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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Flames, Bruins and Caps final teams eliminated in 1st round


Round two begins tonight. As I've done with all 1st round teams that were eliminated lets a take look at the final three teams that lost in game 7 of their respective series to see if there may be any potential targets for the Jackets.

Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames have a whopping 44 mil committed towards next season with only 15 players signed. They have identified the core of their team and have paid handsomely for it. That core being Jerome Iginla, Dion Phaneuf, Robin Regehr and Mika Kiprusoff.

They have 10 UFAs and no key RFAs.
Out of these three teams that got eliminated there is no doubt that the Flames have the most attractive pieces to the Jackets. We know guys like Iginla, Phaneuf, Regehr and Kipper are untouchable but there are still some pieces here that could help the Jackets and with the Flames going out in the first round again, they may want to shake some things up.

Daymond Langkow - he is a 30 year old center UFA who has scored over 50 points in each of his last 7 seasons. He has played at least 80 games in 6 of those 7 years. He is the most attractive center of this year's crop and its said Calgary will find a way to lock this guy up. So far though it hasn't happened and if this guy is allowed to hit the market there is no doubt, unless the Jackets acquire a couple of centers via trade prior, that the Jackets will make a big pitch for his services as he's a north/south Hitch type player. The only problem with Langkow is that he's really a number 2 center but even then he'd be the best center we've ever had. He'll be looking at a big payday in the 5+ mil a year range...at least. The Flames will have to clear out some salary to keep him I think.

Kristian Huselius - a 28 year old winger UFA who is a very streaky scorer. He was second in Flames scoring with 66 points in 81 games and made 1.5 mil last year. It appears that Calgary will let him walk as he's isn't a favorite of coach Mike Keenan and is to streaky for Flames brass. Not sure what to think about Huselius. I think there are many other options on the wing that Howson would pursue first but if those fall through they could look to this player to help an anemic offense and PP. He doesn't strike me a Hitch guy though who is willing to play a team game and pay the price in front of the net to score - more of a perimeter guy.

Craig Conroy - a 35 year old center UFA whose best days are behind him. He only had 34 points in 79 games and its doubtful the Flames resign unless its a cheap deal to play in their bottom 6. I don't see the Jackets having much of an interest as they have Malhotra, Murray and Novotny competing for bottom 6 center holes.

Alex Tanguay - a 27 year old who is listed as a center on hockeydb but plays mostly a wing. Tanguay is signed for one more year at 5.375 mil. He had a down year scoring only 58 points in 78 games (which would have been good for 3rd in scoring on the Jackets) but has scored over 60 points 5 out of 8 years in the league. He is more of a play maker than goal scorer which is something Jackets desperately need. Not sure if this guy is on the Jackets radar or not in terms of trades but to me he should certainly be an option if the Flames look to move him to clear out some cap space and shake it up. He could really help this offense.

Mathew Lombardi - a 25 year old speedy, but on the small side, center who is signed for two more years at 1.550 & 2.350 . His size reminds me of Brule but he's got better wheels and a more mature game. Lombardi was buried a bit in the Flames lineup but had 36 points in 82 games which unfortunately was down from his production last year when he had 46p in 82g. Whats intriguing about Lombardi is that he still has plenty of room to grow and the thought is that if he was given top 6 minutes with some more skill he would produce more. Remember last year at the World Championships he and Nash absolutely lit it up. Lombardi plus some more help down the middle (Jeff Carter, Antoine Vermette, Patrick Marleau anyone?) would certainly solve some problems.

There are some other guys like Stephan Yelle, Owen Nolan, David Hale and Jim Vandermeer but this organization needs skill guys and this group is more of your bottom 6 forwards or bottom pairing d-men group. We have those kinds of players in spades.

Boston Bruins

Now here is a team that really overachieved this year and because of that I don't see them doing a lot of "shaking up" in their lineup. Sure there will be some turnover but it won't be impact guys and will be more of a salary dump situation.

The Bruins have 38 mil committed next year with 18 players signed. They really don't have any key UFAs outside of maybe Metropolit but do have a number of key RFAs that they will need to lock down in Mark Stuart, Chuck Kobasew and Denis Wideman. They will have money to spend and like most teams they have a puck moving d-man high on their wishlist.

