Archive for the ‘Alexei Kovalev’ Category

Steals and Gambles: Kovalev, Biron and Malholtra

July 6, 2009

With the rush of news on free agency slowing down to a steady trickle, there are still quite a few players who are still on the market. Some are guys who were once All-Stars like Sergei Zubov, Alex Kovalev and Alex Tanguay. Whether it is age, character or contract demands, these guys are still available for some reason or another.

We thought it would be fun to classify some of them as steals or gambles. Some are even STEAL-GAMBLES! Exciting, we know.

Here’s the first three. More will come later this week, unless everyone gets scooped up.

Alex Kovalev
Classification: High risk, high reward gamble

We don’t have a hidden camera in on Kovalev’s negotiations, but we wonder if the ultra-talented, eternally “enigmatic” Russian simply wants too much dough. Matt of Battle of Alberta did a great job of shedding some light on Kovie’s supposed “struggles” last year (showing that AK 27’s 2007-08 was an anomaly more than anything else).

It’s hard to say which team would be the best fit for Kovalev. The fan in us shouts Pittsburgh, but he’d absolutely need to take a pay cut. Montreal makes sense, even if the makeup of that team changed drastically. Where else do you think would be a good home for Kovalev?

Interesting scenarios: Pittsburgh (big pay cut), Montreal, Vancouver(?).

Martin Biron
Classification: Possible steal

There isn’t much that’s sexy about Martin Biron (aside from the fact that he has the eyes of a Husky … wait, is the mic still on? Uh oh …), but the guy has experience as a No.1 goaltender. He might actually have been a good fit in Pittsburgh, if it weren’t for one fashion choice:

Oops!

Like most of the speculation here, we don’t know why he hasn’t signed with anyone yet. Is he in 1b/backup denial? Does he want more money?

If he accepts a possible backup or 1b role, he could be a very nice asset at the $1.5 million or so mark.

Interesting scenarios: Los Angeles, Dallas, Philadelphia

Manny Malhotra
Classification: Probable steal

One stat we are excessively enamored with his faceoff ability. Malhotra consistently dominates in the circle, ranking fourth in FO percentage this season. (He was also #2 in 07-08 and #12 in 06-07)

Now, obviously, you’re not going to generate gaudy offense when double-M is out on the ice. That being said, according to Mirtle’s evaluations, he does seem to make good use of his minutes on the ice.

We really like what we saw from Todd Marchant in last year’s playoffs, but it appears that Mal-ULTRA might just be a younger version of the speedy defensive center. He’d be a great addition for a team looking for an above average shutdown center and a force in the circle.

Interesting scenarios: CBJ, New Jersey, any team that needs a shutdown center.

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Hypothetical hope for the Islanders part II

January 8, 2009
The Sedins bringing their cycling circus act to Coney Island? Could be worse …

Even if the Islanders lose the Tavares lottery, their $20 million-plus cap space and their rapidly improving stable of prospects puts them in a great position to rebuild. How about we rank some of the guys who would best fit the Islanders?

1. Kovalchuk – This is only based on heavy trade rumors. Honestly, the Thrashers shouldn’t trade him (the reason, beyond his bodacious skills, will be revealed sooen enough).

2. Hossa – The common thread of wisdom for Hossa is that he’s the hockey version of a smoking hot bridesmaid. Even if he’s not the type of player who can carry a team on his back, Hossa is the most talented free agent and may go into Show Me the Money mode after taking a one-year Cup run contract.

3/4. The Sedin twins – Why break up the Sedin twins when they are so effective together? The Islanders might be a really nice destination for the efficient dopplegangers. Even if they sign matching $6 million contracts the Islanders could still improve the team around them.

5. Jay Bouwmeester – He’s not flashy (except in video games) but he’s the kind of player who can be a cornerstone. With the big minutes he plays and well rounded game he brings the table, he could be a nice fit for the Islanders.

But they’d probably need to add an offensive stud because Bouwmeester isn’t really a ticket seller.

6. Johan Franzen – The Mule is here and Henrik Zetterberg is not for a simple reason. It’s almost unthinkable that Detroit would allow Zetterberg to walk. Not when they very well might lose Hossa. Not when Franzen, despite his undeniable goal scoring skills, cannot stay on the ice.

Franzen could be a good fit in Long Island if he could stay relatively healthy. Hell, a Franzen + Sedins line would be a hell of a consolation prize if bigger things fall through.

Keep dreaming.

7. Marian Gaborik – Honestly, it feels like the team who signs Gaborik is like a newlywed couple who unwittingly adopts that creepy little girl from “The Ring.” But let’s face it, the Islanders are one of those teams that might need to pay up big just for the PR boost.

Even though it’s a thrill to watch Gabby on a breakaway, his signing would be a Shakespearian tragedy for a team that’s had plenty of helpings of bad luck.

8. Alex Kovalev – There’s a buyer beware to Kovalev. Either his drive does not match his blinding talent or his talent is better suited for stunning Youtube videos. Whatever way you slice it, Kovalev’s not the guy you want with that Ayn Rand-ian weight of the world on his shoulders.

Still, if the Islanders try a quantity over quality approach Kovalev could be an asset.

9. Brian Gionta – It’s hard to say if a guy like Gionta would flounder outside of NJ or if he would flourish without the spoused shackles of the NJ system. Judging from the lackluster post-NJ careers of guys like Scott Gomez, expectations should be “less than or equal to.” Then again, adding Gionta certainly would add a little spice to the Devils – Islanders rivalry (whatever you may think of that rivalry).

10. Erik Cole – Call me an Erik Cole apologist, but I’ve been a fan since the Hurricanes Cup year. Then again, he’s clearly never been the same after that dirty Brooks Orpik hit that almost ended his career. Would he take a pay cut or just stay at $4 million? At a lower price Cole could be quite the pickup but at $4 million you better take him to a damn thorough doctor.

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Tavares-less suggestion: Go hard for Hossa or Kovalchuk or even Zetterberg. If that doesn’t work, settle for the Sedins and a low risk, high reward guy like un-listed, under the radar Michael Cammalleri.