This week was quite uneventful in terms of news outside of some of the cuts and injuries to some of the teams, so why not go ahead and discuss that in a nice little place, for sure.
1. With the injury to Josh Harding, can the Wild survive with a rookie back-up??
First, Josh Harding has some of the worst hockey luck ever, that freak injury cementing the argument, for sure. Second, I think that the Wild will wait and see what happens with Niklas Backstrom and how he's able to get back into the groove after a bit of a down year for him. Should he falter a bit, then they'll see what Anton Khudobin is able to handle-- and I think he'll be able to get some chances before the Wild go out and get someone like Jose Theodore or try to trade for a goalie at that point. It's very possible that Khudobin can carry the limited load he gets, but it also depends on how the rest of the team is doing in order to properly gauge what to do in net. If the team isn't doing much to help out, then they may as well stay with what they have because regardless of what happens; it won't help much if the team isn't doing much.
2. Is there anything good that can come out of all the injuries the Islanders have suffered??
It's not like all is lost, but losing Kyle Okposo for half a season and Mark Streit for mostly all of the season; it's a hard hit from it all. Sure, they already have John Tavares to anchor most of the offense, Josh Bailey, Rob Schremp, and Matt Moulson will chip in here and there, plus Nino Niederreiter will get a nice look, but it'll be interesting to see if the Isles will use up a year on his contract for this year or play it safe and send him back to the WHL. If nothing else, the Islanders could play spoiler; as no one is suspecting them to do much of anything and be the underdogs who come up big.
3. Is there anything that can get Jonathan Cheechoo back into a wanted player on any team??
Personally, I believe it's a mental game for Cheechoo to get over before he can be free-wheeling again. He had a Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals in a season under his belt, but since then-- his goals and points stats have gone down. There has to be some kind of block because it wasn't like he was a scrub while developing to have one good year of glory; but if he gets a comfortable situation and actually has chemistry with his team-- then he should be golden. However, I don't think he'll be able to get a fair shake due to the buzz around him and the microscope. Dallas could have been a great fit, but it seems they didn't think the same-- especially since they have one underachiever in Fabian Brunnstrom to deal with.
4. Any surprises so far from the first couple of round of cuts??
In Phoenix, I was taken a-back that Mikkel Boedker was sent to the AHL, but he'll most likely be a shuttle player for a bit until someone gets injured. But there's not much in terms of shock value in terms of cuts. Teams are going to go by the book and with the guys they have signed just due to most of the cap issues (self-imposed or league-imposed) and you won't see many guys who will be a surprise and crack the line-up unless they're on a lesser team. You can see the guys in Edmonton and Toronto doing it and making noise, just because they're the stars of the future-- today!!
5. Who returns to the NHL first: Sheldon Souray or Wade Redden??
That's a tough call, as both are really shunned by their teams and the rest of the NHL it seems. However, if I'm going to go out on a limp, I'll have to say Redden is going to be the guy who shows back in the NHL first. He seems like a guy who's accepting of his position being sent down and really not making a big commotion about how he's been received and treated by the Rangers brass. Whether it be through trade or re-entry waivers; he'll be back well before Souray because it seems Souray will cost a pretty penny for a bigger risk (injury and personal), even though he could provide a bigger reward. Redden should be back before Souray because he seems more willing to just go with the flow.
That said, if the contract issue was something to look at, Souray would be a better bet because he has two less years on his contract and the whole upside on him will outweigh the downside....if you think that's a good fit for the team and if you treat him good enough that he doesn't run the organization down during the summer.
If you have an idea for questions or a theme for the F5, don't be afraid to email me at Scotty.Wazz@Gmail.com to get your ten-cents in (your two-cents is free) and be an interactive part of TSOoA. Plus, if you don't like what you read and didn't contribute-- you can't really complain because you slacked in participation. So there-- I'm not responsible for the F5 sucking.