Archive for the ‘Marian Hossa’ Category

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.)

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The Day After the Trade Deadline

March 5, 2009

Well hockey fans, we again weathered another trade deadline. Since there has been extensive coverage on CLTS, I don’t want to beat a dead horse. So I am going to give a brief wrap-up of the days events. Plus I am beat and I figure short and sweet is better than nothing.


The build-up to the trade deadline is kinda like Christmas. You can’t wait to see if your grandpa Shero got you a sweet Xbox 360 or a power forward to play wing with Sidney. Or maybe, just maybe someone got you a brand new car with one of those comically over sized bows on the hood. But most of the time you get a lame dolphin sweater or some socks or a 9th round draft pick.

That’s the fun of the deadline. You’re never sure what your team will “unwrap.” For example, last year the Penguins made their big move right at the buzzer and picked up Marian Hossa. My immediate response was glee, followed up by this statement: “He’s a rental player, no question. If we win the cup, it’ll be a masterstroke; if we don’t everyone will be pissed.” It was a gamble that damn near payed off. Of course, it didn’t. (FYI: I hate Marian Hossa.)

So to continue the Christmas theme, below I will review two of the big trades of the day and their gift counterpart. (I might just do a couple more trades on Sunday.)

Calgary gets Olli Jokinen for Matthew Lombardi, another guy and a draft pick:
For the Flames, getting Jokinen is like getting a second Wii-mote and Nunchuck to make your pretty fun Nintendo Wii (Jarome Iginla) super fun because now two can play. Could Calgary live without him…probably. But does his arrival make them potentially far better…definitely. Solid trade, great gift.

Penguins get Bill Guerin for a six-pack of Keystone and a bag of chips:
Okay, so it was a draft pick, but sheesh they gave up nothing. Look has Bill Guerin done ANYTHING notable in the past like four seasons? But…what I do know is back in the day Guerin played with this kid name Joe Thornton (you may have heard of him) and put up some decent numbers. More importantly, he was tough guy. If Guerin can return to that form with this cast of characters, great trade. At bare minimum he HAS to be better than Satan. Gift Equivalent: a sizable gift card to a store that could go under at any moment.

–Dre

Morning cycle: NBC drops the ball again

February 16, 2009

  • To the surprise of few, NBC indeed picked the wrong game on Sunday.
The peacock decided to go for a yawn-inducing big market game we’ve seen five million times (New York Rangers vs. Philly Flyers) instead of a game featuring two of the five best teams in the league. What did they get? Henrik Lundqvist getting pulled in the second period of a matchup that probably was decided well before that.

San Jose Sharks at New Jersey Devils, aka the game that NBC should have chosen, ended up being a wild 6-5 game. (At least, that’s what highlights and recaps indicate) Judging from the great audience attracted by the big Boston Bruins – San Jose Sharks last Tuesday, it seems that NBC misjudged demand.
It goes further than that. This is the another reason that the NHL needs to think seriously about the quality of its coverage beyond dollars and cents, even if Versus provides bush league coverage at times. How many times can the league tolerate NBC’s “whatevah, hockey” approach? Shouldn’t the NHL do everything it can to introduce the San Jose Sharks (easily one of the three favorites for the Cup) to casual viewing hockey audiences? Is the league really going to stick with a network that relocated an intense overtime playoff hockey game for the PRESHOW of a horse race?

(Let that last sentence marinate in your soul.)

As usual, Puck the Media features great coverage of NBC’s short-sighted decision.

We know, we know, it’s a small-market game, and Sharks fans would be forced to awaken at the ungodly hour of 9:30 AM on a Sunday morning for a hockey gam(Something we, mind you, have always dreamed of). But this is the PERFECT weekend to try it out. Competition for the audience that’d be watching a hockey game is pretty slim. The NBA All-Star Game isn’t till primetime, and the Daytona 500 doesn’t feature much of a hockey-friendly audience (Prove me wrong, Raleigh). This is the one chance the NHL has to experiment with a game that might just draw the passing fancy of some channel-flipper and they missed.

  • Moving on to happier news, Mike Green managed to break the record for consecutive goals scored by a defenseman.
Could it be safe to say already, even counting their Cinderella run to the Cup Finals in the Bondra era, this might be the best season for the Capitals? Beyond that, the Capitals remind me of a revamp of the ’90s Detroit Red Wings teams.

