Saturday, July 14, 2007
The day after Ryan Smyth was traded, I posted this minority opinion. I wasn't happy and in conversations on threads and in private, I admitted that my enthusiasm was lukewarm at best, usually finishing up by saying that if Smyth signed for the Oilers for the same amount in the summer I would probably be a very happy man.
Trying to have it both ways. :)
The crux of my argument was that in a league where there was a finite amount of money to spend on players, giving big money and term to guys over thirty not named Pronger, Lidstrom or Sakic didn't make good sense. If a guy is older I want him to be the guy who carries the day. The goalie like Hasek circa 1998 who when his team scores a goal you begin to worry. The defenceman who removes all fear of being scored upon when he is on the ice. The forward who strikes fear into your heart every time he steps onto the ice. You know the guys.
As much as I love Ryan Smyth and appreciate everything he brings to the rink, he is not one of those guys. Terrific player but not in that league.
Give the money in longterm deals to kids like, yes, Thomas Vanek, who in his second year in the NHL, scored 43 goals and was a plus 47. Soft opposition? Yep. Play him with Ales Hemsky and watch him score 50 plus each year for seven years. Yes please.
Or sign guys like Hemsky and hopefully, providing they step it up, Pitkanen and Stoll, to nice longterm deals that get you through their first years of UFA.
Allocate your resources wisely.
Of course Lowe now admits his mistake in not signing Smyth. And with this Souray signing, let me say Mea Dopa.
Souray, who is a star, but not really a very good defenceman, certainly not an elite player, and far less of a player then Smyth, gets Smyth's money.
He's Bryan McCabe, essentially. He's famous. And he's not that good.
Hey, I hope I'm wrong. I really do. The guy is big and strong and tough and he's going to help the PP. He can handle himself in one on one battles, he is apparently "terrific in the room" and he's a guy you don't want to fight. Ever. And it is a necessary shot in the arm for an organization that was struggling with the perception that nobody wanted to play for it.
He's just not a great defenceman.
And he has a five year contract.
I read that we can't have it both ways - we can't bitch about EIG not spending the money and then bitch when they do.
Well, yes, yes we can. When you trade away the face of the franchise because he's not an elite player or you don't want to spend the money or you don't like his hair or whatever reason the Oilers are spinning today, then you had better well spend the money wisely. Or if you cannot spend it the way that you want then spend it on short term deals. Blow your wad on Danny Markov and Mike Johnson on one year deals. The team will be better, likely better then with Sheldon Souray, and next year you can try again.
I'm a dummy. There Andy. I said it.
Posted by Black Dog at 10:01 AM