Thursday, May 15

Brick By Brick

An RFA, UFA, & Trade For The Summer

With the Stanley Cup Finals almost upon us, 26 GM's have already begun the process of overhauling their rosters. Summer is a time of hope for hockey fans. Anything seems possible in the off-season...until your GM passes on Nikita Filatov at the Draft, or decides to 'take a flyer' on Alexei Yashin. I'm talking to you Don Waddell.
The Summer is a time for tough decisions: UFA's, RFA's, the Entry Draft, GM's peddling contract mistakes and underachieving stars. What to do? Here's a look at an RFA, UFA and trade for the Leafs and Oil.

The Rebuild

As soon as Richard Peddie goes all "Jerry Jones" and names himself GM, we can get this party started. When the Toronto media starts floating THAT rumor in a few days, remember where you heard it first.

The Leafs need to revamp their top 6 forwards, and could use a physical injection on the blueline. Help up front becomes even more pressing if Sundin decides to call it quits.

The RFA: Jeff Carter

I'm pretty sure this is Jeff Carter (right). It was one of the first photos that came up in my Google image search. I mean, I'm not quite sure why a professional hockey player has a photo up on, but whatever. Ladies, don't ever say HSHS has nothing to offer you.

The Flyers have nearly $50 million in salary already committed for next year, and have Carter, R.J. Umberger, and Randy Jones to sign as RFA's. With Umberger due for a 7000% raise, a $5 million offer sheet to Carter could put the Flyers in a tough spot. Carter is from London, and with Richards and Briere as the 1-2 punch down the middle, he may relish the chance to take on a bigger role elsewhere. If Sundin comes back, he makes a great #2 until the Swede calls it quits. An offer sheet of $4.99 million would cost the Leafs two #1's, a #2, and #3 pick. That's probably palatable. $5 million or more would cost them four #1's - a little steep for a rebuilding team.

With the Flyers defence having been exposed in the playoffs, it's likely that Paul Holmgren's off-season will involve spending some money to upgrade the back end. If so, Carter could also be a realistic trade target as well. Would you trade Kaberle for Carter? Would the Flyers take McCabe + or Kubina + ?

Whatever the answer, if the Leafs do go the offer sheet route, their new GM would be best to call Paul Holmgren first. We all know that's the only right thing to do.

The UFA: Brooks Orpik

The Leafs have a lot of cash tied up in their blueline corps, so instead of chasing the big name UFA d-men like Campbell and Redden - whose skill set is already duplicated among current Leafs current - they would be best served by adding a mid-range, physical presence like Orpik. I've heard Jason Smith's name tossed about, but Orpik is much younger (26) and shouldn't cost too much more. Besides, after making the huge mistake of trading Smith 9 years ago, signing a slower, aging, rim-it-off-the-glass version is a good way to remind fans of your incompetence.

The Trade: Pierre-Marc Bouchard

I'm going a bit off the board here, because the big-name forwards on the UFA market can be grouped into three classes: Overpays (Hossa), Risky (Prospal, Huselius, Ryder) and Diminishing Returns (Morrison, Naslund, Straka). There are guys like Brian Rolston and Cory Stillman, but they don't exactly make the Leafs any younger.

Bouchard is a dynamic offensive player who hasn't always been a happy camper playing for Jacques Lemaire in Minnesota, and apparently the feeling is mutual. Let's face it, Jacques Lemaire would have turned the Tet Offensive into a left wing lock. Bouchard is an RFA, but a 'fair' offer sheet would likely be matched, and any offer that wouldn't be matched would have to be considered an overpay.

With Marian Gaborik on the verge of UFA status, the Wild are in need of a chemistry shake-up, and adding some "win now" veterans might be valuable in convincing Gaborik to stay. Think the robotic Wild could use a guy like Darcy Tucker? Bouchard went 13-50-63 last year. With the right linemates and PP time, he'd be a consistent 70 point guy.

