Originally posted on The Hockey Guys  |  Last updated 6/18/12

PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 21: Forward Alexander Semin #28 of the Washington Capitals waits for a face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 21, 2010 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
By Rhys Richards (@RREsq) While the summer can also be considered the winter of sports for hockey fans, the time between the awarding of the Stanley Cup and July 1st is akin to the exciting days leading up to a birthday during childhood. First, the NHL Entry Draft gives every fan the opportunity to dream about the future for his or her team. Every team attempts to address its burning needs and sometimes settles on the best player available or the high-risk-high-reward player. With the occasional trade during the draft, more immediate pieces seemingly fall into place. As July 1st inches closer, every fan believes that the top free agent will sign with his or her team. Every commentator, writer, and fan has an opinion as to where each free agent will land. Many discuss the players’ hometowns, penchant for the West over the East, and weather in any given NHL city. Many fans shake their heads at what can devolve into a sickening money grab. In recent years, players’ rights have been tra...
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