Friday, June 30, 2006

Cosimo be proud

Pisani has reportedly signed a 4 year $8 million deal with the Oilers. Even if he only scores 15 goals a year thats a good salary, and Pisani has shown himself to be useful in a variety of situations.

The one defenceman I've been neglecting to mention is Rob Blake. Probably the top D man still left on the market, Blake pretty much does it all. Lays down the big hip checks, reads plays well, is a good puck mover and shooter on the PP. If Phoenix is looking to trade for Pronger I would not be suprised if they heavily pursue Blake. Hes a bit older, but similar type of player, (although Blake is not nearly as dominant defensively) and Gretzky loves him. Given the price of defenceman I would think he'll reel in $7 million/year.

In Calgary theres speculation Mike Leclerc won't be resigned. To most Calgary fans, this won't be a big deal. Leclerc was benched for a bunch of playoff games, was hurt for a lot of his time in Calgary, wasnt really much of an impact on the team. But Sutter gave up Steven Reinprecht for this guy, and say what you want about Reinprecht, but he was at worst a mediocre 2nd line centre. He could play the wing, he had good instincts, and had a pretty good touch. (The Flames also picked up one of the worst goalies in the league in that trade, but thats another rant...). So why did Sutter trade away a 2nd line forward for nothing? Certainly Sutter has made some astute moves, but I have to question his asset management sometimes.

The Market Shrinks and Columbus' Jockey grows his Stable of Stallions

With Lidstrom signing at $7.6/year for two years, the defenceman free agent bonanza is down to two. I'm not going to say that Lidstrom is heavily overpaid at $7.6, but I'm not sure he's worth over a million more a year than Pronger. Certainly this deal makes Pronger look fairly paid at worst, and the fact that Redden, Mccabe and Lidstrom have signed shows that teams have more money in their pockets for quality defenceman than I'm sure they let on to Lowe when the Pronger issue hit town. At this point, anything less than a quality forward (think Gagne), a top prospect and a pick would probably be a loss for Edmonton. But remember, they only have to get someone approximately equivalent to Brewer to even out completely in the deal.

It appears Tampa has found their #1 goalie in Denis. It will be interesting to see how Denis handles the pressue in Tampa. He did fairly well in Columbus and often kept them in games the team wasnt competitive. In Tampa though, the expectation will be to win. Of course, the Lightning organization may simply be overjoyed with average goaltending, especially considering what they dealt with last year (the 25% rule according to Tortarella). Their last #1 goalie of course, left for the same salary that Luongo is making.

In the trade, Columbus gets a real quality forward with Modin, and a guy I dont really know much about in Norrena. The Columbus organization however, is starting to fill out with a ot of talent. Nash, Federov, Modin, Zherdev, Vyborny, young kids like Klesla and Balastik, and a great leader and one of the top defenceman in the NHL in Foote (who apparently is only worth about half of what Lidstrom gets...if you can figure it out please tell me...) Obviously they feel very confident in Leclaire, who at this point is still just a kid. They might not be a contender this year, but if they stay patient its only a matter of time.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Redden has reportedly signed a two year deal worth $13 million. This is tremendous news for the Oilers, as even at $6.5 million a year, Pronger is now underpaid.

With the Leafs retaining McCabe, the defenceman free agent bonanza has shrunk consderably. I would not be suprised if Lidstrom stayed with Detroit, although I would at this point assume Chara and Jovonovski will fly their coops.

Luongo signed at $27/4 which means hes making $1 million more/year than his reported counter offer to Keenan. Congrats Luongo, welcome to your new defenceless team.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Judging from the rumoured deals all over the internet, Kevin Lowe isnt going to get close to market value for Pronger, but thats no suprise. Theres a lot of mention of all the amazing FA defencemen who will hit the market on July 1st, and using the basic principle of supply and demand, Pronger simply isnt worth as much. But are all of these premier defenceman what they're cracked up to be? Lets run down the list:

Jovonovski: A good number 1 defenceman who appears to keep getting better. His progression from his 6-7th role on Team Canada on 2002 up until now has been impressive. Probably the single most dominating member of the Canucks over the past several seasons. Eddie has two downfalls though; a) He often makes bad decisions away from the puck. Yes, I love to see his physicality come out, but he still isnt great at picking his spots. (b) The guy is injury prone. He hasnt even gotten close to a full season over the past 3 years.

