Friday, June 13, 2008

How Rumours Get Started


Lowetide is at it, as always, as he ponders the Oilers' stated goal to find a top three forward.
So lets talk about the Pittsburgh Penguins who are several ways fucked. It appears that Malkin is about to sign a longterm deal with the Pens which means that Pittsburgh is going to have a pile of money tied up in two excellent young centres for many years. This is good news. The bad news is that amongst their free agents are Hossa, Malone and Orpik and down the road you can bet that Fleury is going to get paid as well. One other guy who needs to get paid - Jordan Staal, a kid who scored twenty nine goals as an eighteen year old rookie. He also plays centre.
The kid is a player. My guess is his idea of a career is not going to be playing whatever minutes are left over after Crosby and Malkin get off the ice, killing penalties and scoring a goal here and there.
And Pittsburgh doesn't want to be the Lightning.
Bear with me here. The Penguins are going to get butchered this summer. If they don't keep two of their three big UFAs they are going to have some pretty big holes to fill. Orpik played with Gonchar on their top pair. Hossa and Malone are two of their best five forwards.
Now, if I am Kevin Lowe I am calling Shero and offering a solution - some cheap young talent for Jordan Staal. If it comes down to Crosby, Malkin or Staal which one is going to get dumped? Does Shero want to risk an RFA sheet next summer? Or does he maximize the trade value of a terrific young player who plays a position which is already full?
He can pick up someone to kill penalties and play tough opposition either through trade or with a clever UFA buy. He can get a young winger under contract who can play with Crosby or a collection of prospects/young players. The Oilers have plenty.
It would have to be a killer package, not Matt Greene and Rob Schremp. We're talking a collection of players - damned if I know what would get Staal, I would say a couple of Cogliano, Nilsson, Stoll, Grebeskov, Smid plus a very good prospect or pick or a role player like Pouliot or Brodziak.
So then you have your forwards looking like this (lets say the package centres around Cogliano):
Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
Gagner-Staal-Nilsson
Torres-Stoll-Pisani
Moreau-Pouliot-Brodziak
Am I dreaming in technicolour?
- Pens have tons of money wrapped up in two guys playing Staal's position
- Paying a bottom six guy a ton of cash makes little sense; heck the Oilers pay a bunch of them ~2 and it drives us all nuts
- The Pens need the space to sign Fleury and to try and keep at least one, if not two of their UFAs
- this is a team that needs the quantity of young cheap assets in return for the quality
- the Pens could be the class of the East for a while or they could be Tampa - if they turn Staal into three NHL players, use the money saved on him wisely and find a good cheap vet (or another kid) to play that three hole behind Malkin and Crosby, then they are looking a lot better, imo
As LT would say - yes, no, take a nap?

30 comments:

Matt said...

If you're looking for a GM who is turned on by quantity (wooo!!! five assets!!), I'm not sure Pittsburgh is where you want to set your gaze.

Not trying to be flippant here... is there any evidence that Shero would go for any trade that doesn't involve a particular (single) player or draft pick that he thinks highly of? My sense is that, sure, Staal or Fleury might be available, but he'll only be interested in dealing them for something -- not things, THING -- that he actually wants.

Black Dog said...

Problem is Matt is that he has a few wonderful things - young topnotch goalie in Fleury, two of the best centres in the game in Crosby and Malkin, good young Dman in Whitney.

I think he likely would want to try and sign Malone and Orpik if he can do do reasonably - a top two defenceman and a top six winger are hard to come by.

After that I would argue that he does need quantity. They have plenty of money invested in a handful of players. Trading Staal for one player makes no sense unless that player will be replacing Malone or Orpik immediately (maybe for one of the young Chicago dmen?) because they have to pay that guy too.

I think Shero will want and, more importantly NEED, those cheap young players. They have seven forwards going UFA and remember they traded Armstrong, Esposito and a third player (can't remember sorry) for Hossa and Dupuis. Terrific trade btw, he rolled the dice and it nearly paid off.

