Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Souray Submits a List

As we near the Olympic Break and the Trade Deadline, it really appears interesting to me that Sheldon Souray finds himself on the trading block after submitting a list to the Oilers to which teams he would waive his no-trade clause for. To me, this is a real break in the case of dissecting rumours and such, but now the rumoured list is somewhat of a hot topic.

First things first, why the heck would the Oilers want to move a guy like Souray? He's a top-two defenseman, who brings a wallop of a shot from the point and a real veteran presence. The Oilers, if they were to have a quick rebuilding turnaround, would actually require a guy like Souray to quarterback their power play. To me, this is very reminiscent of the Maple Leafs situation with Tomas Kaberle, it's very curious to deal away your cornerstone piece on the point.

In the Oilers case, they do have a bit more depth, especially with Lubomir Visnovsky still being part of the equation and some youth in Alex Plante and Taylor Chorney coming up through the system. Obviously, that seems to be enough for the Oilers going forward or else they would be taking a stand on keeping Souray for the better part of his contract. If the rebuild is going to take three or four more year, Plante and Chorney should have ample time to develop and who knows what the Oilers are going to get from the future drafts.

As for his list, I like to believe what's being speculated, that the list of teams are all on the West Coast, trying to stay near his kids. Souray has two more years left on his deal, so he cannot play the rental and sign somewhere in the West after moving to the East for the remainder of this season. That's some reasonable forward thinking on his part, so it will be interesting to see if any of the California teams like what they see from him, maybe even Dallas or Phoenix, it does sound more like a Pacific Division-type move, rather than going down the road to Calgary or Vancouver. Still though, you would have to think that if the Flames or Canucks came calling with a package, the Oilers would have to listen.

Salary CapSo, speaking of his salary cap status, he does have two more seasons left at $5.4 million against the cap in each of those seasons and a good portion remaining on this season. That is a pretty big hit for a Trade Deadline move, especially for a rental player.

In terms of this season, we're now at a point in the year where the math gets to be awfully complicated, after injuries and demotions and such, so any team that is generally speculated to be in this, should have some space left for the $2.5 million or so Souray would need to fit in. The easy fits, just looking on the surface of some teams and their annual hits, I can see Anaheim, Phoenix and Los Angeles being really easy moves and they are all in the playoff discussion.

Long term, the Pacific Division seems to be a ripe place to be building from, as a lot of teams are going to be dealing with free agency right off the hop. Even the San Jose Sharks has a list of only 11 players signed on for next season at a cap hit of approximately $35.2 million. If the Sharks could open up a ton of space, you would have to think they might be players to pair up Souray with Boyle. Call it somewhat unreasonable, for chemistry reasons though.

As always, there are teams that are unhappy with certain players, which we can throw into supposed deals all we like. One that comes to mind would be Phoenix trying to package Peter Mueller out of town, since he's been mentioned a few times this year, for Sheldon Souray. I'm sure the Oilers could use another young, talented centre to help mould into their form. Personally, I think that kind of package is reasonable. Sadly, I have no sources or contacts to justify this, I'm just speculating all I like with the pieces in front of me.

No matter what happens, if Souray goes down South to the Pacific Division, I don't think that brings enough to the table for any of those teams.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Backes for Schneider

RUMOUR 2009/2010 NHL Statistics
To VancouverPositionAgeGPGoalsPoints2010 Cap Hit2011 Cap Hit
David BackesForward25491026$2.5 million$2.5 million
To St. LouisPositionAgeMINWinsPoints2010 Cap Hit2011 Cap Hit
Cory SchneiderGoaltender237800$1.084 millionRFA

An interesting trade rumour floated through Twitter this afternoon and I thought I would have a look at its validity. The Canucks would finally send blue-chip goaltender, Cory Schneider, away to St. Louis and in return, the Blues would send gritty forward, David Backes.

This is a very curious deal, especially since we are coming to the time of rental deals, where this deal has plenty of long-term value. The Blues would get a new franchise goaltender and the Canucks would get some more speed and grit for at least another season after this.

For the Canucks, they would upgrade their depth with a former 30-goal scorer in Backes, which has to be a very tempting player to pick up. Backes would likely slot between the second and third line, depending on chemistry, production and discipline.

For the Blues, they are on the verge of unrestricted free agency with Chris Mason and they only have one year remaining with Ty Conklin, so they would likely be giving Schneider a year behind Conklin, which would be valuable for his NHL experience.

Salary CapSince this deal would see a player join the Canucks without giving up a roster player, there might be some complications, especially with the return of Pavol Demitra to their line-up this month. The Canucks would have to likely free up some space, which may also include another player or two in this deal.

In terms of the 2011, the Blues are in full flexibility mode, having only 12 players signed on for an approximate cap hit of $28.5 million. They will be happy to take a piece like Schneider and build around him. The Canucks, on the other hand, have most of their core in place and are paying for this core for years to come. They currently have 13 players signed on for $42.6 million, which doesn't leave a great deal for depth, but that's the trick of management.

