Last weekend's free-agent dynamos:
1. LOS ANGELES KINGS -- For all the hype surrounding the Rangers, the Kings quietly made out like bandits on the weekend, signing Ladislav Nagy, Michael Handzus, Tom Preissing and Kyle Calder. Those guys ain't superstars but they'll all add a strong veteran presence to a lineup featuring young guns like Mike Cammalleri, Anze Kopitar and Alexander Frolov. We smell a standings climb.
2. NEW YORK RANGERS -- Not so fast, wannabe hockey expert. Yeah, the Rangers overspent worse than Charles Barkley at Casino Niagara, signing forwards Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. But, as the wise Bob McKenzie points out, the Blueshirts have loads of cap space, even after the double-whammy signing. Why not corner the market if you can afford to?
3. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS -- Philly made an early splash by snatching Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timmonen from Nashville last week. The Flyers then convinced Daniel Briere to sell his soul and brought in Joffrey Lupul and Jason Smith. Sure, they lost one of the game's best young defenders in Joni Pitkanen, but no one can deny they'll be significantly better next season.
ONE TEAM THAT MADE MIKE MILBURY LOOK LIKE BRIAN BURKE: NEW YORK ISLANDERS -- Who better to receive the Milbury award than the Isles? Honourable mention to Buffalo, but at least the Sabres still have youth to build around. The Islanders, on the other hand, were riddled with vets, most of whom have blown town. They're looking at a top line of Jeff Tambellini, Andy Hilbert and Trent Hunter right now. WOW.
Maybe this is phase two of operation Fuck Ted Nolan. Poor Ted. First he's blacklisted after winning the Jack Adams. Now he's trapped into coaching the NHL equivalent of those Timbits children who flop on the ice during intermissions at Leaf games.
Or maybe the Islanders are garbage because THEIR BACKUP GOALIE BECAME THEIR GENERAL MANAGER.