For the last couple of days, and continuing for the next few days, I have been and will be looking at each team in the NHL and identifying a couple of players in particular that fit into one of two categories based on the once popular kids game, Chutes and Ladders. The players in the “chutes” category will be players who exceeded expectations last season, and will have a difficult time avoiding a slide in the coming season. The “ladder” category will consist of players who are ready to climb a level in their play and step up a notch. Feel free to brows back to see previous teams, and look for more teams in the coming days.
Chutes: Vincent Lecavalier – Will the former star regain his star status in a new environment, or will he continue the slow slide down the NHL’s depth chart? With the talent around him, it could go either way, but the recent track record hasn’t been stellar. He will get his points almost by default, but his days fo carrying a team are over, and he got a pretty big contract with the expectations of exactly that, so a disappointment might be in the offing.
Ladders: Ray Emery – Coming off a confidence building 17-1 record, although it was not as a starter in Chicago. This will be his second tour of duty in Philly, with the first one cut short by the hip injury that nearly ended his career. This time around, he has the maturity and the experience to make an impact, and with the last few Flyers’ goalies not getting the job done, there is really nowhere to go but up.