Sunday Grab Bag

There’s a lesson to be learned from these NHL playoffs: With every subsequent elimination, the mainstream media has elected to pick up their torch and pitchforks in an effort to find some angle to work as the hockey news thins out faster than Steve Simmons’ coif. First there were the trade rumblings that Jarome Iginla could be shipped out of town to kickstart a Calgary rebuild. (Ed. note: It would be just another feather in the cap to cement Darryl Sutter’s legacy in Calgary.) Then there was Bobby Lou in Vancouver. And after months of being fed the same merde about the Pittsburgh Penguins being an elite NHL team, some scribes are now touting an Evgeni Malkin trade as the most prudent decision that general manager Ray Shero could make.

Here’s a snippet from the article by The Hockey News‘ John Griggs…

Trading Malkin would do a number of things for the Pens. First, it would net Pittsburgh a winger to play with Crosby; God only knows what type of numbers he could put up with something more than an average player to pass the puck to.

Second, it would open up more ice time for Staal; who, although he didn’t put up great numbers, was a beast in the playoffs and looks to be on the verge of becoming a player more akin to older brother Eric than the third line checker he’s been pigeon-holed as.

Also, a Malkin trade frees up cap space; $8.7 million to be exact. That’s a lot of cake. And having Staal’s $4 million as No. 2 center money makes a lot more sense these days. The $8.7-million difference could be spent shoring up a blueline that has just three players signed to it next season.

There’s no inherent risk in trading a second line center who has put up over 100 points in two of the past three seasons to open up ice-time for a player who has never posted a 50-point season.  Especially when the numbers clearly indicate that Jordan Staal played with better quality linemates than Malkin did. Nevermind that Malkin’s annual cap hit — $8.7 million — would likely hamper or diminish any prospective trade return or that the proposed trade partner in Griggs’ trade scenario, the Edmonton Oilers, would never part with the first overall pick, a prospect or two and a roster player in exchange for a quick fix solution who would only turn their team into a bubble playoff team.

It all makes for wonderful logic.

Anyways, here’s my point: Jason Spezza’s hardly alone. Even though there’s an argument to be made that Ottawa should explore trade options for their number one center — his impending NTC; locking up a young player who already has a wonky back — the notion that Jason Spezza be held accountable for Ottawa’s playoff shortcomings is misguided. Not every city needs a scapegoat. They just need better angles for appropriate water-cooler discussion.

The NHL Entry Draft

When the Canadiens eliminated the Penguins last week, it assured that one of the Eastern Conferences’ lowest seeds would be featured in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals. In other words, it guarantees that Ottawa moves up to select 16th in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.

In yesterday’s Ottawa Sun, Bruce Garrioch talked at length with Tim Murray in regards to this year’s draft and there were some important details shared by the Senators’ Assistant General Manager…

“We feel we’re going to get a good player,” Tim Murray said during a break in the meetings Friday. “We’ve looked at the lists and we feel good right up to No. 20-to-No. 21. From there, we feel like the first round drops off quite a bit. Sure, there’s still going to be some good players there, but you’re going to have to look a little bit harder.”

Murray said the club won’t prioritize by position, but admitted the Senators would like a forward.

“We’re just going to take the best player,” said Murray. “If it’s a defenceman, that’s what we’re taking. I look at our depth chart every day and it looks like we’ve got a ton of defencemen. All of sudden (Anton) Volchenkov could be gone (as a unrestricted free agent come July 1) and (Filip) Kuba got hurt last year.

“Just when you think that you have lots, you don’t. The one thing I know about defencemen, if you do have too many — and I don’t think you can ever have too many — but if you feel you do, they’re easy to move and they have high value.

“Ideally, if we could get a skilled centre, that’d be great. If we can’t, then it’s the best player available.”

Even if it is just lip service (Ed. note: if young defencemen were easy to move, why’s Brian Lee still here?), it’s encouraging to hear that management’s not going to behave like the previous regime and make draft selections based on need.

Sunning It

According to some anonymous league executives who spoke with Bruce Garrioch, Alexei Kovalev is… wait for it … untradeable. Like their identities, I’m pretty sure that some other adjectives that were used to describe Kovalev were kept off the record and hidden.

Buried at the bottom of Garrioch’s article is fantastic news that TSN‘s Pierre McGuire is actually a candidate for the  vacant Tampa Bay position. With names like Yzerman and McGuire in circulation, I wonder if Tampa has actually learned anything from the Barry Melrose incident. Here’s hoping that either candidate is hired and somehow the Lightning manage to piss way the inexpensive years of Stamkos and Hedman’s careers.

Here’s some other interesting Garrioch news from the past two days:

  • Management’s no closer to signing the unrestricted Andy Sutton, Matt Cullen or Anton Volchenkov.
  • Bryan Murray wants to retain all of his restricted free agents — Peter Regin, Nick Foligno and Chris Campoli. (Ed. note: No mention of Jesse Winchester? Ouch. Instead of signing long-term deals, I fully expect Foligno and Regin to sign inexpensive one or two year deals to cash in on playing in expanded roles.)
  • Management wants to get Mike Hoffman and Corey Cowick signed to entry level deals and believes that Roman Wick will come to camp under contract.
  • That Swedish newspaper report that indicated that Andre Petersson was close to signing was believed to have been leaked by Petersson’s agent in an effort to maximize his contract with his SEL team.
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