Archive for the ‘free agency’ Category

Losing one (or more) of Kane, Toews, Keith: a crushing inevitability for the Blackhawks

July 7, 2009

Editor’s note: This post runs really long and might have some inexact math. The major point, though, is that the Blackhawks have painted themselves into an astonishing corner. It is legitimately difficult to imagine them holding onto two of Kane, Toews and Keith.

If they do keep all three, it will require the Hawks to deal with a stunning lack of depth.

Feel free to prove us wrong and point out mistakes. We expect this post to be a crucial part of how we look at this scenario.

And, obviously, we hope you find it interesting.

***

The Chicago Blackhawks horror show salary cap situation keeps dominating our thoughts as the story of the free agency week. Quite a few share our “WTF are they thinking?” train of thought, but many others have voiced their disagreements with our apparent Chicken Little outlooks.

With all that in mind, we decided to break this situation down in various ways. We think you’ll eventually acknowledge the obvious: this is one mind bogglingly screwed up salary cap situation.

First, we’ll look at the Chicago Blackhawks cap commitments in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Keep in mind these will be CURRENT, without any TALLON MAGIC. (Sorry, We’ll try to limit our sarcasm).

Then we’ll list players by their trade-ability. After all, Tallon will have to make moves if he’d like to keep … you know, the two kids who turned his franchise around.

Finally, we’ll look at a few hypothetical situations. Since we’re laying out everything but the Blackhawks’ prospect contracts, feel free to assemble your own panic soaked Chicago Blackhawks roster!

(We used CapGeek.com for calculations and NHLSCAP.com to double check RFA/UFA statuses)

Chicago Blackhawks 2009-10 Roster/Cap Commitments

Forwards

Marian Hossa: $5,233,333
Patrick Sharp: $3,900,000
Dave Bolland: $3,375,000
Dustin Byfuglien: $3,000,000
John Madden: $2,750,000
Andrew Ladd: $1,550,000
Tomas Kopecky: $1,200,000
Troy Brouwer: $1,025,000
Ben Eager: $965,000
Patrick Kane: $875,000
Jonathan Toews: $850,000
Jack Skille: $850,000
Adam Burish: $712,500
Colin Fraser: $700,000

Defense

Brian Campbell: $7,142,875
Brent Seabrook: $3,500,000
Cam Barker: $3,083,333
Brent Sopel: $2,333,333
Duncan Keith: $1,475,000
Niklas Hjalmarsson: $643,333

Goalies

Cristobal Huet: $5,625,000
Antti Niemi: $892,500

Numbers

ROSTER SIZE: 22
SALARY CAP: $56,800,000
PAYROLL (without bonuses): $52,137,207
CAP ROOM: $4,662,793

Salary Cap Commitments for 2010-11

Forwards

Marian Hossa: $5,233,333
Patrick Sharp: $3,900,000
Dave Bolland: $3,375,000
Dustin Byfuglien: $3,000,000
Tomas Kopecky: $1,200,000

Defense

Brian Campbell: $7,142,875
Brent Seabrook: $3,500,000
Cam Barker: $3,083,333
Brent Sopel: $2,333,333

Goalie

Cristobal Huet: $5,625,000

Numbers

ROSTER SIZE: 10
SALARY CAP: $56,800,000
PAYROLL: $38,848,874
CAP ROOM: $17,951,126

OK, now let’s look at the guys Chicago would likely TRY to move (with snarky category titles!)

Highly movable:

Sharp ($3.9 million)
Byfuglien ($3 million)
Seabrook ($3.5 million)

You JUST SIGNED him!

Bolland ($3.375 million)
Barker ($3.08 million)

Gainey-bait:

Huet ($5.625 million)
Sopel ($2.33 million)
Campbell ($7.1 million)

***

OK, so there’s hypothetical situation #1: The Blackhawks don’t move salary, but manage to sign Kane, Toews and Keith for a dream scenario $13.5 million. Oh, and the Salary Cap doesn’t drop at all (snickers).

