Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kris Letang Trade Week, Day 3: A blockbuster in Tampa

By Finesse (follow me on Twitter)

Day 1: Toronto
Day 2: Detroit

Tampa has three things that all teams covet: the #3 overall pick in what is by all accounts a very good draft; a former #2 overall pick about to enter his prime and signed to a very reasonable $4M/yr cap hit for the next 4 seasons; and strip clubs.

Tampa: All you need is a beer koozie, a pontoon boat, and a tattoo of a scorpion.
The Pens, in Kristopher Letang, have an asset that will instantly improve any team he ends up getting traded to and it'd be great for his ego to continue piling up ungodly offensive statistics as a result of throwing long passes to uber-talented finishers like he has been doing in Pittsburgh for the past 4 years.

There's a match to be made here.  We're going to find it.

If the Pens could get Hedman and the #3 overall pick for Letang, it would be a no-brainer, but it's also not going to happen unless Jeff Vinik just says, "F-this, I have Vinny Lecavailer under contract at $7.5M til the end of time, I want to win the Stanley Cup and sell the team before he mummifies on the bench.  Get me Kris Letang!"  That sounds like a ridiculous strategy from a guy who just sold his hedge fund so that he could focus more on his ownership of the Lightning.  But what's also ridiculous is that his hedge fund reportedly DECLINED 4.8% since July 1, 2012 while pretty much everyone else invested in the market got a double digit return.  I walked by a Citibank yesterday and they handed me an envelope with $10,000 in cash just because.  The point is, you never know with Tampa.

Before we go further, why Victor Hedman?  Well, he's a good player and has a really nice contract taking him through 2017.  He was drafted #2 overall, and even though he hasn't developed into the MVP-caliber player that #1 overall pick John Tavares has, he's still good and will probably get better.  It doesn't matter if he's not as good as you'd want a #2 overall pick to be for the simple reason that the Pens didn't draft him #2 overall, so who cares?  Plus he sat in the row directly behind me at Game 3 of the Pens-Wings Stanley Cup Final in 2009.  Don't discount that.

(Tangent alert.  Maybe Hedman is the Jordan Staal of defensemen, drafted #2 overall and a nice player, but not quite as good as guys drafted right after him?  Maybe Duchene, Kane, Ekman-Larson, and Kadri are to Hedman what Jonathan Toews, Nick Backstrom and Phil Kessel are to Jordan Staal?  Side tangent alert. We love Ray Shero, but any assessment of his tenure with the Pens is incomplete if it doesn't at least point out that he drafted Staal over Toews.  Tangent over.)

So how do the Pens get Hedman & more for Letang?

Tampa gets Kris Letang.

The Pens get:
Victor Hedman
Benoit Pouliot (a restricted free agent, but all of our trades assume Pens can sign these people)
Alex Killorn (Tampa's top prospect at Left Wing, but also listed as a center in some places)
Nikita Kucherov (Tampa's top prospect at right wing)

No idea if this is a sufficient return or too much of a return, but that's sort of the whole reason teams want Kris Letang: he's in his prime, he's durable, he's proven, and he is nominated for the Norris Trophy which all but assures he will be nominated every year for the remainder of his career even if he doesn't deserve it.  You know, like this year.  Arguably.


1 comment:

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