Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ducks Gameday—Who would you move to make Niederroom?

Anaheim Ducks (14-12-4, t-6th in west) at Nashville Predators (13-11-2, 11th in west)

The second guest-art installment
in the spade-in-victorhell series.

I don't have much to say about last night's game against Chicago, except (a) the Ducks won despite being outshot 42 - 22, and (b) Andy McDonald and Todd Bertuzzi went back to being invisible again. I regularly told my roommate, "Man, I can't believe we're winning this game," but whatever--I'm happy enough with the two points that I won't raise a stink. I'm guessing the same strategy won't work nearly as well in Nashville, though.

NIEDERWATCH: Here's my un-scientific listing of who's most likely to be moved to make tag room for Scotty, a list that shuffles quite regularly and isn't based on much more than my mood. I've included each player's next-year-cap figure, per NHLSCAP.com.

1. Matthieu Schneider ($5.625 M): I think logically, Schneider's paid way too much for a third-highest-paid defenseman. Even with goals in each of his last two games, I think the only reason that Schneidermayer would stay is if Burke is dead-set on icing the best blueline in NHL history, or if he's determined that Scott won't play next year and wants to pro-actively address that. As a bonus, moving Schneider might make enough tag room to sign Corey Perry to an early extension (provided Perry is willing to stay in the $4 M range).

2. Todd Marchant ($2.518 M): Even though the Ducks are forward-thin and Marchant has proved his value and versatility (especially in the last playoffs), it is a lot of salary for a guy to anchor a fourth line. Moving Marchant might involve moving a draft pick as well, though we'll see how cagey Burke can be. I'd certainly miss "Stone Hands" Marchant, as he has the highest PS2-to-Actual talent ratio on the team, but I feel that a kid like Petteri Wirtanen could play the fourth-line center role responsibly enough in limited minutes.

3. Andy McDonald ($3.333 M): Andy Mac has certainly had it rough this young season, though the dropoff in linemate talent is astronomical between Teemu Selanne last year and Mark Mowers earlier this year. Still, I don't know if to my eyes he's lost any speed or ability; he just seems to be more effective when opponents have to focus on his wingers more. Burke had better be more in tune with Teemu's mindset than I am; if Selanne is coming back, then Andy Mac drops to the bottom of this list; he was our best forward in the cup finals.

4. Francois Beauchemin ($1.650 M): Frenchie is another enigma of sorts; his goals-against rates were much better back when Scotty was covering his back. He is certainly underpaid for the amount of minutes that he plays, and thus should be fairly easy to move (in fact, I would expect some return in a Frenchie trade). Still, we shouldn't forget Frenchie's impact on the '06 playoffs; his fist-fight with Iginla and shoulder-hit on Brunette were enormous factors in advancing past Calgary and Colorado.

5. Sean O'Donnell ($1.250 M): Probably O'Donnell should be higher on this list, but I'll tell you: I think O.D. has been a tremendous team-first guy on this roster. I mean, the guy was an unrestricted free agent defenseman in a zany marketplace who had just won the Stanley Cup, and he signed back on the team for a PAY CUT. That is pretty huge in my books, and I hope that fact isn't lost on Burke. You know exactly what you are going to get on the ice with O.D.--the safest play he's capable of--but there's always a role for that kind of guy.

6. Some combination of Travis Moen ($913 K), Shane Hnidy ($718 K), Kent Huskins ($625 K), Brad May ($600 K), or George Parros ($550 K): I think dollarwise, this means Moen plus another guy. Moen (or as I call him, "the Omen") has had rough counting numbers but is still contributing defensively on the Pahlsson line. Plus he was HUGE in the playoffs, t-2nd on the team in goals and t-1st on the team in game-winners. Hnidy has been better of late, though his first instinct always seems to be to grab a guy with his free hand. The other three have all been improvements on last year's versions. There seems to be some possibility here (all these guys seem replaceable enough), but I don't think it's going to happen--it adds to the trade complexity and starts removing too many parts of an already-thin roster.

7. Todd Bertuzzi ($4.000 M): I talk trash on Bertuzzi more than most Duck fans, but given Bert's salary, I don't think there's many GMs that will easily take the guy--he'll probably cost the EDM first-rounder to move, I'd guess. But I'm not sure I'm entirely pessimistic about keeping Bertuzzi. Sure he's a floater who needs limited puck exposure, but as we saw with Penner last year, there's a way that Bertuzzi can be played effectively--essentially he'll be as good as his linemates can make him. Bert will probably look really bad on a bad team but may look really good on a good one, and if this team does take a step forward, I'm willing to stay on the Bertuzzi bet a little while longer.

