Monday, July 10, 2006

The Parity Shuffle

Is anyone making any headway this off season?

Oiler fans have seen player after player leave this offseason. Pronger's departure, imo, is the only one that has to be addressed. Spacek was not here at the beginning of last season - if the Oilers look like contenders then he will have to be replaced, as will others but for now they have to address that big gap in their D. Then we can talk.

A look around the league reveals that a lot of other teams are in the same boat. With Ottawa trading Havlat and Smolinski for cap relief today the beginning of that process is upon us as teams pushing the cap or about to push it begin trying to get some relief. I think Lowe now is going to address the blueline.

Team after team has picked up a player or two to shore up an area of weakness only to have to rob Peter to pay Paul. There are a lot of unhappy, worried fans looking at their teams and wondering what next. The defending champs are in better position then most, having lost Gerber (but still having Ward), Matt Cullen, Aaron Ward and rent a player Doug Weight. But as for some remaining teams:

Colorado - said so long to Alex Tanguay and Rob Blake while adding Jordan Leopold - a net loss I believe - Colorado needs youngsters to step up in a big way on offence or they will be out of the playoffs

Vancouver - added Roberto Luongo and Willie Mitchell but lost Jovonoski, Bryan Allen, Bertuzzi and Anson Carter (probably) - for all those looking as the Canucks as vastly improved I'm not sure I buy it - how much offence is gone with Carter, Bertuzzi and Jovo?

Detroit - they had to turn the page and with Yzerman and Shanahan leaving this team will have a definite new look - Eddie Belfour in net though? Saw him play a lot last year and even when healthy - yeesh.

Dallas - so long Jason Arnott

Ottawa - goodbye Chara and Havlat

Anaheim - took Pronger off our hands but give up a 28 goal scorer off a team that did not score a lot of goals - they're going to be hoping to win a lot of 1-0 and 2-1 games, I guess

Jersey - kept Elias but will have to say good bye to others, liekly Gomez and Rafalski

The Rangers have made some nice additions (funny to see them going for midrange guys now) and San Jose's addition of Bell, while it cost them Preissing, adds to a formidible lineup. The Flames pickup of Tanguay, while it cost them Leopold, has to help.

The common thread to this new cap cap world is this:

Next year, like this, is going to be wide open and if you are going to make hay your young guys better step it up to replace those who have departed.

If Svatos doesn't score then the Avs don't make the playoffs. In Detroit its Zetterberg and Datsyuk's team now. Ottawa needs some young D to step up for Chara and someone else to give them secondary scoring. Anaheim needs Getzlaf and Perry to score or they won't be going anywhere.

The Oilers need Greene, Torres, Stoll, Lupul and a host of others to make that step up.

Even the defending champs need Cam Ward to perform at a high level for a full season to replace what Gerber gave them or they will be in trouble too.

Interesting times. Who said the draft wasn't important anymore?


Anonymous said...

I agree that bringing up cheap, young talent to replace players who price themselves out of your budget is going to be the way that teams will be able to be successful long-term in the new NHL.

Doesn't make me feel better that we leave the development of our pro prospects in the hands of others, though.


mudcrutch79 said...

Good points Pat. You need to get guys performing for more than their salary and the easiest way to do that is with guys whose salaries are controlled. I said when this deal came down that running an NHL team was now going to be an efficiency contest. I still think that's the correct view.

Something I hope you can help me with: my team is looking at jumping back into the downtown league for this winter. I'm the team rep (stupid me) and I need to find a contact. Do you know of anyone who could give me an email addy?


Earl Sleek said...

Re: Anaheim

I'll post on it later, but up front, it's a lot of dice. Seven of them, if I count right: Selanne, Andy Mac, Kunitz, Getzlaf, Perry, Penner, and Chistov.

The rest of the forwards are reliable but unspectacular: Marchant, R. Nied, Pahlsson, etc.

I think the D and G are set enough that if they 'roll well' on 3 or 4 of these dice, they should be good enough to be a playoff team. And really, that's all I give a crap about anyway.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

You're right Earl - in this league the first goal is to get to the playoffs and then see what happens. A higher seed is nice but I don't think entirely necessary. Some would disagree with that but I think that parity means that the days of powerhouse teams are gone. Every team will have holes.

I agree with your thoughts on the Ducks - if they get enough offence from a few of those players they should get there.

namflashback said...

the strat of Lowe and co appears to be the same. many dice in the defence, so more veteran help coming up front.

It's a bad set of circumstances for our prospects because if the D had been centered around Pronger, you can bet they could have gone with more rookies up front.