Forwards: Hossa – Kane – Toews – Fugly – Sharp – Bolland – Kopecky – 5 minimum wage forwards

Defense: Keith – Campbell – Barker – Sopel – Seabrook – minimum wage defenseman

Goalies: Huet – Minimum wage netminder

Numbers:

ROSTER SIZE: 13
SALARY CAP: $56,800,000
PAYROLL: $52,348,874
CAP ROOM: $4,451,126
CAP ROOM PER OPEN SPOT: $445,113

(Note: the Blackhawks would probably still have to find a way to get rid of Sopel to make that work)

Hypothetical situation #2: The Cap drops to $50 million. Kane-Toews-Keith agree to a combined $13.5 million out of the bottoms of their bottomless hearts.

a) They would start over a $50 million cap to begin with, so they banish Brent Sopel to Salary Cap hell. (Again)

b) The NHL’s minimum salary will be about $500,000. That number could be very important to Mr. Tallon around July 2010.

c) We would assume the Blackhawks would need to keep/wouldn’t be able to trade:

Hossa, Kane, Bolland, Toews, Seabrook, Keith, Barker. For the sake of sanity, they’d probably keep Kopecky to make Hossa happy or some dopey shit.

d) So, if the Blackhawks lived in a dream world in which they could rid themselves of Brian Campbell, Cristobal Huet, Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Sharp …

… while signing Kane, Toews AND Keith to trio of bargain contracts …

They would have five forwards and three defensemen for $30 million. This would give them $20 million to fill (at the minimum) seven forward spots, three defensemen and two goalies. To ice a hockey team, they would have approximately $1.67 million per roster spot.

Without a goalie. Without even two full lines of forwards or defense.

This is if the Blackhawks unload a murderer’s row of idiotic contracts.

Even if this situation played out with the current cap, they’d have $2.16 million per open spot.

And this the DREAM scenario.

We don’t know what else can convince you. Go play around at CapGeek.com and see if you can find a way to explain how the Blackhawks aren’t mortgaging their future. Seriously, we’ll gladly eat crow if it means that there is some order restored to the universe.

***

Every team pushing the cap this year will have some serious headaches if the salary cap drops. Especially if it drops by $6 million. The Chicago Blackhawks, however, are mavericks.

They insist on struggling even if the cap DOESN’T drop.

Time for us to get some Advil.

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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.

Marian Hossa to Chicago was a great signing … and Michael Jackson died with his original nose

July 4, 2009

What a strange week-plus it’s been. First, the world mourned a pop star while somehow glossing over his priest-besting “alleged” past of molesting children … acting as if the man wasn’t ignored for a decade and a half of irrelevant music making.

At least that wasn’t unprecedented, though, because we were alive at a time when the world somehow felt epic sadness about Anna Nicole Smith too.

Yet, the most shocking moment might have been the eventual approval of Chicago’s random, short-sighted signing of Marian Hossa. We love Puck Daddy, but … come ON!

“Chicago Blackhawks: We’ve said our piece on the Marian Hossa signing for 12 years and $62.8 million. They get a major pass for it in this report card because any quibbles about the deal are going to come down the line. Right now, from a hockey perspective, it’s the move of the Frenzy.

Goaltending, future cap considerations and Tallon’s propensity to overpay aside, if the test is whether a team is closer to a Stanley Cup after its deadline moves, the answer for the Blackhawks is an unequivocal “yes.” Conditions could change next summer; but for now, it’s a solid GRADE: A-“

Puck Daddy’s “Free Agent Frenzy Report Card

Stunning.

“Has the world gone CRAZY? Does no one give a shit about the (salary cap)?”

If you look at the move from a Havlat-for-Hossa point of view then yes, of course, the Blackhawks made a good decision. Yet, even if Havlat might have been their most productive forward this season, is there ANYONE who attributes Chicago’s resurgence to the Gaborik-in-Sheep’s clothing?

No, really, raise your hand. We want to catalog the crazies in our midst.

It boggles our mind that people can look at the signing WITHOUT acknowledging the fact that the Blackhawks painted themselves into a serious corner with this move. Tallon reminds us of friends who would buy a Wii, PS3 and X-Box 360 on their birthday and then realize they had no money left for games.

Sorry, but the move cannot be examined without looking past the 2009-10 season. By that logic, the Dallas Stars harbor no regrets about trading away Jarome Iginla since they won one Cup with Joe Nieuwendyk.