But fact is if he does not bring in some kids who are cheap and who can play then this team is pretty close to Tampa. He doesn't want to trade Staal, I am sure, but he may have no choice. Same as Philly - they have Richards and Briere - where does Carter fit in? And they have cap issues. And they need some help on D. Trading Carter for two or three young guys who can play is a good trade for whoever trades for him and for Philly.

Black Dog said...

Having said that we waited all last summer for the q for q trade and Dennis cracked earlier this week on the odds of this happening (hint - close to nil) - I don't think its going to happen but it makes sense to me. More sense then the Spezza proposal, for example.

Bruce said...

Wow, that's about six times Cogliano's been traded this week. What the hell did he do wrong?

andy grabia said...

Wow, that's about six times Cogliano's been traded this week. What the hell did he do wrong?

No shit. Furthermore, you have a whole post on the Pens, and don't say a word about Le GG being a UFA. You are dead to me.

Has anyone written a post about Rolston? That's a guy I'd have on my team in a heartbeat.

Black Dog said...

bruce - no kidding, huh, but I think the reason is pretty straightforward - ever since Lowe began to talk about a top three guy its become the hot topic and facts are facts - Stoll or Torres aren't bringing a top three back

It will require a package of very good young talent and Cogliano is the guy who makes the most sense, especially if they bring a centre back

I'd prefer to keep him and see how this year plays out but as LT said you need quality to get quality.

I like Rolston too Andy but I think there will be a lot of interest in him and as a guy who is over 30 I don't see him as a guy they should pursue. Lots of dough and lots of term and that makes no sense for the Oilers right now.

andy grabia said...

And still no Le GG talk. Now I know you are trying to antagonize me! :)

Heh. Verification ended with "turd." Poo is funny.

Black Dog said...

The big fella took a poo on the kitchen floor the other night. He used to wake me up when he needed to go but I think he's too creaky to make it up the stairs to get me. Poor old bones. Luckily it was me who found it and not Jenn or it would have been dog's head soup for dinner.

Love Le GG and he looked great for the Pens through three rounds. And then by G2 in the final he was back in the PB.

Willing to take the league minimum? Take him back. Other then that, don't bother. Satisfied now? ;)

uni said...

Jeff Carter or Jordan Staal both make sense and would be incredible to have.

Here's the problem though, and others have stated it, 28 other teams would want them both. Hard to imagine what package the Oil could put together to grab one of those young players...but it would be significant.

I really like Cogs too, =(.

David S said...

Torres and Stoll are by far our weakest links. Problem is, I fear that no GM out there is stupid enough to pick them up, so we're stuck with them. Those two spots would/could make us playoff contenders with the right guys.

Le GG will not be back. He burned his bridges here unfortunately. But man, we could really use him.

PDO said...

No interest in Staal. At all.

That said, Bruce, I think if the Oilers make a real quantity for quality trade, there's no way that Cogliano isn't involved.

Lets put it this way... up front, Hemsky and Gagner are going no where. Nilsson just signed a shiny new deal and management loves him (he would've been the guy I dealt, but alas...). Penner can't be moved right after the draft.... can you imagine the PR? And moving Horcoff would, at best, be moving around the deck chairs on a team begging for stability.

So.... that leaves Cogliano.

I'd certainly considering moving Cogliano in the right deal. Staal isn't that player. Erik Cole is close to that player, but not really. Nathan Horton would be that player, but he's not going anywhere.

The guy who is that player, and I think COULD be had in the right deal, AND the Oilers love?

Stafford.

Problem is, A) Regeir is still muttering death threats towards Lowe and B) I'm not so sure that Buffalo needs more depth, though I imagine Pitkanen is a guy that would fit in there perfectly with the style of game that they play.

Looking through EC teams, and taking into account the Oilers needs, the only guys I'd have any real interest in are Stafford, Cole, Horton and Carter.

Obviously, if a guy like Kovalchuk became available, all bets are off...

Black Dog said...

pdo - why not Staal?

I like Stafford too though.

david s. - Torres still has value and if Glencross does not sign then he stays. In any case he or Stoll are only going to bring in a pick I would say.

Anonymous said...

The big fella took a poo on the kitchen floor the other night. He used to wake me up when he needed to go but I think he's too creaky to make it up the stairs to get me. Poor old bones. Luckily it was me who found it and not Jenn or it would have been dog's head soup for dinner.

