Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Non-Canuck Deadline Trades

With the trade deadline approaching, and the first significant deal announced, I'll be using this space for my thoughts on deals that don't involve the Canucks...

Roloson to Edmonton for 1st Rd. Pick & Cond. 3rd

The Edmonton Oilers have finally found a goaltender and the price was high. A first round pick and a conditional 3rd(should he re-sign with Edm) is a lot for a pending free agent. Roloson has not had a good season, but Canuck fans should be well aware of how good he can be. He was at the top of my wishlist, but the price was too high for Vancouver, especially without the need to acquire a #1. While the Oilers paid a significant price, I think it's a good trade for them. They absolutely needed a goaltender and they managed to get one without giving up anything off their roster. Roloson gives them a chance to compete in the playoffs.

While there is one less team in the market, the bar has been set at a 1st round pick. Don't expect Nonis to deal his first round pick on a rental, that means no Curtis Joseph.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Trade Rumours

As the deadline approaches more and more trade rumours emerge on a daily basis. The Canucks (with their obvious needs on defense and in goal) are involved in many rumours, some far fetched, some reasonable...

Sheldon Souray

During the Canucks / Flames game on Tuesday night it was mentioned that Vancouver has been scouting the Montreal Canadiens. With Vancouver's troubles on defense the obvious name to come up was Sheldon Souray.

My first thought was "no thanks, Souray has struggled, costs a lot and the asking price will be high." But then I took a closer look...

  • He really isn't that expensive, only $2.1m this year and reportedly $2.24m next year. If Nonis anticipates losing Jovanovski as a free agent, Souray (and his contract) would be a nice fit as a top 4 defenseman. That would leave roughly another $2m to add another defenseman. Nonis would essentially be replacing Jovo and his $4m+ with two top 4 defensmen.
  • While he has struggled this could be do to a) his off ice troubles and b) losing his defense partner (Brisebois). Getting him out of Montreal and with a right handed defenseman like Salo or Baumgartner, could help him get his game back. Souray has the tools, maybe he just needs a better situation.

Of course, now we come to the asking price. Montreal is likely going to want a substantial asset in return, especially while they are hanging on to the final playoff slot. That means any trade will have to make them a better team right now. On the Canucks end you're left with few options that would interest Montreal, and no available defensemen to throw in as a replacement for Souray. Basically it would come down to Bertuzzi for Souray and something else. I don't really see how Montreal can get better by making this deal without a defenseman coming their way.

Overall, Souray is an intriguing player, but I don't think there is much of a match, unless things change as a result of another trade.

Ryan Kesler and Kiril Koltsov for Mike Ricci, Denis Gauthier and Sean O'Donnell
First thought: "hmmm a centre and two defensemen, that would be a big help." Second thought: "Ryan Kesler... don't really want to move him, but you gotta give to get." Third thought: "this is not THE Mike Ricci, this is the 34 year old veteran contract Mike Ricci, still a good player though. Denis Gauthier, would help but can he stay healthy? Sean O'Donnell, 34 with one of those veteran contracts, healthy scratch earlier this year... still he looks to have played better and would certainly help." Conclusion: I'd love to have all three of those guys, but not at the expense of Ryan Kesler.
Eric Weinrich
Weinrich's name has been out there for a while and a deal was almost assumed to be a sure thing once the Olympic roster freeze was over. It didn't happen despite Vancouver's desperate need and St Louis' lack of need for Weinrich. That tells me the asking price is higher than the 4th round pick Nonis would like to trade. Do you really want to trade a third round pick for a free agent to be who is really no more than a #5 defenseman? I don't, if you're going to start dealing picks out of the top 3 rounds I'd much rather trade good picks (like the extra second rounder) for a better player than Weinrich... like the next guy on the list...
Willie Mitchell and Dwayne Roloson
Let's start with Mitchell. Out of all the potentially available players he is the one I want the most. Quite frankly he's exactly what Vancouver needs on the blueline. I don't know what the price is, but considering he would be relatively easy to re-sign I'd be willing to part with quite a bit, I'd even start with Matt Cooke. As for Roloson, I brought his name up earlier in the year and I think he'd be a near perfect fit with Alex Auld. However there are likely many teams interested in Roloson and the price is likely fairly high, and with Alex Auld's strong play a starting goaltender is not a priority.
Roberto Luongo
This one has been around forever, but with Jovanovski out I don't see it happening. Florida is going to want more than Todd Bertuzzi.
Brendan Witt
On the wishlist of many Canuck fans for the past few years, Witt would be nice, but as with past years I don't think it's going to happen. Too many teams interested in a stay at home physical defenseman. I'd love for Nonis to prove me wrong, but my guess is the price will be too steep for Vancouver.
J.S. Giguere
The connection with Burke and his new acquisition of Jani Hurme makes Giguere an obvious target. However, with Auld's strong play and Giguere's big contract and questionable play, I'm not sure the Canucks would want to meet Burke's price.

This is the first trade deadline under the new CBA, and as such no one really knows what the market is going to be like. Nearly every playoff team needs help on the blueline and most need help in goal. Most of the potential sellers are still within sight of that final playoff spot. Combine those two factors and what you have is a market that is likely to favour the seller. We'll know more once that first free agent to be gets traded. Until then we're left with rumours and no way of knowing what's really going on.