We asked how in the world the Hawks would keep Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith before they added Marian Hossa and gave Dave Bolland a surprisingly rich deal for a guy with such a light resume. When you factor in Hossa, Bolland and Kopecky‘s deals, the Hawks will have $10 million less to sign those big three next year. And that’s without factoring in the possible signing of Kris Versteeg and/or Cam Barker.

And as Joe at Sacrifice the Body pointed out, having about $20 million for 10 players is tough enough until you realize the VERY real possibility of the cap falling significantly.

In a DREAM scenario, the Hawks would sign Toews and Kane to dual $5 million per year contracts and somehow hypnotize stud defenseman Keith to a $4 million per year deal. They’d then have to find a way to fill out a roster with abysmal half-million dollar players and rookies.

Future collector’s item?

The only option we could see is trading to make space, but even THAT will be costly.

Brian Campbell‘s enormous* Gomez-esque contract makes a trade pretty damn hard to imagine (before Bob Gainey traded for Gomez, we would have called it unthinkable). They’re paying contract year wonder Cristobal Huet $5.62 million (more than Tim Thomas, Marc Andre Fleury and Martin Brodeur) to be a questionable #1 goalie.

They can move Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and a couple other guys to clear up space but they’ll either have to take 1) next to nothing like the New York Islanders received when trading Bill Guerin to the Penguins or 2) a player who’s making barely less money.

Most likely, the Blackhawks are going to have to trade a very nice asset (Seabrook, Sharp, maybe even Bolland) to clear up space and they STILL might lose 1-2 of Keith, Kane and Toews. Either way, the honeymoon is almost certainly over after next season.

What will happen next July when the sky is falling for everyone, but the hardest for the Blackhawks? Do they get expelled from Puck Daddy school? Do they bury Huet with Jimmy Hoffa? Bribe Bob Gainey with whores and liquor to get rid of Campbell’s uber-albatross? Stop showing home games again, this time out of shame?

Ugh.

Sometimes we feel surrounded by insanity.

(* – Here’s the list of SUPERSTAR defensemen making less money than Campbell this season: Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Dan Boyle and Jay Bouwmeester. Hell, here’s some FAR SUPERIOR defenseman making at least $1.5 million less per year: Sergei Gonchar, Shea Weber, Mike Green, Andrei Markov and more. Tallon is … not a great general manager.)

Instant Analysis: Handing out a couple Free Agent Awards

July 1, 2009

It’s early in the free agent period, but enough moves were made to hand out a few awards. More analysis (maybe even awards) coming tonight if anything else interesting happens …

The Brad Richards Trophy
Handed out to a solid-to-very-good player whose bloated contract will surely limit his team’s future movements, if not paralyze them

Goes to: Marian Hossa, now of Chicago, who signed a 12-year, 62.8 million contract

What a strange odyssey Hossa has taken. He’s bounced all around the place after being traded from Ottawa to Atlanta. In three seasons he’s gone from Pittsburgh to Detroit (who, we all know, beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs) and now to Chicago (Detroit’s division rival and WCF opponent).

As odd a journey as Marian’s taken, the Blackhawks are putting themselves on a road to destruction. Three months ago, I doubted they could re-sign RFAs-to-be Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith. Now, it’s not totally crazy to ask: might they lose TWO of those players? Or all of their depth?

A mind numbing decision by Chicago.

The Jeff Finger Memorial
A trophy given out to a player who signs a contract that not only dwarfs his insignificant skill set, but does so comically.

Given to: Jaroslav “Sissy” Spacek

Spacek’s better than Finger, but the fact that he’s receiving more money per year than Nikolai Khabibulin provides the requisite humor.

The Mike Milbury Cup
Awarded to the executive who does the most to improve opposing teams by making jaw droppingly foolish trades and free agent signings

Given to: Bob Gainey

Much like Nicklas Lidstrom‘s vice grip on the Norris trophy, it seemed like Glen Sather could not be denied yet another Milbury Cup. But Gainey’s efforts did not go overlooked as his trade for Scott Gomez pushed the Montreal GM’s phone number up the speed dial list of many GMs looking to get rid of dead wood.