So that's my list, based on zero inside sources and just my gut feel. Two things to note: (a) Burke has made his trade-timeframe public, and will not be bargaining from a position of strength. As we've seen in the case of Ilya Bryzgalov, it doesn't seem to be the case that rival GMs are in any hurry to do Burke any favors. (b) Going for Burke, though, is the fact that there isn't any real need to get any return for whichever player gets moved. Scotty (with the possibility of some Teemu) is plenty of return already. It wouldn't even be that bad if a player got on the waiver train to Phoenix.

So, just for fun, if you were Burke, which player would you look to unload? Unleash your fantasy GM skills in the comments.

Prediction: I'm not that optimistic; I'm guessing Nashville carries a lot of the play today. Still, Ducks 3, Preds 2. Goals by Platt, Pahlsson, and Pronger.

Go Ducks.


Charity said...

this is why I'm glad I'm not Burkie (and btw, you totally beat me to this post and did it far better justice than I could've haha)...

I'd probably move marchant and/or a combo of the 'baby-d-men'. I'm not a Hnidy fan (I don't know anyone who is), and I'd be bummed out to see Joe or Husky go (but I could live with it). Other than that, I don't want Schneider to move mainly because I'm getting the impression that Scotty will finish this year and be done with it (no return next season). If that's the case, we're still going to need to find a d-man to replace him - precisely what we signed Schneider for in the first place! Is it costly? Is it worth the risk running a beefy D with front headlined by a coupla kids?! Uhhhh... I don't know. That's why I don't call the shots. I don't know what's gonna happen.

My best guess is Todd. Other than him, I have no clue.

Earl Sleek said...

I'm not a Hnidy fan (I don't know anyone who is), and I'd be bummed out to see Joe or Husky go (but I could live with it).

Joe Dipenta could be part of a deal, I guess, but he's not an issue next year. He signed a one-year deal, so he wouldn't alleviate the tag problem.

Mike said...

On the NHL Network last night somebody said they only need to clear $900K or so, and Shane Hnidy will be the likely candidate to go.

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, I should have noted that I have not bothered to try to decipher an actual amount needed. In my head writing the post, I assumed something like $1-million-ish needs to be cleared.

Still, there's benefits to not doing the bare minimum, though. It would be nice to have some cushion on this rule if something needs to happen further down the line.

Anonymous said...

Marchant would be at the top of my list.
Kunitz would be second. Kunitz?! Really? Yeah. I mean, what ever happen to Bobby Ryan? Couldn't he replace Chris on the line with Getz and CP. This move would hurt, but as GM, he's got some of the best potential to be moved.
Next would be Andy Mac. They haven't found him the linemates he needs, and it'll be easier to move him than his linemates.

As an aside, you think that Burke had an inkling a few weeks back that Scott was returning when he started making a fuss about teams being able to eat some of a players salary in a trade? He probably knew he wasn't going to be able to easily move Schieds or Bert without that sort of situation.

Daniel said...

I move Marchant. Keep as many of the good D-men as you can, since the forwards aren't going to score. The Ducks need to stop as many goals from going in as possible.

I am not a supporter of George Parros, but if you saw his faceoff form when Marchant got kicked out of the circle last game, you know you gotta keep him. PARROS NATION! *end sarcasm*

As for moving Kunitz, like Jeremy suggests, no thanks. Kunitz is a good hockey player, good forechecker, he scores, skates well and finishes his checks. Bobby Ryan seems to be on the Carson Palmer plan and that kid better come through, I would hate to see another Chistov in this organization.

Anonymous said...

I read on ESPN.com that they will have to clear around 3 mil to cover the contract for next season. With that number in mind, I would move Sean O'Donnell, as a D-Man has to be moved anyway and either Marchant, MacDonald, or Bertuzzi (if you can find someone willing to pay his high contract price).

I love the cartoon Spade!

VeryProudofYa said...

3 mil is what was initially thought, chris. 880 k is a more accurate amount.

