Two questions for the masses
Free agency brings the bad with the good
A lot of the talk the past few days has centred on which teams have transformed themselves into contenders in the wake of July 1, but I decided to journey into the depths occupied by the NHL's soon-to-be bottom feeders, and it's downright scary.
In light of that, I have just two questions:
(1) Who on earth is going to play for the Islanders this season?
No one has been willing to sign on the dotted line with GM Garth Snow (the team press release sent out to 'insiders' late Sunday bordered on heartbreaking) and the handful of lost boys on the roster (now that fearless leader Alexei Yashin was rolled into a carpet) consists of Rick DiPietro, Mike (Suitcase) Sillinger, Miroslav Satan, Richard Park, Andy Hilbert, Trent Hunter, Brendan Witt, Radek Martinek, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Chris Campoli and Freddy Meyer.
The team has a starting goaltender, five forwards, five defencemen, and absolutely no hope of attracting any free agents. The fanbase, pitchforks in hand, have even been fed Mike Bossy in the hopes they'll call off the dual lynchings scheduled 24 hours from now for Snow and Charlie Wang.
The team is (unwisely) listing their roster based on 2006-07 statistics and the players they've acquired to this point, which consist of Jon Sim and his good friend nothing. Bergeron's third in team scoring at the moment, and Park's 26 points have him sixth among forwards. And it's not as if there's a lot of scoring punch to be had out there.
Snow's next 15-year deal better be headed Slava Kozlov's way or it's going to be a long one in Long Island.
How's that for a team slogan?
The truth of the matter is that Snow and company had an absolutely asinine approach going into the midpoint of last season, and mortgaged the team's already meagre futures for a few unrestricted free agents to the point that they were loaded with 11 of them by the off-season. Guess how many decided to stick around?
What did Ted Nolan do to deserve this?
(2) Which team has the worst roster at the moment and will they have trouble hitting the league minimum?
With all that said regarding the Islanders, I'm not even sure Snow has assembled(?) the NHL's weakest cast so far.
My vote goes to the Coyotes, whose summer has consisted of buying out Dave (Still in the league!) Scatchard, and where the Maple Leafs' backup for their backup last season is the starting netminder and Ed Jovanovski is due $7-million — or $3.5-million per season-ending groin pull.
Phoenix's forward corps include Shane Doan, Steve Reinprecht, Freddy Sjostrom and not much else.
As I said, it's downright scary — and especially so when you consider the garbage cast in place is due roughly $27-million as it currently stands.
“We just have to be smart about what we do,” Gretzky said.Who will pay to watch this team? Where is the hope here? Progress? Anybody?
It's unfathomable to me that, after missing the playoffs the past four seasons and hitting bottom repeatedly, the Coyotes are still at Ground Zero, trying desperately to unload undesirables like Nick Boynton and pinning their hopes on third-tier prospects like Sjostrom.
Given that even the Blackhawks, Kings, Blues, Capitals and Panthers have shown signs of life, Phoenix has been wholly passed in the turtle derby in the NHL's basement.
If this isn't the league's worst team this season, they've got only Garth Snow to thank.