More possibly coming soon …

CT from Hockee Night on Chicago Blackhawks free agency

July 1, 2009


Hockee Night is a blog devoted to the Chicago Blackhawks and their weekly podcasts (each Tuesday). Make sure to follow their work and enjoy their very funny Puck Casts. Thanks guys.

Let me preface this by saying I honestly don’t expect to see much out of the Blackhawks in free agency this year. Their biggest concerns are internal, what with guys like Dave Bolland and Kris Versteeg being RFA’s. The biggest issue for the Hawks will be whether or not Martin Havlat will agree to come back on a one year deal. If he does, they’ll pretty much return the same team as last year. If he doesn’t, they’ll have a bit of money to play with, in which case I’d like to see them make a run at Mike Cammalleri or maybe John Madden. The Hawks biggest challenge will be trying to improve on a team that reached the Western Conference Finals while keeping enough cap space to sign Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith to extensions.

This is exactly our luck in Chicago. We finally have ownership in place that would be willing to spend money like the Red Wings used to, and we’re stuck laboring under this goddamned salary cap.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Looking at the list, I’m not really afraid of any particular player as much as their potential contract. The Hawks pressing issue will be signing role players to contracts that don’t impact their cap situation in such a way that it costs them guys like Toews, Kane, Keith or Brent Seabrook down the line. While that seems like a no-brainer, keep in mind that GM Dale Tallon has a history of giving role players like Brent Sopel (3 years, $2.3M per) and Dustin Byfuglien (3 years, $3.5M per) oversized extensions. This tendancy, along with Joel Quenneville’s affection for defenseman like Matt Walker who are known for “toughness” and nothing else puts a bit of a scare into me. Walker wasn’t good, but at least he only made $500K last year. My nightmare is that the Hawks for some reason decide to go after a “marquee” physical (read: big stiff) defenseman who just won the Stanley Cup: Hal Gill.

Let me tell you something about Hal Gill: he sucks. He’s terrible. He’s so bad that I incorporated his ineptitude into a drinking game. He’s big and probably strong, but so are the concrete pillars in a parking garage, and they’ve got similar range. Also, even though they aren’t related(that I can tell), Hal’s last name immediately brings to my mind Todd “No Skill” Gill who played the bulk of his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs (back in their Norris days) and also made stops in St. Louis and Detroit (honestly, the only thing that could make me hate Todd Gill more was if he’d done some freelancing for the Nazis) before showing up in Chicago in 2002 where the Hawks mercifully euthanized his career. He was so bad, he could only get into 5 games with the 02-03 Hawks. I mean, look at this roster for cripes sake. LOOK AT IT!

Anyway, I don’t want any part of Hal Gill, and the thought of the Hawks possibly signing him makes me wake up with night sweats.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

I gotta be honest, this already happened. I was sure the Detroit Red Wings wouldn’t be able to Zetterberg, Datsyuk AND Johan Franzen, but they already did. So I guess my biggest fear is that Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson and Jiri Hudler all sign on with Detroit for a combined salary of $650,000 for 10 years.

I’d also hate to see the Sedin twins stay in the Western Conference. I would highly recommend that those two freaks go play in the Eastern Conference with its easy travel schedule and tolerance of people who are genetic copies of each other. Here in the Western Conference, we still believe that identical twins are the product of the union between a she-wolf and the Olmec god Xt’Tapalatakettle, and we god-fearing Western Conferencites want nothing to do with that.

Unless they want to sign in Chicago at a rock-bottom price. That I’m okay with.

Raw Charge throws some free agent lighting bolts our way

July 1, 2009

Raw Charge is a great Tampa Bay lightning blog under the Sports Blog Nation umbrella. We hope you enjoy the thoughts of Cassie and John. Thanks you two!

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Cassie: Chris Chelios. I like the guy – I really do – but he deserves so much better than what Tampa Bay can give him. Especially with ownership squabbles and money woes going on. Out of respect for a legendary player, please don’t sign Chelios! For his own sake, don’t even talk to him or his agent! Let him retire a Blackhawk – just like he should.

