Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Sell Sell Sell

Buy Buy Buy Buy
Sell Sell Sell
How well you learn to not discern
Who's foe and who is friend
We'll own them all...
In the end...
- 'Sell Sell Sell' by The Barenaked Ladies

Buy Buy Buy Buy
For the first time in franchise history, the Columbus Blue Jackets are heading into the trade deadline as buyers. Who should they buy? I honestly haven't caught too many BJ's games so I can't give a primary-source assessment of their weaknesses. All I know is they could use another power-forward. (Filatov sounds like he won't be back in Ohio for the foreseeable future.) And maybe a good offensive d-man. (I mean, who can't use a power-forward and good scoring d-man?)

Columbus could trade Pascal Laclaire, their first or second round pick in June, a conditional 2010 pick, and a prospect to Ottawa for Filip Kuba and Chris Neil OR Antoine Vermette. My personal prospect-bias leans towards Stefan Legein, although Derick Brassard for V or Tom Sestito for Neil would probably be more realistic. If that seems a bit lop-sided in Ottawa's favour, check out Kuba's stats or Vermette's. (V's having an off-season and he's still 4th in points with the Sens behind CASH.)

Probably won't happen. But it's an idea.

There are also rumours down in Syracuse (home of Columbus' AHL affiliate, the Crunch) that there may be interest in Trevor Frischmon. The 27 year-old AHL veteran may never have played a game in the NHL, but word on the street is that someone other than Columbus has shown interest in him. There's a possibility the Columbus front office could work him into a multi-player trade or that someone could sign him post-trade-deadline to a two-way deal. NO matter what way you look at it, Columbus has a lot to work with, and a lot to gain. And I for one hope they can pull off a couple good trades that can set them up for a playoff run that gets them at least into the conference semi-final. (Let's be realistic, the chances of them being this years' Dallas Stars are slim... although, I think that if anyone DOES pull something like that, then there is no one more LIKELY to do so than the Jackets.)

LATE EDIT: Hell YEAH!!! I'm good! Laclaire for Vermette! I LOVE this trade! I think Laclaire and Elliot will be a good tag-team next season. Laclaire is a great goalie and Elliot will likely benefit from having a good older goalie (not much older, but way more experienced) to learn from. PLUS... I still get to root for V and Laclaire.

I could go on and on about how this is AMAZING for Ottawa but the bulk of it is that other than Hasek, we've always had 'goaltending issues' (I believe the running joke is that it ain't the Sens if there ain't goaltending issues). This is great because it means Melnyk can focus on getting us a second scoring line during the draft (or what will shape into a solid second scoring line). Like John Tavares.

Sell Sell Sell
This is the only thing Ottawa will be doing. The main question is just, who will go? Vermette. Neil. Auld? Elliot? Pretty much everyone but the CASH line, Foligno, Fisher and Kelly could be on the chopping block. (Comrie and Campoli seem unlikely moves unless the Sens use one or both to get themselves some prospect depth or a #@*!&ing consistent starting goalie. Honestly, the Sens need to offload some half-decent players since their top line (who aren't producing like they should be) are currently costing them about 1/3 of their cap space.

There is also a tiny, minuscule, infinitesimally negligible chance that Ottawa will be this year's blockbuster seller and trade either Spezza or Heatley. If it goes down, my money's on Spezza, and not just because I want to see Heater stay in Ottawa. Heatley's got the A. He's the team's top scorer. He's -admittedly- not the MOST consistent player, but when he's good he is Very Very Good and when he's bad he's still a 30 goal guy...

Spezza on the other hand... does not/is not/cannot. He'd free up a heck of a lot of cap space and the fact that he just signed a contract extension last year means nothing really. Ottawa's been unimpressed with Spez. Personally, I think Spez's been the scapegoat, but he still hasn't been performing well enough for what we're paying him. I doubt he's going anywhere since the CASH line is still the only line really producing ANYTHING for the Sens, but there's maybe a 2% chance it could happen, especially if the Sens are offered a big enough compensation package.