Lidstrom: All hail the god of defenceman!! Am I missing something about this guy? Yes, he makes great first passes. Yes, smart decisions away from and with the puck. Good skater. 4 time Norris winner. I just can't get excited about him though. Personally, I love defenceman who can lay down a hit, and Lidstrom never seems to do it. In my opinion, Pronger dominated Detroit's forwards in the series this year, while Lidstrom was relatively innefctive at controlling what Edmoton did. Finished a -4 i the series. Still, probably the best all round defenceman in this crop, especailly when you consider his longevity potential.

Chara: Can we finally get over this guy? Probably the single most overrated defenceman in the League. I've never heard so much praise heaped upon a man who has done so little when it mattered most. I hear he's asking for 8 million...I wouldnt touch a deal like that with a 10 foot pole. Appears to have no offensive talent whatsover, although all Ottawa players have highly inflated numbers. Would be an awesome #2 or #3 defenceman. For $8 mil he better be able to strap on the pads once in a while...

Redden: Part duex of the most overrated duo in hockey. For a guy I hear nothing but good things about, Redden has really accomplished nothing in his career. Projected to crack the Canadian Olympic roster for years, he joined Canada at the World's 2 yeas ago to stink it up. He joined Canada at the Olympics and was their 2nd worst defenceman. Looked alright in the first round this year against Tampa, only to collapse in the 2nd round and make a horrible defensive play on Buffalo's short handed series winner. Has regular season +/- constsantly in the mid double digits, while his playoff +/- looks like about an average of -3. The question is; Are Redden's numbers and poor playoff performances a cause or symptom of Ottawa's post season problems? If Edmonton is thinking about signing this guy, they should think again.

McCabe: As I write this it sounds like he's off the free agent market, to the tune of about $5.75/year, thereby making him the world's most expensive PP specialist. A total disaster in terms of decision making, with and without the puck. Is physical but cannot pick his spots at all. Canada's wost defenceman by far at the Olympics, and thats saying something, because he was only getting about 7 minutes a game (or so it seemed.) Good luck Toronto. You'll need it.

To end off my column, congrats to Pat Roy and Harley Hotchkiss in making the HOF. Without Hotchkiss there probably wouldnt be any hockey in Calgary, and without Roy we'd never get an outrageously huge ego that actually matched the level of play he brought each and every night. I'm sure we havent heard the last of these two either.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The draft! I'll only say this; How good is St. Louis' defence going to be in a few years? Brewer, Jackman, they just have to work on the other 75% of team and they're set!

Pronger wants out

What is the deal with Chris Pronger? Has probably his best season ever, has a Hart worthy playoff performance, then asks for a trade? So his wife can be closer to Dryden? No offence Chris, but I hear that place is a hole. So now the Oilers are in the terrible position of trying to unload 6.5 million onto a small number of teams that can afford it, and who also know Lowe's hand is basically already forced. I was in an interesting debate today where I argued that publicaly asking for a trade (or admitting to asking for one) screws over your team super bad, because it shows all their cards in the deal. The other point was made though, that if Lowe traded Pronger, and the fans never found out he asked for a trade, Lowe would have looked like a total idiot. Talk about rock and a hard place.

Who should Edmonton be looking at for Pronger? Honestly, I have no idea what his value is. Probably the best player in the playoffs, Pronger was a menace all year to opponents. However, that salary of his is huge, and few teams can afford it, and like I said earlier, everyone will probably be lowballing Lowe. I would say hope for a young but talented forward and a steady defenceman in return. Honestly, I think Pronger is in the Rick Nash sort of value range, but I would be suprised if Edmonton got someone back that was in the Rick Nash range. Honestly, I wouldnt be going for a defenceman, because theres no one out that that is in the Pronger realm of effectiveness. An aquaintance mentioned Chara, but the two are incomparable, in my opinion, Pronger is a far superior hockey player. My other idea is to trade Pronger for a ton of pics and go after a guy like Jovonovski. I'll keep my thoughts updated as news comes in.

