What will this season be like if the lockout ends and the NHL opens it’s doors to the masses? There are some obvious answers – Tortorella will make some cub reporter run home crying, and the Phoenix Coyotes will remain in the perpetual state of “being sold.” (Hard to imagine they will be since they are yet to sell their product to the local fanbase)
But around the League there are interesting story lines that could end up adding some spice to what has so far been a season more boring than a Kings vs. Rangers cup final would have been.
Columbus Blue Jackets: With 2012-13 potentially being shortened this will be the most lucrative season in franchise history. Without having to pay a full season on player salaries it is reasonable to assume the loss column will have only two numbers preceding the 000,000’s on the deficit report.
Toronto Maple Leafs: While all stories currently focus on Brian Burke and his supposed pursuit of Luongo the more important move may result from his ongoing attempts to make Mats Sundin waive his No-Trade Clause.
Nashville Predators: Shea Webber almost obliterated the entire franchise this off season. Now, if they can harness all that potential energy and funnel it to the on ice product someone may actually remember the name of Carrie Underwood’s husband.
Anahiem Ducks: Not nearly so mighty last season and will have to deal with a slightly unstable Bobby Ryan, who thought it was time to migrate last spring and started searching for way to follow former head Duck Carlyle up North.
Calgary Flames: Clearly not looking for success this season, but it is hard to figure out Jay Feaster’s overall plan. Bucking the trend of playing prospects and swallowing a season spent in the basement, the Flames have opted for the Maple Leafs approach to rebuilding: Hold onto all old players, overpay midrange defensemen, draft poorly.
Ottawa Senators: Never one to be caught unprepared GM Bryan Murray is looking into speech therapy on the off chance the Sens need to call up Cody Ceci during the year.
Tampa Bay Lightning: While you should never trust someone who carries the biggest stick, wears the most padding and refuses to stand anywhere except behind you; the level of paranoia surrounding these masked men in Tampa is scary. Latest in the line of potential *CEC’s is Anders Lindback, now set to face the collective team effort to ship him out of town as they did with Roloson, Ellis, Smith, Nittymaki and Ramo.
*Career Ending Contracts