John: Chelios but for different reasons. Chris is one of those “traditional” players who thinks he is protecting the sancity of the game when he undermines hockey and it’s fans in the south. I respect what he’s accomplished in his career but he has publicly stated how much he hates the fact hockey went to regions “where it doesn’t belong”. That said, if he were chased or signed by Tampa, he’d be selling-out ideals as well as obviously desperate to stick around. No thanks.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Cassie: The obvious – trading away Vinny Lecavalier. He is the franchise; he is the Tampa Bay Lightning. But they can’t keep him. The team’s been pretty clear about their financial situation. So it’s a damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. Keeping him means cutting salary elsewhere. Trading him means getting rid of 10 years of franchise history. Not to mention a goodly number of fans. Nothing good can come of this situation.

John: What Cassie says is true, but what I fear (with all the rumors swirling around about money) is a fire sale. I can see it now: Malone to… somewhere for a bag of pucks; St. Louis dealt to the Rangers for tickets to Elton John performing at Madison Square Garden (nosebleed seats, ugh!); Jeff Halpern traded to the Kings for gift certificates to California Pizza Kitchen… And Vinny to the Habs in return for Poutine and a condiment-to-be-named-later… That would kill me and the fan base in TB.

Anaheim Calling talks about the one ex-Duck they don’t want to see in Detroit, Anaheim free agency in general

July 1, 2009

Make sure to follow Daniel and Arthur’s great Ducks blog, Anaheim Calling for all your flying-V/knuckle pucking/formerly dirty elbowing needs. (Sorry, that was generic, but I’m sleepy. Anaheim Calling really is awesome.)

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

DANIEL:

The player I’d hate to see in my sweater has to be Jeremy Roenick. I’ve disliked him since he insulted the Ducks organization during the 1997 Playoff series between the Ducks and Coyotes (which we won). How does it feel not having your name on the Cup, Roenick? You’re entirely too cocky for a guy who’s never won a championship, and I’d never want you on a team that I root for.

“Tsst!”

ARTHUR:

Dear Murph,

This offseason, please don’t sign anyone born before November 10, 1970. I realize that you’re an old Blackhawk and Chelios is an old Blackhawk and Roenick is an old Blackhawk, and you occasionally want to walk into the locker room and reminisce about that one time that Darren Pang puked on Steve Larmer’s skates. I realize how attractive that is for you. I also realize that there’s some kind of Blackhawks AARP underground, and Doug Wilson probably just called you to remind you it’s your turn. To that, all I can say is TSST!

What’s that? Bill Guerin? TSST! His birthday’s on the 9th. Saku Koivu? Good Murph. Good boy. Now, I can show you affection and stop being do-minant.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

ARTHUR:

If you’ve never seen a conniption, come and find me when Francois Beauchemin signs with another team. The man can turn a playoff series around, whether it’s by throwing the big hits, scoring a goal, tricking Iginla into thinking he’s right-handed or breaking Tomas Kopecky’s face.

It kills our chances if he signs with Dallas. That team already has our number, and they’d be adding a guy interested in reminding us, game after game, why it’s important to negotiate with your injured players.

DANIEL:

The free agent signing that would crush my soul is easy: Pahlsson to Detroit. If Arthur and I were blogging during the 2006-07 season, I can guarantee we would have done a post called: “The Top 10 Reasons Pahlsson Deserves The Selke.” I like Pahlsson, and I’ve always thought he was underrated, both as a defensive player and a scorer. Conversely, I hate Detroit. I mean, I HATE Detroit. They’ve ended the Ducks’ Playoff run on 3 occasions, and I feel that, despite everything that gets said about Anaheim and L.A., Detroit is the closest thing we have to a true rival. Losing a player like Pahlsson, who is in my eyes the quintessential Duck, to our rival in Detroit would cause me physical anguish comparable to crucifixion.

Five for Smiting threatens Murray with goat urine, er, shares Senators related free agency fears

July 1, 2009

We first introduced ourselves to Senators Lost Cojones aka the founder of Five for Smiting a week ago with our draft special and are happy to have ’em back for a second contribution in as many weeks. Make sure to follow this funny, insightful Ottawa blog even if Dany Heatley won’t waive his No Trade C(ause he’s a jerk clause).

