Saturday, March 04, 2006

Easy call for Keenan

TSN's Bob McKenzie summed up the dilemma Florida Panthers GM Mike Keenan has with Olli Jokinen yesterday, but I disagree with the venerable hockey master:

Jokinen has already turned down a four-year, $16-million offer because he knows there's a pretty good chance at least one NHL team this summer will pay him around $5 million a year. Keenan doesn't even dispute that logic.

So rather than lose him for nothing in the summer, Keenan would like to trade him now as a rental player and get a package of draft picks and maybe even a prospect. But as his team battles for a playoff spot, what kind of message does that send to the Panther players and the fans?

Not a good one.

It's a good point, but only if the Panthers have even a quasi-realistic shot at the playoffs. In reality, they don't have a hope.

Currently 10 points back of the Montreal Canadiens for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, the Panthers have just 54 points in 60 games played. To hit the magic 95-point plateau — which is where they'd have to be to make the playoffs — Florida would have to go 20-1-1 over their final 22 games.

That's just plain ridiculous.

Sure, the earlier trade deadline makes it tougher for teams close to playoff spots as they grapple with whether they should dump pending unrestricted free agents. This puts teams like the Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks in a tough spot — not the Panthers.

To address what McKenzie's saying, what kind of a message does it send to players, fans and team management if Keenan let's Jokinen walk for nothing because he's holding on for a completely unrealistic goal?

Not a good one.

My prediction? Jokinen joins the Ottawa Senators in exchange for their first-round pick in the 2006 entry draft.

2 Comments:

At 7:01 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Hossim said...

James,

I agree with your point evaluation on teams in and out of the playoffs. Lots of teams are out of it already, and teams like San Jose need to pick up at least a point in the swing games against teams they chase like Edmonton. For this reason I too feel that Florida is a long shot to make it.

With the inability to sign Luongo to long term deal how about Florida trading for a goalie? Could Iron Mike look to possibly downgrade for Noronen or Biron + a draft pick for Jokinen? Not many teams in the east would like to see Ottawa get Jokinen so if he is on the market, Buffalo could be a buyer. The reason for them acquiring a goalie in return is that I don't think Florida has much goalie depth in their system. I'm not forgetting about Luongo, but if they trade Jokinen I doubt it would help the case to resign Luongo. Almost 6 years ago they got both Jokinen and Luongo from the Islanders and it stands to consider that if one goes, they both might be gone.

 
At 7:48 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger The Puck Stops Here said...

I think this CBA is going to kill the Florida Panthers as long as Mike Keenan remains in charge.

Mike Keenan is an ass. Very few people want to deal with him if they do not have to. They will have trouble signing elite UFAs. The will have problems getting their own players to re-sign. Both Luongo and Jokinen look quite willing to leave. If that happens where does that leave the Panthers?

 

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