Wednesday, October 22, 2008
If J.S. Giguere had not dominated the 2003 playoffs so convincingly, Marian Gaborik would have been the big story. On a team about as flashy and entertaining as a night at the library, Gabby was that speed demon who could make your heart skip a beat if he picked up a stray puck.
His memorable breakaways sold me on his elite talent, but Dre just as memorably mocked him for having a complexion not unlike a pre-air brushed Proactive commercial actor.
Since that dynamic run to the Western Conference Finals, acne was the least of the problems for the Slovakian winger. Injuries have derailed what seemed to be an inevitable ascent to the Mount Rushmore of hockey stars. It seemed odd when the Minnesota Wild brought over his countryman Pavol Demitra, since Gaborik's buddy might be the only high-level NHLer who has suffered a more Wile E. Coyote-like fate.
He's never played 82 games before and missed a ton of games in recent years. But as you can see from last year's explosive 42 goal - 83 point output, he's clearly a very productive player when he can stay relatively healthy. Take a look at his career statistics from hockeydb.com.
So, this brings us to a question dominating much of the chatter in the hockey blogosphere: is Marian Gaborik really worth a huge investment? According to beat reporter Michael Russo, the Minnesota Wild are putting their young franchise's greatest talent on the trading block after becoming frustrated with what has been an unproductive negotiating process.
Shockingly, the oft-injured Gaborik allegedly turned down a 10 year, $80 million contract! The story states that the Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings reportedly are the front runners for Gaborik's services, while Bucci's mailbag hints at the Penguins green-lighting Marian II: Gaborik's Revenge.
Honestly, the Penguins should be put in jail for instant gratification abuse if they make such a move. Going for Gaborik would cost the Penguins valuable prospects in a time when they need every cheap, entry-level deal that can fit in their cap. And let's face it, as Bucci says, Gaborik doesn't seem like he'll take less money for more wins.
(Basically, Gaborik looks at this Mike Commodore photo with a mixture of stomach turning disgust and envy.)
The most interesting possibility would probably be adding Gaborik to the Habs' 100th Anniversary celebration. They have expendable young players, cap space they originally aimed at Mats Sundin and perhaps the most justification for a one season fling.
The Canadiens already have a sexy combination of beautiful, classic jerseys and gifted forwards.
Imagine adding Gaborik's unparalleled speed and fantastic sniping abilities to a cast of characters that includes the ludicrously skilled Alex Kovalev, the Kostitsyn brothers, Tomas "The Mechanic" Plekanec, Alex Tanguay, Saku Koivu and Andrei Markov.
That sounds like the best solution to an unfortunate situation. As long as Bob Gainey doesn't offer him a crazy long-term contract.