As Andy Fantuz was greeted by both cheers and boos in his return to Regina – in a game the former Most Outstanding Canadian and his Hamilton Tiger-Cats ended up winning - we were reminded again that this past off-season was full of change with several star players changing addresses.
Fantuz was amongst a surprisingly large group of high profile CFLers switching teams this off-season, either via trade or free agency.
And, just like every other year, some off-season moves pay bigger dividends than others.
It's time to give out some admittedly early grades on the big off-season acquisitions. There's plenty of time for minds to be changed on players, but after five games of the 2012 season The Rouge looks at which off-season pickups have had the biggest early impacts for their new teams.
No doubt, the biggest acquisition ahead of the season was Ricky Ray, who was added by the Toronto Argonauts after finishing last in the East. Ray has been solid so far but the most important stat is the Argos record – 3-2. Under Ray, the Argos are tied atop the East Division – and the league – in the standings and unlike last year, they have a chance to compete for the 100th Grey Cup later this year in Toronto.
While Ray's stats are good, the Southern Ontario's other new quarterback Henry Burris has been great. Burris, acquired from Calgary via trade, has been outstanding for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during their recent three-game win streak. Burris has thrown a league-leading 15 touchdown passes compared to just three interceptions.
Initial impressions suggest the Ticats may have gone 2-2 with their big off-season splashes. Fantuz is second on the team in both receptions (23) and receiving yards (337) and has two touchdowns through five games. Burris and Ray were the headliners in their respective trades, but the returning pieces have been key early this season as well.
Drew Tate entered the season as Calgary's clear cut QB1, but the Stampeders were wise to secure a veteran like Kevin Glenn for worst-case scenarios. Now, Tate is likely out for the year and Glenn, pressed into action, is keeping the team's playoff and Grey Cup hopes alive.
And while Steven Jyles has certainly struggled with consistency issues, he is the pivot of a 3-2 team tied for first in the West.
A number of new Saskatchewan Roughriders have helped the team jump out to a 3-2 start to varying levels including offensive linemen Dominic Picard and Brendan LaBatte and defensive end Odell Willis, who has one sack early this season.
Five games into the 2012 CFL season, the Rouge asks: What off-season acquisition has had the biggest early season impact for his new team?