Posts Tagged ‘nhl’

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.

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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.

Jason Demers

May 13, 2016

I’ve been seeing Wings fans throwing around Jason Demers as a guy we should target to improve our blueline, and I can’t help but wonder what they are thinking when guys like  Yandle and Goligoski (and even Campbell) could be on the market. This isn’t to say Demers is a bad players, he’s a fine D, but he’s not exactly anything special. Our blueline is weak with the puck, weak generating offense, and is weak in our transition game. Nothing about Demers makes me think he’s much more than a more experienced Marchenko. Give Marchenko another year or two, and I don’t think we’ll see a huge difference between the two – especially not a difference worth what it would likely cost to sign Demers in free agency.

Spend a little more, get a guy who is a little less safe, but who brings qualities we need. No one who might be available on the open market will be a Suter-esque move that could single-handedly revamp our blueline, but we should at least go for players with qualities we don’t really have. Also, if Mrazek is as good as he appears he might be, we can lean on him to make those big saves where we leave him out to dry occasionally.

why would Radulov sign a short term deal?

May 3, 2016

Alright, in my near weekly attempt to burst balloons regarding the wings, I want to say something about the possibility of signing Alex Radulov. For those who don’t know (or remember – dude’s not exactly been seeing a lot of NHL action lately – Radulov jumped ship from Nashville to make a living in the KHL something like six or seven years ago (maybe eight, it’s been a long time) .He was/is incredibly talented, and his leaving opened a massive hole in Nashville’s offensive production. He was a guy a club would look at as being a pillar of their forwards for ten years, he was that good.And then he just up and left after being suspended for partying with a russian buddy while in the playoffs.

And now he wants to come back to the NHL. And he’s been linked to the Wings for obvious reasons, such as averaging less than two goals per game in the playoffs. However, Radulov’s off-the-ice problems of the past hasn’t made his possible signing a slam dunk with a lot of fans. It seems the most enthusiastic endorsements are usually along the lines of, “well, he’s better than what we have and we aren’t in a position to complain,” while a lot of responses are closer to, “screw him, he’s a cancer.”

The truth is we do need a guy like Radulov. We need a center more, but any guy we should be able to look at and say will score 20+ goals for us with regularity would be a wonderful problem to have  at this point. Also, it’s not like we haven’t employed players who we later discover had their fair share of problems. McCarty definitely had his demons, and even a guy like Fedorov had quite the off-ice life going on. So, I think that part of the Radulov saga is overrated. If the Wings think Radulov will show up and produce, they’ve shown the ability to live with some of the extra stuff. Also, Radulov is nearly 30 now and has a kid, and by many reports has calmed the off-ice issues substantially.

A bigger problem, in my eyes anyway, is this idea that I’ve seen that signing Radulov would be okay if it’s on a short deal and the money isn’t exorbitant. Well, yeah, signing a top6 player on the cheap and not being on the hook for a lot of years is always preferable. But why would Radulov do it? The guy is coming back as a straight UFA, he doesn’t have to sign for the ELC like a guy like Panarin. Radulov is going to be looking for some cash here, folks. Also, the Wings are not exactly the cream of the NHL crop. Five years ago, signing a short deal to fit into a lineup of a real Cup contender would have made a lot of sense. Now? Going purely by chances of winning the Cup, there are a lot of teams on equal footing with the Wings. There is absolutely no reason for Radulov to take a discount to sign with us for that reason.

so, why would he give us a discount? well, the most obvious reason is because someone (Datsyuk) gave us a glowing recommendation, and make certain promises to make sure Radulov is employed beyond whatever deal he signs with us to start. Think Dan Cleary for the past three years where we just kept handing out contracts like candy to make good on some promise Holland made to him –  a promise that probably should have landed us in hot water with the league over cap circumvention, but I have to assume having Cleary on the payroll was seen as punishment enough. Do we want to bring in a guy on a short term but with the knowledge that there is likely a promise for more down the road, regardless of play?

in the end, we’re not going to get any serious help on the cheap. There is no reason for a guy like Radulov to sign a deal here for term or money that they can’t easily beat elsewhere. Whatever we sign Radulov/Okposo/Stamkos/whoever for, it’s not likely to be far off from what other teams are offering, and in some cases it’ll likely have to be clearly more than other teams.

It Doesn’t Matter If The Wings Trade Datsyuk

April 12, 2016

So, Pavel Datsyuk is likely going to home to Russia after the playoffs this season. This will clearly hurt the Wings next season, though how much depends on how much of  contender you view them as. If you don’t view them as a contender, and Datsyuk leaves, they’re still not a contender. If you don’t view them as a serious contender, and Datsyuk stays, they’re still not a contender. The only circumstance where Datsyuk leaves really hurts if is you see the Wings as a serious Cup contender next year. His absence would just cripple those expectations.

But what about the money the Wings would still have tied up on their cap if Datsyuk leaves? Isn’t that crippling? No, I don’t think so.  It would be nice if we could wade into free agency and grab a piece or two that would solve some long term problems. It’s something Holland has attempted to do off and off since Lidstrom retired. the problem has been that it hasn’t been happening. The Wings finally pulled in Green last summer to fill a massive hole on the backend, marking the first major UFA signing since, well, that guy from Florida, who was also a rarity for Wings free agent pickups in recent years. So, the chances of us landing a guy we want are likely pretty slim.

Now, how many guys out there do we really want that are going to carry a significant cost? Up front there’s definitely Stamkos, maybe Lucic. On the backend…Yandle? Maybe?

Now, here’s what really crazy. We don’t really need to move Datsyuk’s salary to afford a couple of smaller, more likely, moves this summer. Here’s a quick and dirty look at a possible roster to build off of over the summer. Despite the odd formatting, it looks like Datsyuk’s salary is included. I tried to be as realistic as I could with the RFA deals, I let Helm, Richards, and Quincey walk, and I dealt Smith to Edmonton for a pick. As you can see, at this point we have a full roster, and $8m in cap space. The only significant loss from last year to this year, imo, is Datsyuk. And his production has become steadily easier to replace as age and injuries have taken their toll.

While we wouldn’t have the room, at this point, to add Stamkos and the likely $10+m cap hit he’ll command, we should have enough space to add a couple of $3-5m cap hits to bulk out the roster. That’s assuming you want to do that sort of shopping and not just run with the kids and see where they get us. Datsyuk leaving a year early puts a wet towel on next season, but I’m not sold it really changes the team’s goals much. They aren’t a serious cup contender with or without him, and it’s unlikely they could add a significant free agent piece in either case. It would be easier to build a better team on paper with Datsyuk around, yes, but even then I’m not sure we’d be building a Cup contender, or a another 3 seed contender.