Poor guy.

Both of my sisters and my parents have old dogs on their last legs - I'm hoping I don't get depressing calls from all three of them on the same day in the next coupld months. :(

You really think Staal is available? Some fans seem to be convinced enough that the team can keep Crosby, Malkin, Hossa, Staal, and Fleury because they will all take huge discounts to play together. I don't see it, myself - it's one thing to leave some money on the tabel, it's another thing to take half of what you are worth. Business is business, and there is no room for that level of altruism.

PDO said...

BDHS - He's Mr. Shooting % in my mind. Had a very nice start, and 29 goals is 29 goals, but I think we saw a lot more of the real Staal this year. I'm also not convinced for one second he can play anybody who is well... anybody. And that's what we need if we're talking a top 3 guy.

But with Stafford, I'm willing to wait a few years for him. Dominant in the AHL, hands, size, speed. And of course, he fits right in with Oiler nepotism :D

Black Dog said...

anon - yeah its tough, had an episode in January where he wasn't able to get up - I thought that was it - turns out just a night on the floor seized him up - arthritis, nothing more but he will be eleven in two months and that was an eye opener

As for Staal being available, yeah I can see it. An 18 year old scoring 29 goals and being a fairly big part of a SCF at 19 - well, that makes him a pretty hot commodity, imo. The Pens can fill that # 3 centre spot cheaply and use the money saved to pay a winger or a Dman. And if they get a nice package of kids in return then it fills in some more holes for the next couple of years. It just makes sense to me.

pdo - reasonable enough argument but considering who he is playing with and his age - I think this kid could be something.

Now having said that I see him more as a top six guy, part of a one two punch with Horc.

And ... considering the year Cogliano had I'm loathe to move him. Can't have it both ways of course and I know spoiler doesn't see AC as a #1 guy or a shutdown guy (and iirc he has Gagner as the #2 - apologies if I Andy Petited that spoiler)

I like Cogliano. I'd be happy to go into this season with Horc, he, Stoll and Pouliot as our centres (Brodziak on Pouliot's wing).

I think Staal has more to offer though.

PDO said...

Cogliano is raw. SO raw. At both ends of the rink.

He has unbelievable talent with the puck, and his skating speaks for itself... but he doesn't see lanes well, and he just generally seems lost on the ice. I think his speed ended up hurting him in that respect, because especially at lower levels, he was able to just be where he had to be because he could get there so quickly.

In a lot of ways, I'd compare Cogliano to Dion Phaneuf right now. Now, before anyone goes calling me a drunken moron, I'm referring to a young player here who has all the tools to be a dominant player in the league. I believe that with both Celine and AC. AC has world class speed, a quick release, great hands, and a dogged work ethic. If he can put it all together, he can be a dominant player in this league...

... the question is, can he? And that's the question the Oilers should start asking themselves sooner rather than later, because right now his value is through the roof, and he's got a similar skill set to many players on the team already (Gagner, Nilsson, Hemsky, and of course Jesus Schremp or whatever we're calling him these days). If I'm Kevin Lowe, and there is a legitimate young difference maker available, and the key part of the deal is Andrew Cogliano... I have to make that deal, even though it could very well bite me in the ass one day.

BTW, I realized something during the playoffs.

The player that I hope Gagner becomes:

Pavel Datsyuk.

Gagner is listed at 5'11" and 191. Datsyuk at 5'11" and 194. Neither is an elite skater, but both are very, very, smart players. Both are shifty.

The career path isn't even close to comparable, but if Gagner can be Datsyuk in the end, this team is set up very, very, nicely for the next decade.

Bruce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce said...

That said, Bruce, I think if the Oilers make a real quantity for quality trade, there's no way that Cogliano isn't involved.
The guy who is that player, and I think COULD be had in the right deal, AND the Oilers love?
Stafford.
Problem is, A) Regeir is still muttering death threats towards Lowe and B) I'm not so sure that Buffalo needs more depth, though I imagine Pitkanen is a guy that would fit in there perfectly with the style of game that they play.