And then, when Heatley's scoring plummets next season, they can call up Ray Shero and ask for advice on how to find a new cohort in crime for their top scorer... because Shero's done such a swell job of that for Sidney Crosby...

LATE EDIT: Vermette to Columbus for Laclaire! see above...

How well you learn to not discern...
The Penguins are my wild-card team today. I honestly have no clue if they'll sell and try to build up some depth by making trades for draft picks or if they'll buy and try to cling to their playoff spot.

Satan's on waivers. The Pens are shopping for a wingman for Crosby. Again. Is Shero planning on making this a yearly ritual? Because I'm sick of it already. They should just do what they should have done in July.

What they should do (other than trade Crosby, because I know it'll never happen): trade someone, anyone (well, not anyone, but I'm willing to part with one of Staal/Fedotenko/Satan/) for Colby Armstrong. le sigh...

Trading Army to Atlanta was a shitty plan. Short-term, it made sense. Long term, it's proven to be Shero's biggest cock-up. If Shero has a brain, he will rectify the guffaw he made a year ago, which leads me to my next item...

Who's foe and who is friend...
Crosby needs Army. Plain and simple.

It defies explanation, but Army had insane chemistry with Crosby and frankly no one else has found it with the Kid. Colby Armstrong is never going to be Malkin. No one's asking him to be. We're asking him to be Crosby's freaking wingman, not an Art Ross contender. Which is reasonable. It's one of those incredible instances of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. And to be quite honest the parts are not bad to begin with.

I won't insult anyone's intelligence by explaining how/why Crosby is 'not bad' but I do find that people tend to under-estimate Army (I do it too, sadly) because he played in the AHL for 3.5 seasons before permanently making the jump to the NHL (like MOST players, frankly). In the shadow of guys like Crosby (1st OA in 2005), Malkin (2nd OA in 2004) and Staal (2nd OA in 2006) though, it's easy to peg him as less talented - although frankly, I think Staal's a bit over-rated, or he just needs to be dumped in a pond where he'll be one of the bigger fish.

Colby Armstrong was a 1st round pick (21st OA in 2001). Chock it up to enthusiasm (which he still possesses in spades), but his first season he spent time in the NHL was actually his most productive, points-wise. Even though his production dropped off a little in his sophomore season, he's developed as a player and it's no surprise that the trade to Atlanta has done him no disservice.

I could say that Army's not as good sans Crosby, but that would be a bald-faced lie. Army's pretty good no matter what. In a strange way, I think Crosby's been hurting more without Army there than the other way around. I honestly don't have the patience to go through FIVE seasons of game reports in order to calculate how many points they score without each other and how many they did together. Let's just say that Army has that ineffable it. And Crosby seems to thrive on it.

Like the way Dany Heatley just plays better on a line with Jason Spezza, who is also incredibly talented in and of his own right when he isn't trying to get cute with the freaking puck and making dumbass turnovers in the neutral zone, but I digress... my point is that sometimes a team needs to employ the person who makes their star shine brightest. And honestly, there are worse people to have as Sidney Crosby's cohort in crime than Colby Armstrong. Even if his points-per-game average has decreased since he left Pittsburgh, Army's shot success has improved, and he's been alternate captain - what I suspect has been an attempt to harness his locker room energy and put it to good use in a slightly more formal leadership role. Plus Pittsburgh freaking loves the guy.

If we have to break it down...
Crosby=Great (9.5); Army=Good (7.5); Crosby+Army=Freaking Awesome (25)

We'll own them all...
Colby Armstrong.
And the Atlanta Thrashers.
But, mostly Army.

