Now that the NHL has a new 10-year CBA, puck-drop is just around the corner. Below is a look at the changes each team has made since the end of the 2012 season.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
2011-12: 35-37-10, missed playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.
Given their fast starts in recent years, the shortened NHL season will doubtless imbue Leafs Nation with the notion that this could be their year. Not to win the Cup, mind. After seven consecutive seasons of sitting at home when Lord Stanley’s big dance commences – the longest such drought in the league – just making the playoffs would be deemed an overwhelming triumph and might well be a necessity for general manager and president Brian Burke to keep his job.
Say hello to …
F James van Riemsdyk, F Keith Aucoin, F Jay McClement
Say goodbye to …
D Luke Schenn, G Jonas Gustavsson, F Colby Armstrong, F Joey Crabb, D Jeff Finger, F Jay Rosehill
Top prospect – Nazem Kadri
The former first-round pick’s time to shine is now, and given the (inevitable) hype surrounding this offensive talent, Leafs fans will demand nothing less. He has a few years of pro experience under his belt now, and despite jibes about his conditioning from some quarters, is starting to throw his weight around in the AHL, averaging just under a point a game.
NHLers abroad during lockout:
D Cody Franson (Brynas, Sweden), F Mikhail Grabovski (CSKA Moscow, KHL), D Carl Gunnarson (Orebro, Sweden), F Nikolai Kulemin (Metallurg, KHL), F Joffrey Lupul (Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, KHL), F Clarke MacArthur (ETC Crimmitschau, Germany).
2011-12: 31-35-16, missed playoffs.
Finishing last in the Eastern Conference is never a good thing, but it’s a catastrophe in a city that has seen 24 Stanley Cup parades. Luckily the dark clouds of last season seem to have dissipated somewhat, and the arrival of former NHLer Marc Bergevin as general manager and the reinstatement of Michel Therrien behind the bench for his second go-round in Montreal point to brighter days ahead, not to mention the selection of Alex Galchenyuk with the third overall pick – a player some experts feel may turn out to be the best player in the 2012 draft. Now they just need to get Sportsnet analyst P.K. Subban under contract and back to his day job of patrolling the Habs’ blueline.
Say hello to …
F Colby Armstrong, F Brandon Prust, G Cedrick Desjardins, D François Bouillon
Say goodbye to …
D Chris Campoli, F Mathieu Darche, F Brad Staubitz
Top prospect – Alex Galchenyuk
It might not be from the get-go, but eventually the third overall pick in the 2012 draft will be looked upon to fill the Canadiens’ seemingly eternal search for a dominating centre with size and skills. At 6 foot 1, he’s not exactly a behemoth, but he’s an upgrade on the what he can do with the puck in the recent world junior championship, registering two goals and six assists as the United States rolled to just its third gold medal in the event.
NHLers abroad during lockout
F David Desharnais (HC Fribourg-Gotteron, Switzerland), D Raphael Diaz (Zug, Switzerland), F Lars Eller (JYP, Finland), D Alexei Emelin (Ak Bars Kazan, KHL), D Tomas Kaberle (Kladno, Czech Republic), D Andrei Markov (Vityaz Chekhov, KHL), F Tomas Plekanec (Kladno, Czech Republic), D Yannick Weber (Geneva-Servette, Switzerland)
2011-12: 41-31-10, lost in first round of playoffs.
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