Look at all the Russians in high-ranking spots. Obviously, it all starts with Alex Ovechkin, but there are a lot of big responsibility guys on that roster who are Russian. Whenever he’s healthy, Alex Semin is blossoming into an elite forward. Viktor Kozlov might seem like an underachiever but he’s a nice addition (or as Japer’s Rink called him, “a Lebowski rug”) to the Capitals. Hell, they even employ former Red Wing Sergei Fedorov.
  • Which team is third best in the Western Conference? Because of divisional playoff seeding, the Calgary Flames should slip into the third spot. That being said, the best team after juggernauts in Detroit and San Jose might just be the Chicago Blackhawks.
Chicago destroyed the Dallas Stars 6-2 after putting together a nice 5-3 record during an eight-game road trip. After facing three more road games in a row, the Blackhawks won’t face more than two back-to-back road games.

It probably won’t allow Chicago to put any pressure on division-leading Detroit. However, the easy road ahead might allow the Blackhawks to go into the playoffs with some momentum and relative good health.
  • The Penguins fired Michel Therrien this weekend.
Normally, it’s ridiculously unfair to fire a coach who managed to lead a team to the Cup finals the year before but context is important. My guess is a highly trained dolphin could coach last year’s Penguins team to at least the Conference finals.

At the same time, Therrien deserves credit for shepherding the young Penguins from cellar dweller to contender. Who knows how much of it was Therrien, but at times the Pens looked to have “good defensive team” potential, a rare sentence even for Pittsburgh’s golden era.

One thing that bothers me (and usually, only NBC guys say these kind of things) is how much certain pundit-idiots weigh Marian Hossa‘s absence for being a big reason for the Penguins missing the playoffs.

Hossa played 12 regular season games for Pittsburgh, so ease off the accelerator on that one. He gave the Penguins an extra gear, but that mattered in the post-season, not in making the playoffs. Just a pet peeve.

Therrien’s firing is justified but seemed like it could have waited until the summer. It’s not the fault of HCMT (credit Pensblog) that the Penguins are having a miserable season. That falls on the players shoulders first, Ray Shero’s next and then HCMT. But HCMT is the easiest guy to fire and that’s that.

It’s looking more and more improbable for the Penguins to make the playoffs. The question is: does it even matter if they make it? It seems hard to imagine this team making a Cinderella run right now.

News Cycle: Do any NHL players fit Sports Guy’s "underrated" criteria?

January 28, 2009
Tim Thomas provides a rare flair for the dramatic in net

  • Last night, I posted a stream of consciousness about an exciting Washington Capitals – Boston Bruins game. One of the lines was, “Marc Savard is still underrated.” After reading a new column by Bill Simmons, it got me wondering: are there any NHL players who are truly underrated?

It’s tough to say. Savard does indeed meet some of the requirements since he has been producing at an impressive level for quite a few years without being mentioned in the upper ranks of NHL forwards. That said, he did make the All-Star team and there is a question of if he “matters” much in the grand scheme of things on a deep, talented Boston Bruins team.

Tim Thomas might actually be a more appropriate case, because he’s putting up one of the better cases for the Vezina trophy this year – and has a knack for producing highlight reel saves.

Can you think of any NHL player who would fit the Sports Guy’s standards of underrated?

  • One player who absolutely is not underrated is Montreal’s Carey Price (or “Jesus Price”). There’s a pretty interesting little feature on Price in ESPN the Magazine which focuses on the pressures that come with being the Montreal Canadiens’ netminder.
  • Big news out of Detroit: the Red Wings signed Henrik Zetterberg to a massive 12 year, $72 million contract. As with most contracts that feature big money and long terms, it’s a mixed bag of a deal.

On one hand, the Red Wings will keep Zetterberg around for a cap hit of only $6 million per year, which is only one million more than Mike Ribeiro. That’s a very nice deal for a player who produces nicely and plays a solid two-way game.

That being said, Zetterberg is a little bit on the fragile side. He’s not quite as delicate as, say, Patrice Bergeron but he tends to miss about 5-15 games per year (career high GP: 79; career low GP: 61). At 29, Zetterberg might already have his peak years behind him.

It’s not an awful contract overall, but it’s possible the last six years could cause the Red Wings some issues.

Now the hot topic changes to: can the Red Wings find a way to keep Marian Hossa or Johan Franzen? It would be impossible for most teams, but you never know with Detroit.

“Does he LOOK … LIKE … A … Bouwmeester?” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…

The photo of Bowmeester in glasses brings back memories of Pulp Fiction, when Quentin Tarantino says that Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta look like “a bunch of dorks.” Bowmeester is a pocket proctector short of getting an atomic wedgie, right?

