Order on the ice: Judging the winners and losers
2. Brad Richards, C, Dallas: Steady, point-per-game producer will provide an instant upgrade for any playoff wannabe.
3. James Wisniewski, D, Islanders: Is already with his third organization in the last two years. Should be on the move again, unless the Islanders need his $3.25 million salary to reach the cap floor.
2. Steve MacIntyre, LW, Edmonton: Like Boogaard, MacIntyre doesn’t scrap often (just four times last year) because he finds it hard to engage in a fight. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder locked up with Brian McGrattan last year in a full-tilt beaut. Big Mac can hurt guys with his thunder.
3. Colton Orr, RW, Toronto: Doesn’t have the punching power of the super-heavyweights, but isn’t afraid of anyone and will fight at any time. Milan Lucic doesn’t lose many bouts, but Orr delivered a beating to the Bruins forward last year.
2. Matt Cooke, LW, Pittsburgh: Players around the league would line up (and pay money) to see Cooke get his.
3. Patrick Kaleta, RW, Buffalo: Happy to take runs at anybody. More of a banger than chirper, but doesn’t shy away from mouthing off at other players.
2. United Center, Chicago: The excitement starts when the crowd goes wild for national anthem singer Jim Cornelison. Fans go home humming Chelsea Dagger for the next three days.
3. RBC Center, Carolina: Far quieter when the Hurricanes aren’t playing well. But given the area’s SEC bloodlines, the Raleigh rink is as noisy as any in the playoffs.
2. Ron Wilson, Toronto: If the Leafs sputter early, GM Brian Burke might have to turf his fellow Friar.
3. Peter DeBoer, Florida The former Kitchener boss could pay the price for not being GM Dale Tallon’s guy.
2. Claude Giroux, C, Philadelphia: Third-year pro will only pull in $765,000 this season. Chump change for a player who was almost a point-per-game guy in the playoffs.
3. Matt Carkner, D, Ottawa: Paying a glue guy $700,000 to stay healthy (81 games last year) and stick up for teammates (190 penalty minutes) is the definition of efficient cap management.
2. Brian Rolston, C, New Jersey: The ex-Bruin scored 20 goals in 80 games last season. But at just a shade north of $5 million annually, the 37-year-old is getting paid franchise bucks for a supporting role.
3. Jason Spezza, C, Ottawa: On the books for five more years at $7 million per. Too much scratch for a floating one-dimensional player.
2. Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay: The shoot-first center, due to make $875,000 in base salary, could be a 50-goal scorer for the rest of his career.
3. Zach Parise, LW, New Jersey: Could double his $3.125 million salary. And be worth it.
2. Tom Poti, D, Washington: Poti, who hails from Worcester, sees ice time in all situations.
3. Mike Mottau, D, Islanders: The Avon product will get big minutes on the Island.
2. Ilya Kovalchuk, RW, New Jersey: Between NewJersey and Atlanta, Kovalchuk averaged 1:04 per shift.
3. Mike Green, D, Washington: The offense-first defenseman’s average shift was 1:02, most of it watching opposing forwards blowhis doors off.
2. John Tavares, C, Islanders: Netted 24 goals as a rookie. Should plow through the 30-goal mark no problem.
3. Joe Pavelski, C, San Jose: With top pairings focused on the other Joe, Pavelski could hit point-per-game status.
2. Mark Recchi, RW, Boston: Credits red wine for his longevity in the game.
3. Mike Modano, C, Detroit: As a depth player in veteran machine, he could see spike in production with Red Wings.