Dear Santa,
I want Colby back in good old Pittsburgh black and gold. By 3 p.m. EST tomorrow. Pretty please. I'll be a good girl ALL year. Promise. (That's nine months of good, old man! Do you have any clue what that's worth?)
Love, Mer

In the end... I'll most likely post updates, rants, yadda yadda yadda as all the deals go down. If I can stand to watch the NHL Network, I may live-blog a few hours of the Trade-deadline coverage. Or if TSN is streaming and I can get a feed (I'm praying that having a Canadian IP address will somehow make this possible - I'm probably delusional, but you never know...).

I may flip out with inexpressible joy if Colby Armstrong ends up back in the Burgh. [Lauren, if this happens, we'll have to get a bottle of Moet or something and toast this properly on Saturday night!]

(noonish) Filip Kuba signs with Ottawa. WOOT! Happy to hear we're keeping him! For 3.7M a year for 3 years, which is a lot, but he's #5 in scoring so I can forgive Melnyk for splurging.

(12:15 pm) Martin Gerber picked up on re-entry waivers by Toronto Maple Leafs. Leafs make no sense since they have Curtis Joseph and Justin Pogge, who could easily finish the season (since the team's freaking tanking anyways...) TSN is suggesting that Martin Gerber's been picked up to keep the losses coming. I am having flashbacks of things I've written (FICTIONALLY) about an original six team blowing a season intentionally to get a highly-hyped draft pick... I can't decide if I'm amused or scared...

(1:24 pm) Mark Recchi to Boston. Love that someone at TSN was screaming YES! in the background. Also love that Recchi's been traded something like 7 times in five years. Good sign for the Bruins, they need someone who know how hard you have to work for the Cup. A lot of young guys in Boston can learn form him, and his presence bodes well for their playoff run.

(1:30 pm) Neil is on the out from Ottawa... check back! He's going SOMEWHERE.

(1:52 pm) Peter Forsberg's retiring. Next stop, Toronto. (For the Hall of Fame, not the Leafs thank goodness...) OR NOT. Love the rumours...

(1:58 pm) Bill Guerin to Pittsburgh from the Isles. TSN thinks this spells playoff-spot. Guerin for a conditional pick (5th round pick if the Pens tank, 4th round if the Pens make playoffs, and 3rd round if the Pens make it past conference quaters).

(2 pm) Pierre McGuire is waiting for Brian Burke to wave his magic wand and perform some miracle... BAHAHAHA... a miracle in Toronto would be bigger than the second coming of Christ.

(2:06 pm) Still waiting on a Chris Neil trade. And a Colby Armstrong trade. And for Calgary to make cap-space for Jokinen et al.

(2:13 pm) Avery's back with the Rangers.
Not actually a shock, it happened last night. Seeing IFHSA and Tortorella chatting is a weird sight... Sean Avery better behave; Tortorella won't put up with any of his old crap. I'm actually willing to hold out judgement on Avery's return until the end of the regular season. Depending on how he plays, I may be willing to reevaluate my opinion of him.

(2:-- pm) Vancouver has cap space and a hella good shot at a decent playoff run. I'm waiting for it.

(2:-- pm) Beginning to think that TSN is going to be v. very disappointed when there isn't a big huge trade. Also, gotta love Darryl Sutter lying through his teeth. Also, have to admit that whoever it was who was criticizing TSN for making a huge deal of the trade deadline. Mind you 75 trades over the past 3 years has made it an expectation that there will be at least one blockbuster trade. I wonder if maybe the John Tavares trade to London last month was the biggest trade we'll see this year. I mean, he was worth a player and 6 draft picks... is there ANYONE in the NHL who can top that? Yeah, I don't think so either.

Unless the Pens trade Crosby.

(2:45 pm) Scottie Upshall to Phoenix for Dan Carcillo and a 2nd round pick. Don't know much about Carcillo. Love Upshall even if he was a Flyer. Now I won't have to hate him!