All-Decade Team: Wings

January 19, 2009

Jaromir Jagr

(737 points – 301 goals and 436 assists in REG; 62 points – 22 goals, 40 assists in playoffs)Awards: Two Art Ross trophies, two Lester B. Pearson trophies, four time All-Star, three time First-Team All-Star

If you read my treatise on Jagr you already know where I stand. Just to recap: he was a deadly goal scorer with sublime passing skills. Jagr had the strength to shed checkers and the speed to leave the best defensemen in the dust. Simply a Frankenstein monster of offense.

Daniel Alfredsson

(677 points – 265 goals and 412 assists in REG; 61 points – 30 goals, 31 assists in playoffs)

Awards: two-time All-Star

There seems to be two camps regarding “Alf.” On one side, there are the Alfredsson enthusiasts who point to his multi-dimensional and unselfish style of play. Yet on the other side of the fence, there are the people against him who criticize his playoff performances (not to mention the way he acted toward Scott Niedermayer in the SCF).

Whatever way you lean, it’s hard to deny Alfredsson’s impressive body of work. He might not sport the emotional leadership of Iginla or the offensive flashiness of Jagr, but Alfie is one of the best of his era.

Dany Heatley

(512 points – 240 goals and 272 assists in REG; 35 points – 10 goals, 25 assists in playoffs)

Awards: Calder trophy, First-team All-Star once, two time All-Star

Heatley went from tragedy in Atlanta to an impressive run to the Stanley Cup Finals in a short period of time. Over the last few seasons, he’s established himself as one of the game’s most devastating snipers alongside Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk.

Jarome Iginla

(680 points – 330 goals and 350 assists in REG; 43 points – 24 goals, 19 assists in playoffs)

Awards: Four time All-Star, First team All-Star, two Rocket Richard trophies (one in a three-way tie with Rick Nash and Ilya Kovalchuk, one won outright) Lester B. Pearson trophy

There were a few years in which I advanced this argument: if J.S. Giguere gets a Conn Smythe in a losing effort, then why not Jarome Iginla a year later? Yes, Brad Richards had an amazing playoff run. But Richards was one of three stars in Tampa would could come up with big plays – Iginla carried the Flames offense by himself. All the way to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Still, that Smythe trophy voting was acceptable … but the way he was robbed of a Hart trophy was atrocious. Despite the fact that Iginla lead the league in scoring with 96 points on an awful Flames team, one voter left him off the ballot altogether. This move allowed one year wonder in Jose Theodore to win the MVP and raised legitimate questions of racism.

Beyond all that, Iginla’s had a borderline HOF decade. Only Jaromir Jagr beats him in points among wingers. Plus, “Jarmoe” brought more to the table than a wicked wrister. He’s been the ultimate leader: combining clutch scoring, toughness and a willingness to drop the gloves if need be.

Naturally, dropping the gloves forced him to miss some games and might hurt his standing with some voters.

Martin St. Louis

(547 points – 224 goals and 323 assists in REG; 48 points – 23 goals, 25 assists in playoffs)

Awards: four-time All-Star, first team All-Star once, one Art Ross, Pearson and Hart trophy

It doesn’t get much more Disney than the story of Martin St. Louis. He went from being an unwanted, undrafted free agent to becoming the league’s MVP and a Stanley Cup champion. If ESPN’s bitter hatred had not been at an all-time high at that point, his would have been one of the sport stories of the year.

Marian Hossa

(662 points – 306 goals and 356 assists in REG; 59 points – 25 goals, 34 assists in playoffs)

Awards: four-time All-Star

Though they were unable to keep him in Atlanta, getting Hossa for Heatley might qualify as the only time “Thrashers GM Don Waddell” and “impressive job” could be mentioned in the same sentence without words like “completely un-” because Hossa might be Heater’s equal. His defensive skills make up for a slight loss in pizazz.

Nearly half of Hossa’s playoff output came last year during the Penguins run to the SCF. That performance showed what Hossa is capable of with a top-end center.

Markus Naslund

(640 points – 286 goals and 354 assists in REG; 30 points – 12 goals, 18 assists in playoffs)

Awards: four All-Star games, Pearson award, three time First-Team All-Star

Recent years haven’t been too kind to the Swedish sniper, but Naslund was one of the true elite forwards in the NHL during his peak years in the early part of the decade.

