Minnesota Wild's Derek Boogaard, right, knocks the helmet off St. Louis Blues' D.J. King during a fight in the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 14, 2010 in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
We’re going to take a look at all of the divisions and look to see who the enforcer(s) will be for each team in the upcoming 2010-11 NHL hockey season. We’re fans of NHL tough guys, as you can tell with this site, and we’re glad that the tough guy role is not gone from the game, despite all the rules that have tried to stop fighting. First we’ll take a look at the teams in the Atlantic division. So here we go…
The first team we’ll look at are the New Jersey Devils. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond looks to be the Devils’ enforcer on the team. With the Devils current cap situation someone has to go. Rumors have Brian Rolston and/or Bryce Salvador going. If a forward goes it should definitely give Leblond a chance to keep a spot in the lineup and not be scratched. Last season Leblond played in 27 games and got into 8 fights.
Next up are the New York Islanders. In the off-season they signed forward Zenon Konopka, who last season led the league in fighting majors with 33 in 74 games, as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. I don’t really consider him a heavyweight but he can handle himself. The Islanders also have Trevor Gillies, who played in 14 games last season and had 5 fights. He’ll be fighting for a spot on the roster. What happened to Joel Rechlicz? Rechlicz played in 6 games and had 3 fights last season for the Islanders.
Next up are the New York Rangers and we all heard what they did this off-season. The Rangers signed Ex-Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard to a wild contract, four-years worth $6.6 million. Last season Boogaard had 9 fights in 57 games. He hasn’t scored a goal in 4 seasons. It will be interesting to see Boogaard against the Eastern conference teams now, considering if he dresses for most of the games. Will anyone fight him? Why would you? I can’t wait to see the first Rangers-Leafs game as there is a possible Boogaard vs Orr matchup. In the minors Orr handled himself pretty good vs the bigger Boogaard (if you search YouTube you can find the two fights I’m referring to). The Boogaard signing by the Rangers may even make Sean Avery braver (which the NHL does not need) and make him feel like he can do his antics and have Boogaard protect him. The Rangers also have Brandon Prust who can throw down with the middleweights. Last season Prust had 25 fights in 69 games (with the Flames and Rangers combined). Prust can actually play though and chip in some goals, as he had 5 goals last season.
Next up are the defending Eastern Conference champions, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers signed Ex-Ranger Jody Shelley and he’ll be their enforcer this season. Shelley had 13 fights last season in 57 games with the Sharks and Rangers.
Next up are the Pittsburgh Penguins. It looks like Eric Godard will be their enforcer again this season. We just hope he gets to play in more games this season. Last season Godard had 8 fights in 45 games.
The next division we will look at is the Northeast division. Stay tuned for that post!