had a shoulder surgery in 2007 and his production fell off last season. Could Richards follow the same path? Something tells me yes.
In which case, head coach, John Stevens could convert Jeff Carter’s line as the top line and Claude Giroux will center Danny Briere and Simon Gagne. Even with Richards missing time, the Flyers’ top six is still unreal. Until then, it seems like Richards, Carter and Giroux will center the top three lines in Philadelphia.
A recurring theme in this post is players who underwent off-season surgeries. David Krejci falls under this category.
In short, Krejci is missing the first few weeks of the season and opens the door for Patrice Bergeron to take away the second line center duty from Krejci.
An option for Krejci is to move to the wing. The Phil Kessel trade opens up a spot on the wing on one of the top two lines that either Krejci or Bergeron could take.
I hate the sophomore slump, but it happens. Ask Sam Gagner. Ask Peter Mueller. Ask Eric Hinske.
Zetterberg has never played 80 games in his NHL career. He played 77 last season, but had recurring injuries throughout. Already this training camp, a wonky groin has limited Zetterberg. He has yet to play in a preseason game.
He should be good for the start of the season, but can you expect Zetterberg to be up to speed on game one when he has yet to play a game? When healthy, he is a force.
But I think injuries will nag all season to limit his production. Coach Mike Babcock also likes distributing production with his line combos. This means that Zetterberg is likely to play with Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Cleary. Yikes.
Patrik Elias – Elias just had surgery done to break up some scar tissue left from a previous surgery. He will be out three to six weeks.
So what, this is the same guy that battled hepatitis before; a little scar tissue doesn’t scare me.
It scares me.
Last season, he had 78 points, which was his best output since the 2003-2004 season. Since then, he has had a good year, followed by a sub-par year, then a good year, then a bad year, then another good year. If this trend holds up, he is on his way to a mediocre year.
Along with missing three to six weeks from surgery, the Devils re-hired Jacques Lemaire. [The fantasy world cringes]. Lemaire’s trap system infects the offensive numbers of his players. The Devils will definitely win games, but do it playing stingy defense and scoring two to three goals a game.
The trap is great for Martin Brodeur owners, but Elias, Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner and Travis Zajac should all feel the wrath of Lemaire.
This team has some kind of curse on them. First, former GM Dale Tallon submits faulty contracts, which forces them to sign Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker for more than they would have. Martin Havlat is poorly treated by management, Twitters, then signs in Minnesota.
Then Tallon signs Marian Hossa to a lifetime 12-year contract, which is still under investigation by the NHL. Tallon is promptly fired. Days after Hossa is signed, he has surgery that will keep him out for the first few weeks of the season.
Then the whole Patrick Kane thing.
Just when things were starting to settle down in Chicago, Adam Burish needs surgery for a torn ACL, which will keep him out for six weeks. He is not a major player on the team, but it is another example of things going wrong for the Hawks. Who is next?
Do the Hawks really expect Cristobal Huet to carry them all season long? They must, because there is no real dependable goalie behind him. Antti Niemi is an option, but he has is only video game good.
Hopefully for the Hawks the ring of bad luck stops when the season starts, but this team is already exhausted from the scrutiny during the summer. How they will respond is yet to be seen.