NHL Players: Offseason Winners

David HeereSenior Analyst IJuly 13, 2008

All hockey fans should know by now which teams everyone has pegged as winners and losers of the off-season. The question I would like take a look at is which players are the real winners and losers of this offseason.


Winners today, losers tomorrow.


I should start off by saying a winner is not necessarily a player that is going to score 50 goals and win a Stanley Cup, but rather a winner is a player the went to a much better situation for them individually. This is a perfect transition into my first winner:




Gilbert Brule


If you just said “He is not a winner! He will not score 50 goals!” you need to read the paragraph above that you obviously skipped.


Yes, Brule was a high first round draft pick who may never live up to expectations. However, his small size and fast tempo are well suited for Edmonton.


Brule gets the added benefit of starting over with a new team, and this could do wonders for his confidence—which was shattered by his premature entrance into the NHL.


Additionally, Brule projects to be on a second or third line in Edmonton. That is much better than where he would have been in Columbus—pulling occasional fourth-line duty.


Brule is not a big time winner, but I would call him my budget winner.




Ron Hainsey


Do not think I am picking on the Blue Jackets by saying that every player that leaves will be in a better situation. In Hainsey’s case, he is going to a worse team in Atlanta, but this situation will personally benefit him.


Columbus’ defense got much better in the offseason, and this could have spelled a cut in Hainsey’s minutes. Instead, in Atlanta he will get all the playing time he could ever want.


Being a Thrasher should see Hainsey’s point total increase significantly even though his plus/minus may suffer from the lack of help around him.




Marian Hossa


How could moving to Detroit make Marian Hossa a winner? Do you even watch hockey? The top line of Detroit is going to look like the top line from some fantasy hockey league.


At left wing is offensive genius and third-place Selke Trophy nominee, sweet Swede Henrik Zetterberg. Centering this juggernaut of a line is Selke Trophy winner and almost 100-point scorer Pavel Datsuk. Marian Hossa gets to play right wing.


His point totals will be sick this year, and he has the added benefit of going from a team that lost a lot of players to the Stanley Cup winners who lost practically no players. Hossa will be a winner who does in fact score 50 goals and win a Stanley Cup.




Jaromir Jagr


The KHL gets a superstar with name recognition that they can plaster all over posters for their new league. Jagr gets to drink from the fountain of youth and is essentially a rookie again.


The style of the league is suited for him, but it might take some time for him to adjust. He will put up some amazing numbers and people will love him again.


He was becoming old news in the NHL, and losing his coverage to the youth movement in the NHL. This will show people on an international stage he is still one of the best.


Oh, and I hear the paycheck is not too bad.