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in FanArts 18.09.2018 07:58
von hongwei28 • Jonin | 301 Beiträge

Several signings and one big trade drastically shifted the balance of power across the NHL in a matter of days.

With John Tavares going home to Toronto Darian Thompson Jersey , Paul Stastny leaving Winnipeg for Vegas, St. Louis signing three free agents and trading for Ryan O’Reilly, the landscape of the league has changed. The Washington Capitals are bringing back a vast majority of their team, the Western Conference is loaded and yet the Maple Leafs now appear to be Stanley Cup favorites after adding Tavares.

”He’s one of the best players in the league,” Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman said. ”And I think it’s obvious to say that Toronto is a better team today with that acquisition.”

Tavares’ decision to leave the New York Islanders knocks them out of contender status and puts a whole lot of pressure on coach Mike Babcock’s Maple Leafs to make a deep playoff run. Losing out on Tavares despite reportedly offering more money than the Maple Leafs’ $77 million over 11 years kept the Sharks from moving into front-runner status in the West – but they may not be done yet.

”We pride ourselves on being able to take a swing on difference makers like this,” San Jose GM Doug Wilson said. ”John was the one that we wanted to swing at.”

The Sharks, who extended Logan Couture and re-signed Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl to keep their core together, have plenty of tradable assets and will keep swinging for a difference-maker. One is off the market following the Blues‘ trade for O’Reilly that now gives them a potent 1-2-3 punch down the middle with Brayden Schenn and free agent signing Tyler Bozak.

O’Reilly saw the Blues sign Bozak to a $15 million, three-year contract and wondered if there wasn’t room for him anymore. Now they have centers to match up with just about any opponent in the league.

”You look at all the teams that have success, they definitely have guys down the middle that compete,” O’Reilly said Monday. ”And I’m thrilled to be a part of that.”

The Capitals boasted depth with Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom and Lars Eller during their Cup run, and Babcock can now roll out Tavares, Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri. Vegas lost talent on the wing with David Perron going to St. Louis and James Neal signing with Calgary but now has a very competitive center corps led by Stastny Joey Bosa Jersey , William Karlsson and Erik Haula.

”We do like having centers,” Golden Knights GM George McPhee said. ”You can move centers around the lineup, you can have centers on the wing. You can’t get wingers to play center.”

Here’s a look at where a few more teams stand early in the preparations for the 2018-19 season:

GOT WHAT THEY NEED

LIGHTNING: Signing Tavares would’ve been a luxury and might’ve necessitated a roster makeover just to fit him under the salary cap. Tampa Bay signed restricted free agent forward J.T. Miller to a long term deal, extended defenseman Ryan McDonagh, got a deal done with Slater Koekkoek and should have much of the same team that won the Atlantic Division last season.

”We try to improve our team,” Yzerman said. ”I don’t sense that we have a need to change just to change.”

FLAMES: Inking Neal to a $28.75 million, five-year contract would be a nice capper to the Flames‘ offseason that began with acquiring center Elias Lindholm and defenseman Noah Hanifin from Carolina. New coach Bill Peters could put Neal or Lindholm on right wing with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

GM Brad Treliving’s final tasks this offseason are to find a backup goaltender to Mike Smith and sign restricted free agents Lindholm and Hanifin to new contracts.

KINGS: Long-term , signing franchise defenseman Drew Doughty to an $88 million, eight-year extension is the most important thing Los Angeles did. In the shorter term, it also won the competition for returning Russian winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who GM Rob Blake believes can play with either top-six center, Anze Kopitar or Jeff Carter, and produce at age 35.

”That scoring-type winger was something that we needed to add,” Blake said. ”Where he plays on the power play and the way he scores goals with his shot I think is something we’ve coveted or looked for.”

WORK LEFT TO DO

SENATORS: They traded Mike Hoffman Jeremy Kerley Jersey , bought out Alexandre Burrows but still have at least one big problem with the future of Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson. The Senators have reportedly given Karlsson’s camp permission to speak with other teams about a contract – which is expected to look a whole lot like Doughty’s deal – which would open to door to Ottawa trading its captain rather than losing him for nothing like the Islanders did when Tavares wouldn’t sign early.

