The Buffalo Sabres will face a whole new crop of players in the Northeast Division next season, thanks in large part to the free agent period which opened on July 5.
Free agency is just three days old, but already, teams in the division have strengthened their rosters in preparation for the 2013-2014 NHL season. There’s been a lot of shake-ups in the past few days, so let’s take a look at what the Sabres have to face when the season opens in October.
Added: Jarome Iginla, Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joseph Morrow
Subtracted: Aaron Johnson, Anton Khudobin, Andrew Ference, Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverly
The addition of Jarome Iginla to the Boston Bruins line-up will certainly be an interesting one, especially after the debacle that went down last season regarding his decision to sign with Pittsburgh. In addition to free agency, the Bruins swapped Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverly and acquired right winger Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and defenseman Joseph Morrow. Eriksson is often touted as the most underrated player in the league (though, can that be correct if EVERYONE says it… wouldn’t that make him quite talked about and not underrated at all?) It’ll be interesting to see how he fares in the Eastern Conference.
Added: Stefan Fournier, Nick Tarnasky, Daniel Briere, George Parros
Subtracted: Frederic St. Denis, Michael Ryder
The Canadiens’ free agency moves haven’t been big, but they’ve added trades to up the impact. Fournier was signed from the QMJHL, while Tarnasky may end up being an AHL move for the Hamilton Bulldogs. The biggest free agency move so far for the Habs has been the addition of former Sabres captain Daniel Briere. Via trades, the Habs also acquired big-man George Parros and prospect Christian Thomas. Parros will add size to the Habs team, while Briere’s return to Buffalo as a member of the Canadiens organization is a storyline waiting to happen.
Added: Clarke MacArthur, Bobby Ryan
Subtracted: Daniel Alfredsson, Peter Regin, Andre Benoit
Clearly the biggest deal here is the departure of long-time Senator Daniel Alfredsson. The captain’s choice to sign elsewhere has certainly shaken up the Sens community, but it’s a factor the team will have to deal with in the coming months and regroup prior to the season’s beginning. The addition of former Sabre Clark MacArthur means he’s now played with three of the five teams in the division. Ottawa also acquired forward Bobby Ryan from the Anaheim Ducks via trade. Ryan has never played for any NHL team aside from Anaheim, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fares in the Eastern Conference going forward.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Added: Trevor Smith, T.J. Brennan, David Clarkson, Dave Bolland, Jonathan Bernier
Subtracted: Clarke MacArthur, Mike Komisarek, Mike Mottau, Ryan Hamilton, Mikhail Grabovski
The addition of David Clarkson has made a splash in the Toronto hockey world. Clarkson spent his entire career – dating back to 2006 – with the Devils, playing in 426 regular season games for the team. Former Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans defenseman T.J. Brennan will compete for a spot with the Leafs, but may end up back in the AHL if he doesn’t make the big squad. Via trades, the Leafs have also acquired forward Dave Bolland and goaltender Jonathan Bernier. The buyout of Mikhail Grabovski and the re-signing of forward Tyler Bozak are other notable moves by the Leafs.
Of course, the Northeast Division isn’t the only one being bolstered by trades and free agency. Other notable moves in the Eastern Conference include the Philadelphia Flyers signing Vincent Lecavalier, Matt Cooke’s departure to the Western Conference from the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the jumps of several players from the Western Conference to the East, including: Dominic Moore, Rostislav Olesz, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Ray Emery and Rob Scuderi.