Thursday, June 29, 2006


Be The GM, Part II

Today I look at which Oilers free agents I would re-sign, which ones I would let go, and who else is available throughout the league. All of this is thoroughly unscientific, of course, determined by nothing other than my brilliant eye for hockey talent. I assume Tyler and the IOF boys will set me straight on all my poor decisions. Part I of "Be The GM" is here.

Oilers Free Agents As Of July 1, 2006*

PlayerTypeAge2005-2006 Salary (US$)
Mike Peca
$3.99 million
Sergei Samsonov
$2.77 million
Jaroslav Spacek
$2.25 million
Dwayne Roloson
$1.672 million
Dick Tarnstrom
$1.6 million
Radek Dvorak
$1.596 million
Ty Conklin
$1.14 million
Georges Laraque
$1.083 million
Shawn Horcoff
Group II RFA
$1 million
Ales Hemsky
Group II RFA
Igor Ulanov
Fernando Pisani
Jarret Stoll
Group II RFA
Rem Murray

*I did not place minor league players in this list.

Who I Will Let Go

Dwayne Roloson: He is 36 years old, and will be coming off knee surgery. His value is also up, after a stellar Stanley Cup playoffs. Unless I can wrap him up in the $2.5-$3 million range for one year, I have to let him go. Anything more than that is dangerous, especially considering his salary will count against the cap if by some reason (see age and knee above) he decides to retire.

Sergei Samsonov: I don't really want to, but his cost is prohibitive. I still can't believe he is only 27. It seems like he has been around for ages.

Jaroslav Spacek: He was exposed when he didn't have Chris Pronger by his side. Too much money for Boris Mironov-like mistakes.

Radek Dvorak: Too much money for a guy who hasn't put up numbers since Peter Nedved left. If I can pick up Marty Straka to play with him, sure. If not, D-Vo is gone. Sorry, Sacamano.

Igor Ulanov: Um, do I really have to justify this?

Mike Peca: Ditto.

Ty Conklin: Ditto with a "hell, yes!"

Dick Tarnstrom: A vastly underrated player, in my estimation. If we can sign him for $1-$1.5 million, I'll keep him. But I assume he won't take the pay cut, and he is therefore gone.

Rem Murray: I'll find him a place in management.

Who I Will Keep

Fernando Pisani: Since I am having his child, this one is a no-brainer (given what has happened here in the last week, that post is even creepier that it was before). I sign him to a one-year deal at $1-$1.25 million, with a commitment to bump that up if he can repeat his 2006 playoff performance in the regular season.

Georges Laraque: Some may call this a sentimental choice, but I disagree. Le GG is the reigning heavyweight champion of hockey, and can still play. His biggest problem is confidence. Get him an extra five minutes of icetime a game, and I think we see an elevation of play. And even if I am totally wrong on that front, his popularity and selflessness in the community make him worth the extra dough.

Shawn Horcoff: The number one centre we all hoped (prayed!) he would be.

Alex Hemsky: And I'll put in a performance bonus for goals and shots on net.

Jarret Stoll: I might trade Stolly if the offer is right. In the meantime, he gets a raise.

Who Else Is Available?

Unrestricted Free Agents

Goaltenders: Martin Gerber (Car), Johan Hedberg (Dal), Manny Legace (Det), Chris Osgood (Det), Dominik Hasek (Ott)

Defencemen: Jay McKee (Buf), Teppo Numminen (Buf), Aaron Ward (Car), Rob Blake (Col), Karlis Skrastins (Col), Willie Mitchell (Dal), Nicklas Lidstrom (Det), Filip Kuba (Min), Andrei Zyuzin (Min), Jan Bulis (Mon), Danny Markov (Nas), Brendan Witt (Nas), Tom Poti (NYR), Zdeno Chara (Ott), Wade Redden (Ott), Kim Johnsson (Phi), Pavel Kubina (D), Aki Berg (Tor), Bryan McCabe (Tor), Ed Jovanovski (Van)

Forwards: Jeff Friesen (Ana) Marc Savard (Atl), Marty Reasoner (Bos), Mark Recchi (Car), Dough Weight (Car), Eric Daze (Chi), Jason Arnott (Dal), Brendan Shanahan (Det), Steve Yzerman (Det), Mark Parrish (LA), Jeremy Roenick (LA), Yanic Perreault (Nas), Mike Sillinger (Nas), Patrik Elias (NJ), Viktor Kozlov (NJ), Jamie Langenbrunner (NJ), Steve Rucchin (NYR), Martin Rucinsky (NYR), Martin Straka (NYR), Petr Sykora (NYR), Vaclav Varada (Ott), Tyler Arnason, (Ott), Oleg Kvasha (Pho), Geoff Sanderson (Pho), Alyn McCauley (SJ), Petr Cajanek (STL), Scott Young (STL), Jason Allison (Tor), Eric Lindros (Tor), Anson Carter (Van), Richard Park (Van), Jarkko Ruutu (Van), Jeff Halpern (Was)