”We start Oct. 4,” GM Pierre Dorion said Sunday in Ottawa. ”We’ve got lots of time.”

OILERS: Connor McDavid won the scoring title and the Ted Lindsay award as the players’ choice for most outstanding player, and yet Edmonton missed the playoffs by 17 points. GM Peter Chiarelli publicly dangled the 10th pick in the draft to try to get an offensive defenseman and hasn’t been able to acquire one yet.

Meanwhile, left wing Milan Lucic is 30, coming off a 34-point dud of a season and still has five years left on his contract at a $6 million annual cap hit. Lucic’s name has come up in trade talks, but moving him now won’t be easy, so the Oilers have to prepare for life with him next season.

”He’s a proud guy and we expect to have him back and at a Shortly after winning her 40th career World Cup race on Sunday, overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin drew praise from one of her main rivals for ”taking the sport to another level.”

Beaten by 1.64 seconds in a slalom on the Podkoren course, Frida Hansdotter had mixed feelings about the American’s dominance.

”It’s frustrating, but it is also good for the sport,” said the Swede, the only skier other than Shiffrin to win the season-long World Cup slalom title in the past five years.

Shiffrin has won 20 of the last 25 slaloms she competed in, and finished on the podium in four of the other five races. Her 29 slalom wins in total leaves her six short of the record set by Austria’s Marlies Schild.

”She is super fast,” Hansdotter said. ”All of us want to ski faster than her but she is on another level. We need to train harder and ski faster.”

The Olympic slalom champion certainly was fast while taking a 1.47-second lead in Sunday’s opening leg Peyton Barber Jersey , which Shiffrin called ”maybe the best run of slalom I have ever done in a race.”

It was the fourth straight slalom race where Shiffrin held a first-run lead of more than a second, a huge margin in a sport often decided by hundredths of a second.

”I let it go down the hill and I am really, really happy with my skiing that run,” said Shiffrin, who also triumphed in Saturday’s giant slalom on the same course. ”I am always looking to do the skiing that I do in training. That feels really good, it’s confident, it’s flowing. The surface is incredible and froze overnight so it’s just so much fun to ski.”

Shiffrin posted the third-fastest time in the final leg and beat Hansdotter once again, while Wendy Holdener was 1.87 behind in third for the Swiss skier’s 13nd career slalom podium without winning – a World Cup record.

”Sometimes it’s frustrating but it is still a good fight,” Holdener said.

Petra Vlhova of Slovakia, the only skier to beat Shiffrin in a slalom this season, was 2.18 behind in fourth.

The result put the American level with Sweden great Ingemar Stenmark for the number of World Cup victories before turning 23.

Only Annemarie Moser-Proell won more races (41) at that age, and Shiffrin can match the Austrian great’s record at a night slalom in Flachau on Tuesday.

”I have so much fun skiing today,” said Shiffrin, who has won seven of the last eight races Khairi Fortt Jersey , including all four in 2018. ”I feel so like in a good place, it doesn’t feel like I am dreaming, it doesn’t feel like it’s something crazy that’s happening. It just feels like I am skiing really well and I am starting to feel that in the races more and more.”

Her two wins this weekend easily earned Shiffrin the Golden Fox Trophy, which adds the slalom results to those of Saturday’s GS.

It was another confirmation that Shiffrin, initially excelling in slalom, has become a consistent winner in both technical disciplines.

”That’s huge, that has been one of my goals since forever,” Shiffrin said. ”So it’s so cool now that I can be a contender for the win in both slalom and GS.”

Shiffrin’s triumphant run has seen her lead in the overall standings increase to 721 points over second-place Holdener, while she leads Vlhova in the slalom standings by 235 points.

Not that she will take anything for granted because, as Shiffrin said, ”there are quite a few who have the ability to win. It’s still competition.”

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