Monday, December 28, 2009

Caps & Jackets Cooking Up Something?

RUMOUR 2009/2010 NHL Statistics2010 Cap Hit
To WashingtonPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Nikita FilatovForward1911223$2.225 million
To ColumbusPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Karl AlznerDefenseman2110042$1.675 million

Now, this is a rumour that really getting some traction on the Twitter feed on this Monday morning. The Blue Jackets and Capitals are supposedly talking blockbuster trade and two of the prominent names floating around the mill is Nikita Filatov, the out-of-place sniper in Columbus, and Karl Alzner, who currently doesn't quite fit the Capitals budget as a balanced blueliner. Of course, there is probably more to this supposed deal, as trading these two prospects may be a bit short on calling it a blockbuster, but it does have some significant ramifications if it does go down.

Filatov, currently in Saskatchewan for the World Junior tournament with Russia, has been playing in the KHL since leaving the Blue Jackets earlier this season. Filatov was not the right fit in Ken Hitchcock's defensive system and Filatov was better suited to go back to Russia to develop his offensive talents a little bit more. I had a feeling that Filatov was not likely to see much more ice-time with Columbus, as long as Hitchcock was coaching.

Alzner, on the other hand, has been a bit of a burden to the Capitals management, but for the right reasons. Alzner is a former 1st round pick and has a cap hit that reflects that in his entry-level deal. The Caps are busting at the cap ceiling, thanks in large part to the Michael Nylander's nuisance of a deal, which the team finally cleared not long ago. Unfortunately, his defensive play isn't quite enough to make Alzner untouchable and he hasn't quite clicked offensively.

On paper, this deal looks like kind of a dud, but when you consider the style of play from each player, it really does have a lot of merit. Filatov could be slotted into a very offensive system, albeit next season for all intensive purposes (and cap reasons) and Alzner would be a great young piece to an already solid (on paper) blueline core in Columbus. Alzner could also be a quick fix for some defensive responsibility that the Jackets so desperately need. I like this deal for its merit.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kovalchuk Vancouver-bound?

RUMOUR 2009/2010 NHL Statistics2010 Cap Hit
To VancouverPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Ilya KovalchukForward262819361$6.389 million
To AtlantaPositionAgeGP/MINGoals/WinsPointsYearsPer Year
Pavol DemitraForward350001$4 million
Cory SchneiderGoaltender2378001$1.084 million
2010 1st Round Pick

Well, this one is a doozy, wouldn't you say? The Thrashers have been the focus of many rumours and speculation and this one is no different. This rumour is thanks to this tweet, which popped up on Sunday afternoon.

Ilya Kovalchuk is an impending unrestricted free agent this summer and the Thrashers have been trying to lure their 1st overall pick in 2001 back into the fold for the long-term with some contract talks. The trade speculation has been amplified because the talks are supposedly not going very well.

The Canucks are trying to find their stride in the Western Conference playoff race, sitting in 10th spot going into Sunday's action and if there was any meat to this rumour, it would suggest that the Canucks are looking to add more consistent scoring to help out their defensive play.

The Canucks, in fairness, should be looking to unload Pavol Demitra, because of his high price tag and inability to make an impact in the line-up and they have a good trading piece like Cory Schneider, who is considered to be one of the top goaltending prospects in the NHL. The first round pick is more of a piece that puts the deal over the top.

I can't see this deal going down in the slightest. The Canucks have no cap space and I don't believe they would pay that much for a rental player. The Canucks won't have the cap space in the coming seasons to deal a long-term Kovalchuk contract, so you can immediately say that this is a rental agreement.

Another point against the possibility of this deal would be that the Canucks are not built on offense or a true offense style. The Canucks are trying to pride themselves on defense and a good transition game and/or forecheck. Yes, Kovalchuk would improve the transition game, but I don't think he has the defensive responsibility that the Canucks are looking for.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Deal Brewin' Between Oilers & Rangers?

RUMOUR 2009/2010 NHL Statistics2010 Cap Hit
To EdmontonPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Brandon DubinskyForward23183102$1.85 million
To New YorkPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Andrew CoglianoForward2229381$1.13 million

Now, this is by no means a complete rumour, but there were names going both ways, so I thought I would toy with the names posted on Hockeybuzz this morning. Hell, I got to use a pretty cool picture of Andrew Cogliano while I'm at it, so that's okay.

So, in theory it looks like this isn't too terribly far off from being a straight swap. The Oilers would get what was thought to be the perfect centre for Marian Gaborik in Brandon Dubinsky and the Rangers would get a speedster that could actually keep up to Gaborik in Cogliano.

The Oilers need offensive depth and Dubinsky can be great behind or ahead of Shawn Horcoff in the depth chart at centre, which means he could be slotted in with either Ales Hemsky or Sam Gagner, depending on how the coach feels that day. That has to be rather exciting.

