Monday, March 04, 2013
Here's the deal with Mike Brown. There are three teams I follow to some degree. The Oilers of course. The Hawks, my old favourite team, partially because of that fact, partially because seeing as the Oilers are pulling the crash and burn model I find it interesting to follow a club that went through same.
Of course the Hawks were shit for over fifteen years before they got good again so maybe we'll be good when Hall et al are scattered about the league in a decade. Or maybe it will happen sooner. Or maybe we're the Islanders in which case drink.
As an aside the Hawks have it right for this cap system. Basically its what the Wings did and what the Penguins are doing. Figure out your core, pay them, fill in the pieces around them as best you can. The plus for Chicago is that Toews, Kane, Keith and Seabrook are all relatively young (or just plain young) and Sharp and Hossa can still play. Meanwhile the latest cohort of kids - Saad, Shaw, Bickell, Kruger, Leddy - cost nothing and are an excellent supporting cast along with Oduya, Hjalmarsson, Stalberg, Bolland and Frolik.
Look at that roster. Man do the Oilers have a long way to go. The Hawks may, like those sixties clubs, only win one Cup but they'll be in the mix for a while.
Oh as an aside Hjalmasson, Oduya, Stalberg, Kruger and Shaw were all picked in the fourth round or later.
The third team I see quite a bit of is the Toronto Maple Leafs because I live in Toronto and they are on the teevee quite a bit here. So I've seen a lot of Mike Brown. Actually I was sitting about thirty feet away from him when he hit Ryan Nugent Hopkins last year, I believe the first time (or maybe the second) that Ted's shoulder became an issue.
Brown hits. He's tough. Really tough. He's not a big guy but he will take anybody on. He's popular with his teammates, fans and the media. His moustache has at least one ecosystem in it, an entire food web (that's what its called these days) including small predators in there. So that's pretty fucking cool.
He can skate.
He's not a very good hockey player. He has been a borderline player on a team that has been pretty shitty for a while now, though better than the Oilers. Tambo talks about his PK ability but the Leafs PK has been horrible for years (although to be fair goaltending has a lot to do with that I think).
He adds toughness and grit and all of that good stuff but unlike Bill Guerin or Raffi Torres or Mike Grier or Ethan Moreau he doesn't do that as a top nine guy and so basically he's, well, he's Darcy Hordichuk. He's an upgrade on Hordichuk, to be fair, but I have my doubts that he is a better player than Lennart Petrell or Ben Eager and like those guys he's not going to be able to slide up the lineup here and there.
He is what he is. An energy guy. A fourth liner. I guess Petrell takes the gaspipe unless Krueger decides to move Eager up the lineup which is pretty hilarious because, you know, he's shitty.
I can't get too worked up about this except guys like Brown are a dime a dozen and are available on waivers every day. Sestito. Volpatti. Etc etc.
And the Oilers gave up a fourth round pick for him, a third if they make the playoffs (!!!!!!). Just as they gave up a third for a guy who, while I like, can barely crack an abysmal bottom pairing D.
Does a fourth rounder have a lot of value? No, although the Hawks, recent champions and best team in the league right now, certainly has made some hay from that round and lower. Other fourth and lower round picks employed by Chicago when they last won the Cup - Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien, Troy Brouwer.
Fourth rounders of note in Oiler history - Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Esa Tikkanen, Shawn Horcoff.
Hey I know you are going to say 'Hey man the majority of fourth rounders don't turn out to be quality NHLers, you're cherry picking. How about all of the guys who didn't make it?'
You'd be right but here's the thing with Lowe, Tambo and the Oilers. Remember these are the guys who finished dead last spending to the cap. Because that's kind of key.
These guys don't know what they're doing. They don't evaluate talent very well. They almost never make the right bets. And they have no understanding that guys like Fistric and Brown are a dime a dozen and can be acquired for nothing. Not nearly nothing, like a sixth or seventh, not possibly nothing, like a fifth or a fourth. But actual nothingness.
And if the whole idea is to get better and a third or a fourth is more than nothing and they are, then you most likely should be trying to keep the higher card.
And the biggest worry, as Dennis King noted today on the Tweeter, is that if they can't get the small stuff right then how the hell will they get the big stuff right?
Posted by Black Dog at 7:25 PM