Restricted Free Agents

Goaltenders: Ilya Bryzgalov (Ana), Kari Lehtonen (Atl), Martin Biron (Buf), Ryan Miller (Buf), Marc Denis (CBJ), Pascal Leclaire (CBJ), Alex Auld (Fla) Mathieu Garon (LA), David Aebischer (Mon), Rick DiPietro (NYI), Ray Emery (Ott), Antero Niittymaki (Phi), Marc-Andre Fleury (Pit), Roberto Luongo (Van), Mika Noronen (Van)

Defencemen: Paul Mara (Bos), Dmitri Kalinin (Buf), Mike Commodore (Car), John-Michael Liles (Col), Marek Svatos (Col), Jay Bouwmeester (Fla), Mike Van Ryn (Fla), Bryan Allen (Fla) Joni Pitkanen (Phi), Brooks Orpik (Pit), Christian Ehrhoff (SJ)

Forwards: Joffrey Lupul (Ana), Andy McDonald (Ana), Patrice Bergeron (Bos), Brad Boyes (Bos), Maxim Afinogenov (Buf), Daniel Briere (Buf), Tim Connolly (Buf), Erik Cole (Car), Eric Staal (Car), Justin Williams (Car), Mark Bell (Chi), Kyle Calder (Chi), Tuomo Ruutu (Chi), Nikolai Zherdev (CBJ), Nathan Horton (Fla), Stephen Weiss (Fla), Marian Gaborik (Min), Mike Ribeiro (Mon), Michael Ryder (Mon), Martin Erat (Nas), Scott Hartnell (Nas), Scottie Upshall (Nas), Brian Gionta (NJ), Scott Gomez (NJ), Mike York (NYI), Martin Havlat (Ott), Peter Schaefer (Ott), Jason Spezza (Ott), Antoine Vermette (Ott), Simon Gagne (Phi), Ladislav Nagy (Pho), Oleg Saprykin (Pho), Ruslan Fedotenko (TB), Nik Antropov (Tor), Matt Stajan (Tor), Ryan Kesler (Van), Henrik Sedin (Van), Daniel Sedin (Van)


hey andy,

I'm just curious because your missing some names that TSN had listed as free agent defensemen whether you or they have misconstrued whom is available.

They have a few guys like Joe Corvo and Kenny Jonnson that I'd take a look at picking up if they were in fact available.

I know I might get yelled at for this one, but I wouldn't mind seeing Mike Commodore, another hometown boy, here in Edmonton. Sure he's a bit slow but he can hit, score a couple of goals and would do wonders for the spirit of the team...kinda like Laraque.

I'd also keep Roli around if we can sign him for about $2.5M/yr for 2 years. Anything longer than that (as much as I love him) is a risk.

Other possibilities for defencemen? I'd consider Chara, Redden and Bouwmeester if we could get one or possibly two of them for Prongs.

Hey, Kevin McHale! About Pisani, I'd be careful about making any future "committments" to anyone that aren't of the Signed Contract variety.

Not that it really matters. This will probably be the biggest contract of his career -- he just scored 14 playoff goals! No way is he taking a one-year deal, unless it's for 3x/4x the money you're talking about.

Pisani will get more than that.

You're wrong about Dvorak. His production actually went down for the handful of games that Nedved was here. The Oilers are unlikely to find a better deal than Dvorak at RW. That includes Pisani and his impending big deal.

Tarnstrom probably will be under $1.5MM/yr, which means he's a good choice to keep IMO.

I think you're missing Mike York and Peter Schaefer from your UFA list. Both of those guys are options, particularly the latter of the two. I like Friesen and Langenbrunner off that list of forwards as well. It's good news that all these quality ES forwards are lurking about because they're capable of replacing Dvorak and/or Pisani.

Of course Elias and Arnott are the two gems. Arnott's probably not an option and it remains to be seen if the Oilers even have the flexibility to be a player in the Elias sweepstakes.

Hmm, I guess I was wrong about York and Schaefer. According to everyone's favourite link anyway.

Latest from the Sun (credibility?) has Pisani's deal being done by Saturday with Roloson and Spacek next on the list.

Apparently there is a lot of interest in Tarnstrom from the Oil but he may go back to Europe.

They might like Rem back as well but seeing as his salary goes directly to the insurance company he may just retire.

I don't like the UFA route too much myself - I think you just give up so much in terms of cash and term of deal - you can really tie your hands.

