This summer wasn’t too exciting, but there were some big moves throughout the NHL. A few big name free agency signings, and even a few trades including some big names. Overall, it wasn’t terrible, just really slow.
We’re over a week into the season now, and there have been quite a few newcomers that have played really well. Some are playing in a one year deal trying to prove their long term worth, some just trying to live up to the expectations that come with the money they were given, and others are trying to live up to the expectations that came when they were traded.
First, we have Nathan Gerbe, who signed a one year deal worth $550,000 after being bout out by the Buffalo Sabres. Gerbe went from a cap hit worth $1.45 million to $550,000. Gerbe has something to prove this season, and he’s playing well for the Carolina Hurricanes. Gerbe has skated in five games, scoring three goals, including the game winner against the Capitals on Thursday night, and an added an assist as well the other night. Gerbe has also contributed 23 shots on goal so far this year. Gerbe is showing his knack for making sure everyone knows when he’s on the ice, and he’s making that $550,000 look like the bargain of the first four games. It will be interesting to see if he’s going to be able to keep it up throughout the year.
Bobby Ryan was traded from the Anaheim Ducks to the Ottawa Senators in July. Ryan’s contract goes through next season, so he’s not playing for a contract just yet, but he is playing to win over the hearts of Senators fans after losing Daniel Alfredsson. Ryan has played well in the four games the Senators have had so far this season. Ryan scored his first goal Wednesday night and added another Saturday night, he also has two assists on the season. Ryan has some big shoes to fill in Ottawa, because whether anyone will admit it or not, he’s now stepping into the shoes Alfredsson left.
Mikhail Grabovski had a rather messy departure from Toronto after the Leafs bought him out this summer. He took a while to finally get himself a contract, but he finally got a one year deal with the Washington Capitals. Grabo came out opening night and scored a hat trick against the defending Stanley Cup champs. He’s added two assists as well in the other four games this season. Grabo is putting up points, and benefiting from the best powerplay in the league. He’s looking for a long term deal this summer, and if he can keep this up, he’ll get it.
Jonathan Bernier was traded from the Kings to the Maple Leafs this summer, and if I remember correctly, every one threw a fit because “the Leafs didn’t need a goalie”. Maybe not, James Reimer is more than capable of playing well, but Bernier is a better goalie in my opinion, and the two of them make a nasty combonation in net. Bernier is off to an awesome start this season, and no one’s complaining anymore. He’s 4-1 in four starts, he has a goals against average of 1.74, a save percentage of .946%, and a shut out on the season. Bernier was a great pick up for the Leafs, and if he keeps this up, the Leafs will win a lot of games this year.
Jakob Silfverberg was brought into Anaheim in the trade for Bobby Ryan, and he’s making Anaheim GM Bob Murray look like a genius. Silfverberg has scored four goals and added an assist in four games so far this season for the Ducks. Silfverberg has played great for the Ducks so far this season. He’s doing a good job of making Anaheim look like they got the better end of the deal this summer.