Cogliano, as explained to me earlier today on Twitter, hasn't been able to slow down and be in more control for the Oilers, so he's not really fitting in. Well, what city in North America loves the flash & dash? You're right, it's the Big Apple. As mentioned before, Cogliano could find himself playing with Gaborik, who is considered one of the fastest skaters in the league... so it's a perfect match. Now, if Gaborik's scoring rubs off a bit too, the Rangers are in business.

Now, I think we can all agree that Dubinsky will come with a higher market value than Cogliano, so that would indicate that the Oilers may have to throw in a little more to get this deal done. Would the Rangers be so bold as to get another defenseman to keep around? Probably not, their top six is so good that they don't even keep a seventh around. Maybe there is another prospect in there that the Oilers can pick up and then maybe throw a deep pick in going back with Dubinsky to call it square?

I think this has some merit to it... what do you think?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Canucks & Coyotes Talking?


2009/2010 NHL Statistics2010 Cap Hit
To VancouverPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Peter MuellerForward2124141$1.7 million

To PhoenixPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Shane O'BrienDefenseman2520001$1.6 million

In an interesting tweet I saw today, the Canucks and Coyotes may be talking trade to help deal a couple of underachieving players from one team to the other. As you can see above, the Coyotes would ship Peter Mueller to Vancouver for Shane O'Brien. Both Mueller and O'Brien have drawn the ire of their coaches, being healthy scratches in the line-up of late, which does help to facilitate a trade and upon further review, you notice that they are both worth the same against the cap this season and they are both free agents at the end of the season.

Now, I do find it a tad hard to believe that this is a deal worth doing, as O'Brien is very one dimensional as a pugilistic defender, but if Mueller is available, there does seem to be some merit here. I would have to think that there is some extra value in Mueller being much younger than O'Brien, so if there was any discussion in this direction, the Coyotes would likely be looking for a 2nd round pick to make up the difference. Mueller comes with plenty of upside and the Canucks could use a little more depth up front, so if the Canucks can part with a decent pick, I suppose I could see it happening.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rumour Revision

RUMOUR 2009/2010 NHL Statistics2010 Cap Hit
To MontrealPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Shawn HorcoffForward31235116$5.5 million
Gilbert BruleForward22248171$800,000
To EdmontonPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Andrei KostitsynForward24242102$3.25 million
Sergei KostitsynForward223021$817,000
Ryan O'ByrneDefenseman257002$942,000

In a rumoured deal already put forth in the blog, we potentially saw Shawn Horcoff going to the Habs for the Kostitsyn brothers, straight up. That rumour I thought had some muscle to it. Today, however, I wanted to throw into the ring a quick revision that I found a day or two ago, adding in a couple more players, likely to even out the odds a little bit.

The addition of Gilbert Brule and Ryan O'Byrne to the mix is fairly interesting. Brule is enjoying a rebirth to his career, which had fizzled quite badly in Columbus, while O'Byrne has been an up-again, down-again defenseman in Montreal, so he'll be looking for full-time work. Brule could give the Canadiens some more flexibility if some of the other rumoured deals are true (ie. Scott Gomez leaving Montreal), while the Oilers could be infatuated with O'Byrne's size (6'6", 228 lbs.).

Salary cap-wise, the Habs new hit won't be as hard with another $142,000 shaved off the cap hit they take on, which I thought was necessary to move the Kostitsyns, so that becomes somewhat of a wash.

In my opinon, the only thing really nixing this deal going forward would be what kind of value the Oilers have in Brule. They have done well to make them one of their own and actually get some secondary scoring from him as well. That can be easily counteracted by the value they put in both Kostitsyn brothers and whether or not they can turn them into valuable members of the run & gun style of play.

With Hemsky's season done, could this be a move forward, getting the brothers in hopes they can play with Hemsky and start to produce big numbers. Trading Horcoff and Brule away may be considered to be a season-ending move, but it's really all just if's and but's at this time.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Staal in Edmonton?

RUMOUR 2009/2010 NHL Statistics2010 Cap Hit
To EdmontonPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Eric StaalForward2516377$8.25 million
Undetermined Draft Pick
To CarolinaPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Andrew CoglianoForward2225381$1.133 million
Denis GrebeshkovDefenseman26193101$3.15 million

Well, how about this one? This is a doozy of a rumour, which could have been brewing up for some time now. It takes a couple of different ideas and combines them into one really awkward and hard-to-believe notion.

The Oilers have been anything but quiet about trying to get themselves a superstar, including Dany Heatley and Phil Kessel. The Hurricanes could very well be looking for a change in direction altogether after their disastrous start to the year. A trade for both teams seems likely. Is this really what the mill has in mind though?

