Hockey Hockey Fans,
Tonight I want to take a look at the strongest of all the divisions in the Eastern Conference, the Southeast has really turned into a powerhouse divisions, with Atlanta coming around, the always strong Hurricanes the Capitals and the Lightning, minus Florida this division will see a Championship I bet in the next five years. Lets take a look at what needs and should be done
- This week first of all the shipped Ben Eager to the San Jose Sharks for a draft pick, a team like Atlanta could really use the skills and toughness of a guy like Eager, I myself would have kept him, sure he has had suspension trouble the latest coming when he sucker punched Colby Armstrong (Toronto) in the eye, but Atlanta could use his grittyness.
- Last years dealine was a great one for Atlanta, when they finally shipped Ilya Kovalchuk out of town, sorry I am not a fan of Ilya, it freed up enough money to make a great summertime deal bringing Byfuglien and Sopel and the earlier named Eager. Best move Atlanta ever made.
- The Atlanta defence is a scary group, when you got Dustin Byfuglien abd Tobias Enstrom standing on the blue line it can be intimidating, Tobias and Dustin make such a great pair they will most likely finish 1,2 in Thrashers scoring not bed for a defence.
- Atlanta has also stored up for the future will the great prospoects turn pro in both Patrice Cormier and Evander Kane minus the health problems Kane has had of late, he is a star that is just starting to bud. The Antropov line could see some movement rumour mill says that Nic wants out of Atlanta and could be moved at or before the deadline. I think if Atlanta had better support they could afford to bring in the final couple players they need to be a contender look for movment in Atlanta come deadline day.
- I am glad so many young talents have been able to play for a guy like Jim Rutherford, he is great GM the only person still hanging on from the Hartford Whalers days. Jim has so much experiance and has done very well in both building his current team and building for years to come.
- With as many as 8 UFA's this off season, Jimmy might move some of the smaller names to free up the already 10 million available under the cap, the Canes are not a conteder this year but should be very shortly with both Staal and Ward signed long term they can really build around these two guys.
- In future players Jim has a great AHL affliate in Charolette, and a Junior team in the ECHL which hosts Eric's youngest brother Jared Staal, when you have two Staals on one team big things can happen, Jared Staal has alot to prove as a player being the less talented of the 4 boys, but he will skate in Carolina with Eric soon.
- Some fourth liner and prospects could be moved for draft picks, and Jim Rutherford could also stand to acquire a better second string tender. Rumors have been coming from Carolina as well Sergei Samsonov and Jiri Tlusty both want out of the Canes organization both are UFAs at seasons end so Jim could move them now or lose them later it could go either way.
- Florida was not been a conteder since they made there miracle run to the Finals in 1996 losing to the Avs in four straight. and it will be a few years before they are even playoff ready, and in a division like the Southeast that is a stretch, lets start with the rumors out of Miami, Thomas Vokoun is in the last year of his deal and wants to be moved, he is a great talent and is wasting his career in Florida as well as Higgins, McCabe, Reasoner, Bernier all want to be moved, I would move all of them for stronger players, and they are 6 million under the cap as well.
- Dale Tallon who help build the Hawks into a great team is now in charge of the Panthers and he likes the deadline and the draft picks, lets face it he had built the Hawks the same way. If he is traded or kept until the end of the season McCabe is done in Florida, but if Tallon was smart he would move McCabe at the deadline might as well get something for him before he walks away and you get nothing.
- Stillman is long in the tooth and wants to be on a contender, sure who wouldnt want to live in a climate like Florida but when your staring down the barrel of your career coming to a close, a contender is where you want to be. And Stillman is a great player who can still throw the body, turn over pucks, move the puck and score who woulndt want to make a title run with Cory Stillman on there side, I would rather play with Stillman then against.
- Dale Tallon has alot fo work to do and he will have alot of long days and sleepless nights ahead of him, he has a huge task of building a conteder in Florida for the first time in over ten years, Good luck, look for lots of movement in Florida, I will be shocked if McCabe is still a Panther or re-signed after the deadline.
- Yzerman has walked into a honey of a deal, he is the GM of one of the up and coming young teams and to boot he has a contender in Tampa, unlike the Panthers in Miami Tampa does not have a basketball team to contend with for the attention, they do have the Bucs of the NFL but they are done for the season so the bolts have the full attention of Tampa Bay and surrounding cities.
- Best move by Yzerman, picking up Roloson, I know it doesnt really sound like a blockbuster deal but Yzerman picked up a goalie wh ohas proven himself as a tender in the NHL with many different teams, first in Minnesota then Edmonton and he will do it again in Tampa at 41 he still shows sparks of not slowing down. Roloson has made two cup runs one as Hasiks back up in Buffalo and one with Edmonton before falling to injury before the Finals against the Canes
- Tampa is a scary team to play against when you have a line up like Stamkos, St Louis Lecavlier, Malone, Kubina and Ohlund staring at you I would be nervous, but Yzerman will not be a mover on deadline day, as he has made it crystal clear, he will not move a 1st, 2nd or 3rd rounder in the next two seasons, so he must be using the draft to build, but maybe he will move a couple late rounders.
- Dont forget that Yzerman will have to clear some cap sapce for Stammer the Hammer who is looking for a big pay day, so I think that this will be a monumental task, to make this happen Yzerman will need to be very very crafty. Only 2.2 Million in free cap space Yzerman is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do not expect a lot of moves in Tampa Bay but look for them in the playoffs
- With the Siging of Semin for next season the Caps will be a force again in 2011-12 season and the career signing of Alexander the Great, the Caps are Cup hungry and have shown that in the last couple years. However they are still missing a few pieces to the puzzle.
- Early trades this season seen the departure of Fleichmann who was sent to the Avas, for the ever popular Scott Hannan, which was a great move by McPhee, who shored up a solid defence with that trade. Together with Eric Carlson Mike Green Tom Poti and more give the Caps the best defence in perhaps the NHL, Carlson was made famous be his great play at the world juniors with Team USA.
- I think George McPhee has built a real contender in the District of Columbia, and has the best mixture or young stars and older vets to help guide the team, the only untested part of the Capitals team is the goaltending, two untested tenders can speel disaster for any team, and these guys will have all of Washington on there soilders come playoff team, but it does not stop there McPhee has a grat goalie coach in Arters Irbe made famous by his play with the Sharks.
- I can;t see alot of movement in the Caps organization at the deadline, with the Caps having great resources in the AHL in both Braden Holtby (G) and Brian Fahey (D), this team is finally headed in the right direction, the only movement I can see is draft picks and prospects.
With the Eastern Conferences, Southeast Division so tight, I cant see movment here on trade day except Florida, this division may be the most boring one to watch at the deadline. I do believe however that there will be a Cup winner in the Southeast Division soon possably in the next 5 years.
The Hockey Guru
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