2009 NHL Preview: Florida Panthers

We’ve partnered with On Goal Analysis to bring you a team-by-team preview of the upcoming NHL season. (Just scroll down on the OGA website and hit the calendar.) Here is the preview for the Edmonton Oilers…

Team Play: ISSUE – The Blueline. Truthfully, Florida has more than a couple of question marks among the forward lines, too, but the New & Not-Necessarily-Improved blueline corps (Now Bouwmeester Free!!!) earns OGA’s focus. In addition to the departure of Jay “30-minutes-a-night” Bouwmeester, Florida also said goodbye to Nick Boynton (now with Anaheim), Karlis Skrastins (Dallas), and apparently, to Jassen Cullimore (UFA), as well. Replacing those ‘Cats are Jordan Leopold, Ville Koistinen, and…who else? Well, that’s why they have training camp every year, right? – To find the answers to such questions. Seriously, the Panthers have invited veterans Martin Skoula and Christian Backman (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) to camp, and they’ll compete with a handful of rookies for available roster spots. No matter who ends up on the Opening Night roster, the Panthers’ defensemen have big skates (and minutes) to fill.

Click here to read the rest of the preview (which includes the site’s unique Playoff Qualifying Curve and fantasy information) at the On Goal Analysis site.

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Calgary Flames burn out phone lines at NHL trade deadline

This was a strange NHL trading deadline. I was a little disappointed in the lack of big name players changing uniforms. In total, 22 trades (involving 47 players) were completed. And the biggest name that was traded (Olli Jokinen) has never played in a playoff game in his 10-year career.

The Calgary Flames became a legitimate contender in the Western Conference after acquiring D Jordan Leopold from the Colorado Avalanche and Jokinen from the Phoenix Coyotes in separate deadline deals. Leopold is a great fit that could make their backline the most imposing in the league. Jokinen played his best hockey under current Flames coach Mike Keenan during their time together in Florida. He is a great scorer but not a great on-ice leader, though Calgary offers him a fresh start. It’s a veteran squad that will not ask Jokinen to provide leadership in the locker room, just puckss in the net.

A nice day’s work for Coyote GM Don Maloney, as his agenda yesterday was to cut payroll…

Read the rest after the jump...

NHL Trade Deadline: Deal or no deal?

With hours remaining before the NHL’s trading deadline at 3 PM (ET) today, hockey fans want to know…

Who’s buying?

Who’s selling?

Who’s going to be traded?

Rumors are running rampant, and it’s very hard to distinguish fact from fiction. 25 of 30 teams in the league have a realistic shot of making the playoffs, and nine of them are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. You can expect a number of trades today, as a combined 50 deals were executed at the trade deadline in the past two years.

Here are six likely candidates:

Chris Pronger – D, Anaheim Ducks
His immediate impact as an offensive defenseman could be very beneficial to any team that would acquire him. The Ducks are looking to make a major roster overhaul this off-season, and cannot afford to keep Pronger’s large contract ($6.25 million) on the cap next season. He is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) after the 2009-10 season.

Read the rest after the jump...

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