Monday, June 26, 2006

Absolutely the Last Pronger Post!

Anyone else getting Pronger fatigue?

Is it about money? A girl? Was it the wife? His kids? Roger McDowell behind the bushes?

Before I make what I hope are my last comments on this mess before he is shipped out of town, a few notes on an interesting weekend outside of Prongerville.

For a review of the Oilers' draft check out Lowetide's review. I used to be a total drafthead before I had kids - knew all the players etc etc but no longer. Anyhow, Lain has the scoop and explains who all these kids are.

Duhatschek, as always, is a must read for his draft coverage.

Mudcrutch analyzes the trades made by Oil rivals Calgary, Vancouver and Minnesota.

Huet has resigned with Montreal. Take another player off of the UFA list.

Finally, another reason the Leafs are approaching 40 years without a Cup and a sign that the new Bruins' braintrust may know what they are doing as the Leafs trade one of their two prime goalie prospects, the Finn Tuukka Rask, for Andrew Raycroft. Rask may never pan out and Raycroft may bounce back but if the Leafs are serious about the Pronger sweepstakes would Rask not have been a nice pot sweetener? My guess is Raycroft is Jim Carey and Rask becomes a star, if only to have that be JFJ's legacy to Richard Peddie and MLSE.

Now, back to the Pronger channel:

1/ Before everyone pats Strachan on the back (which I also did, mistakenly) remember that Al claimed the Oilers would initiate a Pronger deal for financial reasons. Not the other way around.

2/ While everyone piles on, Lyle Richardson does have a take which many may not agree with but that is at least partially true. Pronger had no choice but to choose his family and if that is the real reason then I will not blame him for that. As for signing the contract I believe that at the time he and his wife did think it would work. Things don't always work out, after all.

3/ If this has been brewing for a while and apparently it has then kudos to Pronger for being a professional and playing as he did - it was obviously not a distraction.

4/ Some joker at the Edmonton Sun takes Pronger's wife to task for not telling him a few weeks ago that they were planning this move - it certainly would have been much better for her to tell some Sun hack in the middle of the playoff run that they were planning on getting out.

5/ Biggest problem I have with this whole thing (and I am disappointed, believe me) is how Pronger took off. If he had had a press conference and said "here is the deal" I think people would be upset but less so. If he stood up and said - "We wanted to be here. I love it here. My wife does not and if I have to choose between her and this team, I have to choose her" then it would be more palatable. Fleeing the city and having his agent do his talking for him is pretty weak.

6/ Lowe can trade Pronger anywhere. Apparently he has asked to be dealt to the States but Toronto would be ok too. The Leafs are offering Kaberle and Matt Stajan. The Oilers wanted Steen instead of Stajan. Hopefully that would be a starting point although with Rask gone the Leafs' prospect cupboard, is, as always, bare. If Kaberle and Steen was the return, ugh.

7/ Ken Campbell at the Star brings up the Panthers as a possible partner, with Bouwmeester and either Horton or Stewart coming the other way. That would be a decent deal and Florida is definitely in the mix. With a lot of aging guys and Bertuzzi a UFA after this season Keenan may be going for it all.

8/ After that, well, there are a whack of possibilities. Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta all come to mind. If I were Lowe I would want two young good players (as in the Panthers' rumour) plus a high end prospect. If its Chicago for example I want Seabrook(not Barker, because Seabrook has proven he can play in the league and well), Bell and Toews or Barker as the prospect. Maybe more because I am not sold on Bell. I think Pronger has that value but I may be wrong. I think his contract makes him extremely attractive though. The UFA Dmen out there will all likely make more then him when this is all said and done.

9/ It will be interesting to see what route Lowe takes in a general sense. Before this the consensus was that he would try and deal for a premier offensive player. Now, I think he can get some elite youngster or two. It will be interesting to see if he uses the chips he would have dealt to try and build a "Carolina" type defence or if he uses the Pronger and Peca money to sign guys like Mitchell and McKee. Should make for a fun couple of weeks. If he plays his cards right the Oil may be in the mix next year and definitely for years to come.


Chris said...

I like the possibilities for a Seabrook, Bell and Barker/Toews trade. I'm also fairly optomistic as Chicago is battling Columbus for the "worst management in the NHL award" although in fairness to Chicago they do at least draft well. Although I'm kind of sad the Mike Millbury and O'Connel aren't around to offer us some sort of crazy deal. They were the guys in the fantasy league who every wanted to make a trade with.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Chicago's drafting has just been decent the last couple of years though - they had a long long stretch between the early 80s and late 90s where other then Roenick and Daze they had nothing.

I think Chicago fits with the geography. I'd prefer that the oldest player in whatever deal they make be an impact guy - I don't think Bell is although it looks like last year he may have finally come around.

It looks like Jovo is a done deal with the Panthers - he's not even playing coy. If that is the case and Ottawa resigns Redden or Chara (I presume they will sign one of the two) then that leaves the other Senator as the only big name Dman (and with Elias the only real impact player out there). Presuming Lidstrom signs with the Wings, of course.

The Lowe will start getting calls.