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Off Season Follies

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So today I was reading that Columbus GM Doug McLean is reluctant to sign his talented young center Zherdev to a 3 or 4 year deal. I think any rational GM would have some concerns about a player who has turned in just a good half season so far in his career. But I find the whole think a bit amusing because Doug McLean has been the poster child for handing out bad contracts among the four most recent expansion clubs.

Consider the signing of Scott Lachance to an expensive deal. Or how about the fairly immobile Luke Richardson contract (Salary before: .875 million, salary 2.0 million after:). Or he threw semi-trucks worth of cash at Rick Nash after one good NHL season, WHEN HE DIDN'T HAVE TO DO IT because Nash was still a restricted free agent who was years away from free agency. Then Doug McLean made a big splash by inking defensive defenseman Adam Foote for a large sum of money (that worked out well, the Blue Jackets were ranked 29th in goals against and 28th in shots against the season prior to the Foote signing and they were ranked 26th in goals against and 28h in shots against after signing Foote).

Now that Columbus fans have reason to hope that their team might finally creep up out of the basement, McLean has a sudden pang of conscious about not overpaying his players.

Staying in the Central Division, another GM that deserves a LOT of second guessing is Detroit's Ken Holland. The Wings GM announced that Manny Legace would not be coming back for another stint in Detroit as the team would look elsewhere. One wonders exactly where were "elsewhere" is, because as of this moment their starter is Chris Osgood (who is cheap!) but he is also the guy that your coach thought was inferior to Legace. Now Legace sits out there unsigned and supposedly his price has fallen back toward the bargain range. I think Detroit would be wise to resign him because he is the best option left available, but after tossing him overboard you have to wonder if Legace would come back to Detroit.

Just looking over the rosters I think that Boston is the most improved team in the east (added Savard and Chara and got rid of Raycroft) and Minnesota looks much better in the west (added Demitra, made Gaborik happy and added Carney, Parrish and Kim Johnsson). These are mostly my gut feeling rather than anything based on real hard headed analysis, but I plan on running some numbers and posting some predictions about each team's ranking going into the next NHL season, but I'll wait until the last remaining roster spots get sorted out.