Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Boone, Souray and Pollock

Mike Boone, Sheldon Souray and the late Sam Pollock. Three names that probably have never been in the same sentence, and probably never shoud be again.

Yesterday in his online (eeeee)mail (what does that mean??), Mike Boone asked what Mr. Pollock would have done differently from Mr. Gainey on the Sheldon Souray dossier. Hi assessment:

After making a cool, unsentimental assessment of Souray's value, Pollock would have traded him, on or before the Feb. 27 deadline, for prospects and/or draft choices.

He goes on to say that this is because:

Pollock – who played three-dimensional chess and thought five moves ahead – would have known that he couldn't re-sign Souray for a number with which the team could live.

If Mr. Pollock would have been five moves ahead, why Mr. Boone do you insist on playing right into the checkmate?

Trading a player at the trade deadline is neither worthwhile nor clever. it is what every current GM does, and only that. A GM who is five steps ahead of his rivals would have traded Souray years before Mike Boone thought it was a good idea.

First off, consider who the Habs could have traded with at the deadline.

The first condition is a team that is going to make the playoffs (why would any other team bother trading for a three-week rental?). So eliminate Washington, Philly, Columbus, Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix, LA and Edmonton. Gone with them are all the best draft picks - probably for the next few years too.

Next, the Canadiens would not be trading to an Eastern rival who they could potentially pip for the playoffs. So eliminate Florida, Boston, Toronto, Islanders, Rangers, Tampa, Carolina and Atlanta (based on the teams at that point).

Divisional rivals aren't usually trading partners, especially with decent prospects and draft picks going one way, so eliminate Buffalo and Ottawa.

So that now leaves us with New Jersey and Pittsburgh in the East. It leaves us with the 9 teams in realistic contention in the west.

However, next, we should eliminate teams that already have a PP quarterback (with equivalent offensive or superior defensive skills). This probably takes Detroit, Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado and Nashville out of the equation.

We're down to New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Vancouver, Dallas and San Jose. Take out Minnesota, since they probably aren't keen on the -28 burden, maybe even NJ for that matter.

So who are we going to trade with out of Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Dallas and San Jose?

San Jose you say? But they want Rivet...

Pittsburgh? They would rather keep their youngsters for a future run thanks...

Vancouver and Dallas? I'm not exactly marvelled at their prospects.

So, I've made a lengthy point there I think. I don't thik a trade was on at the deadline. Not without San Jose. Good draft picks also come from non-playoff teams, not deadline dealers. If we want those plum picks that Trader Sam would be trading for, then we'll need to get a bit braver. Trade Chris Higgins? Trade Mike Komisarek? Trade a Kostitsyn?

Personally I'm not in for the draft pick trade. For one things it's now a lottery, so forget Backstromesque moves, Pittsburgh wins the lotteries either way. Plus, I'd rather trade for known quantities and keep known quantities. Players, the best ones, now plug away until their 40s. Get a star at 28 for a number of picks as far as I am concerned, and take his last 12 years...

Are these the heirs to Sam Pollock?

The list of NHL general managers with Pollockesque acumen would include Brian Burke, Ken Holland, Lou Lamoriello, Glen Sather, Darcy Regier, Ray Shero, Doug Wilson, Dave Nonis, Doug Risebrough, Jacques Martin, Dean Lombardi and the new kid on the block, Paul Holmgren.

I'm afraid not.

As much as it pains me to say it, the only GM taking the risks necessary to even be remotely associated with our greatest GM is Kevin Lowe. Lowe unloaded his most popular player for 3 propects. He traded his captain in a deal for Pitkanen (who was touted to be the next big thing once before). He quietly signed Mathieu Garon (who we all still like, right?). He signed Souray. Then he went for the players he wanted, everyone else be damned.

Bob Gainey beware. Don't trade with Kevin Lowe, he's no Frank Selke Jr...

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