Tanguay to Calgary! The best news as a Flames fan I heard at the draft. Sutter claimed he wasnt going after a big name but Tanguay is a guy thats actually been on a sort of dream list of mine for some time. All skill, probably should have been on the Olympic team. I worry though that he'll be able to remain healthy, especially if he buys into Sutter style hockey. Huselius seemed ok though, maybe all the crashing and banging will create room for Tanguay. Having to give up Leopold? Its too bad, but he really was a relatively redundant piece of the puzzle. Offensive defenceman who score two goals a year are somewhat useless, but in fairness, Leopold was very solid defensively. I wonder though how much he was riding Regher's coattails (same goes for Tanguay riding Sakic's).

Either way, how come Leopold was worth approximately Tanguay, but Lydman was worth a 3rd round choice, and Commodore and Montadore even less. Honestly, Leopold was younger than Lydman, but I dont think he was a lot better player. So did Sutter fleece the new Av GM, or did he get fleeced twice last year, or did a number 2-4 defenceman's value swing that much in the last year?

The plot on Luongo thickens. Read an article in the National Post today regarding the big trade. Seems that Luongo counter offered 26/4 to Keenan's 25/4. Apparently Luongo made this charitable offer because he wanted to stay in Florida because his family (wife) is from there. The next day he was traded as far away from Florida as is humanly possible. In my opinion, Keenan got fed up with Luongo's bargaining tactics and said to hell with it. Supposidly Ottawa offered a much nicer package for Luongo that included Havlat, Phillips Emery and a 1st rounder. Now, some would say its a smarter move to trade a quality tender like Luongo out of the conference you compete in for a bit worse return, but the cynic in me says it was at least partly spite.

The trade itself is actually a good one for both teams. In my opinion, Luongo was not going to stay in Florida after his desired one year deal, so to get anything in return is decent. Bertuzzi's star may be tarnished, but he can still be the dominant player he shows flashes of. Keenan is said to have a habit of making one player his 'project' when he gets a team and turns that player around, hopefuly Bertuzzi can be that guy. Plus they get not a bad goalie in Auld, who still has a chance to be a number 1, although his time is running out. Allen is a real fierce competitor as well, a guy you would hate to play against. Will Luongo stay in Vancouver longer than this year? My money is on no.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Malkin signs with the Pens. Sweet, Crosby gets an NHL linemate!!!!

Apparently Luongo is set to leave Florida, and for Florida's sake, I say good riddance. Yes, Luongo is a great goalie, and has the potential to be even better, and for a while, I even sided with his frustration with the Panthers' organization and their incompetency. But in the last year they've done everything in their power to prove they're committed to winning. Signed a great head coach, signed their top player to a multiyear deal, have plenty of great young players (Bouwmeester, Horton, Krajicek), got terrific lockeroom leadership (Roberts, Niewendyk) and have even (reportedly) tried to woo Luongo with several high paying long term deals.

Now as I said earlier, Luongo is good, with potential to be great. But delaying signing with the excuse that you were waiting based on a commitment to win, when you obviously weren't waiting for that at all, just says to me that Luongo himself doesnt have a huge desire to win. Maybe he's content to play for borderline teams where all he is expected to do is make it look close as long as he gets a great paycheck (while proven winners like Kipprusoff and Broduer take a small cut to keep the team competitive). Signing with the Kings for an astronimcally unrealistic salary would only serve to reinforce my point.

Hey, I could be way off. But if I'm a team looking to sign/trade for Luongo, I'd certainly be thinking about it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sakic signs with the Avs. No suprises there. Someone told me there were rumours he would become a Flame, but this guy is an Av for life.

Flames signed Huselius, which is a good move. One of their better guys during the stretch and one of their only players who is gifted offensively.

Welcome to my first post ever. Eventually I'll talk about hockey here!