The Hurricanes would be trading away a franchise player from their roster with a heavy salary cap hit for the next seven seasons after this one. You could argue that this could be more of a salary dump to help buy themselves a new superstar when the free agent marketplace opens in July 2010.

The Oilers would then be moving the two players that they have been reportedly trying to deal for some quality talent and would be willing to take on that excess of salary that Staal has already been signed to.

I can't honestly see this going down though. There just doesn't seem to be enough going to Carolina in this deal. The Oilers are getting a 100-point player (when healthy) and the Hurricanes are getting two impending free agents for next season. There has to be more to it. The Canes could be looking for some more draft picks to help ease their way in the rebuilding phase of their franchise. Maybe then it would make some sense, especially if it was a really high pick.

Still though... moving Eric Staal is mildly far-fetched. Between him and Cam Ward, those are the two players Carolina should be building around.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hawks & Leafs in Cap Move?

RUMOUR 2009/2010 NHL Statistics2010 Cap Hit
To TorontoPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Patrick SharpForward27226193$3.9 million
Brent SopelDefenseman3221132$2.3 million
To ChicagoPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Matt StajanForward26215151$1.75 million
Jiri TlustyForward213001$855,000
Garnet ExelbyDefenseman2811001$1.4 million

With the Blackhawks desperately seeking out ways to trim down their projected salary cap number for the 2011 season, in order to re-sign Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith to long-term deals, the Maple Leafs might be the team to help solve their problems, but its going to cost the Blackhawks dearly... or so we are to believe. Another rumour from the mill today saw Patrick Sharp and Brent Sopel heading North to Toronto for Matt Stajan, Jiri Tlusty and Garnet Exelby, which not only is a big player swap, there is plenty of cap room heading to Canada in return for two veteran players with large contracts extending past this season.

The surface of this deal is straight cap dump, but on a skill level, this is no real improvement to the Blackhawks, who are going after a championship this year, rather it's a big turn in the opposite direcetion. A feeling most people/fans would honestly believe. The real key to that argument would be Patrick Sharp, who has proven that he is far more valuable as a two-way player than his counterpart in the deal, Matt Stajan.

Despite clearing off $6.2 million of cap space off the books for the 2011 season, the Blackhawks likely won't want to sacrifice a season where they can actually win it all, unless they are somewhat confident that Stajan and Exelby can fill the void left behind by Sharp and Sopel. Exelby and Sopel are somewhat of a wash, skill & scoring-wise, so that isn't too bad. I really don't see Tlusty being the guy to bridge the gap between Stajan and Sharp, but the system in Chicago could be way more beneficial for both players... who is to say?

Sharp is just too valuable and it's the point that keeps coming back around to predict that this deal won't go down. Burke has been able to twist some arms off before, so you just never know for sure.

Horcoff For the Kostitsyns?

RUMOUR 2009/2010 NHL Statistics2010 Cap Hit
To MontrealPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Shawn HorcoffForward31195106$5.5 million
To EdmontonPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Andrei KostitsynForward2423292$3.25 million
Sergei KostitsynForward220001$817,000

I saw this rumour in a tweet on Monday and thought I would have a look at it. Just to see how it might work out.

Well, on the surface of this deal, you can acknowledge the fact that we are dealing with three underachieving players, especially for the money that is getting doled out between Horcoff and the older Kostitsyn.

Horcoff is a medium-to-small type of centre that can move the puck pretty well and skate with quick wingers, which is exactly the kind of team that the Canadiens are. Horcoff would sit as a number two centre behind Scott Gomez and there could be a little bit of balance given to the top two lines, putting Mike Cammalleri on one line and Brian Gionta to the other. There is a certain ring to it that seems rather appealing here.

The Kostitsyn brothers are very much offense first kind of players, that skate well and have a little bit of dangle to their game. Edmonton is filled with smallish forwards and two more just couldn't hurt the team more, right? Both brothers would be able to try out a number of centres that the team has to try and find some chemistry, plus they shouldn't be able to get into too much trouble in Edmonton.

I don't think that this is a terrible deal either way. Cap-wise, it will be pretty tight on both ends of the deal, but it does show some bits of relevance, enough so that it can't necessarily be shot down right away citing anything in particular.

The Habs should be looking to take on more salary in this cap era for moving these two players, that would be the easiest thing to do to facilitate a deal for kicking the Kostitsyns out of town. Maybe a low round pick would go with Horcoff, just to seal the deal, but that's just my own speculation.

I'd give this potential deal some legs... see what happens.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Giguere to Detroit?

