So, the last day of the offseason is tomorrow and training camp starts Friday. There were really good things that happened...and some really unfortunately bad things. Bad: 2006-07 Players Gone - Blake, Smyth, Yashin, Kozlov, Zednik, Poti, Robitaille, Asham, and Hill gone...all totaling 144 goals scored (granted, Smyth scored majority of his with Edmonton). Whatever core the Isles had built was dismantled. I think we expected some changes, but I don't think anyone one of us expected them to be this drastic. Free Agents went elsewhere - The Isles admittedly, actively pursued top level talent. Yet, most never gave the Isles the time of day. Losing Smyth was the toughest pill to swallow. Good: Yashin and Milbury gone - Arguably the best news of the summer. Having Yashin and Milbury tied to this team hurt the Isles' image. Cutting ties only shows that the team is trying to better it's image around the league AND more importantly, in the dressing room. We are a much better team without "the Captain". Guerin, Comrie, Feds, Sim, Sutton, Vasicek - Each one of these newly signed players brings something different to this team. Naming Guerin as captain will go down as a very smart decision. And giving a guy like Mike Comrie the opportunity to shine in a first line center role is worth a shot. If he flops, the Isles can release him next summer and try their hand at convincing a top line free agent center to sign. Hempstead Turnpike Bullies? - The Isles depth charts got extremely tougher. They signed Kip Brennan, Tim Jackman, Chris Simon, Jon Sim, Andy Sutton, and invited Gordie Dwyer to camp (a few other names that escape me at the moment). Bergie's Back! - Having Sean Bergenheim signed is huge. This could very well be his breakout season. Now for my personal player forecasts (in player's numerical order). I'm sure I'll be made a fool midseason when I'm totally wrong. I'm also leaving out a few minor-leaguers: 4 Bryan Berard - He will be signed and he will quarterback the Isles PP. There will be some defensive shortcomings...but he will tighten his game and be slightly better than Poti. 7 Trent Hunter - Trent will have a very good year...and he will be at his best offensively during the crucial times of the season. 25 goals is achievable. 8 Bruno Gervais - Bruno will play in Bridgeport most of this year since he has a two-way contract. He'll have a relatively good year in the Bridge and it will be good for his development. 10 Richard Park - We'll see more of the same from Parky...exceptional pk'er and good for the occasional clutch goal. 11 Andy Hilbert - Andy is the big question mark. He'll either have a breakout season...or he'll prove that he's just not going to be an impact player. I'm guessing the latter. 12 Chris Simon - Simon will quietly return and continue being a leader in the lockerroom. He'll be good for a dozen goals, but his physical/intimidating play will continue to fade. 13 Bill Guerin - It'll take some time to adjust to his new role, but Guerin will thrive as a leader in the lockerroom. I think he'll get a slow start on the scoresheet early, but will still be a 30-goal scorer. 14 Chris Campoli - This will be Campoli's big year. Offensively, he'll be better and he'll see more ice time. 15 Jeff Tambellini - With the logjam of forwards, I just don't see room for Tambs. And that's unfortunate because I think he's ready. If there's an injury, he will step up and prove to Nolan that he belongs in the NHL. 16 Jon Sim - Sim will play a similar role as Park...except Sim will lay out some heavy hits. Nothing special, but effective. 17 Shawn Bates - Bates will injure his groin yet again and be eventually forced to retire at the end of the season. :icon_cool 18 Mike Sillinger - Silly will continue to be our faceoff specialist, taking big draws when needed. He'll have around 27 goals this year. 20 Sean Bergenheim - Bergie will come out flying. I see him in the 40-point range, but he'll become our big pest on the ice and some games, he'll even singlehandedly affect the outcome. 25 Andy Sutton - Sutton's physical game will be great for DiPi, but I see some offensive spark coming from him this year. 26 Ruslan Fedetenko - Each year, there's somebody that has a bad season. And I think Fedetenko will struggle this year. 27 Jeremy Colliton - Another year in the Bridge...hopefully injury free. 32 Brendan Witt - More of the same goodness. I envision a more heated rivalry with Pittsburgh...thanks to Witt, Bergie, Sutton, and Sim. 34 Wade Dubielewicz - Dubie won't go undefeated like last year, but he will be a very good backup to DiPi. 39 Rick DiPietro - He will have another 30+ win season and will singlehandedly keep the Isles in the race. 44 Freddy Meyer - A better season when called upon...he'll spend alot of time in the pressbox though. 47 Marc Andre Bergeron - My boldest prediction yet...Bergeron WILL have 22 goals. He won't be as sound defensively, but he will be the reason our power play will be effective. 51 Frans Nielsen - Will spend majority of the season in the Bridge...but will have a breakout season there. 57 Blake Comeau - Also in the Bridge...but will be 2nd in scoring there (behind Tambs). 63 Josef Vasicek - Good third line center with offensive upside, but we'll be frustrated with his Kvashaesque inconsistency. 81 Miro Satan - He'll have his best season with the Isles...ironically in his contract year. 35-40 goals. He'll go the way of Blake though in the end. He's gone at the deadline if we're out of the race. 89 Mike Comrie - Tough call. I think he's more likely going to thrive as our first line center with all of that extra ice time. He'll be in the 70 point range and be better overall than any season Yashin was here. But I also see the Isles having an opportunity to acquire a more established first line center later in the year, and I think they'll go for it. That would probably cause Comrie to test free agency again. But he could very well end up as our 2nd line center for seasons to come Overall...it'll be another very wide open race for the final 3 playoff spots, but the Isles will be in the thick of it again. If I had to guess...I will say the Isles will grab 6th. Might be a little high... but we will learn who the backbone of this franchise is and it's DiPi and Nolan. If Ted can work his magic and get the most out of these guys, we will grab 6th. However, I think we'll have a tough time against our division opponents...and that alone, may kill our chances. Here's to a great season boys! Please lock the offseason thread.