Well, it looks as if I’m in the market for a jersey again. The Ducks (as promised) traded away defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski to the Atlanta Thrashers today in exchange for a cheap guy named Stewart and a pick or two. I’m going to do a proper farewell for Vishnevski and a few other departed Ducks this weekend, but before I get into that, here’s some cold trade analysis:
The Ducks have the following major contracts (around Vish’s $1.55M or more) locked in for this year and beyond*:
It should also be noted that Dustin Penner will be a restricted free agent in 2007-08, and Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will be restricted free agents in 2008-09, putting each of them somewhere up on this 'core' list.
Brian Burke has designed a rather excellent-looking foundation to build around the next couple of years, no doubt. The top three blue-liners and three core forwards, along with Penner, Getzlaf, Perry, and at some point Bobby Ryan, form a great 3-year nucleus for this squad. We don’t have an NHL goaltender signed past this year**, but judging by the offseason market, apparently there are more NHL-caliber goaltenders than there are NHL teams.
So why does it make 'GM sense' move Vishdog?
1. Rosterwise, he was not going to play a significant role behind the big three. Between him and O’Donnell, Vish has the better trade value.
2. It allows Burke to get nasty at arbitration, and to make an example in front of the kids.
3. It also makes the team more Burkish, and by that I mean that Stanislav Chistov is the only Russian we have under contract any more**.
4. The extra money saved on our 5th d-man is much better spent towards our forward lines or goaltending situation.
5. It increases jersey sales by three (two more than O’Donnell).
Bottom line: Burke has done too much good GMing for me to get pissy about moving Vishnevski (I'm saving that for this weekend), and I am thrilled that he seems to operate so well in a competitive salary-cap market. It makes other things (oh, like renaming and recoloring everything) much more tolerable, knowing that on paper, we’re building a great-looking stable team under some solid leadership.
Good job, Burkie, even though today sucks. I’ll miss the Vishman very much.
Sad side note: Atlanta now has as many members of our 2003 Stanley Cup Final team as we do:
Atlanta—Steve Rucchin, Jason Krog, Niclas Havelid, Vitaly Vishnevski
Anaheim—J.S. Giguere, Rob Niedermayer, Sammy Pahlsson, Stanislav Chistov
* Numbers are in millions, and reflect actual dollar-spending, not salary cap calculation. As the Ducks are not cap spenders, these numbers are probably more relevant. These figures are without bonuses, and pulled from CanteloupeHalves' site. I added in Beauchemin’s extension myself.
** Bryzgalov is still in negotiations, but rumors have it he is going to sign in Russia. They should chain him to his bed so he doesn’t think about defecting, though.