Second Chance for Success
There have been many players who had abnormal seasons in 2007-08. The following lists the top five players who have the best chance at excelling in a new uniform in October.
5. Markus Naslund, New York Rangers
Naslund had no other choice but to take a pay cut if any team were to sign him. The blue-shirts have him locked up for two years at $8 million.
Naslund has been the captain of the Vancouver Canucks for almost a decade. He enjoyed his best year in 2002-03 as he finished second in the league in scoring behind fellow Swede Peter Forsberg.
A change of scenery won't hurt the savvy vet, as he and many others join a Rangers' team that hopes to make it back to the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
4. Darcy Tucker, Colorado Avalanche
Tucker was bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the end of June and signed in the mile-high city for a two-year/$4million contract. While assuming a smaller role, he can help provide secondary offence to a team who will need it this season.
With players such as Wojtek Wolski and Paul Stastny in Colorado, Tucker can help provide veteran leadership to a youthful Avalanche team. This move will pay dividends as Tucker will be trying to re-establish himself as a solid two-way player who won't shy away from the rough stuff.
3. Michael Ryder, Boston Bruins
The Bonavista, Nfld. native was seen as one of Montreal's go-to guys in his first three seasons with the squad. This past season that went down the drain. Ryder had a lack-lustre campaign. He will be a big part in Boston's attempt to improve goal scoring, a category in which they suffered in last season.
Ryder will be reunited for his fourth playing experience under coach Claude Julien. He has been known to get the best out of Ryder, something the Bruins' management took into consideration with this signing.
2. Andrew Raycroft, Colorado Avalanche
People seem to focus only on the abysmal two wins he registered all season. What people should realize is a) he had no help in front of him, and; b) he set a team record in '06-'07 with 37 wins as the starter for the Leafs.
Going to Colorado can help him get his game back on track as Rayzor has something prove in Denver.
1. Todd Bertuzzi, Calgary Flames
This is an acquisition that fits well with both Bertuzzi and the Flames. After losing Owen Nolan to free agency bringing in Bertuzzi gives them a right winger with size and strength that could attribute to secondary scoring.
Bertuzzi, who was bought out of a two-year/$8 M deal, signed a one-year pact worth $1.95 M with the Flames. Captain Jarome Iginla lobbied for management to bring in the Sudbury, Ont. native who he believes will help the team.
Playing a smaller role could help him get his game back after struggling for the past three seasons. Hopefully head coach Mike Keenan and the rest of the Calgary Flames can help ignite fire under Bertuzzi in effort to make him an effective two-way player.
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