NHL Opening Weekend: Which Offseason Moves Are Paying Off?
After an offseason filled with a flurry of signings and trades, many controversial at the time, it's time to see which ones are paying dividends right from the first weekend.
Some are helping in net, some are helping by scoring, and others are helping by helping others. Some moves aren't working out as well as some would like.
Considering the amount of movement and signings that happened from July 1st until last week. There's a lot to sift through and see who really is looking promising. Let's see who made the cut.
Mike Richards: Philadelphia to Los Angeles
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In the Kings' first game of the season, they trailed the New York Rangers by one with less than five minutes to play. Enter Richards.
Richards scored his first goal for LA to tie it up, and then proceeded to set up young defenseman Jack Johnson for the game-winner in overtime.
Only recording two points in two games isn't enough to turn heads but the two points are so much more when they come as a game-tying goal and game-winning assist.
It looks like Richards is fitting in rather nicely on the west coast.
Jeff Carter: Philadelphia to Columbus
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Columbus has been waiting for the right player to line up with star winger Rick Nash and help him score more goals.
Seems to be working out pretty well.
Carter leads all Blue Jackets players with three points, all assists. This stat line is especially telling considering Carter is known as a solid goal scorer.
If Carter becomes known in Columbus for his passing more than his goal scoring he will make the Columbus management look very good. I think this one will continue to pay off for the Blue Jackets.
Ilya Bryzgalov: Phoenix to Philadelphia
Philadelphia has had serious goaltending problems for years and it may have been the reason they couldn't take down Chicago in the Stanley Cup finals two seasons ago.
In snatching up Bryzgalov in free agency, Philly seems to have found their guy. Bryzgalov has allowed one goal in two games, stopping 22 of 23 shots against Boston, and all 20 shots that New Jersey threw at him.
If Bryzgalov keeps up this kind of play, or even something close to it, the Flyers will be a very scary team in the NHL this year.
Dany Heatley: San Jose to Minnesota
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The former San Jose sniper was involved in a surprise trade this summer that sent him to Minnesota. Heatley racked up two points for the Wild in his first game this year, including a game-winning power play goal.
He is proving that even though the Sharks shipped him off to the Wild he hasn't lost a step taking five shots in that first game.
Heatley is still an amazing player and can really help give the Wild that extra push that they need this year.
Matthew Lombardi: Nashville to Toronto
When Toronto traded for young, promising defenseman Cody Franson, forward Matthew Lombardi was included in the deal. It was considered a bonus if he would even play one game considering his concussion history.
In Toronto's season opener, Lombardi had a shorthanded goal which turned out to be the game winner. He currently sits at plus-two after playing two games and added an assist to his point total.
Lombardi has been playing very well and is earning a solid spot in the Leafs' lineup. As long as he keeps this up, this deal will just look sweeter as time goes by.