(2:47 pm) Antropov to the Rangers. Finally. What are the Leafs going to get to waste... a 2nd rounder and conditional pick. Write them off. Until the Leafs trade those picks to some other other team who actually develop them... and now Toronto's trying to off-load Gerber. Again. Toronto makes no sense.

(2:56 pm) Losing hope about Colby Armstrong.

(3 pm) JB's not going anywhere. Frankly, I'm not entirely surprised. Florida's got playoffs to worry about. Sure, they'll lose Bouwmeester this summer, but they may have a good run with Jay before he jets.

(3 pm) Derek Morris (PHX) to the Rangers. For Kalinin, Dawes and Prucha. Phoenix seems to have done pretty decently.

(3:05 pm) Dominic Moore's been traded to Buffalo for a Carolina's second round pick.

(3:08 pm) Altanta trades Crusher (Erik Christensen) to Anaheim for Eric O'Dell. Not the former Pen I wanted Atlanta to trade.

(3:09 pm) Neil's sticking around in Ottawa. If we don't give him a good contract, we're gonna lose him and get nothing in return. Even if he DOES want to stay in the big O, we may not be able to afford him when he becomes a UFA come July.

And for something completely different.
This is just too cute not to share.



from the Vancouver Sun (circa August 2007): "At street corner stores here everywhere they sell Babushka dolls which are a set of similar wooden dolls of decreasing sizes that are placed one inside another inside another. They have something similar in Canada — the Sutter family. "

At one point I found some Penguin babushkas but now I can't find them again... boo!


Susan said...

From your blog to God's ear (or Shero's ear)! I'd love to see Colby back with the Penguins, because, frankly, that is where he belongs. I agree that Crosby is better with Army than without. Satan was a big bust as a winger for Sid. Come on Shero, go get us Colby Armstrong!

KD said...

Ditto what Susan said.

So far, you're 1/1. Vermette to Columbus for LeClaire.

Come on, Ray! Bring Colby home!!

Lauren said...

Double ditto to what Susan and KD said (I don't know if you can double ditto something or not, but I just did).

5 hours. Life could change in just 5 hours.

If Army comes home today, I may just need my own bottle of Moet.

ali said...

Just as things are about to start heating up -- I have to go to class... ugh. At least I'll be around for the last hour or so...

Come on Ray Shero...

mer said...

I'm actually kind of floored about the Laclaire-V trade ! Shit I'm GOOD!

lauren said...

That's an interesting trade for Columbus. They've been a solid team; I kind of think they need veteran presence more than anything else. But I've only seen their games against Detroit this year, so I could be totally wrong. I miss Brassard.

I'm staring to think that Pittsburgh finding a suitable, permanent winger for Crosby will be the sign of the apocalypse or something.

mer said...

@ deets - haha, you may be right! about crosby-winger-apocalypse thing.

I agree that the veteran presence is important, but they have Nash, who is amazing. Vermette isn't exactly green and, more importantly, he's not in the playoff V-club. He was part of Ottawa's Cup run in 2007 and I think that's going to be good for the kids in Columbus. Even if they don't make it past the first round this year, I hope he clicks with someone so they keep him.

ali said...

@mer --- I was honestly holding out hope that the Pens would still pull off a deal involving Colby Armstrong. I was holding out hope until at least 4 o'clock when they said trades were still coming in...

But alas... nothing. I guess we can still have hope during the summer...

Come on Pens...

Val said...

I love what everyone said on here, and let me tell you, this was far more interesting to read than any trade update on or anywhere else for that matter...

Maybe next year, you need to do a running blog! Do you think Bill Guerin will do alright not being captain of a team?

mer said...

I think he'll be fine. Just look at Sundin in Van, it's actually kind of good for these guys to just be able to play without any extra responsibilities. He'll be a leader of course - as he said in the phone interview on TSN, "I'm just going to be myself. They wanted me for a reason so I'll go and I'll be me."

Which I think is a pretty telling thing for him to say. Plus he just assisted Crosby's goal in the kid's first goal back! WOot!