With that said here are a couple of names that the Bruins may have on the block that the Jackets may or may not have an interest in:

Glen Murray - a 34 year old right wing who the Bruins would love to offload. Murray has had a prolific career but is definitely on the downside of it. I don't think the Jackets would have any interest in Murray has he's more of a goal scorer and we have him already in a guy like Freddy Modin.

Glen Metropolit - a 33 year old center who really helped the B's after Bergeron went down. He's an interesting player who gives it all every shift. He only had 33p in 82gp but his game is the type that would fit well with the Jackets in the bottom 6. The problem of course is that we have to many bottom 6 guys on the payroll as it is. Baring some kind of trade to clear some guys out he probably is not on the Jackets wishlist.

Phil Kessel - a 19 year old center who was the 5th overall pick in the 2006 draft (Jackets picked one spot behind or he could have been a CBJ). Some Bruins fans think this guy is trade bait. He had 37p in 82g last year and was a healthy scratch in a few playoff games this year. Once he did get back in the lineup though he made certain not to get out of it again notching a few goals. The knock on Kessel is that he just doesn't pay the price and isn't much of a teammate. I think the Jackets have their version of Kessel in Zherdev and wouldn't go there. I could see alot of teams lookin for more offense who would be interested though - after all he's just 19.
Denis Wideman - a young 24 year old puck moving defensemen who had a break out year of sorts. He's an RFA and the B's would be nuts not to sign this guy but if contract negotiations break down for some reason and they chose to move him he is most definitely a guy that could help us.

Of course the Jackets would live a guy like Marc Savard or Zdeno Chara but those guys are untouchable. So are guys like Bergeron, Krejci and Lucic.

Washintgon Capitals

Like the Bruins, the Caps overachieved this year after making a miraculous recovery from a disastrous start to make the playoffs and even force a game 7. They won't be looking to make any big roster shakeups as their transition to their young players is all but complete.

Right now they have 13 players signed for 34 mil next year. Of course guys like Ovechkin, Backstrom, Green, Semin, Clark are on the do not touch list. I don't see veterans like Nylander, Clark, or Poti going anywhere either.

They do have one key RFA and that is Mike Green so lets start with him.

Mike Green - a 21 year old puck moving defensemen that just about GM would give their new born for. He is exactly what the Jackets need and hope that maybe a guy like Kris Russell can become. No way in hell the Caps let this guy walk but he's gonna want paid and it wouldn't surprise me if an offer sheet comes his way. Caps will lock him down before July 1st I think. If for some reason he does become available Howson would be in the long line of GMs making a pitch.

Sergei Fedorov - just seeing if your still paying attention!

Matt Cooke - a 28 year old 3rd line winger who is of the agitator type mold. Again more a bottom lineup type player which we don't need - especially with Boll in the lineup and Dorsett and Sestito on the way.

Steve Eminger - a young 23 year old defensemen who didn't get a ton of playing time with the Caps this season. He is the classic case of a guy who could probably use a fresh start elsewhere. He only played 20 game and registered 2 assists. With guys like Aaron Rome, Kris Russell, Mark Methot, Clay Wilson, Plekhanov, Grant Clitsome on the depth chart I can't see Howson adding a guy like Eminger. Again he needs higher skilled guys who can play further up the lineup. I wouldn't completely rule him out as I don't know how highly thought of he is by the Jackets but he would be pretty far down their priority list.

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There you have it. I don't see the Jackets targeting many players on the Caps or B's but I do think the Flames have a lot of interesting possibilities. Its to bad they play in the West as if they were an Eastern conference team I would put them up there with the Sens and very likely trade partner. At least they are not a division opponent.
Discuss - any of these names of interest to you out there? How much would you be willing to pay for a guy like Lombardi via trade or Langkow via free agency?

-LTL

1 comment:

Douglas said...

Langkow (pay $5.5?), Tanguay (I would trade just about anybody), and Wideman (move some of our wings, we can spare them) all sound good. I think Lombardi would definitely be the best bet, though, since we already know how he plays with our top wing. Pay big or trade big for any of those guys, b/c we don't really have anybody (yet) who plays like them.