Tuesday, February 26, 2008

One Man's Trade Analysis

First off, congrats to Ray Shero. Everyone said the only thing the Pens were missing was a scoring winger and a big defenseman, and he goes out and gets Hossa and Hal Gill. You know the 6'7" Hal Gill pick up made Rick happy.

When Pat texted me to let me know the trade happened, the first thing I thought, as I'm sure many of you did, was "I can't believe Armstrong is gone." Then I thought about it more and more, slowly peeling back any emotional attachment to the players, and the genius of the trade started to sink in. We essentially traded 3 players with either upside or intangibles, for a proven guy who will fill the net. Kindof like every Pirates trade over the past 15 years, only exactly the opposite. Seven things I found interesting.

1.) Crosby wants to win more than anything, but taking away his best friend and roommate had to be something Shero considered. Did Crosby OK the deal?

2.) Esposito could turn out to be a superb center, but we have enough of those. Plus, we may be overvaluing him altogether, there may have been a reason he dropped so far in the draft. If we swapped picks with the Ducks and took Logan MacMillan, taken one spot ahead of Esposito, and included him in the deal there would be less regret simply from name recognition.

3.) Armstrong and Christensen are both RFAs next year, and will likely receive a pay raise. Their combined salary will end up in the 2.5-3 million dollar range. Would we have even wanted Christensen back next year anyway? We get two expiring contracts in Hossa and Dupuis, with Hossa being the only one we really want to bring back. Hossa is making 7 million this year, with only 6 being counted against the cap. Considering we'll be saving almost 3 million from losing Army and Christensen, we'll probably only be spending an extra 3-4 million a year to keep Hossa. That seems well within the range of Shero's offseason spending habits. It doesn't take into account the big deals that will inevitably go to Malkin and possibly Staal and MAF, but getting rid of two guys who will be expecting a pay increase makes resigning Hossa that much easier.

4.) The trade will be judged on two things after the season, did we win the cup and did we resign Hossa. Either one occuring will constitute a victory, anything less will leave plenty for the media members who are high on this trade now to be hypocritical about it later. I, personally, am just going to enjoy it. Really, when was the last time a Pittsburgh sports team acquired the most sought after piece during a trade deadline?

5.) Our top two lines are sick. Period. Its eerily reminiscent of the 00-01 campaign with the Straka-Lang-Kovy, Lemieux-Hrdina-Jagr lines, only we actually have two more lines that will deserve ice time. Which will be the first line? Who will the top defenders play against?

6.) Everyone knew Recchi was going to score that shootout goal against us this season. The hockey gods were clearly infuriated by our lack of faith, and we were punished. Hossa had a similar experience in Ottawa, only it dealt exclusively with inability to perform in the playoffs. If we end up playing the Senators, I know I'll be happy to have karma, and a very motivated high scoring winger, on our side.

7.) Don't expect guys like Thomas Vanek to be problems for the Penguins anymore. Hal Gill will serve as an excellent foil to power forwards, especially those who like setting up camp in front of the net on a power play. There is always skepicism surrounding bigger defensemen in the new NHL, but the ones who fail miserably are the ones who are asked to be the number 1 defensemen. We already have a fairly solid defensive core. All we're asking Hal Gill to do is play in the third pairing and keep Conklin's/MAF's crease clear. Shouldn't be too hard.

It will be interesting to see how the deal plays out. No matter what, we kept Hossa out of the hands of another conference rival like Montreal or Ottawa. We risked a lot, and Christensen could be the next Markus Naslund for all we know, but you have to take those chances to win the cup. Ask John Cullen and Craig Patrick.


Pat said...

that's 7 things instead of 3, but I'll let it slide sambo.

Sam said...

Haha just noticed that. Guess I got a bit carried away.

Anonymous said...

I am happy.

However, I would much rather seen Adam Foote. He moved to day for a first-round pick, and I am sure Waddell would've taken 2nd and 5th round picks instead of the first he got.

Would you really take Gill over Foote?

Sam said...

Foote is better, but his contract expires this year. Gill is under contract next year, so I guess Shero found value in that.

strugglingwriter said...

This shows Shero has balls. Craig Patrick in his later years would've never had the stones to do either one of these deals. It's nice to have a GM that will take some risks.

Sam said...

Exactly Paul. The fans of Ottawa are pissed that their team didn't make a deal that would have sent Antoine Vermette, a bonafide player with much more upside and offensive ability than Armstrong or Christensen. You need to make these moves to get over the hump.

Plus, I don't think we're guaranteed at all to keep Malkin past next season, especially with guys like Kevin Lowe there who will offer him a max deal. This season and the next one are the only ones where we are positive beyond a doubt we'll have this core together. Its time to take a few chances.

Dave said...

I go to school in SC, and I've made the trip to Atlanta several times. The man is obviously an incredibly talented player, and it shows on TV. But watching him in person is completely different. It is going to be ungodly to watch these guys all take the ice together once everyone gets healthy.

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