Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Change of Scenery: Potential Targets for the Leafs

Buy low, sell high.  It's a simple concept that governs the maximization of all assets over time and hockey is no different.

There were several deals made last year that saw underachieving players moved to new teams where these underachievers were given new life.  Our own Lee Stempniak is a great example of the kind of player that just needed a different situation in order to maximize their own value.  Peter Mueller lit it up in Colorado after a few disappointing seasons in Phoenix.  Montreal and Minnesota both improved their teams swapping Latendresse for Pouliot as each player adapted well to their new addresses.

The Leafs are still looking to improve their team up front but don't have any big assets that they'll be looking to move in order to do so.  Given this, the best targets are going to be these kinds of guys - the underachievers.  Here's a short list of guys that I think might fit that category.

Andrew Cogliano - People that know me also know that I don't think very highly of Cogliano.  I think he's soft, a defensive liability and has a shot that's roughly as weak as Alex Steen's.  Having said this, there's no disputing that he has game-changing speed and who knows what he might be able to do in the right situation.  His production has dipped significantly as he tallied a mere 28 points last year.  Sliding him over to the wing for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs might be just what the doctor ordered for the young speedster.

Petr Prucha - Prucha had 22 points in 79 games last year.  Not exactly the stuff of legends.  Having said this, he's a winger that has always been of the score first, assist later bend which is kind of what the Leafs need right now.  I doubt he'll score 30 again but in the right situation the 28 year-old could probably be a twenty goal scorer again and the cost to acquire him would be infinitesimal.

Steve Bernier - The Panthers kind of beat us to this one, acquiring Bernier in the deal that sent Keith Ballard out of town.  Bernier has a Brian Burke frame at 6'2" and 225 lbs but he hasn't necessarily played a Burke-like game.  Ron Wilson might be the kind of coach that can get the most of a kid like Bernier and at 25 he could grow with our team's young core.  Only 22 points last season may mean he was a throw-in to the Ballard deal so he may be expendable for the Panthers.

James Van Riemsdyk - I can hear the cries of, "that's never going to happen!!!!1" right now, and I know, it's a stretch.  Van Riemsdyk moving is possible however as the Flyers have significant cap issues, no goalie and very little room for top-six forwards up front.  Simon Gagne was moved out to make room for Zherdev and the goaltending issues continue to linger.  35 points last season and getting less than top-six minutes might mean that the Flyers don't have much faith in JVR - otherwise why not let him continue to develop in  the AHL?  I see Van Riemsdyk moving the same way Mueller did last year.  Both were talented high picks and may have appeared untouchable and yet  Mueller moved.  Maybe JVR does too.

7 comments:

squidworth13 said...

I think your bang on for the first 3 all could help without costing much couple more to consider danius zubrus i know big contract but if it don't work ship him back to the khl....but big vet center who has scored in past....or if we're talking former high picks how about kyle turris

Curt S said...

@ squidworth

I considered Turris and I think if he doesn't do something meaningful this season then he'd be a good candidate. I see this season as the make-or-break for him. Good call.

Kohma said...

Nice post, I like posts like this, that challenge the status quo and offer up interesting perspectives and observations. At this point these suggestions seem more like replacing what we have with more of the same. I'd rather Burke put a package together for a single player upgrade or let one of the kids take a spot.

Curt S said...

@ Kohma

I hear what you're saying but the problem with package deals now is that you're usually taking on someone's cap headache to execute them. It doesn't mean you're getting a bad player, but usually they're overpaid. Phaneuf being a good example of this.

Even the Versteeg deal (while he isn't overpaid) was a case of a cap-headache changing hands. Mid-ranged prospects for fringe top-six players rarely happen anymore when contracts of all parties are reasonable.

Leafschatter said...

Good posts and comments. I would qualify it by adding it should be player who has a two-way contract. Like a Luca Caputti. This has to be done until the big deal materializes. You load up on "prospective" second liners hoping one over achieves.

Believe Kessell (first-line type player) plus second line type players Versteeg, Kulemin, Grabovski, MacArthur, and Armstrong all have one-way contracts.

Bozak, Kadri, Caputti, and D'Amigo have two-contracts and can be considered prospective top-six forwards.

Leaf.Fan.Gordo said...

@Leafschatter

Caputi and D'Amigo aren't second liners yet unless its by default.

Good point though about getting a two way deal.

@ Kohma

A two for one would be a good way to free up a contract which is something you guys at BCP wrote about earlier. I think its a good idea.

Leafschatter said...

Meant to say "two-way contracts" where I typed "two-contracts".