Monday, March 2, 2009

If you were the GM (Central division edition)

(With the trade deadline upon us, Cycle like the Sedins decided to ask about 30 or so friends in the blogosphere to represent his or her team and answer the question: "What would you do if you were the GM during the trade deadline?

Since things change in a heartbeat, the date of each person's submission is listed next to each entry. So before you start screaming "BUT THEY TRADED HIM!" while food spills out of your mouth, we're showing what they thought at the time.

Don't like it? Psh.)

Columbus Blue Jackets

Usually don't feel moved to give photo credit but this was awesome enough:

Bethany from Bethany's Hockey Rants


"If I were Scott Howson, I would give away Christian Backman, yes, GIVE him away. I don't care if we get anything in return, just make him go away, I mean sure he played six good games for the Jackets this season, but he's totally not worth it. We still need that top line center for Nash, and all we have to offer is a broken goalie, in Leclaire, and a broken defenseman in Klesla. Who wants to trade?!"

Chris Kontos: It's amazing how far Backman has fallen since his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2002-2003. And the fact that Columbus would give him away for nothing speaks volumes to that. Oh, wait... what? Christian Backman? I was thinking of Barret Jackman. Who the hell is Christian Backman? Bethany is right on here... I expect the Blue Jackets to make the biggest splash this deadline... but who in hell do they have to give up to trade? Looks like it will be draft picks a plenty.

James O'Brien: The Blue Jackets have a great thing going. If I were Howson, I'd look for that one extra center. If they found the right guy who can slide right into Hitchcock's system, they should finally make the playoffs.


Detroit Red Wings

The Chief aka IwoCPO from Abel to Yzerman

If I were Tick Tock Kenny Holland, I'd drink heavily at the deadline. Actually, if I was Cindy Brady or practically anyone else, I'd drink heavily at the deadline. In Kenny's case? I think it's going to be a slow day so he'll have some time to kill. Now that's the logical consensus...not because the Wings don't need anything. They do. But more because all the smart kids say their too close to the cap. But...if Holland finds a way to add a player, I think it will be a gritty winger.
Denver fans are literally sobbing at the thought of Ian Laperriere joining the Wings, and for that reason I'd like to see it happen. We'll see. My prediction? Nothing. No additions. Nada.

Chris Kontos: Don't mess with success. The Red Wings will stand pat. But adding former King Laperriere would be a HUGE get for this team.

James O'Brien: Is it possible for the Red Wings to at least feel around for Manny Fernandez or some other goaltender? Sure, it doesn't really make a bunch of sense to mess with a good thing but on the other hand you only get so many chances to win a Cup. Nicklas Lidstrom isn't getting any younger.


Nashville Predators

The Forechecker

The first caveat heading into the deadline is, "no deals that make the 2009-10 edition of the team any worse." This Predators team is hardly in the position to make a "go for it" type of acquisition, but there are two scenarios in which they could be considered Buyers. First, something similar to last season's pickup of Jan Hlavac; a late-round pick in exchange for a veteran who, it is hoped, can be plugged into the existing lineup and provide help in a specific role. The role that sticks out like a sore thumb right now is a power play specialist.

The other Bonk. The cooler, balder Bonk.

Secondly, you could do a contract-swapping exchange similar to the Whitney/Kunitz deal between Pittsburgh and Anaheim, in which two teams trade underperformers in long-term contracts to juggle their assets and take a gamble on the player faring better in a new environment. I doubt we'd see that type of trade here, but Martin Erat and/or Dan Hamhuis might make attractive candidates there.

If, in the judgment of the team, they should sell assets instead, pending UFA's like Greg de Vries and Radek Bonk (assuming a trading partner is comfortable with his injury status) might be attractive to contenders looking for that veteran presence on defense or a faceoff specialist. No matter the case, slow & steady is the course for Nashville, and 2009-10 looks enticing with the possible addition of Colin Wilson to the lineup.

Chris Kontos: Did you know that Radek Bonk was a 3rd overall draft pick? Eventually he and Rico Fata will make awesome linemates in Europe.

James O'Brien: Nashville might be the team that truly blows my mind. These guys keep hovering around the playoffs year after year, amid turmoil and losing personnel. Would this be the team for Marian Gaborik? Wouldn't wish that on such an intelligent franchise.


Chicago Blackhawks
March 2

Clare from All Hawks Hockey

If I were the Blackhawks GM, I would be hesitant to make any sort of trade. Adding another center would be nice but not at the potential cost that would be required in return. The Blackhawks have some minor issues that could be addressed but I believe the Hawks can be successful with the team they have now.

Chris Kontos: I think the Blackhawks need to make a move. They have a great young team but are ready to compete now. They need another center, especially with Sharp out, and with the right move, they could be quite the dark horse team in the playoffs.

James O'Brien: Have to agree with Chris on this one. The Blackhawks are often referred to as "a team of the future" but there is a bit of pressure on the present tense Blackhawks. If they don't plan on keeping Martin Havlat, why not trade him for a center? No? I'm an a-what? Easy!


