Archive for June, 2016

How good is Athanasiou?

June 27, 2016

So, the Wings cleared some cap space. With Yandle and Goligoski already off the mnarket, there’s not exactly a lot of help to be had on the blueline. Up front, there is Stamkos and then some guys who would best fit as second or third line centers and who should’t necessarily be expected to bring much production from those spots.

The situation is a bit different on the wings, though. If you’re looking for forwards to move up and down the wings and score goals, there are a number of good options who bring a variety of positives and negatives, depending on what you’re looking for. The Wings could use some more guys with size (who actually use it) and could look at guys like Kyle Okposo and Milan Lucic (not to mention Troy Brouwer, Andrew Ladd, or even Shane Doan). If you’re just looking for some more socring, there are guy like Loui Eriksson, Jiri Hudler, or Teddy Purcell. There are options.

So, going out and grabbing some clear upgrades at wing would be a lot easier than trying to pull in Stamkos or a non-existent D. Whch brings up the question: how good is Andreas Athanasiou?

We know Larkin has the potential to be a legitimate top2 center, but we can’t say that about pretty much anyone else on the roster. Zetterberg might be able to hold down a second line center spot for another year and give reasonable production (50-ish points) but does anyone want to put money on that? Sheahan’s production rate has slipped each of the his three seasons in the  NHL, and he was never a huge producer in lower leagues, so generating offense is probably something we shouldn’t have a huge expectation of. Which leaves Athanasiou.

Is it worth buying some long term changes on the wing if we are unsure of how good our centers are? And how much could better wings help make our centers look better? For instance, instead of putting Abdelkader and Nyquist on Larkin’s wing, but what about if those wings were Lucic and Okposo? The second group looks a lot better, doesn’t it?

If we think that Larkin, Athanasiou, and Sheahan can hold down the center spots in our top9, it wouldn’t be nuts to throw our money at a couple of quality wings. It would also be the easiest way to inject size and physical play into the top9, things the Wings seems to want to add. If the Wings don’t have faith in Athanasiou and Sheahan being long term answers at center, though, and we miss on Stamkos, we might as well just sit on our cash and let the year play out. Hopefully guys we don’t expect to be long term answers for us would increase their trade value so we can go out and get the pieces we would want.

Deal him now!

June 22, 2016

Yesterday the Detroit Free Press had an article about the Wings’ ongoing attempts to move Datsyuk’s cap hit for the upcoming season, and it carried this tidbit:

Holland has “talked to a few teams” about the situation, but early demands have focused on 2015 first-round pick Evgeny Svechnikov and Andreas Athanasiou, whose speed and ability to create something out of nothing repeatedly was demonstrated down the stretch this past season.

Notice the bolded part. Maybe I am misreading this, but this seems to be saying that teams are asking for Svechnikov or Athanasiou as if they have roughly the same value. I might also just not be a huge fan of Athanasiou, though I don’t exactly dislike him, either. But his value shouldn’t be on the same level of Svechnikov, and if the Wings are looking for trade chips to land a D…well, there you go. If clubs are essentially seeing Athanasiou as a first rounder, then pair him up with Nyquist and a pick and go fishing for the good young D that we need.

I think the ability to move Datsyuk won’t be that difficult, though. I know it looks like Detroit doesn’t have any leverage, but moves aren’t made for the sole reason of what’s happening on the ice. Arizona and Carolina seem to  bleeding cash, and having a guy on the roster that adds $7.5 million to their cap without adding any salary can be a very attractive asset to an organization looking to limit their financial damages this upcoming season. The Wings will still have to sweeten the pot, but I can’t believe it will take a significant asset. Which maybe says something about how I view Jurco and Pulkkinen as I don’t believe either or both would be a big loss in such a deal.

Because I don’t want to make another post, I also want to touch on Jimmy Howard here. It appears that Calgary doesn’t want to give up a 1st round pick for Marc-Andre Fleury, and I don’t think anyone could blame them. What I don’t get is that rumors immediately turned to them pursuing Bishop and not to Holland picking up the phone and throwing a ridiculously low offer at Calgary to take Howard off the Wings’ hands.

To be clear, Howard’s pretty much done in Detroit. He might be stuck here another year, playing behind Mrazek and hoping to be grabbed by Las Vegas next summer, and he might even put up a good year, but the club’s future is Petr Mrazek. So, get something from Howard, free up the cap space, and move forward.

Which brings me to my half-assed fan trade proposal of the post:

Datsyuk+Howard+pick/prospect for Bollig+Engelland+Wideman

This is assuming Calgary wants to dump Wideman. If they don’t, drop him from the deal and I’m still fine with it. Calgary also dumps so roster filler that wouldn’t be hard for us to either bury in the minors (Bollig) or probably deal off for a pick (Engelland), while Wideman would be the blueline upgrade that I doubt we can get on the open market (especially since Goligoski is already off the market).

Where’s the motivation for Calgary? They clear some guys off their roster they don’t necessarily want or need, which is nice. How badly would we want to see Ericsson moved just for the roster space at this point? I think Engelland and Bollig are roughly equivalent to that. Datsyuk gives them the cap floor cushion to step up to the trade deadline next February and deal off whoever they want and not have to take much of anything back to stay above the floor. I also just like the idea of one-stop shopping rather than having to look to make separate deals to fill our needs, which is more likely to be that path taken.

