Friday, July 2, 2010

Five Things We Learned On July 1, 2010

1.  If You Chose to Chase Forwards on July 1, You Chose...Poorly (Artistry)

While GTOG and Ray Shero spent the days leading up to July 1, 2010 identifying value among soon-to-be unrestricted free agents, a number of NHL GM's appear to have either been deep in denial, spending too much time with Glen Sather, or both. Derek Boogaard aside (you see what I did there?), a number of free agent forwards received new contracts that seem, shall we say, incommensurate with what they'll bring to their new teams. Look at these names and numbers:
  • Colby Armstrong to Toronto (3 years/ $3 million per)
  • Matt Cullen to Minnesota (3 years/$3.5 million per)
  • Manny Malhotra to Vancouver (3 years/$2.5 million per)
  • Ollie Jokinen to Calgary (2 years/$3 million per)
Whuh?  Wha ha happened?  Ray Shero could not have been more on the money in avoiding this market for forwards.  Locking up two of arguably the finest group of top 4 defensemen in the entire league strikes me as the better move.

Read on for More Things We Learned


2.  Caps Fans are Going to Have a Hard Time Rationalizing This One (Finesse)

Branch Rickey, the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers general manager who signed Jackie Robinson, has a huge collection of inspiring and insightful quotes.  He's famous for saying things like, "Baseball is a game of inches" and "Problems are the price you pay for progress."  Well, what you loyal readers may not realize is that GTOG has obtained the lost chapter from the Branch Rickey biography which contains the following quote from a 1963 New York Times profile on the legendary GM:
Any time an organization that has woefully underachieved for four years has the opportunity to sign Dany Sabourin as its 3rd string goalie and make no other moves of consequence, they have to do it.
Well, apparently Washington Capitals' GM George McPhee also had a copy of this lost chapter because that is exactly what he did with the Caps.  That's their plan?  They had the cap space to pursue a solid defensman and change their identity.  Instead...nothing.

3.  Ray Shero Reads GTOG (Artistry)

You'll recall we were very high on Z-Mickle.  He was Shero's first phone call on July 1 at 12:05 p.m.  I'm just making an observation.  We were also pushing Dan Hamhuis, and Shero was all over that.  Paul Martin didn't make our list of Top 5 targets not because we don't appreciate the Paulwart defenseman, but rather because we did not envision a scenario in which Lucky Lou would allow his team's best defenseman to leave town and sign with a division rival.  Let that sink in.  We just signed the Devil's best defenseman.  This is akin to Gonch being stolen away by the Flyers.  Except for the fact that Martin is in his prime.

4.  If You Want to be Enormously Overpaid, Become Good Friends with Someone Associated with the Rangers  (Finesse)

If this blog was devoted to chronicling all of Glen Sather's horrible moves, Artistry and I wouldn't be able to get any work done, which would be roughly the same amount of work that we are currently getting done.  Nevertheless, it is worth noting that it appears there really is a method to Glen Sather's madness.  He isn't just overpaying random players for what seems like no apparent reason.  Instead, he is wildly overpaying players who are friends with members of the Rangers' organization for no apparent reason.  That makes sense.  According to Rangers Report, one factor in the Boogaard debacle signing was that he knows Marian Gaborik.  Glen Sather also thinks Martin Biron will fit in because "Benoit Allaire knows him pretty well."  It's no surprise then that Pierre Lebrun is currently reporting that Sather has extended a 6 year/$42 million offer to Max Afinogenov because his younger cousin once played youth hockey in Russia with current Rangers' center Artem Anisimov.

5.  We are Lucky (Artistry)

Ten years ago today, things did not look so good.  The Penguins were relying heavily on Hans Jonsson.  Mario had just saved the franchise again, but things were hardly stabilized.  And I was living in Bristol, Tennessee.  Look at where we are today.  What if tomorrow we shook things up and held a lottery among NHL GMs.  The winning GM gets his pick of any roster in the league, and that's his new team going forward.  He gets to run the team with the brightest future.  Which roster would the winning GM select?   I'm guessing the one with Sid Crosby, Geno Malkin, Jordan Staal, M.A. Fleury, Paul Martin, Zybnek Michalek, Brooks Orpik, and Kris Letang under contract for years to come.  But we have more than a great team.  We've got a beautiful new arena.  We've got outstanding off-ice leadership.  We have a phenomenal organ-i-zation.  And everybody knows it.  Take a minute, drink it in.  LGP.

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