NHL Roundtable for Thursday, August 11th
It’s time for Round 2 of the Roundtable, and this time I’m headed to the West Coast to visit the elder statesman of the Mirtle clan, Cousin BJ. Let’s get it on.
- The Sedin twins sign twin qualifying offers.
- Revenge of the idiot GMs.
- Leafs fans compare getting Eric Lindros to the Flyers pickup of Peter Forsberg (no, seriously).
- The Penguins keep reeling them in by adding Joycelyn Thibault.
- And finally, we draw the ire of Penguins fans by asking: Does Pittsburgh even deserve this renaissance?
JM: Any idea what the Sedin twins signed for? I see TSN has that they’ve signed, so we can now discuss our diverging viewpoints of their talents.
BJ: Just got word that they are going to make $1.2 million a season each. One-year deals. I can live with that; they are worth that kind of basement price. I think the problem is that they were overhyped from the start and will never live up to what they were tagged as being. They are what they are — which is average NHLers.
JM: I think if you want an average NHLer, look at a guy like Richard Park. The Sedins, and especially Daniel last season with 54 points, are not average. He was tied for 54th in NHL scoring, which for the team's fourth-highest point producer, is pretty damn good. That's not average.
BJ: Meh, 18 goals (four of them in one game), from a guy who had 20 in his rookie season isn't a significant improvement. They have good qualities, and at times can smother the opposing team, but they lack any dazzling finish. All I'm saying is that they need to raise their game another notch to impress me.
JM: You know what, I think it's coming. They're still only 24 years old and will never be excellent, top-line talents. That said, there are a lot of NHL rosters in 'the new NHL' that won't have two players of their offensive potential on their second lines.
BJ: I hope you're right. They don't need to be top-line players, and I don't expect 70 points from either of them — ever. Daniel's point total of 54 is respectable, and overall, I don't expect much more (55+ pts is ideal, and historically solid for a second line). But I wish I could see more goals from him (25/season would be great and welcomed on any team). My main complaint is their inconsistent play, but it looks as though Nonis has put some pressure on them to perform. One year deals are probably by design.
JM: Switching gears on you here... how about ESPN’s Scott Burnside on the Chicago Blackhawks: "The fact the Hawks overpaid for all of these players is moot if the offseason moves help draw fans back to the once-fabled franchise."
With a $39-million salary cap, how can any overpayments be moot? A ridiculous statement in my opinion.
BJ: Hah! No shit. Even a seemingly idiot proof system isn't keeping the idiot out of many GM's. This mad dash to sign up UFA's may backfire in some instances, and I don't see player salaries declining like I hoped they would. I was quite surprised
that most of the big names were gone within a week. For example, look at Brian Burke. If my addition is correct, he has $32-million locked up in 12 players. What now, Brian?
JM: Another leap as we wind down here: Leaf Nation over in Toronto is comparing the impending signing of Eric Lindros to the Flyers getting Forsberg. I kid you not, the statements I'm hearing are unbelievable. i.e. "Lindros has averaged two games less a season than Forsberg over his career."
BJ: Seriously? If they sign Lindros, they might as well reserve the concussion wing at the hospital. He has too much baggage, so why go near him? My God Leaf fans ruin hockey for me.
Funny I should say that, [former NHLer and current broadcaster] Ray Ferraro was pushing hard out here to get Nonis to sign Lindros.
JM: Just to quantify the madness, this guy at work is going to bet me that Lindros has a better season than Forsberg.
BJ: Straight points? Good grief. Lindros will be the third line centre behind Allison and Sundin.
JM: I told him I'd bet $50 Forsberg does better... he has since backed off. Pity.
BJ: Lol, no shit.
JM: Well, you never know... maybe Leafs fans may wish to emulate their team by flushing money down the toilet.
BJ: [Switching gears on me, for a change] What a great move for Pittsburgh to get Jocelyn Thibault for a 4th round draft pick. And top that off with the very reasonable salary of $1.5 million/season (two years) that they signed him for. I'm actually disappointed he's not headed West — he's at worst an even trade-off with Cloutier.
JM: You know, I felt the Penguins were already solid in goal, so yea, getting Thibault is a good move. If his injury history is a thing of the past, this move was a steal. In all honesty, Chicago didn't get that much of an improvement in goal by shelling out huge dollars for Khabibulin. Thibault played very well behind a brutal team for a lot of years for the Blackhawks, despite, as I said, his injury problems. It wasn't his fault that the ‘Hawks had zero goaltending depth and were embarrassed with the goalie carosel they had last year.
Anyway, another nice move by Pittsburgh. I guess they figure that with Crosby, they'll sellout every game and have the revenue to move to the top of the cap?
BJ: I hear the demand for tickets in Pittsburgh has taken off, and I'm glad to hear it. I think Lemieux sees the next two seasons will definitely be his last hurrah, and he's taking advantage of the new CBA as best as he can — unless I'm mistaken, if their revenues remain weak, he should benefit from the revenue sharing regardless of payroll. Unfortunately, they still play their games in a big metal boob. Note to Pittsburgh politicians — get a new rink.
JM: Not a fan of the metal boobs, hey? The thing I wonder with Pittsburgh is — say they don't get Mario in 1984, [it’s widely accepted that] that city loses its NHL team. Now in 2005, with the franchise struggling as it has been, they get Crosby. Without him, would the team have left in the next five years? If the answer’s yes, then maybe there simply shouldn’t be a team there. When Carolina, Nashville and the Islanders are creaming you in attendance numbers, that's got to be a possibility.
BJ: At least the Penguins are making an effort to be competitive this year. Attendace overall has been crap and I think there are several cities that should not have had an NHL team in the first place — in fact, I think that 24 teams in total is a much more stable league. 30 teams may be good for the NFL and NBA, but the NHL? I guess that's a topic for another day.
JM: I mentioned Burnside's ESPN rankings of free agent moves earlier in his comment on Chicago, but how about some of his other musings. He picks the Flames, Flyers, Penguins and Oilers as the teams which have made out the best, and I won't argue that Calgary and Pittsburgh have done well. But Edmonton and Philadelphia (aside from the huge coup in getting Forsberg) haven't really wowed me with anything.
Then again, Burnside calls 29-year-old Ty Conklin and 30-year-old Jussi Markkanen "emerging" goaltending talents, so what does he know.
BJ: Philly's defence doesn't scare me. It would have five years ago, but not now. Hatcher will turn into a damn expensive boat anchor (I can't believe a five year deal for him) and Therien has been there, done that. I like Rathje — the best of the bunch. As for Forsberg, he's undoubdetly one of the top three players in the league when healthy. There's no question that when he's in the lineup, he'll give you everything he has.
As far as Edmonton goes, I like Pronger and Peca, but they gave up a good deal of young talent in the process, and Pronger's salary eats up a ton of cap room. The Oilers have upgraded somewhat short-term, but depending on the potential gave up, I'm not so sure long-term. They will compete, but they still have several holes.
A big thanks to my big cuz for stepping in and doing this. I’m off to the lake for the weekend, but next week, I’m getting into the bear pit with the carny folk and hosting NHL Carnival #6: Mirtle’s Revenge. Trust me — it’ll be the best sequel yet.