Brendan Shanahan

(539 points – 256 goals and 283 assists in REG; 50 points – 22 goals, 28 assists in playoffs)

Awards: three All-Star games, one time First-Team All-Star

Most of Shanahan’s best years came before the decade started, but he still put up some very nice power forward numbers. Being on three Stanley Cup winners with Detroit cannot hurt either (although two of those Cups came before the time period in question)

Not enough yet: Alex Ovechkin (if the lockout didn’t happen he might be close enough), Ilya Kovalchuk and Rick Nash

Tavares watch: Islanders could rebuild in a hurry (1 of 2)

January 8, 2009
Not very long ago, I uttered something like this to a buddy of mine: “Man, I hope Tavares doesn’t end up in a hellhole like Long Island.”

However, while researching my Mike Milbury = Matt Millen post, it was hard to ignore Garth Snow’s NHL draft wizardy. Doing the math is a little tricky so here’s a visual aid from Isles info.com’s Islanders’ GM history:

06/20/08: NYI trade 2008 Entry Draft first round pick(fifth overall – D Luke Schenn) to TOR for first round pick in 2008 (seventh overall), TOR’s 3rd round pick in 2008 (68th overall) and TOR’s 2nd round pick in 2009.

06/20/08: NYI trade TOR’s 1st round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft (seventh overall – C Colin Wilson, previously acquired) to NSH for FLA’s 1st round pick in 2008 (ninth overall – C Josh Bailey, previously acquired) and FLA’s 2nd round pick in 2008 (40th overall – D Aaron Ness, previously acquired).

06/21/08: NYI acquire CHI’s third round pick (72nd overall – D Jyri Niemi)and fourth round pick (102nd overall – W David Ullstrom) in 2008 for TOR’s
third round pick in 2008 (68th overall – D Shawn Lalonde, previously acquired).

Impressive. Snow basically moved the Islanders first round pick for Florida’s first and second round picks, Chicago’s third and fourth round picks in 2008 plus Toronto’s 2009 2nd-rounder. As good as Luke Schenn and Colin Wilson could end up, that’s a hell of a leap in the rebuilding process.

Tavares + big name free agent could really accelerate the Islanders rebuilding process (and Tavares + huge cap space could help the Islanders land that big free agent).

So that alone gives the Islanders a light at the end of the tunnel, but now let’s get hypothetical:

Semi-plausible moves that could reignite the Islanders

Step 1: Winning the Tavares lottery

Obviously this is the portion that’s dedicated exclusively to random chance. The Isles are the worst team in the NHL right now and will likely finish with the most lottery balls at the end of the season, but that in no way guarantees that they’ll get the #1 pick.

Getting the second pick wouldn’t be horrible since the only spot locked up long term is #1 goalie thanks to Rick Dipietro‘s life sentence long-term deal. But as tall and talented as that Swede might be, the Islanders need a shot in the arm only Tavares can provide. Badly.

What better way to help the Islanders sell the idea of a new arena than to add the most hyped Canadian since Sidney Crosby?

(Quick aside for those hockey’s futures nuts out there: what is a reasonable estimate for a healthy first season for Tavares? Could his production be Crosby-like, Patrick Kane-like or more like Joe Thornton‘s rough rookie year?)

Step 2: Trade for Kovalchuk or throw the bank at Marian Hossa

Personally, I think Kovalchuk would be a better bet because his talents are “sexier.” Hossa’s a fantastic player, but you get the feeling that Kovalchuk would dazzle New Yorkers deeply. A rare victory for sizzle over steak.

If Atlanta decides to deal Kovalchuk, the Islanders have picks and prospects to spare

With Doug Weight ($4.5 mil), Bill Guerin ($4.3 mil), Mike Comrie ($4 mil) and Mike Sillinger ($2.2 mil) coming off the books this summer, the Islanders could transform their roster from washed-up, overpaid veterans to whatever image the “new” Islanders would seek.

($17 million from four players for non-math majors)

If NHLSCAP figures are correct, their overall cap would be right under $31 million with 8 forwards, 7 defensemen and 1 goaltender under contract (not counting minor leaguers … although you can argue many of their starters belong in the AHL).

In that dream scenario, Tavares would probably have a Stamkos-like cap hit. Let’s say $4 million to be safe. Let’s also assume that the cap goes down to , say, $55 million when factoring in the deadbeat economy.

The Islanders could throw a “horse head in the bed” offer at Marian Hossa or easily absorb the last year of Kovalchuk’s contract. Hell, if you really want to dream big imagine the Islanders somehow landing Kovalchuk – Hossa – Tavares or Kovalchuk – Gaborik – Tavares or something of that nature. Crazier things have happened.

[Note: decided to break this gigantic post up into two parts.]

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.

***

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.