I’m back to the grind and looking troublingly tanned. If anyone out there has any mosquito massacring tips, kindly contact me at the usual location. Otherwise, enjoy what’s left of the off-season and feast your eyes on the questions below.
Hey Adam! (Insert brown-nosed statement here.) Just wondering what you think the Phoenix Coyotes will do to address their lack of depth at center. With Matthew Lombardi gone, Robert Lang still unsigned and no first-line prospects, where do you see them seeking help? Marc Savard seems like a great option, but is the asking price too high? Any insight would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Brandon Sparks, Fredericton, N.B.
Hey Brandon! (Insert effusive thanks here.)
Unless GM Don Maloney is able to pluck a couple of cheaply paid veterans off the unrestricted free agent market, it appears the Yotes will be looking within the organization to plug their holes at center. Maybe this is the year Kyle Turris steps up and asserts himself. Wojtek Wolski can also play center, so a top two of Wolski and Martin Hanzal isn’t out of the question.
As for Savard: I seriously doubt Peter Chiarelli wants much in return. The problem with that player isn’t the asking price – instead, it’s his paying price, and the possible price of another concussion to him, that’s keeping him on the Bruins roster. Can’t see Maloney being the one to gamble on him.
Hi Adam. There's lots of talk about sending players to the minors to dump salary, but has any team really done this? Who do you think will have to go this route this year?
Rick Norris, Toronto
The “bury-the-money-in-the-minors” talk is one of the great empty threats of the current CBA. How many recognizable players have actually been demoted? Kyle McLaren? Alex Mogilny? Dan McGillis? Maybe you only have to be worried if you’re a player with a surname starting with ‘M’.
The short list of dumpees tells me that the bark of GMs is much worse than their bite in this regard. Now, recent rumors have the Leafs demoting Jeff Finger’s contract to the American League and the Rangers doing the same with Wade Redden’s deal before the coming season begins. But I’ll believe both those demotions come to pass only when they actually do.
Adam, the Rangers have stated they will match any offer sheet extended to Marc Staal from another team. The Rangers are right up against the cap. If I were the manager of a team in the East I would consider extending an offer sheet to Staal in the $4-5 million range. If the Rangers match that, who do they give up?
Marci Anderson, Sneads Ferry, N.C.
As noted, one solution would be to banish Redden to the AHL. But it seems clear after five years that, for better or worse, GMs are reticent to use offer sheets as weapons.
There’s been only one offer sheet to an RFA this summer (Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson) and that bid (four years and $14 million, courtesy of the San Jose Sharks) was summarily matched by the Blackhawks.
Unless there’s a change in the next CBA, the only way teams will surrender a valued asset like Staal is if naked pictures of team executives are involved.
Adam, I find it curious that Bobby Ryan is yet to be signed. Realizing that the Red Wings are only around $900,000 under the cap, I thought Jiri Hudler and Kris Draper would make a great package the Wings could for him. It seems the Ducks are too heavy on Ryan types of players (Corey Perry/Ryan Getzlaf) and a Hudler would be a nice complement to the Ducks forwards.
Jim Wadkins, Lansing, Mich.
Using my time-tested method of looking at proposed trades through the perspective of both teams, I’m going to have to say nay-nay to that proposal.
Think about it – you really believe Anaheim GM Bob Murray will deal a talent like Ryan in return for Draper (a center at the end of a stellar NHL career) and Hudler (a small winger who might return to the Kontinental League if he doesn’t like the Ducks’ salary offer a couple years from now)?
Sorry, but that’s just not going to happen, my friend.
Adam, do the Blue Jackets have a plan? Picking up Ethan Moreau was a nice complimentary move, but no offense from the ‘D’ seems to have them doomed again.
Dave York, Mount Gilead, Ohio
Certainly, the Jackets have a plan. In fact, I’m pretty sure they have two plans – a business plan and an on-ice plan. And since reports have noted that the organization isn’t exactly up there with the Maple Leafs in terms of profitability, the improvement options open to GM Scott Howson and his management team are more limited than I’m sure they’d prefer.
Columbus is one of those teams that we at THN have picked to miss the post-season. However, if (a) Steve Mason returns to rookie-year form, (b) Nikita Filatov has a productive return to North American hockey, and (c) Jakub Voracek and Derick Brassard step it up, there’s no reason the Jackets can’t contend for one of the bottom playoff seeds in the West.
Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears regularly, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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