Fine Tuning

With all the positive feeling surrounding the Oilers at the end of the season, Kevin Lowe's task this Summer is to add without major subtraction. Icing an injury riddled team, the Oil missed the playoffs by just 3 points, ending the year as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. They did it despite missing Shawn Horcoff, Raffi Torres, Ethan Moreau, and Sheldon Souray. With those pieces back on the depth chart, Lowe has a surplus of assets to play with as he seeks to augment a team full of young, budding talent. Boy, that paragraph sounds like I'm writing for TSN or something. Have you guys heard the one about Norte's 2-year-old son tea-bagging him?

The Oilers need secondary scoring - to insulate them from any potential sophomore slumps - a shut-down defenseman, and some toughness.

The RFA: Shea Weber

There's virtually no chance the Oilers extend an offer sheet this year, but if they did, Weber fits the need for a first pairing shut-down defenceman, and he plays for a team in a vulnerable financial position. That being said, Kevin Lowe doesn't want EVERY GM to hate him, and Nashville will most likely lock this guy up before July 1.

The UFA: Ryan Malone

Lowe has talked about his desire to add toughness in the form of someone who can play a regular shift, and Malone fits that bill. He's turned into a legitimate power forward who would address the need for both scoring (27 goals) and toughness (103 PIMS), as he's shown a willingness to drop the gloves for his teammates.

With the Pens needing to re-sign Fleury this year, then Malkin and Staal next year, it's unlikely they'll be able to match what Malone will fetch on the open market. He's a local boy, so he could take the hometown discount to stay with what looks to be a perennial Cup contender, but go ask Ryan Smyth how that works. If the Oilers move Torres, Stoll, or Pitkanen to acquire a top flight defenceman, Malone could fit into their salary structure. He'll likely get $4 million plus from someone.

The Trade: Jay Bouwmeester

The Panthers are a mess. Despite having a great young core to build around (Jokinen, Horton, Bouwmeester, Booth, Weiss), you just know they're going to do something Luongo-esque that they'll regret later. Hopefully it's trading Jay Bouwmeester to the Edmonton Oilers.

Bouwmeester is an RFA, and will likely command near $6 million. Do the Panthers want to pay that? Do the Panthers even have $6 million dollars? I'm not sure of the answers to those questio...holy shit, is that longest fucking stick you've ever seen in your life?! Is that an optical illusion? It looks like Jay-Bo grabbed that straight out of Sergei Bubka's closet and headed to the rink.

Bouwmeester would be the perfect first pairing guy for the Oil. He can skate, he's got some offense, and he can play against the other teams' top line. Pitkanen, Torres and Schremp? Does that get it done? Toss in a pick or another prospect? The Panthers are in dire need of change and the Oilers are one of the few teams that have an excess of NHL talent to make a deal with. Aside from a few rumors here and there, I'm not sure if the Panthers want to deal him, but the Oilers are in a good position if they do.


eyebleaf said...

i wouldn't trade kaberle for carter. i love kaberle. like, seriously love him. but carter would look great in the blue and white.

as for rolston, i don't know, something about him tickles my fancy.

Jaredoflondon said...

I like Carter as a player, but I hate him for turning half this goddamn town into Flyer fans. Pabst blue Ribbon and pork rind sales are through the rood, and if I hear the phrase 'Youse guys' one more time I'm gonna snap.
Also his cousins / friends live on the same street as a good buddy of mine and we never get invited to their kick ass parties.
Not that I'm bitter.

Moose said...

I'll bet R.J. Umberger's friends would invite you to their parties.

Greener said...

Good work Moose, and hey! Look at you getting along with all my friends! I told you it'd be OK!

Go easy on him everyone, Moose isn't used to this - actually writing on the blog - thing.

Greener said...

Dude, take that picture of Washingtron down.

Anonymous said...

library owner caused service anticipates capitalise proofreading lissajous whole kofi proud
lolikneri havaqatsu