A lot of tough guys moved around with the opening of free agency. Based on these moves and the likelihood of who may actually get playing time, which teams does everyone anticipate being in the running for the NHL's toughest?
Looking at last year's finalists:
New York Rangers
: The Rangers "lost" John Scott
, though he was barely a part of the team. The departure of Brandon Prust
was filled in with the signing of Arron Asham
. Micheal Haley
was added as well. Could the blueshirts roll out Michael Rupp
, with Asham, Haley and Stu Bickel
? That could keep them atop toughness votings.
: Pretty much stayed the same in toughness. No significant moves.
:Right now they are down one forward. After traded away James van Riemsdyk
and losing Jaromir Jagr to the Dallas Stars
, the team has added one forward, Ruslan Fedotenko
. Though none of the three are fighters, the extra spot could mean more playing time for Tom Sestito
, who the Flyers re-signed, or Jody Shelley
. Zac Rinaldo
likely has his spot on the fourth line intact after being the only Flyers player to have a pair of balls in their Game 5 loss to the New Jersey Devils
: Went from having one of the league's best 1-2-3's with Matt Carkner
, Chris Neil
and Zenon Konopka
, to having just Chris Neil
(and possibly a Francis Lessard
: Lost George Parros
, gained Brad Staubitz
New York Islanders
: Made up for the loss of Micheal Haley
by adding two top-ten heavyweights in Matt Carkner
and Eric Boulton
. There is a chance both could play, since Carkner is a defenseman and Boulton is a forward. However, with Trevor Gillies
being relagated to the AHL last season, there is a good chance the organization may only use one. Carkner would be more likely.
: Added Zenon Konopka
to ride shotgun with Matt Kassian
. Suddenly a good 1-2 combination.
New Jersey Devils
: Lost Eric Boulton
, gained Krys Barch
: Lost Krys Barch
, gained George Parros
: Lost Staubitz, gained Prust.
I think our top 5 next year will be, NYR, BOS, NYI, PHI, and either NJ or MIN.
Let me know if I've missed anything.
*Also, I'm not including Montreal here to say they're going to be tough, I just tried to note the most major moves.