First came the signing of big 6'6" defender Andy Sutton to a 3 year deal, seemingly ending Snow's quest for blue-line help for the upcoming season. While a 3-year, $9M deal seems a bit steep to me (although who came at a bargain during this wild off-season?) he fills a need for a big, strong defensive-minded defenseman. I view him as a significant upgrade to what Hill brought to the team last year. He is +19 over his last two seasons with Atlanta, and adds a little offensive punch with over 20 points in 3 of his last 4 seasons. With someone of his size, speed is always a concern. But it may help to know that he was a forward most of his life, until he made the switch to D during college.
Next, Snow addressed the need for additional help at center by signing Josef Vasicek to a 1-year deal. Not a big name signing, but given what was available I think it was a smart move. He's been to the Cup Finals twice in his short career, including one win. You can't underestimate the value in the locker room of having players with good playoff experience. He's got good size and has shown real offensive potential. Here's hoping that Nolan is able to get the most of him and get him back to the 40+ point level.
My primary concern with the roster at this point is that we have a number of guys signed to short-term deals. This is great in that it gives us flexibility to be major players in future FA markets, but it begs an important question. If we achieve the kind of success we are all hoping for, what are the odds we'll be able to keep this team together beyond this year? Comrie, Vasicek, Bergenheim, Hunter, Satan...none of these guys are locked beyond this season. It's an interesting position to be in, and time will tell what our roster will look like next season and beyond.
This brings us to the last news item, the new jerseys debuting this season. Accepting that a change was mandatory, I like the jerseys, particularly the home blue style. I'm glad they kept it relatively traditional. I would have been fine keeping the jerseys the same, but they didn't do much for fans to hate. After the fisherman debacle, that is saying a lot. For fans looking to buy a new jersey, the only question is - whose name and number can you get and feel comfortable it won't be outdated in the next season or two? Aside from DP, that's a tough one to answer.