It has been a busy offseason for the NY area hockey teams. Each team has made some major decisions concerning the future of their franchise:
The New York Rangers started their offseason by firing the always controversial head coach John Tortorella and replacing him with the Alain Vigneault. Afterwards a huge decision had to be made concerning the contract of Brad Richards, who did not play up to his contract this season. Instead of releasing him, General Manager Glen Sather decided to give Richards a chance at redemption next season. Sather did, however, put Arron Asham and Darrel Powe on waivers. He also did not resign Ryane Clowe. By doing this, the Rangers saved money to resign their homegrown talent. First they resigned their star defenseman, Ryan McDonagh, to a extension of six years for $28.2 million. Next they signed the speedy Carl Hagelin to a two year deal for $4.5 million. They also signed free agents Dominic Moore, Aaron Johnson, and Justin Falk. Their next move this offseason should be to resign Derek Stepan. Either way this Rangers team is starting to shape up.
The New York Islanders had a great season making the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Their first order of business was the NHL Draft, where they drafted Defenseman Ryan Pulock with the 15th overall pick. However, their big move at the Draft came in a trade. They traded forward Nino Niederreiter to the Minnesota Wild for Cal Clutterbuck. After the Draft the Islanders decided it was finally time to release goalie Rick DiPietro. He had signed a huge 15-year contract with the Islanders back in 2006, but has had so many injuries that he has barely played. While releasing DiPietro they resigned goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who had a great season leading the Islanders into the post season. They also resigned Travis Harmonic to a seven-year deal. Other notable moves the Islanders made were signing Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
The biggest offseason has to go to the New Jersey Devils. Their offseason can only be described as a rollercoaster ride. Starting at the NHL Draft, the Devils had the 9th overall pick. They decided to trade that pick to the Vancouver Canucks for goalie Cory Schneider. The Devils then decided to draft future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur’s son Anthony Brodeur, who is also a goalie. The Devils made sure they resigned Patrik Elias, Dainius Zubrus, and Marek Zidlicky, who are important pieces to the team. They also aqquired Riley Boychuk from the Buffalo Sabers, and signed Ryane Clowe away from the New York Rangers. The biggest news, however, came on Thursday, when star forward Ilya Kovalchuck announced his retirement. He still had 12 years and $77 million left on his contract. This now leaves a big gap in the offensive game for the Devils, who also lost David Clarkson (signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs). However, Devils fans should not be worried yet. Furthermore, General Manager Lou Lamoriello can pull something out of his magic hat.
Anthony Rivera: PureSportsNY