Monday, March 19, 2007

Think Man Think! Here's an Idea For Lowe

Here's how Kevin Lowe can make himself look like a genius again. Actually, all kidding aside, this is what I think his plan will be.
All the talk has been about UFAs but before Lowe does the unthinkable and gives Briere or Drury 30 million over 5 years or Tom Preissing a big fat contract or trades one of his few core guys (Smith, Horcoff, Stoll, Hemsky) for a name guy, lets look at a simple scenario.
Start with the Coyotes, who as Mirtle pointed out are pretty well going to lose big money unless the owners turn back the clock to the 1940s and begin to give out team jackets as signing bonuses.
The Oilers' problem? They need a couple of difference makers. One up front. One on the back end. They have a lot of prospects (some of these suspects) and a lot of picks, including what is beginning to look like a top 3, I'd say, as well as two more first rounders.
They can't afford to part with guys who can handle tough sledding and they can't afford to part with frontline talent.
So, if I'm Lowe, its an easy choice. Turn the tables. The Coyotes are bleeding money.
Find someone who would love to have Eddie J. Call the Yotes and tell them you'll take that big anchor of a salary off their hands as long as they throw in young Z. Michalek. Then flip Jovo. Hell, flip him for fuck all. He's just a means to an end.
Look for a team that is rebuilding but needs someone to get to that salary floor. Then call up the Blackhawks who already have 30 M + committed to next season but need to make some noise. Take Aucoin and a kid (I know we have a million of them already) for a pick or prospects. The Hawks win, they dump Aucoin and use that money to shop - if it costs them Barker but they pick up Briere to play with Havlat that's pretty good for them.
Then flip Aucoin to the team that needs to hit that salary floor.
Lowe has to be creative and the opportunities are there. If I were him I would have a list of every team in the league with an analysis of their financial situation and target players on each team.
Which teams are financially doomed?
Which teams are maxed out for next season already?
Which teams will be going for it all next year as their window closes (hello Flames)?
What do each of these teams need? Clear cap space? Pick up a key player? Clear salary to stop the bleeding?
Get in ahead of the game, use the cheap assets that some teams will need and fix this team.
Lowetide argued a few days ago that a guy like Schremp has no value. I have to respectfully disagree, although my original answer to that was "damn right".
Schremp has value in that he is cheap. And the Oilers have a ton of guys who are cheap.
When the Penguins moved Jagr they picked up a bunch of never will be's but the trade worked for them because they were able to fill three roster spots for less then 2 million bucks.
If Lowe is smart, aggressive and gets creative, he could make things happen.
We'll see.


Katie O'D said...

"If Lowe is smart, aggressive and gets creative, he could make things happen."
Smart? Sure. But the aggressive and creative thing worries me. I haven't known him to do much out of the box, and this year he couldn't have been more passive. This summer he knows he has to do some serious dealing, but I'm not sure if he's willing to make the sort of trades you mentioned. He should, because there are plenty of teams in situations like that, but there's not much evidence that we'll take advantage of it.

Black Dog said...

katie - just have to look at the summer of 05 - when they got beat out of the UFA market (if they were in it), he made the Pronger and Peca deals. Obviously plan B's or maybe those were plan A all along.

This past season, not so much of the qualities we're looking for but just two summers ago they were there.

Vic Ferrari said...


In the case of Pronger, his agent came to them (Meehan's Newport group).

And acquiring Peca and his $4 million contract for Mike York? I don't think that Peca would have been that much of a hot commodity.

And with the dust settling in the new CBA era, I just can't see another Pronger type telling his agent that he wants to play for the Oilers this summer. Do you?

Kyle said...

BDHS, whats keeping the Coyotes from flipping Jovo directly to the Hawks, or the Hawks dumping Aucoin to the salary floor team without the Oilers help? Ineptitude?

Black Dog said...

Vic - I didn't know that about Pronger. Interesting. So,he asked to come to Edmonton. And then bailed a year later. Jesus.

As for Peca, well he was miscast at first but in the end he did a hell of a job. Still a good move.

I'm not thinking that anyone is going to do what Pronger did, no, but its up to Lowe to target who he is interested in and then go after them. I'm not saying he will but I am saying that he should.

Kyle - once again its up to Lowe to make it happen. Can he? Maybe not. But say Phoenix is looking to dump salary as per my example. Lowe has a surplus of young cheap players. If you're dumping salary then that's what you're looking for.

Think of the Carolina/Kings trade. Tim Gleeson and Belanger, right? For Johnson and Tverdosky. Rutherford had to sweeten the pot to get the Kings to take Oleg's contract.

This is the type of scenario Lowe should be looking at. Teams that have to make moves.

kyle - you know yourself the predicament that the Flames may be in in 16 months. They aren't the only ones.

He should aggressively pursue these types of situations. Not overplay his hand, of course, but see what is available.

This whole idea that he should just go out and blow his brains out on UFAs makes little sense to me. Who are the Cup favourites now and who did they acquire as UFAS?

Buffalo - Spacek
Jersey - signed their own
Ottawa - Gerber
Detroit - Markov/Hasek
Sharks - Grier/Brown
Ducks - anyone?
Preds - Jason Arnott

Arnott was a big catch and you might argue that other teams belong on this list but seriously. Most of these guys bought low.

Vic said it just above - to get any of these UFAS to come to the Oilers is going to take a big overpay; guys aren't banging on the door.

Lowe has to figure out a way to turn his surplus of youngsters and picks into guys who can play now.

Maybe its a complete rebuild but I think he's going to move and I think he has to find out where other teams are at and attack those clubs.

If the Panthers want Jovo and offer the Coyotes a pick and a prospect then Lowe should sweeten the pot in a big way and pry Michalek away as part of the deal. Then if the Panthers still want Jovo flip him for their original offer.

If the Yotes owner says dump 10M of salary, whatever it takes, then whoever the GM is is going to get as much back as he can.

Kyle said...

It's not a bad plan BD, but I think what we'll see is a simplified 'prospects+roster=difference maker' trade from Lowe. Think Brewer+Woywitka for Pronger. We have lots of prospects that have some value (as you say, at the very least they're cheap)but are expendable to this team. I'm not sure this is a better or worse plan, just a bit modified.

uni said...

It's all well and good...but a rebuilding team would have to have a GM on crack to part with a key peice like Zybnek. I know it's Barnett...but even he couldn't be that much of a gong show enthusiast...right?

Black Dog said...

Well, Florida signed Oli Jokinen and then traded Roberto Luongo.

And Lowe traded Chris Pronger for Smid and that stiff Lupul.

And Ferguson gave McCabe close to Pronger money with a no movement clause besides.

Vic always says that the average GM knows a lot more about hockey then your regular hockey fan and he is right but I wouldn't underestimate the ability of some of these guys to pull a bonehead move.

Kyle, your scenario is likely the one that will play out but Lowe HAS to explore all possibilities.

Art Vandelay said...

When the Penguins moved Jagr they picked up a bunch of never will be's but the trade worked for them because they were able to fill three roster spots for less then 2 million bucks.
Yah, and finished last in the league about 6 straight years, getting the longtime GM and several coaches fired and bankrupting the team.

uni said...

The thing with those guys that got traded was that either 1) They were pending UFA, or 2) They requested a trade. Zybby looks to be cheap for the time being, young, and holding no cards. Wouldn't Weber and Michalek just look sexy on the Oiler blueline though? Paired up with Smith and Staios...sigh...we can dream right?