Even though the season has already started, I’m going to run down all our new guys as I continue to update my categories. I don’t think anybody’s really surprised that I didn’t get this done in the summer, right?
Anyway. Let’s start with…
Alex Goligoski: (I’m even later on him than everybody else, aren’t I?) Joe Nieuwendyk traded little Matty Niskanen and James Neal to the Penguins for Goligoski.
Even at the time, I could understand why Niskanen and Neal had to go. You can’t get somebody like Goligoski without trading the likes of those two. I liked both of those kids, but I also really, really like Goligoski.
He had a head start on the other new guys because he came over midway through last season, and this season he’ll be able to start at the beginning, knowing what goes on and what the team is like. He’s an offensive defenseman and he appears to be very good at it. I tend to lament the lack of credit that defensive defensemen get, because they’re my favorite kind, and therefore I underrate the offensive types sometimes.
Goligoski appears to have pretty good hockey sense to go along with his shot and his skating. For a pretty young guy, he plays like somebody that’s seen a lot. I noticed in the opening game, that he was basically the only one of his whole shift that could pass the puck directly to another player. He seemed to know, before he passed, if the receiver was left- or right-handed. The reason I noticed this is because the other defensemen were having trouble with this.
Michael Ryder: He signed as a free agent from Boston, fresh off winning the Stanley Cup. I hear that he and Mike Ribeiro were successful linemates back in Ribs’ Montreal days, so that’s good. It was a while ago, so it’s not a given that it will happen again, but I’m keeping an open mind. I also hear that he is a shooter first and that he won the Cup last year with Boston. That’s pretty much all I know about him.
Sheldon Souray: When teams had to trade to get him, I was totally against Souray. I firmly believe that he’s not the Souray everybody talks about. When Edmonton, who came in dead last two years in a row, can’t find a place for him, I know we shouldn’t give up anybody for him. But at a million dollars and for one season? Ehn, ‘sokay. I have no expectations that he’ll be much help, but if he is, then great.
Two things about Souray, though. One, his experience in Edmonton should be a lesson to players that sign with teams for way too much and for way too long. You’re almost assured to be leaving that town loathed. Rich, I guess, but loathed. No matter how well Brad does in NYC for the first couple of years, in the eighth year, he will be loathed. If that doesn’t bother him, then more power to him.
Two, I’m dreading a whole year of the lame lame lame nickname of “Studly Wonderbomb.” GAH! It was kind of funny the first time Razor called him that. Years ago. And it was funny more because he said it than the words themselves. Thousands of repetitions later, it is not funny. It wasn’t funny the first repetition. My eyes are going to be sore from rolling them.
Vernon Fiddler: I love this signing. I have only heard about him a little and kind of watched him when I was following the Coyotes. But the thing I have heard about him is that he’s a good defensive forward and a penalty killing specialist. And if that’s true, then that’s all I need to know. Already, in the first four games, the PK is much, much better.
Radek Dvorak: Another guy I like. I liked watching him when I went on a Panthers kick at the end of last season and the season before. He’s speedy and kind of a different style. And he’s pretty good-looking. Joe Nieuwendyk knows which side his bread is buttered on.
Jake Dowell: I’ve basically never heard of him. Kind of recognized the name, but that’s it. So I don’t know what to look for or what to hope for. Best of luck to him.
Eric Nystrom: Ditto.
Welcome to Texas, boys.