Wings ink Sheahan

June 15, 2016

So, the Wings gave Riley Sheahan a bridge deal. What I am left wondering, though, is where exactly this bridge is supposed to be leading to. He’s a big guy who has filled in at center on the second and third lines the past couple of seasons and the way he is most often described is that he’s a guy who always leaves you expecting more, only to not deliver. He doesn’t have bad hands, but he has yet to be consistently productive – his point per game has actually declined the past three years. He can be good defensively, but he’s not a master at it like Draper was. Sheahan has a big frame, but he’s not physical.

Reall, I’m not sure that Athanasiou couldn’t give the Wings pretty much everything Sheahan gives us while being paid just $630K. The one benefit is that Sheahan will still be an RFA at the end of the deal, but so is Dekeyser now and there’s no guarantee we’re going to get some great deal just because the guy isn’t unrestricted.

This seems like a pretty weak deal from the Wings side, and it does not give me a lot of optimism regarding the other RFA.

Torchetti Mirrors Our Downfall

June 13, 2016

I don’t dislike John Torchetti. From everything I have read and heard about him, he seems like a good guy, with an established track record, who brings a lot of positives to the Wings’ bench.

Signing him is also a reflection of the Wings having fallen from the upper echelon of the NHL.

It’s not that we signed Torchetti, it’s that we didn’t sign Marc Crawford. Or Todd Richards. Or any of the other guys the Wings were rumored to be pursuing only to see them sign elsewhere.

I know it’s the Wings’ story that they interviewed all of these guys, and that they liked Torchetti, and they brought him because they believe he will be a good fit, or whatever. All of which can be true, it probably is, but it doesn’t mean he was ever their first choice.

Or their second choice.

Or even their third choice.

He’s the guy the Wings ended up signing after a whole bunch of other guys they were interested in had signed elsewhere. He’s the guy we ended up with. That we settled for. He might do a great job here but, make no mistake, he’s here because we couldn’t close the deal on some other guys. Because we weren’t a good enough draw to pull in the better talent that wanted to go to better places.

The only thing that can change this is the obvious one. The Wings need to start winning again, and being a serious contender that people don’t look at and figure will be a first round knock out at best every year. And with all of the bad deals on our books, and the lack of impact young D knocking on the door in our prospect pipeline, it’s probably going to be awhile. And we’re going to end up with more John Torchettis.

Back Support Makes a Helluva Difference

June 6, 2016

Well, our cat hates me and tends to pee on whatever chair I use for my computer. So, lately, I had been using an old kitchen chair that has been less than forgiving to my back. This morning I finally made the switch and hauled my old computer chair out. I’m looking at getting back into some sort of online work, writing more, etc., and for that to happen I just needed a chair that didn’t cripple me.

And it makes a world of difference.  I hope to start updating this place a bit more often, and maybe showing up elsewhere on the web. should be fun.

Conservatives aren’t the majority opinion

June 3, 2016

Well, the National Review has a whine piece up about the lack of conservatives in higher education. What grabbed my attention was this short bit from the middle of the essay:

Americans start to disregard scholarly work when they correctly perceive that most mainstream institutions have established political and moral perspectives that are wildly out of sync with their own.

It sounds nice and all to conservatives, maybe it’s something they tell each other to feel better about it, I don’t know. A quick google search reveals something, though. The majority of Americans favor marriage equality. A majority of Americans support renewable energy standards. A majority of Americans support a single payer health care system. A majority of Americans are concerned about global warming.

This is just a quick google search for a few hot button political topics. Considering all of these things are typically left leaning positions are apparently favored by a majority of Americans, I’m left wondering how exactly “mainstream institutions” are finding positions “wildly out of sync” with the rest of America. It just seems like bullshit to me when I see groups of polls like this.

Instead, it seems like conservatives are simply a shrinking (though vocal) group in the United States, and that positions that were at one time considered “liberal” are now mainstream. I get it that the right doesn’t like that, but it’s something they should probably accept, at least if they value the democratic process as much as they claim, and want the nation to reflect what the majority actually wants. Of course, that would require less gerrymandering, discriminatory voter ID laws, and the like that attempt to artificially sway elections than to strengthen our democracy.

Moving Pelfrey and Sanchez to the pen helps the Tigers

June 1, 2016

There have been at least two articles about the woes of the Tigers starting pitching surrounding Pelfrey and Sanchez, and I’m sure there are more. I like the idea, and their ability to go out and at least get through a lineup twice could be a huge positive for us. Much is made that our only real replacements for them are kids who haven’t seen a full season in the bigs yet, but if we had two guys in the pen who could routinely get up and spell them after four or five innings, it would limit the young guys’ exposure and their innings, while keeping Pelfrey and Sanchez engaged and getting some innings for themselves.

The biggest problem is roster spots, but looking at our active roster at ESPN, we could get away with just sending Farmer back down and recalling one of Norris/Greene to allow us to run a rotation of Zimmerman, Verlander, Fulmer, Boyd, Norris/Green while shifting Pelfrey and Sanchez to the pen. We could even send Boyd back down and run with Norris and Greene as our fourth and fifth starters. We’d also be keeping all of our late inning options.

Regardless of what they do, anything would probably be better than what the Tigers have been doing.