Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tomorrow Never Knows

Into The Free Agency Void

Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream.
It is not dying, it is not dying.

Lay down all thought, surrender to the void
It is shining, it is shining.


Free agency tomorrow. Surrender to the void Habs fans.


Free agent preview

The previews for tomorrow's festivities must surely number in the thousands by now. I don't want to re-invent the wheel, so I'll make it simple. For me the most concise and useful previews were the following:

USA Today – Most popular: 25 free agents who'll draw plenty of interest

THN: The NHL's all-overlooked free agent team


Of the two, I'd most recommend the second because it eschews the more obvious diatribe about Bouwmeester, the Sedins and Gaborik – who in our hearts of hearts we all know we won't sign tomorrow anyway. Besides, the bargains in this free agency mess don't come from the top ten – where thanks to Philadelphia and New York, one always overpays.


Forwards

Unfortunately, we may be in a bit of a pickle. Even with Koivu, Kovalev and Tanguay we needed a top forward to add a second wave. If we lose all those three, we need four.

While I'm not a fan of overpayment on every player, it seems to get a star forward (with the trade route barred to us), one must. Of the top players, I'd take Koivu and Kovalev back and stick with the trade option until we find a way to pry away that premier goalscorer we need. If Tanguay finds his real value is a pay cut, I'd welcome him back too.

If it's to be done tomorrow, I'd want Gainey to be in on conversations about Hossa and Havlat with a possible look at Mikael Samuelsson. The Sedins have a lot of allure, but a package deal? How old are you guys?

In addition, to replace Kostopoulos with a more skillful option, I'd take THN's advice and look into Joel Ward:
"At 28, Ward was too old to be rookie-eligible last season (he played 11 NHL games in 2007-08). But he scored 17 goals while cast in a defensive role for the Predators, including a couple shorthanded markers. This guy can fly, adding wings to any team's forecheck."



Defence

Unlike Gainey, I'd let Komisarek go without any fight. I can't for the life of me decide why he thinks differently, but then we share different opinions of what makes a thoroughbred, after all. While everyone's worrying about Jay Bouwmeester and Big Mike, I'd be swoping for some #3/4 guys to really get a solid squad at the back.

Someone I've been hot on for ages now is Johnny Oduya of the Devils. On him, THN says it nicely:
"Do you want Johnny Oduya? Yes, you do, if you're a fan of two-way defensemen at a bargain-basement price."


In keeping with the THN advice, I also thought someone just like Christian Backman would be a very nice addition and Brisebois-signing barrier. As they say:
"Quietly efficient and ever improving, Backman is the kind of support player that every blueline needs."



Goalies

The fact is we need one for Hamilton. It could be Marc Denis, but I'd want a promise of no games in Mtl. Here I'd really veer towards the young and someone who might not mind sitting behind two or three better prospects. This isn't a July 1 priority and may come via trade as well...

A mentor for Carey Price?
How about a blanket? The guy is coddled. He doesn't need his own mentor to take up salary and dispatch Halak. He'll have his own coach and he'll have to make do.



So, sit back, relax and enjoy the fun. And remember tomorrow never never knows. The team you think is a bottom-feeder tomorrow may be a contender come April.

... play the game, existence to the end.
Of the beginning, of the beginning...

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