Having said that I would resign Pisani and Tarnstrom. LeGG, maybe, if he's willing to take a pretty big cut. Dvorak too - I know there is a lot of love for him but no goals this year in the playoffs doesn't cut it to me.

I'm on the fence about Roloson. With the Leafs getting Raycroft and the Canucks getting Luongo I think the Oilers might have some better options - suddenly a lot of goalies and not a lot of teams needing them.

Redden intrigues me but apparently he may resign with the Sens. I like him but it will be 6M per probably.

Problem with all of this is the Pronger situation of course - can they get a goaltender? A defenceman?

Presuming that they get a quality dman and a quality forward, as is being bandied about, then I think they have to dip into the market for at least one D, two if Tarnstrom leaves as well.

Guys like McKee or Mitchell I like the most.

Clear as mud.

The free agents listed are just the ones I would be interested in, not a complete list. I should have probably pointed that out.

Schaefer and York are RFA, and are in fact on my list. The money I heard floatinga round Elias' name was in the $7 million mark, which is too steep for us. In fact, it is too steep for anyone, really.

And I find it hard to believe that Dvorak is a deal for $1.6 million.

I think Elias goes to the Rangers - its a natural fit with the whole Czech thing plus he wouldn't even have to sell his house.

The last I saw is that nobody gets the max - nobody will go higher then 7M for anyone - so thoughts of Chara, Elias and Lidstrom getting 8 + may be going by the wayside. Although when the bidding gets going ...

Even with the cap going up to 44M I think that teams will realize that giving one guy @ 20% of your cap space for five years is not really a great idea. Of course, then again, may be not.

Already Jersey's effective Cap is 37M and Colorado's is 39M because of old retired guys and bonuses from the past season, respectively.

If you are stupid then you're not going to be able compete.

Lets hope Lowe is not stupid and a lot of other teams are.

Your (GM generically) previous roadmap was based on a BIG Defenseman to build the team around.

To stick with that strategy, you need to sign/trade for either:
- a D of similar calibre ( a short list I know
- a combination of a very good ES,PK defenceman and a power play specialist

So you want a different strategy?

Option 1 - Carolina/Buffalo strategy
- load with talent and scoring on the forward lines
- serviceable but not stellar defence
- a goalie that is pretty good at fielding the inevitable 2 on 1 situations (not Roloson I think)

Option 2 -
- bring in your rookies ( which means you need a Peca-like quality veteran forward to support them)
- build a rock-solid defence
- a very conservative/consistent goalie (Roloson fits here)

Andy Grabia said...
Schaefer and York are RFA, and are in fact on my list. The money I heard floatinga round Elias' name was in the $7 million mark, which is too steep for us. In fact, it is too steep for anyone, really.

Elias at $7MM would be fine if Pronger is dealt for young players.

And I find it hard to believe that Dvorak is a deal for $1.6 million.
Believe it. He'll probably get less than that anyway. I doubt he gets more than $1.2MM and he'll be a definite deal at that rate. With the raise that Pisani is likely to get (approaching $2MM/yr, if not potentially exceeding it), it's entirely possible that Dvorak will be the better deal next season. Who would have thought that?

I like Yannic Perrault. Last season the Oil had the #2, and #4 guys in the league in face-offs, with Peca gone they should go after the player who was #1, Perrault. He is a solid 2 way player, good speed, and would be a great replacement if/when they trade Jarret Stoll.

You can try to sew up Pisani for a lot of years at a hometown discount, or you can offer him one year's reward for what he's already accomplished. You're not going to get away with swindling him both ways. That said, I don't know how you even arrive at an offer--I can't wait to see what he actually gets, because it could be almost anything. A real puzzler.

I don't see Roloson getting $3M. He seems keener on contract length than pure remuneration, which is a concern. $5M/2 yr would be pretty generous and would probably boat that bass.

I would describe Tarnstrom as "vastly underneglected." Spacek, awful as he was most nights in the playoffs, still basically seems more versatile and skilled to me. If he can put the playoffs behind him he could have a hell of a season. I don't know if he reads English well enough to know how shitty he really played.

It is probably (sigh) worth having Laraque back even if you have to overpay him $200,000 or so. Frustrating as he is, he meets the "Do you really want to see him playing against you?" test. What if some other coach found a way to convince him to charge the net and he had an 18-goal year? If necessary, sign him and send him to the AHL to square-dance with Dennis Bonvie.

bing: Perreault's a good skater? Wha?!?!?

I don't even think he's particularly good defensively either. He does win faceoffs. I'll give you that.

Is it just me, or are the oilers really short on their roster? With all the key players leaving, I'd be really nervous if I actually gave a shit about the oilers.

hey maclean,

with the new cba get used to 33%-50% of rosters changing annually.

