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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Toskala or Nabokov?

Ron and Doug Wilson seem to have the best of both worlds right now -- they've got both goalies looking sharp and they've got a number of teams out east with imploding goalie situations. I gotta think that at least preliminary "Oh crap" calls are being made to Doug's office, but assuming that both goalies are healthy, who should the Sharks try to keep?

On the surface, Nabokov's big contract makes him the easy choice to let go. However, I don't see the issue here being the cap hit for this year -- or even next year. Here's the problem:

Nabokov: 2008/2009 $5.25 million cap hit
Toskala: 2008/2009 UFA
Marleau: 2008/2009 UFA
Thornton: 2008/2009 UFA

So, both goalies are roughly the same age, and assuming when healthy, can put up roughly the same stats. If the Sharks internal budget is essentially set for this year -- and I have to think that it would be considering the Vladimir Malakhov transaction -- then Doug Wilson probably has the green light to move either goalie.

The question then becomes, how much will Toskala ultimately be worth? Will he want $5.25 million when he becomes UFA or will he want more? Consider this -- Tomas Vokoun got a four-year extension averaging just under $6 million cap hit and Rick Dipietro's ridiculous contract has a cap hit of $4.25 million per season. Assuming that there is some general level of inflation, it wouldn't be surprising for Toskala to get around $6 million at the end of the 2007/2008 season.

Assuming both goalies are playing to the best of their abilities, keeping Nabokov might actually be the smarter thing to do in the long run. With Nabby, at least Doug Wilson has some certainty in the numbers he will be dealing with when it comes to re-signing both Thornton and Marleau.


Earl Sleek said...

If I were GM Wilson, Toskala would be my guy and Nabokov would be on the first plane to cap relief.

Sure, there's a possibility that Toskala might demand a big raise, but I'm thinking goaltenders are demanding too much salary for the market they are in (too many goaltenders for not enough teams--and that was even before Dipietro took the Islanders out of the equation), and the market price should correct itself somewhat.

Worst case, Toskala walks and you find yourself a cheaper alternative.

In summary, I'd rather have the cheaper goaltender with the uncertain future than the more expensive one with the money already locked into the future.

Marleau and Thornton going to be UFAs at the same time? That should be interesting, whether you have a goaltender signed or not.

Limey said...

In this market I don't think teams will have to overpay for goaltending.

I'd be suprised if Nabokov moves until late in the season (if at all) and suprised if Giguere moves period as long as the Ducks are in contention.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Nabokov will most likely be the one to move. The big plus is that Toskala might be able to be signed for less than Nabby.

There is also the benefit that Nabokov's salary is set for the next couple of years so whatever team makes a move for him knows the cap hit as opposed to trading for a goalie that might be more expensive or could be lost after a short run.

Either way, SJ is sitting pretty with two top-flight goalies and will be able to turn one of them into either the player(s) to put them over the top or some good assets.

ninja said...

Great take on this situation. I'd keep Jiggy and move Toskala, but I missed out snagging Toskala in my f-draft. But the UFA angle makes alot of sense. However, I think the entire discussion will be moot, even though it will be rumor fodder all season, because neither will move. Seems like a replay of last year in Buffalo. The two-goalie model is becoming mighty popular with contending teams. And if the Sharks can add Malakhov-type salary under the cap, which comes off after this year, then re-signing Toskala shouldn't be a problem.

Marleau and Thornton is a different story.