There is nothing quite like the start of any new sports season. Every team is filled with unbridled optimism that this year is going to be a championship year. For the teams that found success last year, you may reflect on all the awesomeness you displayed last year over your opposition. Players are getting older, more experienced and every team can do an equal amount of trash talking before the puck drops. If your team is not so good, you can throw caution to the wind because, hey! It’s a new season, and anything can happen! The worse your team was the year before, the better the underdog story will be when they win it all! I am pretty sure I have seen that kind of turn around in a Disney movie before, so you know it’s totally possible.
With the start of a new season, also comes with it a previous off-season that came with it change. New coaches, draft picks, trades, free agents, all elements that can drastically alter the future of any franchise. Every off-season teams are duped into a signing that they regret. Overpaid players, coaches that don’t fit the system or draft busts can cripple any promising franchises. In this past off-season there are 10 names that are worth keeping an eye on.
Change is coming to some franchises in the NHL, and these men are the people that are going to help instill that change. Whether they are young prospects, new coaches or grizzled veterans, as these teams are about to find out there are many ways to build a championship team.
10 Mike Babcock - Toronto Maple Leafs
9 Brandon Saad - Columbus Blue Jackets
8 Phil Kessel - Pittsburgh Penguins
7 Eddie Lack - Carolina Hurricanes
6 Connor McDavid - Edmonton Oilers
5 Todd McLellan - Edmonton Oilers
4 Milan Lucic - LA Kings
3 Brandon Sutter - Vancouver Canucks
2 Andrej Sekera - Edmonton Oilers
1 Kevin Bieksa - Anaheim Ducks
I might be biased because I loved Juice. As a longtime Canuck fan, I knew the highs and lows of Bieksa all too well. That being said, I will never forget him getting the overtime goal that sent us to the Stanley Cup finals. Bieksa was one of the images of the Canucks, and his departure will be felt beyond just what he brings to the ice. Bieksa joins an extremely talented Ducks team that seems on the brink of a Stanley Cup appearance. Bieksa adds veteran leadership along with the really cool nickname of Juice. He will be missed.
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