Its nice to know that Perreault's agent reads this blog.
Question: what is plan b if we don't "boat the bass"?
The ECHL experiment didn't work too well last year, and I am pretty sure that MacT couldn't stomach another year of crappy goaltending.

david - disagree on all key players being gone (with the exception of Pronger obviously) - assuming Lowe signs the rfas and Pisani then the team at the start of next season will look very similar to the team that began last season, excepting Dvorak and Peca and a bunch of fourth liners - Harvey, Conklin, Cross, Ulanov etc.

top two lines - Smyth/Horc/Hemsky, Torres/Stoll/Pisani

Does he have to do some work? Absolutely. Especially on the defence and of course he needs a #1 goalie.

But he has a ton of cap space and the Pronger chip to play - I think he will add someone for the top two lines as well as above.

Then the season will move along and if things go well Lowe will do what he did this year, add pieces where needed.

I'm not saying he doesn't have work to do but almost every team in the league is in the same boat and he has the money and chips to play, which many do not.

Believe it. He'll probably get less than that anyway. I doubt he gets more than $1.2MM and he'll be a definite deal at that rate.

Is there an assumption that guys are going to be willing to take pay cuts? And please explain how that spot isn't better suited to a rookie at half the price? I am honestly asking that question. I just don't see how Dvorak is worth keeping at over a million when you could fill his icetime with someone at half the price.

In Dvorak's case as well as LeGG maong others its a valid assumption, Andy. These guys had contracts from pre-lockout - even with the rollback they were inflated.

I'm sure the stats guys will correct me but Chad Kilger had 18 goals, is the same age as Dvorak, played on every line for the Leafs, PK, PP at times when needed. To me he is relatively comparable.

He had a really nice year - was defensively sound, threw the body, played whatever role they asked him.

And he is durable.

His new contract - 3 years - 900K per.

There is only so much money to go around. No team is going to give Dvo 1.6.

That's the beauty of the new CBA - if a guy does not produce, unless he really finds a sucker he's not getting paid.

The way it should be.

and I agree about putting a rook in there - see if he can do what Dvo can do for 500K - if he can't - pick up a vet at the deadline

rumour I read somewhere is McAmmond is coming back

I think this year, and certainly even more so the next 2 summers we are going to see a "settling of the silt" where a bunch of proven elite players get ever rising salaries and lots of guys who were getting rich in CBA's past drift down to the floor.

Veteran, safe forwards who are good for depth and won't be hurt (and maybe helped) by sitting 2 of 3 games. They are low cost $700K - $1M on your payroll. Your bottom half of the roster is where you use either the inexpensive rooks and the inexpensve depth guys.

I think Lowe is counting on this, and I hope that other GM's are smart enough to let the mid to lower tier UFA stuff settle before signings.

I'd sign JR (a trio of Horc-Stoll-JR at center would be solid), then try and get Martin Biron out of Buffalo for a package of Marc-Andre Pouliot and other prospects/draft picks.

"I just don't see how Dvorak is worth keeping at over a million when you could fill his icetime with someone at half the price."

Agreed, 100%

Don't jump the gun, Abboud. Tomorrow we look at who to bring in. Today we look at the partners we have.

Parrish and Silinger look like the most realistic options from that list for forwards. Though I know we'd all like to see Elias or Arnott rather than either of those too. But Sillinger and Parrish are both solid if unspectacular hockey players.

Andy Grabia said...
Is there an assumption that guys are going to be willing to take pay cuts? And please explain how that spot isn't better suited to a rookie at half the price? I am honestly asking that question. I just don't see how Dvorak is worth keeping at over a million when you could fill his icetime with someone at half the price.

Yes some of these guys will be getting paycuts. The middle tier guys get hurt the most by the salary cap IMO. The 3-4 big fish eat up all the money and then you're left trying to fill out 19-20 spots in a 23 man roster with just $25MM in cap room.

Find me a rookie that could take Dvorak's place. If there is one, he's making the rookie max not 1/2 of what Dvorak will get paid. Furthermore, he's probably a top ten pick and those don't grow on trees.

Quite frankly, it's a little known fact that rookies suck. (Don't go telling anyone at HF this) They play soft minutes against non-descript 4th liners and generally just try to tread water at ES. Sure they'll pick up a few PP points and probably get a little better as the season progresses, but that's about it. With the exception of a handful of special ones like Ovechkin or Crosby, rookies generally don't help you win hockey games.

Hence, a player personnel strategy centered around replacing your #1 RWer by ES ATOI with a rookie is doomed to failure. Especially when said RWer played those ES minutes against the tougher opposition.

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?