I'd hang on to marchant, primarily because in order to be rid of him you'd have to dump a decent draft pick. And since burkie seems to have left himself an out by letting nearly every contract expire in two seasons, those draft picks may come in handy.

I'd try and Schnieder, ideally, you can probably get a pretty good return for him, even WITH the universal understanding that burke isn't in a position of power, and clear out enough space to potentially resign perry.

Or they could waive a few guys. Marchant, namely.

Anonymous said...

thanx...my favorite one is the next one i made for the blue jackets...hopefully earl will post it..

it would be a mistake to trade frankie..his usefulness at that price...I think mcdonald goes to tell u the truth...cuz..schiender is needed for next season when scotty leaves..as well as this season to make our team even stronger....hes got 4 goals already with the limited time hes been with us...no one wants marchant or odonnell at what there making unless burke throws in a
1st rounder...which may be the case..well c

unless someone gives a great player in return for frankie..then maybe burke rolls the dice..but then again..that great player in return will cost us....so I dunno

im on the edge of my seat for sure...at least we have somthing to talk about

p.s. earl so far cartoons with ducks "kicking out of stomachs" have all been wins...i should have drawn the duck kicking out of the predator...well see

p.s.s. the 2nd line went awol again...

VeryProudofYa said...

I imagine 20 or so teams would want O'Donnell, Spade.
He's a beast on the PK and always makes the safe play.

That, and his contract is below market value for a player of his caliber.

Meh loss tonight. Ducks played their third game in 4 nights, with travel. Can't say I expected a win.

What I didn't expect, however, was Dipenta would throw down again.

You'd think, of all the defensemen on the ducks, he'd be the most secure. Since he's on a one year deal he'll likely not be moved in the next week, meanwhile another d-man is likely to move, only bolstering his position on the depth chart.

Anonymous said...

Platt, Pahlsson, and Pronger
say that 3Xs fast

PJ Swenson said...

Samuel Påhlsson.

Charity said...

Bobby Ryan seems to be on the Carson Palmer plan and that kid better come through, I would hate to see another Chistov in this organization.

Ouch. Me too. I liked Chis and he broke my heart.

Heather B. said...

Earl, I'd better see a cartoon of a buffalo raping a shark at some point today or I'm just not going to be happy.

RudyKelly said...

I recommend giving us Todd Marchant. You owe us after giving Phoenix Ilya Bryzgalov.

Bryan said...

Odonell seems the most logical. By adding Niedermayer, you have basically 4 dmen now who can play close 25-30 minutes a game. That leaves the 5th and 6th guy needing only 5 or so minutes. As we saw last year, Odonell is very solid at around 20 minutes. Therefore, keeping him would be unnecessary if he's only palying about 5-10 a game. Ducks were fine with Huskins and Dipenta/Jackman last year back there. So having Odonnell would be a waste to me once Niedermayer comes back. Schneider will be necessary if Scott only plays one year and Franc will hopefully get a rejuvenation from playing with Scott again, so as I said Odonnell.

As far as forwards, I'm sure everyone will agree no one will take Bertuzzi at 4 mil. There still remains the possibility of a Teemu return which from what I've heard, it is likely, when it gets closer to playoffs, and having McDonald would sure be nice if that happens. Moen could be easily filled on the containment line by Miller but at 1 mil, he was solid in the playoffs. Parros would never be traded as he is a fan favorite and May would not suffice as the Ducks enforcer. May is much more expendable to me. Marchant carries a big price tag which is how we got him from Columbus in the first place but alot of teams lacking a leadership and put him in any kind of spot guy would love to have him. On the forward end, MArchant or May could easily go.

But Odonell wins out over anyone to me.

Bryan said...

And Kings turned down a Bryzgalov trade for a 4th round conditional draft pick, so don't blame us.

Anonymous said...

ducks exercised there built in excuse for losing....."3rd game in 4 nites" 2nd line showed again why we were dumb asses for pre-mature ejaculating about them...when the ducks turn the suck on...and mail it in...they start parading to the penatly box

only decent thing..was kunitz sticking up for platt...he got 2 really good uppercuts before the other guy was able to keep kunitz hands at bay and waited for chris to get tired...the guy had this funny look on his face after he tattoed platt..like he knew he was gonna get an answer to it...nice

3 days till scotty potientally comes back...it will be exciting 3 days with his columbus game also on the dockett...plus well get to see who gets voted off the island so to speak..