Monday, June 20, 2011

Sweepstakes for Jagr?

rangersWord that there is some suitor shopping going on by the agent of Jaromir Jagr has got a little bit of buzz to it these days.

The 39-year old Czech winger has spent the last few seasons as one of the best players in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia and might be shopping his services around in the NHL in hopes that might get him some more money back in Russia, where salary caps don't really exist.

The rumour mill has the Penguins, Red Wings and Canadiens in on his services, although by the sound of some ramblings on rumour sites, Montreal may be less into Jagr than the other two teams.  The Penguins should have some pull, being the original team that Jagr played for in the NHL, while the Red Wings are a team that enjoys taking on ageing veterans for their poise and coach-ability, while the Habs are a team that have seemingly been on Jagr's radar, as a team that he would like to play for.

It is somewhat unclear as to how much a team would be able to offer a player like Jagr, as he had shown at the Vancouver Olympics, his skills haven't really diminished in his time over in Russia and he was a top-dollar player (whether he deserved it or not) when he was last playing in the NHL, back in 2008.

The Red Wings do have some cap space available, but I couldn't see them making a move for Jagr unless it was on their terms, which would likely put the cap hit down around $2.5 to $3 million, at best.  The Penguins are in even worse shape than Detroit, having less cap space to worry about, but the allure of a top end scoring winger for either one of their top two centres must have some appeal to it.

Personally, I have no nostalgic feeling for Jagr, so I could really care less as to whether or not he actually comes back.  If this isn't an elaborate ruse to suck more money out of the KHL teams, I would think that this is a significant blow to the KHL's credibility as a hockey league, especially one that is trying to rival the NHL.  Jagr wanted to play hockey closer to home and make a lot of money doing it, but I would think that the competitive drive of most players would still like the game to be at its best for a player of his calibre to still be playing in it.  Taking less money to play better hockey, that could be damaging for the KHL, if they ever could make a big push for another superstar free agent out of North America.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Blue Jackets in on Jeff Carter?

RUMOUR2010-2011 NHL StatisticsJuly 1st Status
To ColumbusPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Jeff CarterF268036306611$5.3 million
To PhiladelphiaPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Jakub VoracekF2181432460RFA
2012 1st Round Draft Pick

Now, this is what I call an excellent trade rumour!

Not long after the Philadelphia Flyers acquired Ilya Bryzgalov from the Phoenix Coyotes, the flags started going up, asking the question, how the hell are the Flyers going to sign a goalie that wants top dollar for the long-term to a deal with so much cap trouble as it is?  The easiest and most likely answer is that a player of significant value, possibly two players that add up to significant value, would have to depart in order to get this to go.  Hence this rumour.

As you can see in the trade table above, the Blue Jackets will help the Flyers out by moving some serious assets to Philadelphia to acquire Jeff Carter, a player of reasonable magnitude and good offensive skill.  The Jackets would send Jakub Voracek, an under-whelming prospect with Columbus, who becomes a restricted free agent in July, and the team's 1st round pick at the draft in a couple of weeks.

Let's quickly look at the Flyers, who not only clear some space for the signing of Bryzgalov, they get to name their price with a talented centre in Voracek, who could very well be signed for the short-term for some testing out money, and a decent 1st round pick (8th overall) to help build their youthful depth.

For the Jackets, they have the cap space to take on a top end centre like Carter, who should give some immediate help to a winger like Rick Nash, likely increasing their fantasy value for the 2012 season, which is one thing that the Jackets are desperately seeking.  In order to win now, the Jackets would almost be silly not to make this deal, granted they are probably the team pushing this one in the end.

I like this rumour a lot, I think both teams could certainly benefit from this one in a lot of ways.  Granted, this is a deal that is almost too good to be true, so it will be interesting to see whether or not this one goes down before or at the draft.  The only thing I could see slowing this deal down is that the Flyers would not really want to part with Carter, but their depth down the middle is very impressive and Carter has fallen down the depth charts behind Claude Giroux and Mike Richards.