Saturday, May 23, 2009

A salary cap Dream Team

A couple nights ago, I couldn't sleep. So instead of doing something productive I decided to put together the best plausible team using only players with good contracts. During that process, it became obvious that rookie contracts made it way too easy. With that in mind, the team would only be allowed to consist of players on their second contract and on.

This is that imaginary roster. One other important caveat: No Detroit Red Wings. It's obvious to me the Red Wings are going to win another damn Cup, so it also became a matter of seeing if it was possible to put a better roster together without one Winged Wheel.

Ken Holland, feel free to stare at a painting of yourself right now.

(Oh, and if you're interested, feel free to leave your own salary cap team in the comments or an e-mail. Remember, the following are prohibited:

1. Red Wings

2. Rookies (so no Patrick Kane or Steve Mason, you cheating bastards)

Also, big contract guys like Chris Pronger are allowed but frowned upon. You don't want to be frowned upon, do you?

OH, and I excluded guys with expiring contracts too. Not so easy now, is it. Is it?)

ANYWAY, here's the team in pseudo "line by line" form with my third grade math at no extra charge:

First Line Offense

Daniel Alfredsson (approx $4.9 million); Ryan Getzlaf (approx $5.4 million); Zach Parise (approx $3.1 million)

Is it crazy to think that this would be the best line in the NHL?

On one hand, you have a guy who at times was unstoppable even against Nicklas Lidstrom and the San Jose Sharks in Ryan Getzlaf. He's big, mean, has a crazy reach and sublime passing skills. Oh, and the guy already was a vital cog in the Ducks Cup run a couple years ago.

Just take a look at Ryan Getzlaf's stats in 08-09: (91 points in 81 regular season games; 18 points in 13 playoff games)

As great as Getzlaf was, Zach Parise has the best contract in the NHL going forward. A deadly combination of pure scoring (5th in the NHL in points) and goal scoring (third in the league with 45), Parise exploded onto the scene this season. He also managed a solid run in the playoffs.

To round that jaw-dropping first line, we have Alf. Say what you want about his reputation for playoff struggles (and that incident in the SCF when he slapped a puck at Scott Niedermayer), he's an unreal player at the sub-$5 million mark. He was the defensively responsible superstar when lining up with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, so backing up Getzlaf-Parise wouldn't be an alien task for the talented Swede.

"Second" line

Mike Richards($5.7 million); Ales Hemsky ($4.1 million); Dustin Brown ($3.1 million)

Mike Richards (80 points) and Ales Hemsky (66 points in shortened season) are two front-line players who would make life miserable for middle pairing D while Dustin Brown would provide a menacing level of physicality (he's been a league leader in hitting before). Richards can bring the pain AND score, making him a less despicable heir to Bobby Clarke's throne as a prototypical Flyers forward.

Richards is also an absolute terror on the PK. It's too bad he's a Flyer, really.

Third line

Ryan Kesler ($1.75 million); Steve Ott ($1.4 million); Alex Burrows ($2 million)

Kesler is a nominee for the Selke. Ott and Burrows both showed they are guys who can be more than pests this season. Once 2009 came around, Ott managed 37 points in 44 games. Burrows scored 28 goals without getting a whiff of powerplay time. If you can find a better trio of elbow grease forwards for about $5 million, then well done sir or ma'am.

Fourth Line

Craig Conroy($1 million); Tyler Kennedy ($700,000+); Toby Petersen (.5 million)

One thing this team might lack is "experience." As overrated as that might be, getting a popular veteran forward like Conroy seems like it would make a lot of sense. Plus, if this theoretical team faces an imaginary injury, Conroy's shown that he can slide into those higher spots in the roster without missing a beat.

Kennedy is a very, very nice fourth-line player. He frequently makes the right moves and occasionally helps dominate a cycling game with Jordan Staal during the playoffs. He's not a star, but he's a guy who can make things happen for a great price.

Petersen is a plugger who will show the willingness to kill penalties. Maybe.


Marc Edouard Vlasic($3.1 million); Shea Weber ($4.5 million)
Robyn Regehr ($4 million); Stephane Robidas ($1.5 million)
Kyle Quincey ($.5 million); Andrew Ference ($1.4 million)

Total cost of defense (rounded up): $15.1 million

With all that was spent on offense, there still was a pretty good defense that came about. Vlasic is a smart, solid defenseman for a bargain price. Weber has a booming shot, a nice mean streak and a high ceiling. Regehr can be the Scott Stevens of the group, hurting people on a regular basis. Robidas is a nice budget D to put in your top-4. Quality offensive defensemen tend to be expensive, but Kyle Quincey can be a solid guy for a cheap price. Andrew Ference is another solid, inexpensive puck moving defenseman.

Maybe the group lacks an obvious leader but it is versatile, mean and affordable.


Cam Ward($2.67 million); Alex Auld ($1 million)

Auld is there because he's a solid backup. Nothing more, nothing less.

Cam Ward has a great bargain of a contract. He's won a Cup, he's having a great run in the playoffs this year and generally has shown an ability to handle the workload of a No. 1 goalie. You cannot ask much more for a sub-$3 million goalie.


So, there's the best team I could put together under those restrictions. It came in under $54 million, giving a couple million for wiggle room with healthy scratches and such.

Now, it's your turn. Which players would you put on your salary cap All-Star team?


Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

I'm sorry, I stopped reading after I saw Daniel Alfredsson, that PUNK BITCH, on the first line.

Ok, fine, I read the whole piece, but seriously, Daniel Alfredsson? DANIEL ALFREDSSON?

Daniel Alfredsson and "Dream Team" do not go together. Ever.

jamestobrien said...

Hmmm a Leafs fan not liking Alf? It shan't be!

Can't help moving on the bargain deals.

Unknown said...

Have fun with Fragile Ference.

Unknown said...

Lol, that's pretty funny. You should check out the job listing over at jobnob, they've got some good stuff on that topic as well. Thanks for the great post.