PDO: I love Stafford too, in fact he was my first-round pick in my keeper league pool this year. But are you really suggesting Cogliano AND Pitkanen for him? Say what??

Cogliano: 82 GP, 18-27-45, +1
Stafford: 64 GP, 16-22-38, +3

Not a hell of a lot to choose between those numbers. They both look like quality youngsters to me. I know they're different players with different skill sets playing different positions so there's more to the equation than boxcar numbers, but ... when you consider Stafford is 20 months older and already had a full professional season under his belt, half of it in the NHL, while Cogs was a raw rookie this past season, I think you might be selling our own guy a little bit short here. He would be worth a ton on the trade market all by himself. If we were stupid enough to shop him.

PDO said...

Bruce:

You misunderstood, or I worded it poorly, or both. No way in hell I would deal Cogliano AND Pitkanen for Stafford. One or the other with picks to even out? Maybe. But I'm not tht crazy ;).

Bruce said...

PDO: OK ... probably my misread of your post.

So let's assume Regier gets over his mad-on for Lowe just long enough to try and screw him in a trade. :) Oilers are flush in centres but light on the wing, while the Sabres have lost depth down the middle (Briere, Drury, likely Connolly). So let's say that they agree on Cogliano and Stafford as centrepieces in a QUAL for QUAL trade.

Which way do you envision the picks going?

PDO said...

I think the Oilers snag a second rounder in this years draft in that deal. Cogliano has more value, but the two fit in the other city better than the ones they're in right now.

I like the looks of:

Nilsson - Gagner - Stafford

Much better than the looks of:

Nilsson - Gagner - Cogliano.

More size, more grit, and arguably a better finisher as well.

Black Dog said...

Interesting stuff and here's some grist for my next post for sure - the speed with which we are willing to consign 19 to 20 year olds to the junkbin.

I am sure Bruce can add to this list - Cam Neely, Guy LaFleur, Joe Thornton, heck throw Spezza and Eric Staal in there as well as guys who struggled early in their careers. I can and will have to list quotes from some pretty smart guys talking about teenagers who have apparently reached the peak of their careers before twenty.

Its a real sea change in how fans view players and its in every sport. These kids get big bucks immediately, they get thrown into situations that they are not ready for and the boos begin to rain down.

The one issue I would have with using Cogs as trade bait for a winger is that the Oilers' strength up the middle may be illusory. If Horcoff walks, Stoll fails to rebound and Cogliano is traded what type of depth chart are you left with?

Black Dog said...

simulposting, it appears - one thing I do believe the Oilers need, either up the middle or on the wing, is more size, which Stafford or J. Staal would definitely bring

YKOil said...

The longer I see that Pittsburgh hasn't traded Malkin or Staal to one of these teams (in order):

Kings
Predators
Coyotes
Blues

the more sure I am that the team will be lucky to win a Stanley.

As much as I wanted to list the Blue Jackets as a viable trade partner I just couldn't - not enough talent there at all.

Bruce said...

I think the Oilers snag a second rounder in this years draft in that deal. Cogliano has more value,

PDO: Hmm. Let me withdraw my accusation of your undervaluing Cogliano. Stafford's a #13 overall pick, and a damn fine one, and he's already outstipped by a guy picked #25 the next year? That is one sweet pick on the Oilers' part.

but the two fit in the other city better than the ones they're in right now.

Agreed for the most part, though this Oiler fan would be happier making that trade the day after Horcoff is re-upped. And I'd still be scared shitless we were giving up more than we would be getting.

Stafford does fill the bill of what is needed 'round here, esp. size which is a big shortcoming on this Oiler club. Cole, Horton, Carter and Staal all would fill this bill as well. Young, big guys with a scoring touch. Penner fits the billing pretty well, of course, but there's only one of him and two scoring lines to fill out.

Stafford has the advantage of the local connection. I'm not taking the nepotism angle, but the Oilers do like to find guys that already have the proverbial Oiler logo tattooed on their ass. I don't even think that's a bad thing, within reason. That comes naturally to guys who have spent their whole career in the organization, but not always to guys on their second, third, or more team. But in the past year or so Oilers have brought in guys with a connection to the area (Souray, Sanderson, Glencross) if not the team itself (Nilsson), and Stafford would definitely fit in that second category. These acquisitions have not been a universal success -- I know, I know, Dennis! -- but it's hard to argue that having guys that are proud to play for our team is anything but a good thing, on any number of levels.