RUMOUR 2009/2010 NHL Statistics2010 Cap Hit
To DetroitPositionAgeGP/MINGoals/WinsPointsYearsPer Year
J-S GiguereGoaltender32213002$6 million
Erik ChristensenForward257001$750,000
Luca SbisaDefenseman199002$875,000
To AnaheimPositionAgeGP/MINGoals/WinsPointsYearsPer Year
Brian RafalskiDefenseman3615183$6 million
Jimmy HowardGoaltender25322242$717,000

Well, I love crazy rumours and I love looking at them on a numbers basis. Today's rumour came from my Twitter feed, so I thought I would give it a link and see how it pans out.

This one sees the reportedly disgruntled J-S Giguere making his way out of Anaheim and heading to Detroit, who has been a part of many Giguere rumours, for a defenseman of equal cap value in Brian Rafalski and then some even out type players.

The element of this deal, which I find most interesting is the inclusion of Luca Sbisa, a prized young defenseman, who was sent back down to juniors again this season, as to think that the Ducks are so desperate to unload Gigure, that they would throw in a young player of this calibre. I would suggest that a high pick would go instead of Sbisa, just because the Ducks love their defensemen, which is shown by their desire to have Rafalski in return.

Erik Christensen and Jimmy Howard can make some sense, as Christensen is a healthy scratch all the time for the Ducks and Howard is a prepared back-up goalie for Jonas Hiller. I think that's a pretty suave move.

Cap-wise, this is a pretty straight-swap. Both teams were dealing with cap issues to start the season, but if all the books are equal here, then this deal could work in cap principle. Whether or not the Red Wings would be willing to move Rafalski, that would be the real question.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Giguere or Hiller?

It would be awfully silly to think that there wasn't a bit of a goaltending controversy at the beginning of the season in Anaheim, as both Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Hiller were both vying for the number one job. The argument was somewhat one-sided towards Hiller, as he received all the ice-time in the playoffs and played exceptionally well in doing so. Saying that, the Ducks and their coaching staff did maintain that the job was left wide open in camp, for either one to take.

On Monday, there was an interview that surfaced from down in California that has some direct quotes from Giguere, which is seemingly giving the Ducks an ultimatum to either move him or move Hiller.

With Giguere returning to the line-up from a groin injury there are questions being surfaced, in regards to this article. The Ducks have reportedly refuted the article as being true or accurate, which does seem awfully defensive and doesn't mean a great deal now. The trade winds have been surrounding Giguere have been blowing since the playoffs, around the time when Hiller was taking that number one job by the throat.

Thanks in large part to the Giguere injury, Hiller has played in 13 games for the Ducks, amassing a 6-5-1 record with a shutout, behind a team that has really yet to find their mid-season form. Hiller carries a 2.76 GAA and .919 save percentage, which are very respectable, especially for a goalie on a somewhat struggling team.

The other point of contention is that of the contract situation. Giguere is currently on the backend of a 4-year deal he signed in 2007, with another season after this with a cap hit of $6 million, while Hiller is in the final year of a 2-year contract extension, which has a cap hit of $1.3 million and will make him a UFA in the summer.

If this report and interview is actually accurate, the Ducks have a pickle on their hands. Giguere is the elder by five years and has experience of a Cup win, a Conn Smythe and another Cup Finals under his belt, but the younger Hiller doesn't have the experience, but is still earning the starts. With his pending free agency, the Ducks can mould the Swiss keeper under their projected cap number, which I believe is the tipping point for the Ducks. The interview (if true) should expedite the process of getting a trade done, but if he goes, he'll be going somewhere that needs a starting goalie, especially for the cost against the cap.

Hiller should continue to get the bulk of the starts, but if a trade doesn't happen in the next month, I would expect Giguere to get some showcase starts, trying to prove his value to teams that are interested.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Frolov for the Kostitsyns?

2009/2010 NHL Statistics2010 Cap Hit
To MontrealPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Alexander FrolovForward278151$2.9 million
To Los AngelesPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Andrei KostitsynForward248132$3.25 million
Sergei KostitsynForward220001$817,000

Another one from the Eklund files came out this afternoon, seeing the disgruntled forward Sergei Kostitsyn and his NHL-playing older brother, Andrei, head to Los Angeles for often-rumoured forward Alexander Frolov.

On the forefront, the Habs would pick up a quality scoring forward that may be a bit bigger (at 6'2") then what their used to, but should bring enough skill to help spread out the offense through the line-up.

For the Kings, they would get a pair of Europeans that do come with some attitude issues, but they are young and they do have some flash. The question is, can a guy like Terry Murray rope in Sergei into the system?

Well, the Western Conference is a little more wide open for the Kings, especially in the Pacific Division. Something would have to happen, like a conditional pick coming the Kings way, if they are not able to reel in the two brothers and get them in working at 100%. To me, it isn't a terrible move, but its still a questionable one.