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Bryzgalov openly stated he would not play in Winnipeg.
If players on the current roster are apprehensive about playing in Winterpeg—I mean—Winnipeg, then what will the reaction be for free agents? Judging by comments made by the front office brass of the Edmonton Oilers, expect the reaction to be (pardon the pun) chilly.
Heck when it was possible the Phoenix Coyotes were moving to Winnipeg, it was widely reported that goalie Ilya Bryzgalov had some choice words for the city. According to prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com, he said:
"You don't want to go to Winnipeg right? Not many people live there, not many Russian people there. Plus, it's cold. There's no excitement except for hockey. No park, no entertaining for the families, for the kids. It's going to be a tough life for your family. I've been there for just once, maybe twice, when I play in minors. It was really cold. I used the tunnels between the buildings to get to the arena. Because it was minus-40 or something. Real cold."
That's the comments of a guy who grew up in Russia, which most Americans imagine as one of the coldest places on earth.
Aside from the climate, it takes a dedicated player to willingly sign up to play hockey in a Canadian city as it is. The scrutiny dwarfs that in any American city, even New York. At least in New York City, a Ranger can be anonymous in certain places. Imagine a Winnipeg Whatever strolling out to a bar or grocery store in the first season of their return. Insanity will await them at every turn.
According to capgeek.com, the franchise has roughly $36,000,000 in salary committed to eight forwards, five defenseman, and two goalies for the 2011-12 season. They have seven restricted free agents and three unrestricted free agents. The 2010-11 cap ceiling was $59,400,000 and it is expected to go up slightly at least.
My opinion: Luckily for the team, they have the #7 overall pick in the Entry Draft. Concentrate on inking the restricted free agents and overpay for an outsider willing to join the team. But that is all contingent on...