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Marian Gaborik. If Alexei Yashin and Drew Rosenhaus ever conceived a bastard love child, that’s what it would look like. I’m sorry to have to be the one to break this to Bryan Murray, but our quota of butter soft, injury prone, over rated Euro trash has been filled, thank you very much. His baffling, nauseating…Nay! Infuriating!!…contract extension to Filip Kuba made sure of that. If Gaborik somehow slithers his way into the Senators line up, I swear by all that is good and right in this world, I will soak my most prized possession (vintage 1993, #13 Jamie Baker jersey) in the urine of a thousand goats and burn it on The Bryan’s desk. GOATS BRYAN!! YA HEARD ME!! Honest to God GOATS!!

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

The Maple Leafs somehow pulling Jay Bouwmeester out of Darryl Sutter’s ass. I’ll let them have the Sedins. After all, that poor, misguided, delusional and obviously drunk diaspora known as Leaf Nation hasn’t had an overpaid forward to hail as the second coming of Darryl Sittler and then spend the next six months bitching about since the Antropov trade. But J-Bo… I’m not at all comfortable with the possibility of Laugh fans finally discovering what Real NHL Talent looks like. They may develop a taste for it.

Then again, once Larry Tanenbaum and his Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment hench-yokels discover how deeply Real NHL Talent will cut into their profit margin, I’m sure they’ll nix any deal Burke can make, lest he anger his pension fund gods. Then he’ll double season ticket prices to appease them…and just because he can.

Denson from Bangin Panger takes a look at free agency for the defending Stanley Cup champs

July 1, 2009

You can check out Denson’s fine work at Bangin Panger as well as his Pens-related blog, “Pens are Mightier.”

Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Pretty sure this one goes without saying for most Pens fans…but for f’s sake do not, under any circumstance, bring back Miroslav…Shitan…heyooo. Such a useless piece of shit. Scored a couple big goals in the Carolina series this post season, but that doesn’t excuse his awfulness the rest of the season. Give him credit for how he handled the minors situation and for getting a “second” chance…but he doesn’t mesh with the rest of the players in the locker room, he’s lazy, and he’s every other stereotypical thing anyone has ever said about him…just plain poop. Let him go to the NEW New York Islanders…the city where players go to let their careers die…Atlanta.

Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances

I’m not sure my soul could be crushed more than it was last year when Hossa went running for the hills to play for the eventual 2009 Stanley Cup Champions (snarrkkkk) but I’ll try to offer something. Not that enough hasn’t already happened to make me think Atlantic Division hockey is going to be awesome next season (Pronger and Tavares) but now the talk that the Rangers could offer the farm for Danny Heatley has me ready to throw up. I already hate the prick enough as it is, no need to see him even more often in the regular season. It’s going to be a tough task for the Pens to repeat next year, as Philly has already drastically improved on defense and caused me to have nightmares of Crosby being concussed 40987543987435 times next season…but if, God forbid, the Rangers land Heatley then the Atlantic Division could turn into a 4-way race.

Storming the Crease decides who should NOT team up with Ovie

July 1, 2009

Rob from Storming the Crease has been a long-time contributor to Cycle like the Sedins, providing us with deep, interesting takes on the Washington Capitals. He’s been one of the busier bloggers during free agent time, writing three fantastic posts on Caps UFAs today alone. Make sure to follow his Caps-related pursuits.

They should be an interesting team to watch for the next decade (or however long Alex Ovechkin‘s contract is).

Raise your hands if you were the only guy in DC with a lower approval rating than George W.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Michael Nylander. The problem is that Nyls is signed for another two years and has a contract that epitomizes dead weight. GMGM has tried everything to get rid of this guy, who right now is a $5.5 million scratch (at least for the playoffs). Granted, there’s still a little more than three months until the season starts, but Nylander stands out more than just about anybody.

(If you get the sense that I pick on Nylander at every opportunity, you’re right. But he’s really dead weight at this point. Seriously, I’d rather have an AHL player on the team than this guy. The Caps should have let him be Edmonton’s problem when they had the chance.)

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

It would be AWESOME if the New York Rangers and/or Philadelphia Flyers continued their free-spending ways. Oh wait, that happened already with the Flyers totally overpaying for an aging Chris Pronger. GM George McPhee thankfully wasn’t baited into another bad deal (see Jagr, Jaromir) and passed on trading for a good player, albeit one who is past his prime.