I do like this deal a whole lot, especially being a Canucks fan. The potential of Cory Schneider being a good NHL goalie is there and David Backes has the ability to score 30 goals, so the value does seem to be there. Backes did miss the Blues' last game with an upper-body injury, so if there is supposed to be a hiccup on this deal, it would be that.

Discuss in the comments...

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lecavalier to the Rangers?


2009/2010 NHL Statistics2010 Cap Hit
To New YorkPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Vincent LecavalierForward2948124611$7.727 million

To Tampa BayPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Brandon DubinskyForward233610262$1.85 million
Wade ReddenDefenseman3242175$6.5 million
Matt GilroyDefenseman2544472$1.75 million

I saw this rumour this morning on Puck Daddy and I thought I would draw it out, despite it being denied right off the hop and with much vigor as well. Frankly, this is just a discussion point to which there is little basis to this, it's just an interesting thought, don't you think?

From the Tampa Bay side, they have been in the middle of the Vincent Lecavalier rumour cloud for quite some time now and in some cases there might be some fire to all the smoke. It does seem awfully silly to be thinking about a move for Lecavalier, the face of the franchise, but the mistake of giving him a boat load on a very long-term deal does seem to be biting the team management in the ass a little bit. We all know that trying to move a cap hit over $7 million is one of the hardest things plaguing some NHL general managers these days.

The Rangers know all too well about trying to move a big cap hit and this proposed rumour has that individual case in this deal going back the other way. Wade Redden and his $6.5 million cap hit has been a plight upon Rangers management, especially with the lack of decent play from the blueliner. I can see what the writer of this proposed rumour was thinking... "let's swap the big contracts and then give the Lightning a little bit more, because they are taking on Redden." I can see it, it makes some sense, but for the Lightning its somewhat of a dumb move, especially since they wouldn't be getting anywhere near the offense from Brandon Dubinsky and their depth gets challenged a bit more.

On the face of it all, something is likely going to happen with Lecavalier, but this deal certainly isn't going to be it. I have a feeling that the Lightning now have some reason to be waiting to see what Ilya Kovalchuk garners in a trade from Atlanta. Sure, it isn't quite the same situation, but its two teams in the Southeast Division trying to figure out what their superstars are worth on the market. Both teams seem to be looking to rebuild a bit, so there could be a little bit of a market comparison in there somewhere.

I still don't know why the Lightning would trade Lecavalier away until Steven Stamkos is up for negotiations and the team feels they want him more than Lecavalier.

Plus, I truly believe that the Rangers are stuck with Redden for the duration of that deal.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Souray for Theodore?

RUMOUR 2009/2010 NHL Statistics2010 Cap Hit
To WashingtonPositionAgeGPGoalsPointsYearsPer Year
Sheldon SourayDefenseman33273123$5.4 million
To EdmontonPositionAgeMINWinsPointsYearsPer Year
Jose TheodoreGoaltender331,1409181$4.5 million

Without a doubt, this is one of the more interesting deals that I've seen on HockeyBuzz this year, but it really does solve a number of issues, the age range is right and the cap hits are about the same.

Both teams are going in opposite directions this season and both have their own issues to deal with. The Capitals need some depth and some veteran presence on their blueline, while carrying three qualified goaltenders. The Oilers are spinning their wheels in the Northwest Division, with all sorts of high priced talent, which is hurting their books and not winning games. The Oilers goaltending situation is also not very secure, with Nikolai Khabibulin on the verge of season-ending surgery and two young goalies now holding down the fort.

Looking at the two pieces of this rumoured deal, Sheldon Souray is a good veteran leader on the blueline and would be able to add that extra depth to the Capitals in the end of this season and a couple seasons afterwards. Jose Theodore is now turning out to be the odd-man out, once Semyon Varlamov is officially healthy again, and the former Hart Trophy winner would likely enjoy some more starting minutes, no matter where it is.

The cap hit, although has very similar numbers does pose a bit of a concern, mostly on Washington's side of the ledger. If the Capitals were to take on Souray, they would have him at his $5.4 million cap hit for the next two seasons, without having made any accommodations to Nicklas Backstrom or Tomas Fleischmann, who are both becoming RFA's this summer. Yes, they would have some depth on the blueline, but the Capitals are looking very well thought out in cap management, it might be a bit of a smear adding such a big name to the mix.

The Oilers would certainly be happy taking on a number one goalie in Theodore, who would essentially be a rental player, as Khabibulin recovers from his back problems. The team can remain competitive, even play spoiler, with a decent starter in their stables.

The elements are there, but again, its the cap concern that would easily nix this deal in the end. The Capitals would have a very formidable second power play unit, if Souray was to quarterback it and the Oilers would have $5.4 million more in cap room this summer if they were to end up moving him. That's a lot of flexibility given to a team that really needs it.