Interesting stuff and here's some grist for my next post for sure - the speed with which we are willing to consign 19 to 20 year olds to the junkbin.

No shit. Mind you Stafford is a pretty impressive junkbin, might even qualify as a full-fledged dumpster. But any talk of Cogs being one piece of a "QUAN for QUAL" trade seems ludicrous unless the guy coming the other way is a major star.

I am sure Bruce can add to this list -- Cam Neely, Guy LaFleur, Joe Thornton, heck throw Spezza and Eric Staal in there as well as guys who struggled early in their careers.

Oh yeah, can I ever. Let's start with just about every significant power forward:

--Gordie Howe scored 22, 44, and 37 points his first three seasons, then surged to 68. The next four seasons he won the Art Ross Trophy every year.

--Mark Messier went from 1 goal in his WHA season, to 12, to 23, to 50.

--Rick Tocchet scored 39, 35, and 49 points before blossoming into an elite scorer.

--Brendan Shanahan went from 26 points to 50 to 72, then found yet another gear to the 90+ level three years later.

I could give you a MUCH longer list, but since we're just agreeing with each other there's not much point. Suffice to say some guys spend a few years creating a little space for themselves and then start to take advantage of that space. Neely is a poster boy for why you don't trade guys like that, even after three sub-40 point seasons. Or maybe this guy is:

--Phil Esposito was thought to be something of an underachiever with seasons of 55, 53, and 61 points, but only after Chicago sent him packing to Boston did Espo emerge as a scorer of gargantuan proportions. That was a doozy of a deal that saw quality and quantity going both ways, but thanks to giving up on Espo Chicago came out big losers in a swap that changed the balance of power in the post-expansion NHL.

PDO said...

Bruce:

Cogliano would go where if we re-did 2005? Crosby, Price, and Kopitar are the only guys miles ahead of him.

Guys barely ahead of him... Stastny, JJ, Staal, anyone else? In all likelihood Cogliano would already be a top 10 pick if that draft was redone, so it's not that crazy to say he's out stripping Stafford right now.

I also completely agree on breaking out, but the way I'd look at is is Cogliano is strawberry icecream while Stafford is chocolate icecream. He's a different flavour for sure, but that doesn't mean he's fat free yogurt :D

Bruce said...

Guys barely ahead of him... Stastny, JJ, Staal, anyone else?

I'd say Vlasic, and arguments could be made for a couple of other defencemen like Niskanen and Letang. Kostitsyn the Younger is in the ballpark, an unconscious pcik at #200. But Cogs is right there with those guys.

In all likelihood Cogliano would already be a top 10 pick if that draft was redone, so it's not that crazy to say he's out stripping Stafford right now.

PDO: Agreed. I wasn't saying you're crazy, just that Cogliano was that one exception where the Oilers went off the board and drew an ace. For all the rough edges he showed in his rookie pro, 20-year-old season, there's not too many numbers not to like among 82 GP, 18-27-45, +1. The shooting percentage might be unsustainable, but he was playing with two visionary linemates and his game of going hard (and fast) to the net resulted in lots of high percentage opportuntities. Indeed, in the first half of the season people were complaining about how many gimmes he missed, and he simply stopped missing them.

Exciting possibilities ahead for Andrew. I won't be too disappointed if we hang on to him for awhile. :)

Black Dog said...

I remember when they drafted Cogliano how McKenzie touted him as a steal. I believe his son played with Cogliano so he had seen a lot of him firsthand.

He said he was a sure thing and a lot of teams would regret passing him over.

Definitely a nice rookie season. Personally I don't see him going anywhere unless they get a big fish coming back and it had better be a big one for sure.

Bruce said...

In fairness, I think Stafford would also be a solid Top 10 pick in a Do-Over Draft of 2004. Maybe Top 5.

Black Dog said...

Yeah I'm not sure if it was me who was misunderstood earlier - I like Stafford too. I think he's a good one for sure.