Veteran forward Brian Rolston has arrived with the Islanders at just the right time. The appears ready for takeoff – and Rolston’s role is to provide a bit of guidance.
“There's so much talent here,” Rolston, 38, told reporters. “It's a matter of guys taking that talent and taking a leadership role and moving forward. (Matt) Moulson, (John) Tavares -- you can go around the whole room. There are skilled young players. It's time to take that next step; really take control and be leaders on the ice.”
The fact he scored 21 power play goals over the previous three seasons should be a factor too. The former Devils standout will help that team on the man advantage.
Here are some other interesting players getting acclimated to new teams:
Erik Cole, W, Canadiens: He faces a major adjustment to live in Montreal, but the Habs, starved for size, will give him every chance to succeed. Cole has averaged 20 goals per season over nine years, so he could live up to his 4-year, $18 million deal.
Andrew Brunette, W, Blackhawks: At 37, he is in the twilight of his career. He scored just 46 points last season. On the other hand, he has played 80 or more games in each of his last nine seasons while averaging 58 points. He adds offensive depth in Chicago, especially on the power play.
Michael Ryder, W, Stars: He came to life in the playoffs, scoring 17 points in 25 playoff games for the Bruins. But he scored just 18 goals in his of his two previous seasons, so Dallas hopes his reunion with center Mike Ribeiro will be fruitful. Ryder scored 30 goals back in 2006-07 flanking Ribeiro in Montreal.
Andrew Cogliano, C, Ducks: He gets every chance to fill the No. 3 center role in Anaheim after fading a bit in Edmonton. His wheels make him a commodity, but his offensive upside is what intrigues Anaheim – a team striving for a more balanced attack this season.
Jakub Voracek, W, Flyers: He opened camp teamed with the dynamic duo of Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell. But there is no telling if we will see this combination and the Claude Giroux/Jaromir Jagr pairing once the real games start.
Ryan Smyth, W, Oilers: He wanted to return home to Alberta and the Kings obliged, sending him to Edmonton. He will add toughness and leadership to a young team – not to mention some needed offense, coming off his 23-goal season in Los Angeles. He opened camp on a line with top overall draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.
Wayne Simmonds, W, Flyers: He and fellow newcomer Maxime Talbot opened on a line with Michael Nylander, who came to camp on a tryout basis. Philly expects the sturdy Simmonds to play forward on one of the top three lines.
Semyon Varlamov, GT, Avalanche: Colorado acquired him from Colorado and invested $8.5 million over three years in him. Last year the Avs allowed a league-high 288 goals, so it remains to be seen home much support they will give the new guy. The team also signed veteran J.S. Giguere (two years, $2.5 million) as protection.
Niclas Bergfors, W, Predators: He scored 21 goals for New Jersey and Atlanta back in 2009-10, then faded last year – prompting the Thrashers to move him to Florida. Now he is looking for a fresh start in Nashville, a team that unloaded supporting cast scorers like Steve Sullivan, Matthew Lombardi and J.P. Dumont after last season.
Ed Jovanovski, D, Panthers: Even he must be surprised that Tallon lavished a four-year, $16.5 million deal on him. How could he possibly live up to that? The Florida defense was very green and not very good at the end of last season, so the Jovocop’s experience and toughness will help to some degree.
Evgeni Nabokov, GT, Islanders: Last season he signed with Detroit after leaving the KHL after an unhappy 22-game stint, but the Islanders claimed him on waivers. Nabokov refused to report, sitting out the season instead. But the NHL ruled that the team owned him for this season, so he joined the Islanders crowd in goal.