St. Louis Blues

Brad Lee from St. Louis Game Time (March 2)

I would stand pat. The chemistry is good. The mix with young and old players is strong. They're winning. It's important to keep the long view of growing from within, but the fans are desperate for a chance at the playoffs. The energy around St. Louis and the enthusiasm for this team is really strong right now. So you can't trade Keith Tkachuk. And I don't want to give up any picks or prospects.

Chris Kontos: I can't even put into words how strange it is to see an Andy Murray coached team actually on the rise in the last 2 months of a season. This is usually Murray's time to tank. The Blues have a solid team that is on the up and up for future seasons. I think it's more important to get the experience in battling for a playoff spot than sell off Tkachuk. But... if Boston or Washington comes knocking for Tkachuk with a huge payday... how can you say no?

Laura from Wazzupwitchu?

If I were John Davidson, well, I'd be an old man who is extremely well off and in charge of one of the best up and coming teams in the league. Aside for the fact that I would be a paunchy late-middle ager, I have to say I would be fairly content. With his salary, heck, I could even tolerate being the late-middle ager.

Unfortunately, I am not the GM of the Blues - I'm a late 20s chick who happens to draw a salary as a teacher that is the equivalent to probably one of Brad Winchester's game paychecks.

I agree with the GM's assessment that the best thing we can do for the team is build from within with intelligent draft picks and prospects who have been cultivated through the farm system. The Blues have done an outstanding job of this - we currently have one of the top ranked farm systems in the league. By all accounts, we have had the most roster-damaging injuries all season out of any team, and we should have been far out of the playoff race a long time ago. Amazingly enough, here we are short some veteran leadership (Brewer, Kariya) and young guns (King, Johnson) who should be making up the core of our team... and we're 3 points out. Players have stepped up from the Rivermen into our roster without missing a beat and we traded for two individuals (Steen and Colaiacovo) who are making a huge impact. One would say that with the roster we have now, our chemistry is set.

The most important thing when looking at this, and then looking at where we are in the standings, is the potential to throw off the team chemistry. Absolutely, positively, do I not trade Keith Tkachuk. Recent articles in the Post-Dispatch show more and more his willingness to lead these young guys into the playoffs. They also show a commitment to Walt from the other players, young and old alike, who view him as a mentor and the team leader. Davidson mentioned that the 3 games before the trade deadline were deal-makers or breakers. In those 3 games we're 2-0-0 with the third to be played tonight. Regardless of a win against Detroit, I think that we are close enough to the playoffs (with teams beneath us who seem to be on the decline) that we stand pat with Tkachuk.

Another thing that I certainly would not do is something that rumor sites have the Blues thinking about - trading for Chris Pronger. Nothing against the guy, but this idea is wrong from several different angles. Why would the Ducks, a team who is slipping and who needs to tighten some things up, trade to another Western Conference team who is on the rise? Why in the world would they make the Blues any better than we are? If the Ducks dump Pronger it'll be to an Eastern Conference squad.

Also mentioned in the "Pronger to the Blues" rumors is the inclusion of David Perron. He's #3 on the team with points, and is a sharp playmaker, especially on the Kid Line. The only reason Perron's name has been tossed about is because someone unfamiliar with the team noticed that Andy Murray called him out in the press a few times and moved him to the 4th line for a couple of games. He did that because Perron responds to this kind of treatment by ratcheting up his play a few notches, NOT because he dislikes him or wants him gone.

The other UFAs (Hinote, Winchester, Weaver, Legace) are all good for some picks and maybe a prospect thrown in with Manny. I'd try to move them - Legace isn't showing his worth in Peoria right now, but there are teams with goalie issues moving into the playoffs who might take a risk (Buffalo). I would try to resign Brad Winchester, though. He's fit in very well with the team this year, and is producing (10 goals and 4 assists in 44 games). He's an extremely solid 3rd liner, and his salary isn't huge ($600K with a cap hit of $465,000) - he's an affordable and valuable re-sign.

One other thing I would do if I were the Blues GM - keep doing things right. I live in Atlanta and am a Thrashers fan as well (which explains the schizoid nature of my blog), and Don Waddell is probably one of the worst GMs I have ever seen. I would kill for a guy like Davidson to be down here. That being said, I am more than happy to keep JD in St. Louis where he can help with the successful re-build.

James O'Brien: There are certain inevitable things in the end of February/early March. People start to tense up about taxes. The weather's still cold, dammit, and people are getting tired of it. And the NHL trade deadline comes and Keith Tkachuk's name comes up.

He's been quite the draft pick machine for the Blues. Why stop now? Trade him for a bunch of picks and then wait for him to come back next year. Again.


Vance said...

I demand to know how Tkachuk was made so very...horizontal.

I've got tons of Brodeur pictures waiting for the same treatment.

jamestobrien said...

Haha, well, it certainly wasn't MY photoshop.

By the way, kids: if you want to see something strange google "Pascal Leclaire teeth." Tell me if you get a bizarre "painting" of Bea Arthur.

Just weird.

Chris Kontos said...

Tkachuk was made so very horizontal from donuts and poor training habits.